Monthly Archives: March 2012

Watch us lead the UN donkey up the Khyber

By: Robert Fisk

So back to THAT BLOODY WAR. I mean not the Syrian one – where we’re going to stay hands off – or the Libyan one (where we were hands on, but not touching the ground). Nor the Iraqi one, which is a war at 60-a-day fatalities (pretty much equal with Syria’s daily death toll, though we can’t make that comparison). Nope. Of course, I mean the Afghan war which we fought in 1842 and in 1878-80 and in 1919 and from 2001 to 2014 (or 2015 or 2016, who knows?). We wouldn’t let them down this time, we said about the Afghans – or Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara said – in 2001. Oh yes we will.

We learned our lesson in Iraq where our belief in a bloodless victory – bloodless for us, very bloody indeed for them – came hopelessly unstuck. We died, too. Which is why the Americans went home. Vietnam was supposed to see the end of Western casualties. But we are not immune to death. No more in Afghanistan than in Iraq. So we are going home there, too. We may not leave behind a “perfect” democracy – the Americans were admitting years ago that we might not leave a “Jeffersonian democracy” behind. Ho-hum, no we’re not!

And we must quietly abandon all the stuff about our being in Afghanistan to fight terror – on the grounds that if we don’t fight it there, it will be heading for Kent on the Channel Tunnel – because it’s a load of old cobblers. The 7/7 bombings had more to with our being there than our not being there.

The French have a unit in Afghanistan, but it did not prevent the unspeakably cruel murders in France last week. I’m becoming, I must say, a bit amazed at old Obama. He’s been carrying on up the Khyber for so long that I suspect he has forgotten his own words of wisdom.

I admit to a dark chuckle when the US President announced a few days ago that Syria could not hold a free and fair election while it was at war. Obama was absolutely right. But we therefore have to forget that the same Obama accepted the results of two corrupt elections in an Afghanistan at war – ballot boxes stuffed in traditional ways – and then telephoned Kabul to congratulate President Karzai on his fraudulent victory. Doesn’t anyone check the screenplay in Washington these days?

I have to say that when I read the other day what Franklin D Roosevelt had to endure during the 1944 US elections – when Thomas Dewey’s running mate, Governor John Bricker of Ohio, said that Roosevelt’s New Deal had “adopted the basic doctrines of Nazism and Fascism” – I came to the conclusion that Obama was having a pretty easy time of it. Being called a leftie is tame stuff compared with that. But Americans want their soldiers home (which is what Obama promised them) and home they will come.

Some 300,000 Afghan troops are going to take over from us – yet Lieutenant General Curtis Scaparrotti, the second most senior officer in Afghanistan, has said that only 1 per cent of Afghan battalions can fight independently. That’s not exactly the Grenadier Guards.

Michael Glackin has written most eloquently that the whole Afghan operation’s remit has been so redefined that it is completely meaningless. He points out that Blair originally told us that stamping out the Afghan trade in heroin was a key element in the “war on terror”. Before we went there in 2001, heroin production stood at 185 tons. Now it stands at a whacking 5,800 tons, according to the UN. Afghanistan’s drug trade now provides 15 per cent of the country’s GDP. Thank God for Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara.

And we want to chat to the Taliban in Qatar – having got our measure they’ve just said goodbye to that – as if we are promising them a deal. Kill more of our soldiers – Glackin again – and we’ll leave in 2014! Shoot at the British Expeditionary Force and we’ll head for Dunkirk.

Of course, I hate Second World War comparisons of the Saddam-is-Hitler, the Taliban-are-Nazis variety. But I’ve said before that somewhere along the way, we lost our ability to take casualties; we abandoned – rightly so, in my view – the huge capacity for suffering and grief that we were expected to tolerate in two world wars in the last century. Compare our casualties in Afghanistan to the 20,000 British dead on the first day of the Somme and we’ve obviously said, when it comes to war dead, enough is enough. Same in Korea. And Vietnam, of course.

But if we are right to do that, can we any longer go around, bombing Libyans and threatening Iranians and sort of threatening Syrians? I guess we really do have to bring on the UN donkey more often, along with his heavy bags of failure and past uselessness. And I bet, come 2014, we shall see this sad beast clip-clopping up the Khyber while we clap and pat ourselves on the back for our sacrifice.

Which reminds me. What happens to the Afghans? The women? The schools? The bridges? And all that corruption which has corroded around our failed mission? They know we are leaving.

The Taliban know we are leaving. The Americans and British know we are leaving. Obama and Cameron have to pretend that we’re not, or that we are, but only if we really, really think we’ve won.

Note :This is a cross post from Independent UK which originally carried the article.The writer is a correspondent for Independent & based in Beirut for over 30 years.


The Forgotten Art of Letter Writing…..

A Pakpotpourri Exclusive

By: Yasmeen Ali

I never met Begum Hafiza, my paternal grand mother, the grand daughter of the Nawab of Gandara. A woman of reputed startling beauty, five foot ten inches tall, she was married to my grand father Syed Yousuf Ali, a Judge from Hyderabad Deccan, three inches shorter to her in height.

He was the scion of the family of Hazrat Syed Shah Abdul Razaqq Banswi of Bansa Sharif to whom the House of Fareangi Mahal were designated Khalifas.

She died an early death, way before my father was married. My father, and his two brothers, were brought up by my eccentric grand father in a house with no female presence.

I came to know this amazing woman through her letters written to my father. At that time, she was still in Hyderabad Deccan, with her husband, my father had come to Pakistan, to look for a job. A young man in his very early twenties.

Going through my father’s library, I came across the bundle of letters, that revealed my grandmother to me. The family politics. I laughed, I cried & smiled as I read those letters. To this day, they remain a cherished possession, locked away in a box that originally belonged to my paternal grandfather.

Her love for my father, whom she called Chand, and Chand he remained for the rest of his life, reflected itself in her writings, every four days  delay from my father in sending a letter to her, merited at least two from her expressing her concern at the delay.

In a letter dated 1st October 1958, she expressed her concern at my father’s health, a friend having met him & upon his return to Hyderabad Deccan, having reported his having lost weight. There is always the loving mention of Bitton, a closely related Aunt for which she had a fondness for. Incidently, she happens to be the mother of Gen® Talat Masud.

My youngest Uncle Syed Mehdi Ali Razzaqi, a poet ,well known for his compilation of “The Goddess”, his book of poetry, which won him an Award by the then President of Pakistan(once he too migrated to Pakistan), often put quaint notes at the bottom of my grandmother’s letters, that are hilarious and a piece of literature in themselves.

And, in that pile of letters were many by my grandfather, Syed Yousuf Ali, in his very perfect English. He had the honor of being the first Muslim to get a First Class First Position from Aligarh University in English Literature. His first degree. I am told, his picture still hangs today in the library of Aligarh University.

Also in the letters, was the one, he wrote on my birth, on 4th April 1962. A beautiful piece of art, it opens with, ”My dear Daughter-in-Law Begum Kaisar Aftab Ali, gave birth to a Daughter, by the Grace of God. May all joys, health & happiness attend- a Shahzadi(princess), in the third generation of the “House of Nizam”(Senior Branch in the Direct Line of Precedence).”

In another letter dated 7th August 1953, he writes to my father,” Now that the winter season is coming up, how are you exactly situated with your proper gear there? It was a mistake of mine, not to have kept here, your coat measurements, let me know the measurements, which can easily be done up by the tailor in a jiffy.”

What joys letters are!

What a link between our past & us.The past stood arrested in these letters in all it’s truthful brilliance.

Even when I was young, letters were the main form of communication between cousins  and friends. Making pen friends was one great way of learning about the world never seen. I have, with me, the scrap books containing those cherished letters, and cards exchanged on birthdays, weddings, birth of the children. People who have passed through the vicissitudes of time. My mother-in-law ,in whom I found a friend. Our exchanges were a source of joy to both of us. Now gone, her letters, each word vibrant & alive continues to  live with me.

Unfortunately, in today’s world of mobile phones & computers, gone is the joy of communicating through the pen. No longer is letter writing in vogue. No longer, the joy of waiting for a letter from a relative,  a friend. That is all history.

A quick e mail, a short SMS is all that is left to look forward to.

I cannot but draw a parallel here between the present lack of news paper reading. Few are left today, who start their day with the newspaper. The smell of fresh print & the excess black ink on your  fingers. Now, most prefer reading, if at all, on the net. Reading itself has become a dying pleasure in today’s world of fast communication!

Few, from the younger generation are aware of the joys of holding a good book in their hands. Rereading a book for the sheer  pleasure of it.

This same extreme dependence on computers has been done by some educators in schools too. A shocking method of teaching that takes care of the writing skills.

I cannot but be reminded of the saying by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,” We lay aside letters never to read them again, and at last we destroy them out of discretion, and so disappears the most beautiful, the most immediate breath of life, irrecoverable for ourselves and for others. “

The writer is a university professor & lawyer based in Lahore. She can be reached on

Prelude to the Indian Mindset(Kashmir)

Editor’s Note: This Article was carried by Editor’s personal blog, on 12th January 2009. 

By: Naveed Tajammal 

In the year,1947,almost a million Muslims-men, women and children-were murdered, in the Indian East Punjab as well Kashmir state, about 5 million escaped these genocidal massacres, and where chased from their old lands, households, ploughs and their cattle, these people sought refuge in Pakistan.

Most of the destruction and the massacres took place in just a few weeks, it was a swift and widespread, well planned move. a plan done in advance, the manufacture and collection of arms had been going on, for a long time, two vast armies, secret and underground had been created. one was called the ‘AAkal Fauj” and the other ”RSSS”.
Majority of the Sikh and Hindu political leaders where on the back as well as the state officials, of both Sikh and Hindu set ups. the members of police, army, the rulers of petty Sikh states, as well the Dogra maharajah of Kashmir.
Both, Sikh and Hindu had their own agenda’s, the ultimate goal of the Sikh was to establish a Sikh state from Chenab to Jamuna. and the target was to clean out as many Muslims as possible from these area’s.though the Hindu remained a minority, however, for the time it served their bigger plan as the concept of ”RSSS’ .

On January 8th 1947,a meeting of ”RSSS”(Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh–a militant volunteer organization of the Hindu Mahasabha.) was held at Tarn Taran. The old heart land of the Sikhism. and in contravention of the British ban, the RSSS flag was hoisted and speeches made. 8th January incidentally is the birthday of a Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. The strength of RSSS then was estimated at 47,000. The Sikh leaders on the fore front were, Master Tara Singh and Gianni Kartar Singh.
On 30 Jan 1947, a meeting also took place, in the ”panthic pritindhi board” in Amritsar.(a board formed in 1946, of all the Sikh parties, to consider the cabinet mission’s, proposals). attended by, balder Singh, Swaran Singh, Tara Singh, Kartar Singh and Udham Singh Nagoke, the question of setting up a joint Hindu- Sikh province in the British Indian Punjab was discussed.
On, 16th February 1947, the foundations for the Sikh, ”Akal Fauj” was laid, Master Tara Singh, addressing a 7,000, audience explained the need for this underground, army which was to be raised as under:
i) Village, Zail ( a revenue unit ) and thana units.

ii) Uniform, was to be of a dark blue pugree (turban), with a yellow skull cap, underneath. khaki kachha’s, (shorts).and a foot long ”kirpan”( short sword/ dagger).

iii) No member of this out fit could take part in any elections, unless given permission.
iv) Each Sikh on enrolment was to sign a pledge to sacrifice his all, for the ”panth”.( the Sikh class).
The month of march 1947, saw the resignation of the coalition ( unionists) ministry. and the communal disturbances started, a certain level of a systematic, killing of Muslims, by the RSSS and Akal Fauj, took place in the Muslim minority districts. of the British Indian Punjab.

In those days the RSSS, was apparently under the leadership of Ashutsh lahiri, Dr. Gokal Chand Narang, Keshab Chandra, Rai Bahadar Badri Das and Bakshi Sir Tek Chand. On, 2nd March 1947, Master Tara Singh unmasked his inner self, at Dera Sahib Gurdawara at Lahore, and had stressed the need to establish for the Sikhs, their own ”Raj”. The president and the general secretary of all India mahasabha, arrived in Lahore on 22nd march 1947, and met the Sikh and Hindu leaders, and advised them to ”prepare for a war”.
Vir Dals, were organized in Hissar, Bhiwani and Gurgaon and training camps established at Narnaul (Patiala) and a call to raise the membership of RSSS to 500,000 was made.
The demobbed, INA, (Indian national army, raised by the Japanese army, from the Indian prisoners of war) was now openly, recruited, by these set ups, from the Hindu and Sikh elements.
The bulk of Hindu weapon license holders handed over their weapons to, both the organizations. A Sikh suicide squad of 280 persons including a woman was selected who swore on oath on 13 April 1947, at Akal Takht, to give their lives for the Sikh cause, when asked. The fund fee was fixed at Re. one per head of the Sikh population, as well as, one maund (approximately 40 kg) of wheat per Sikh house hold.
Two men, Bhag Singh advocate of Gurdaspur and Kartar Singh, Professor of English at the Sikh National College Lahore, where delegated ,to be the leaders of the propaganda, department of the ”Akal Fauj”. Bomb explosions, were carried out by RSSS, in Chiniot (Jhang district) and Burewala, Multan.
Also,29 bombs, of military type, were recovered only from, Burewala Julandhar city police, raided a RSSS, strong hold, and recovered iron pipes, to be converted into muzzle-loading guns, all types of acids, test -tubes, and other related laboratory equipment. military bombs, and also found a bundle of 16 inches, army issue maps, of towns in east Punjab, having the house’s, of Muslims marked in red colours, with a list of names and number of members in each house. and also recovered pamphlets, like ,”lessons in mine engineering”. Intensive horse riding, revolver firing methods and drills, continued in these centres, in the Sikh states, with ease.

The plan for independence was announced on 3rd June 1947, with it came the Sikh demand for separate Sikh state between, Chenab and Jumna. The members of both set up were also reported collecting old soda bottles, and fused bulbs, for the Molotov cock tails by the end of July 1947. All sections trained, in both the set ups, where fully organized and ready for the green signal to be launched, on the Muslim population.

Between 31-01-1947 to 31-09-1947, 151, separate, bomb blasts, took place, in the Muslim majority area districts of, Lahore, Multan, Sheikhupura, Gujranwala and Jhang. the offenders traced back where all Hindu and Sikhs, baring 9 odd Muslims, who had carried out bomb blasts in the Sikh and Hindu area’s.
The old press clippings, speak the mindset of the Sikh leader’s of Akal Fauj, master Tara Singh had in the ”civil and military gazette” the leading English newspaper of that time, on the 1st march 1947, stated ,”to, keep out the Muslims, of east Punjab, we only have one recourse, but to drive them out”, incidentally that is exactly what they did.
The same newspaper, carried a statement, of an RSSS, leader, one Mr. N.C. Chatterjee,” if Bengal and Punjab combine, ”Pakistan will never be “”.
The Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh,( RSSS ) was the brain child of a Dr. Keshar Rao Bali Ram hedge war, a doctor of Nagpur in 1925.
The ideology was based on a belief that the whole of British Indian sub-continent, was a land of the Hindu’s, who had lived in it for the last thousands of years, and that Muslims were but a recent intruder.
This doctrine was further developed by a Madho Rao Golwalkar, who had been a lecturer of science. and had succeeded the doctor, in the leadership, in 1940. Now, Golwalkar, propagated that, it was wrong to state, that the Hindu’s, had migrated, in the sub-continent, only 3000 years back. according to his calculations the Hindu had been here over the last 10,000.years.and that to substantiate the old theory of a movement from a cold zone, he, stated that,’ The cradle of Hindu civilization, was Bihar and Orissa, and that this was the old artic region of the past or the old north pole ?
Apparently geography, had never been a subject of this man nor had he read anything on the movement of continental Masses. or the plates. Anyway the man was an excellent organizer, as the structure of the organization shows, each unit was composed of 50 men, under a cell leader, a branch leader controlled, a number of cells, varying in each area. a provincial controller over each. The area of the provincial commander was based on old mythical Hindu administrative, provincial boundaries.

Sikhs too, where allowed in this setup, as they said Sikhism was an offshoot of Hinduism, the supreme commander was no other but, Golwalkar, himself. In the British Punjab, the organization was under, ”Dharam Vir”, the editor, of the newspaper, ”Hindu”.
In all the major Muslim majority, Tehsils, ”stabbing squads” had been made, Lahore alone had a 50 member squad. who had a directive to stab only solitary Muslims.
Outwardly, the RSSS, claimed it was a non-violent body, and a R.B. Badri, had also issued a public, disclaimer in the ‘tribune” newspaper on 14 June 1947.the crux being that it was a peace loving set up, with no violent aims or objectives at all. However, the British CID and special branch reports and the FIRs the bomb blasts which killed and injured hundreds told a different story, as well the recoveries from the safe house’s, of RSSS, which were time bombs, acids, explosives and rifles. The congress pro government in the frontier too, was a major supplier of the weapons to the RSSS.
The general target area’s, of the RSSS, used to be, fruit markets, cinema halls, running omnibuses, and the best, the Muslim congregations in the mosques. A report of an attempt to bomb the Badshahi Masjid on a Eid morning by chartering a plane also exists in the files of the CID, naturally by the RSSS.

The futuristic map of the proposed Pakistan had also been worked out to the limits. As will be explained. Baluchistan and NWFP, where to be Indian satellites linked with India through the northern areas, with Kashmir. Pakistan, according to RSSS, was to be Hazara division or the cis-indus of NWFP, Sind Bahawalpur, and upwards through a narrow belt. Karachi, was, to be, Zahir Shah’s, personal fief.
The Rachna Doaba, and the Bari Doaba, was to be excluded from Pakistan, as this was a very fertile canal irrigation area. The 1941 census was the bench mark on which the demographic working had been done by the RSSS.
The districts, of Lahore, Sheikhupura, Layallpur, Montgomery & parts of Multan, had to be engineered to fall in with India, and further more, if the above could be achieved, then the contiguous area’s, of Gujranwala, Sialkot and part of Jhang are left out. However not to be out witted from this prize too, it was decided to work out a new strategy so that, because of the contiguous boundaries, and the geographical features, they too could fall if a proper planning was done.
Here came the demographic, placement of a majority of Muslim population which was a major hurdle in the plan. To circumvent this, a new idea was proposed. Shahdara, Sheikhupura, Jaranwala, Layallpur and Nankana, had a total excess Muslim population of 63,539, that is over 50 %.thus according to the RSSS, if this figure could be replaced, by the same of non-Muslims, the objective could be achieved.
Chunian, Okara, Pakpattan, in the Bari Doaba, had an excess of 148,369 Muslims. The RSSS, worked on the principle of encirclement, as they stated, that these area’s, of the Bari Doaba, adjoined proposed India and the Bikaner state and so tighten the grip around Lahore, Kasur, Dipalpur, Tehsils, which linked Gujranwala and Sialkot districts and had the main canal networks. which was the root of the prosperity of the Doaba.
The third. encirclement was to squeeze out, the excess, Muslims from Narowal, Pasrur and Gujranwala who were 106,711. The fourth stage covered Khanewal, Kabirwala and Shorkot Tehsils, which again had a excess, of 168,343.muslims.
This outflanks of the remaining portion of Rachna, Doaba, mainly Samundari, Toba Tek Singh and Montgomery and drive a wedge in Multan district Tehsils which left out Shujabad, Lodhran Mailsi, and the Multan Tehsil itself. The reason being Mailsi, Toba Tek Singh and Samundari were the three most productive Tehsil of Doaba, that also had excess Muslim population of 212885.
In other words, in the first stage, an excess Muslim number of 318,619 had to be handled. (63,539+148,369+106,711) in the second ,168,343 +212,885 = 381,228. in the last , the excess Muslim number in, Lahore, Dipalpur, Kasur, Montgomery and Daska, came to 347,681. The answer, to all this was a massive transportation of Muslims from these area’s, and an influx of non-Muslim from the east.

It was proposed that; The post war re settlement of the, to be, demobilised British Indian army was to take place, the British Punjab alone had provide 800,000. men. for the 2nd world war .here it was proposed that, the Muslim soldiers of area’s which where to be part of India to remain in India, while the Muslim soldiers of lands between Chanab and Beas to be settled west of Chanab. or in the Bahawalpur area. whereas, all non Muslim soldiers be settled in the area between Chanab and Beas it was, further suggested that, the state had some 150,000 acres of land in between Chanab and Beas, under the ”baqaya” category, here a new scheme of 5 acre sink well , farm units(30,000) , be established, this way 120,000 non Muslims could be adjusted. the colonization of Thal and Haveli area was on the table as well establishment of new industrial area’s, to use the local raw materials.

In the colonization of Thal only, the proposed area was 2,053,096 acres. Which included an area of 380,686 acres, which were the crown lands. however, the canal irrigated came to be only,831.000 acres, the mathematical working of RSSS, was that a unit of 8 acre be made, for a family of 4 persons in this way 415,500 persons could be fixed up. but when the full 1.2 million acres came under the canal irrigation as was expected in the Thal, the extra 369,000 acres could accommodate a further,184,500 more. a total of 600,000.
Hence it was suggested, that in the first three stage area’s, the major landowners were, non Muslims, all Muslim tenants be turned out, in lieu of which on each square of land 10 non Muslims be allowed to immigrate from east of Sutlej regions, the land held by these land lords numbered 31,860 squares, or 796,500 acres. hence 318,600 non Muslims could be adjusted. from the various Hindu and Sikh states, east Punjab or the united provinces. besides this, a land grant of 78,000 acres only in the Haveli project had been ear marked for the returning army men, it was requested by RSSS, to the British to allow only Hindu’ soldiers this grant as in the same grant in a different category, 51,200 non Muslims had just been granted lands in this scheme. It had been also suggested, to the British that, all Muslim tenants, in Nilli Bar, Haveli and Bari Doaba canal colonies, be uprooted, and sent packing to, Bahawalpur state in the vacuum, 150,000 non Muslims could be adjusted.
As the majority of industrialist was non Muslim they too had been requested to immediately, set up colonies of 15,000 labour/workers in the new industrial zones and bring in non Muslim labour, it was estimated that 100,000 men could easily come.
This was the solution to over come the one million strong Muslim majority factor in these area’s. and it was hoped that only in one year all these changes could be done provided, the state cooperated with the RSSS. point to note is, even after the ban on RSSS, the members of RSSS thrived in India, Vajpayee was one of them, as where other statesmen of India, which shows in their policies and the statecraft, as well the forward policy of the Indian government since 4th February 1948.the date RSSS was banned in India officially.
On 26 Oct.1947,The maharajah of Kashmir, wrote to Lord Mountbatten, the Governor-General of India. And asked him, for assistance, the point to remember is , the reply had also stated that,…….the question of the state’s, accession, should be settled by a Reference to the People.” This letter he (Maharajah) wrote after he had already butchered 2.3 lakh Muslims. as between 26 august 1947 and 15 November 1947, the Dogra state troops, RSSS and the AKAL FAUJ, had killed 230,270 Muslims what became of the abducted ,Muslim, young girls no one has high lighted, the number ran in tens of thousands.
Today, the people of Kashmir after a span of 61 years still struggle, for ”azaadi”. each one of the house hold a victim of the last 162 years of Hindu rule, 1846 to 2008.They are now demanding a separate and a independent home land, a break from the tyranny of the Hindu rule, and the policies of RSSS, which to date continue. The recent mammoth gatherings have waved the crescent and star green flag. Sadly we sit and wait and watch the turn of events on our screens.
India, it is propagated, is a true democracy, and a federation too, however, as the facts, unfold, it is true ”Stalinism” which exists under the garb of democracy in India. But, what Indians fail to perceive is, that, when the time came, the mighty, union of soviet socialist republic (USSR ).and it’s, fearsome KGB, too, buckled down. All collapsed to the will of the nations which had formed the USSR. even before the emergence of USSR, the Russian CZARS, ruled half of the world Mass. ALASKA as well, as, western USA was part of the czar’s, empire till he sold off his far flung assets.
The conditions, of our brothers and sisters, as well the children of Kashmir are here highlighted, very briefly, before the accession of Kashmir with India, and the role of RSSS, as well, the ”Akal Fauj” too. the last article on this subject will be written on the role, of the Tribal Repercussions, by the people of our NWFP, to the sequel of the fate of our Muslims in Kashmir, east Punjab and else where in British India, at the hands of RSSS and ”Akal Fauj”.

The Jammu and Kashmir state adjoined west Pakistan to the west. This recent state, had been a integral part of the Sindh valley, from the mists of the time, the language, customs and culture testify that. After the collapse of the Mughal empire in 1739. the whole of Sindh valley was parcelled out to the Iranian empire inclusive of Kashmir. Nadir Shah had appointed, Tahmasp Khan Jalayar, as his viceroy, from the lands of western Tibet down to Nala-e-Sankara., which then flowed east of Omarkot (Sindh). The death of Nadir Shah sparked a state of uncertainty, in the Sindh valley, much later in time Ranjit Singh a adventurer and a rascal, managed to acquire this province, of Kashmir, Gulab Singh, became it’s, governor of sorts, he too was a court intriguer. In 1839 Ranjit died, by 1846, Gulab Singh had managed to convince the administrators of east India Company to sell the Kashmir province to him for 7.5 million Nanakshahi’s, and had sworn to acknowledge the supremacy of the ”Raj”.

British, by then had already acquired the state of the Talpurs, and fought out the first afghan war, as well had subjugated, the Barohi, (not Baluch) khan of Kalat.
The population of Kashmir as per the 1941- census, was 4 million souls, out of which, only 8 lakh were non Muslims of different faiths as Ladakh was still Buddhist. Rest of 3.2 million were Muslims. even Jammu, the smallest of the three, Kashmir state provinces had 60 % Muslim population in 1941.however the Hindu retained 80 % of the state jobs as per the arms act of this state , a, Hindu need not apply for a weapon license.
All lands had been parcelled out to Hindu land owners. the condition of the Muslim peasantry was worse then the Russian, ”serf”. of the czar days in the last 100 years or so till 1947 the Muslim had, lived the life in squalor, penury and terror. Forced labour, extortionist methods of tax collection were a norm. police state it was, the judiciary was too, of Hindu. a Muslim could appeal to none.
During,1946 and early, 1947, Top ranking. congress leaders, including khan Ghaffar khan, Dr. Sinha, Chaman Lal, Asif Ali, Acharya Kirpalani, and Ghandi had vested Kashmir on their own agenda’s. None paid any attention to the condition of the Muslim. The RSSS, had been allowed by the maharaja, to recruit volunteers, in Kashmir since 1942. Beside Sirinagar, it had branches in Mirpur, Kotli, Sambha, Udhampur and Kathua.
The chief of the RSSS, in Kashmir was, ”Swami Sant Dev” the spiritual Guru of the maharaja had been termed by people as the ”Rasputin” of the Kashmir court.
As Hazara, had already been ear marked part of new Pakistan, by the RSSS, by early, 1946,already a considerable, number of Hindu’s and Sikhs, had sold out and shifted to Kashmir. out of the first batch, 2000 youth of this lot had become members of the RSSS. The Sikh evacuee’s, of Hazara, had organized themselves, as ”Singh Naujawan Sabhas.” and were located at Muzzafarabad and Sirinagar.
From march 1947, onwards, a further influx of RSSS, workers, members of Punjab. united provinces and other parts of British India, had been called in Kashmir. In July 1947, Basant Rao Agrekor, one of the provincial organizers, had visited Kashmir to inspect and advice his force. The Sikhs too, had sent in gangs from, the Sikh states of, Nabha, Faridkot and Patiala.
The pathetic condition of the Muslim of Poonch, can be visualized, by reading the report, of Richard Symonds, who wrote for the ”statesman” new Dehli. on 4th February 1948, he wrote ”60,000 Poonchi’s, had served in the British Indian army in 2nd world war. When the war ended they returned home (bulk being Muslims) to find that the old Raja of Poonch, had been disposed of his state, by a law suit. and the direct rule of the Maharaja had been imposed on the Poonchi’s.
Now there was a tax, on every hearth, every window for the sunlight, each buffalo, goat or a cow, cat or a dog, not even the wife was exempted. He, who had more then one, was most grieved to top it the zaildari tax was levied” To pay for the charges incurred in the collection of tax’es”. The first revolt started on 27 august 1947 at Nila Butt. when Abdul Quyyum, a young zamindar and his friends started it. soon after, the bulk of the ex-service men too, joined in, the Dogra state troops now re-sought to burning down complete villages, and rendering the people homeless, earlier as per the plan, in June the state had ensured that no weapon, not even long knives, where left with the Muslims, and the house searches had ensured this. Two small boys, who seen their mothers being molested by the RSSS and troops, had tried to hit them with their fists, in the village, ”Ali Sojar”, on 15th august 1947,both, Mohammad Saidu and Lal Hussain, where shot dead, in front of the raped women, and hung on the nearest tree.
Just to name a few villages where this routine continued, and men and boys hung, who reacted, Nar, Bagh, Khas BAGH, Sar Saddhan, Beerut, Jheri, Sangola and Rawli. All these reports, could, even to a bystander conjure a picture of a gunpowder trail, blazed across the country side, village after village went up in flames, the Dogra and RSSS, with their ”BREN GUNS”, killed and raped whom they pleased, it was a sport time for this lot.
In Jammu province of the state, a similar tragic chain of events unfolded, all attempts were to push out as many excess Muslims out, to up coming Pakistan territory, as they possibly could. They had been directed to proceed to Sialkot unofficially, and a slow line of miserable, old and young, wounded and injured people came. The young girls never made it. they had been abducted much earlier in the other regions the state had created ”camps; which became the death traps.12000.muslim refugee’s, had assembled at the Jammu, aerodrome (airport).in the first week of November, they were machine gunned, by Dogra and RSSS men, 4000 died. Later at night 2000 died on account of the grenades, thrown in the crowds of compact men, women and children. Before this incident, on 17 October, the Muslim population of ”Ranbir Singhpura Tehsil”, had sought shelter at the state ”electric power house, at ”Miran Sahib.” numbering 25,000.and soon after ”Mehr Chand Majhan” the Dewan of the Maharajah, arrived in a convoy, accompanied by ‘Bharat Bhusan”, the local ‘tehsildar’, and an active member of RSSS.
The women and children were asked to move towards the trucks, as they may be transported out. after their departure’ hell broke loose” as all where butchered. the convoy stopped ahead, presentable girls and women where segregated, rest too met the fate of a bullet and were thrown in the ravines. On 19 October, a convoy of 30,000 travelling on foot, where halted at ”Jammu-Tawi”, station, all where blocked in, and machine gunned by the RSSS and the state troops at night times, (as people now had started this time) all places where a movement of Muslim was reported, jeeps, mounted with machine guns, where launched, who surrounded them girls where first removed for the nights fun, rest butchered. A slight resistance or reluctance to obey the orders was met by a bullet or a bayonet.
Details, of the Indians on the later Pakistan territory between,09-10-1947, to 13-01-1948, exist in which targets within the Pakistan territory where targeted, all in the garb of hot pursuit of the Muslim Kashmiris. Only in the adjoining Gujarat district, 56 raids, were done, the composition of the raider was 50 Dogra troops rest 4000,”Akal Fauj and RSSS. This was the usual number, weapons used where, bren guns, rifles, medium machine guns, light machine guns, grenades and the transport was jeeps, trucks and a few armoured cars. However as stated detail of each occurrence of each village, weapons used, number of raiders, type of damage, looting and abduction, are all well recorded.
I am sure the memory of all the events still lingers in the minds of the Kashmiris, no wonder the last 61 years shows their will to fight back, as the spark remains in these great people with whom we share a long past association etched in time.

The most irksome and fearsome thing, that the Hindu can conjure, in his mind is a repeat of the fall of ‘Somanath”. Which happened a thousand years back at the hands of Mahmud of Ghaznih.
Now, Somanath was a religious city, in the heartland of the new, faith, called, Brahmanism, in the lands of the Naghar’ Brahmans, the creators of the, Deva Nagri, script, though modified from our, later Indus script, from our universities, of Taxila, and Bahman Nih, miss called as Brahman Abad. Somanath,was located in the Khatiwar, peninsula near the sea shore. The Hindu Brahmans, lived off its, bounty, the shrine was endowed with the income of ten thousand villages, but this income was not enough for them, so they had, convinced the poor, pagan, primitive people of the lands of Hindh, that the idol of Somanath had the power, to transmigrate their souls , when they died, in a better, and richer, person, when they where re born. so each ,he or she, in his or her life time should contribute, the best that they could do, to please the idol, gold and jewels the idol loved the best, the choice was theirs.
The edifice, was built, and stood on 56 pillars of teak wood, and had a huge compound, and with the entrance gates, made of solid sandal wood. The teak wood was inlaid with lead. The inner hall of the dome was massive, it was dark, inside to create the required aura and awe in the minds of the primitive. But bejewelled chandeliers hung in the right places gave it the right look and the light effect too.
Near the idol was a chain of solid gold, weighing as per the Brahmans 200 maunds, which was connected with the bells, the chain pulled on times to awake the sleeping Brahmans to come on duty, a thousand remained at a time.
As the show was an ongoing continuous process, 500 of the most beautiful, and well versed in all manners, danced in shifts, the figure of 500 female dancers remained constant and the musicians too, all this was done to please the idol, made out of stone, and hung in space, through a magnetic field, all around it, which was the ultimate magic.
But all the pomp and show ended when, sultan Mahmud came, and took away the gates as well the idol with him, though the idol, was broken in four pieces, the first was sent to Makka, to be placed under the entrance door of the Ka’aba, the second, was placed under the entrance to the prophets mosque in Medina, the third at the entrance of the great mosque of Ghuzznih, and the last piece at the entrance of the royal palace in Ghuzznih.(Ghaznih).
According to ,”Romila Thapar, an Indian historian, and in her book, ”the history of India; vol i, on pages 232-233, she writes, the effects of , destruction, of, Somanath are etched in the generations of all Hindu Brahmans, mindset. They shudder for the day; a revival of Islam takes place.
All efforts for the Hindu remain less, in this endeavour; the bud whenever it grows must be crushed before it blossoms, into a flower. And the smell, leads the Muslim on a new ”jihad” on the idol worshipers. so any trick or treachery is not unlawful for them, as long as end is justified. However the eventual fate of the Brahman, idol worshipper, rests with, Allah, do what they may, as the ‘Time’ is an infinity before, ”’ALLAH”. a fact which, the limited mind of the Brahman fails to perceive.
As the reports, of the barbaric, behaviour of the RSSS, continued, the news travel led to the NWFP, SOON THE BODIES OF THE DEAD, PEOPLE OF NWFP, TO STARTED TO ARRIVE, and as they reached their home towns, the news also came of the desecration of the Muslim shrines in the east Punjab, by the ”akal fauj’. Which created the final ”crescendo”, among the tribes of NWFP, staunch Muslims they had always been, this fired their pent up indignation, which not be held at bay. Now All Wazirs, Mahsuds, Daurs and the Bhitannis, of the Waziristan regions wanted to go and fight the Dogra of the Kashmir state. The Turi’s, of Kurram, the Afridi’s, Adam Khels, and the Mohmands, the Salarzai of Bajaur, in fact each and every tribe which had able bodied men, was ready for this war.
The Peer of Manki, the Peer of Landar, Gulat Shah, Captain Mir Badshah Mahsud, the Inzari Mullah, Badshah Gul, the Peer of Wanna, gave the call for a ”jihad” which was seconded by the, Hazrat of Shor Bazar, Shahzada Barkatullah, the leader of the colony of, mujahideen, who had fought the Sikhs, too, raised the call of. ”jihad”. against the Hindu and the Sikh.
A massive movement of lashkers also came from Afghanistan, much against the wishes of Zahir Shah who was, a pro congress man. but the people of southern Afghanistan paid no heed to him. ”lashkars” crossed the Indus on inflated goatskins, however the government of NWFP, safeguarded approximately 50,000 Sikhs and Hindus, still in the NWFP.
Soon ‘lashkars’ from swat, Dir, Bajaur, Indus Kohistan started to move towards Kashmir. Mullah. Fazal din, the son of the famous, Mullah Powindah, who had died 35 years back, too, left for Kashmir with his followers.(Mahsuds). Afgan tribes of Mangals, Zardars, Suleiman Khel, and the Kachi’s, as well the Nasir Powindah to went to the rescue of the Kashmiri Muslim.
Zahir shah continued with his tricks, for not allowing them a safe passage. for onward movement to Kashmir. but Badshah Gul, did his best to arouse the afghan tribes and with good results too. and kept on requesting the afghan Maliks to force Zahir shah to declare ”jihad” on the Kashmir state.
However the rest is history, now, the fact remains, countless lashkars of people of NWFP, inspired by the plight of Kashmiris Muslims came, on the ”jihad” they could have even retained Sirinagar, but for our faint hearted, vision less, bickering politicians, who where at that time at the helm of affairs as our political history proves. a war almost won. was lost, due to this infamous lot which resulted in many small and big battles to regain the lost chance.
Lastly, in memory of the lost chance, at the hands of our politicians, I will quote, Adolph Hitler, who had very aptly, said,’ if politics means history in making, then our way of teaching history stands condemned, by the way, we have conducted our politics”.










The Writer has over 28 years of historical investigative research & is based in Lahore.


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This is a Pakpotpourri Exclusive

By:Naveed Tajammal 

If all the kuchi wandering clans,who sought refuge,from their persecutors,having a history of not very distant past,today stake a claim,on carving for themselves part of the Indus Basin civilization,on one fallacious myth or the other, let them be  well adviced to kindly study their wanderings or the trails which led them here with the reasons why the crafty British created a geographic entity tittled Balluchistan,affiliated to their present generic calling.

It is not that the records do not exist,but it is the twisting of the facts,by a certain class of writers,who are bent upon to balkanise Pakistan by foul means.On the tunes of the players,who are playing the game and funding them with free hands.Also using the present progeny of the British created Elite,of this generic entity,as the pawns in the game.The reason why this new class of Sardars and Nawabs,were created only a little over a hundred years(nawab tittles were given in Jan 1890) was to break the rule over them by their actual mentors,the Barrohi’s,the sons of the soil,and who were not willing to play to the British tunes as required.
The Khan’s of Kalat,like the Kalhora of lower sindh were the wardens of the western marches of the Mughal empire,Each had been assigned his own area of watch.However the fall of the Mughal empire in 1739 AD at the hands of Nadir Shah Afshar the Turk,changed the geopolitics of the region,The Kalhora had refused the passage to Nadir Shah towards Multan,after the fall of Qandhar,and so came the wrath of Nadir shah upon him.Later,when his trans-Indus lands, were re-assigned to the Khan of Kalat,for the services rendered,as a rivalry between Kalhora and Kalat had existed for long,even in the Mughal era.
The Qandhar province of the Mughal empire had been lost to the Iranians in 1649 AD,however  a line of weak,Safavid rulers,and their grasp weaker on the eastern frontier,and aggressive Warden of watches of the Mughals,had created boundaries,more or less the same as were drawn later,in the Durand line.In reality the boundary had been further to west,but the British always wanted long desolate regions in between their boundaries,hence natural obstacles like mountain ranges/deserts were chosen,as the boundary lines dividing Afghanistan and Iran from the British imperial India and so Afghanistan & Iran, being the buffers between two great powers of the time,other being the Mother Russia.
The old Khurrassan had been named, by the British ,as Afghanistan,This was to be the main front line state,between Russia and British India,and hence the award of the corridor of Wakhan,which had been part of British India to Afghanistan.
In order to meet their future needs of ever loyal men,in the newly created Balluchistan entity post 1877,a need arose to end the Barrohi or the Khan of Kalats power.Therefore in 1893,the last of able Khans of Kalat ,Khudadad khan was arreste by treachery at Belpat,as he had held all of the tribes of Barrohi and Balluchi  Confederacy in a grip,the capture of Khudadad Barrohi and later imprisonment till his death in the Loralia prison in 1909 was the death blow to the Barrohi, prestige and power.Hence arises the Myth of the Balluchi Nationalism.
The subsequent history till 1947 is well recorded,But the fact remains that,the Barrohi represent a heritage immersed in time,Mehrgarh goes back to 7500BC,and the language of the Barrohi is a living example of this past,Through-out the vicissitudes of time.
Yes,indeed the Balluchi have a claim to a Nationhood,but they should lay it before the Governments of Tehran and Kabul,who have usurped, their lands.
Here they came in trickles,from the west in wandering nomadic clans,perhaps their old masters the Kiani rulers of old seistan,should be re-activated to take charge once again of them and guide them as they had for times gone by.The travelogue of the Balluchi wanderings are well documented,and their settlements as well,The grave of their acclaimed leader (Chakkar Rind) lies in Satgarran in Sahiwal district of punjab,The Author of ‘Popular poetry of the Balluchi’  M.Longworth Dames,1907 AD,states,that,’It is difficult to say how far any part of chakkar’s adventures are historical” and gives a date of the first Balluchi entry towards the Indus-river, as around 1520AD.
But then a likewise,history too can be seen in,Griffin’s ‘Punjab Chief’s’- here it would be pertinent to note,that as was case in Balluchistan here too The Punjab Government had requested the newly created chief’s to send accounts of their Ancestors and Descent of their tribes,the results can be seen in the book before mentioned,but it can be easily imagined how these new chiefs drew the long bow & what glowing accounts they gave and what noble or royal descent they gave upon themselves and to that of their tribes.
In fact it had been Mirza Shah Hussain Arghun the son of Shah Beg Khan,the Conqueror of lower Sindh,who had pushed these Balluchi Clans/Tribes,to the East with a force of just 1000 (one thousand) Cavalry alone ! In the early 16th century.
Later Chakkar Khan Rind,as an individual, was indeed a fief holder under the Suri rule,and Chakkar remained subordinate to Haibat Khan Niazi,the Governor of Multan and Lahore provinces,who had been awarded the tittle by the Suri of Masnad-i-Ala,Azam Humayun. 1543/44 AD.
The jews after wandering over two thousand years did come back to their old homelands,where they now rule,The Balluchi too should go back to theirs The Balyus,and wrest it from Iran and Afghanistan,because one of the required,pre-requisites, for Nationalism is a claim on the territorial land, secondly Balluchi is a language from the Iranian family,so are the Irani and Afghani languages,custom and culture too are akin.
Myths are indeed created for new generations,to believe in,that they have existed for thousands of years,this is done by the wise men,however what must be kept in mind is,when the nomads are on move,with their scanty belongings mostly on foot and a few camels and goats,when their very survival is at stake,they have no option but to merge like a chameleon with the surroundings,these stories, emerge with food in stomach and a sheltered life,and safety or peace in the surrounding areas.
Lastly the indus valley basin has been home of Egalitarian societies,disliked by the people to our East,the present indians,as we had been Republics,whereas they were ruled by Kings and Brahmans,a glimpse of the Barrohi social order based on the past can be seen,in the rule of Naseer l the Khan of Kalat.In fact it was this Khan of Kalat who actually settled these present Balluchi clans in the regions,by expelling,from almost the whole regions awarded by Nadir Shah to him of all the old sind valley local tribes ,i.e, The Kaachi Plains and present Marri-Bugti areas,,as they were loyal to the Kalhora’s,it is this,newly assigned lands, which these Balluchi, claim to be of their abode of old,that being not very old i.e post 1740 AD,and hence,some of Balluchi clans, moved in this migration further across the Roh i Sulaiman range towards the Indus River.Here it should be kept in mind that  a very old trade route had existed between Multan,Sanghar pass,Chachar,Choti Aila,Tal,Duki and onward to Pisheen,and hence to Qandhar or Herat..
The writer has written historical articles & is unparalleled in his knowledge for this region. He has 28 years of research work t support him.

Opportunities and Priorities of Pakistan

A Pakpotpourri Exclusive

By: Hamid Waheed


The great game for economic gains has once again emerged in this part of the world after  9/11 and brought Pakistan into lime light. Many think tanks and scholars label Pakistan as a nation on collapse and a failed state. Pakistan ranked number 12 on a list of the “most failed states”, according to an annual report published by Foreign Policy magazine in 2011.The amount of corruption, misdirected leadership and forecasting of intellectuals would have synergized for a normal nation to actually collapse but what keeps Pakistan from sinking is a question, which can only be answered by the nature.


Geographically, NATO supply route issue has proved Pakistan stands as the most logical and economical out let to the world. Despite serious differences with world powers operating in Afghanistan the U.S leadership finds Pakistan, the most important country. Hillary Clinton said in her 23 February, press conference that  “I’m sure we will continue to have our ups and downs. But this relationship is simply too important to turn our back on — for both nations.


Nature has gifted Pakistan to become a challenge for the world and it is only Pakistanis which can convert this challenge into opportunity. The SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis shows that way to progress only lies in moving with the nature and  polishing the natural gifts provided to Pakistan. Pakistan’s case emphasis has always been on ‘T’ part which has given birth to impediments like suspicion and fear. Fears of MFN status to eat up our economy and suspicions of death of sick units have not allowed us to look at the opportunity.  Should we spend energies to prolong life of an out dated business at cost of natural economic opportunities.  The progressive Nations must get into competition and emerge as leaders based on performance rather than finding ways to retard the competitors speed.


In to-days environment of open market  you have to have a professional competition may it be governance or deliverance by the government.  Political government in Turkey is a perfect example which has excelled and then told the state institutions to do their job. Way forward is not the Blame game but demonstration of your will through lesser words and more actions. God has gifted Pakistan with geographical location of being natural bridge for the world and a climate for agriculture. What has been our efforts to improve Railways and road infrastructure to polish this bridge and make it more attractive. As far as agriculture is concerned, instead of improving that sector the agri value adding units like textile are witnessing  a sharp decline compounded by energy crisis. More than anything Pakistan requires an understanding of developing long term strategies in all fields like economy , education and defense etc complimenting and not contradicting each other so that  a common Pakistani and not  a specific class benefits. Zardari , Gillani and Kiyani are all important not as person but their  positions. The land mark of taking Pakistan to a prosperous economic future is not possible by any two but all three will have to synergize.

The writer is a political commentator based in Islamabad.

The Story of How U.S. Special Forces Infiltrated Pakistan

By Marc Ambinder & D.B. Grady
Using special tracking technology and CIA oversight, teams have quietly crossed the border to challenge al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and their supporters in the Pakistani spy service.

 U.S. special forces in Afghanistan / AP
In 2005, for example, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake killed 75,000 people in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. After four solid years of war in the region, the United States poured relief services into Pakistan as a show of solidarity with the nominal ally in the war on terror.
The U.S. intelligence community took advantage of the chaos to spread resources of its own into the country. Using valid U.S. passports and posing as construction and aid workers, dozens of Central Intelligence Agency operatives and contractors flooded in without the requisite background checks from the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. Al-Qaeda had reconstituted itself in the country’s tribal areas, largely because of the ISI’s benign neglect.

In Afghanistan, the ISI was actively undermining the U.S.-backed government of President Hamid Karzai, training and recruiting for the Taliban, which it viewed as the more reliable partner. The political system was in chaos. The Pakistani army was focused on the threat from India and had redeployed away from the Afghanistan border region, the Durand line, making it porous once again. To some extent, the Bush administration had been focused on Iraq for the previous two years, content with the ISI’s cooperation in capturing senior al-Qaeda leaders, while ignoring its support of other groups that would later become recruiting grounds for al-Qaeda.

A JSOC intelligence team slipped in alongside the CIA. The team had several goals. One was prosaic: team members were to develop rings of informants to gather targeting information about al-Qaeda terrorists. Other goals were extremely sensitive: JSOC needed better intelligence about how Pakistan transported its nuclear weapons and wanted to penetrate the ISI. Under a secret program code-named SCREEN HUNTER, JSOC, augmented by the Defense Intelligence Agency and contract personnel, was authorized to shadow and identify members of the ISI suspected of being sympathetic to al-Qaeda. It is not clear whether JSOC units used lethal force against these ISI officers; one official said that the goal of the program was to track terrorists through the ISI by using disinformation and psychological warfare. (The program, by then known under a different name, was curtailed by the Obama administration when Pakistan’s anxiety about a covert U.S. presence inside the country was most intense.)
Meanwhile, rotating teams of SEALs from Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) Black squadron, aided by U.S. Army Rangers and other special operations forces, established a parallel terrorist-hunting capability called VIGILANT HARVEST. They operated in the border areas of Pakistan deemed off limits to Americans, and they targeted courier networks, trainers, and facilitators. Legally, these units would operate under the authority of the CIA any time they crossed the border. Some of their missions were coordinated with Pakistan; others were not.

As of 2006, teams of Green Berets were regularly crossing the border. Missions involved as few as three or four operators quietly trekking across the line, their movements monitored by U.S. satellites and drones locked onto the cell phones of these soldiers. (The cell phones were encrypted in such a way that made them undetectable to Pakistani intelligence.) Twice in 2008, Pakistani officials caught wind of these missions, and in one instance, Pakistani soldiers operating in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas fired guns into the air to prevent the approach of drones.

Forward intelligence cells in Pakistan are staffed by JSOC-contracted security personnel from obscure firms with insider names such as Triple Canopy and various offshoots of Blackwater, but it is not clear whether, as Jeremy Scahill of The Nation has argued, the scale of these operations was operationally significant or that the contractors acted as hired guns for the U.S. government. Sources say that only U.S. soldiers performed “kinetic” operations; Scahill’s sources suggest otherwise. The security compartments were so small for these operations (one was known as QUIET STORM, a particularly specialized mission targeting the Pakistani Taliban in 2008) that the command will probably be insulated from retrospective oversight about its activities.

A senior Obama administration official said that by the middle of 2011, after tensions between the U.S. and the Pakistani government became particularly and perhaps dangerously high, all JSOC personnel except for its declared military trainers were ferreted out of the country. (They were easy to find using that same secret cell phone pinging technology.) Those who remained were called Omegas, a term denoting their temporary designation as members of the reserve force. They then joined any one of a dozen small contracting companies set up by the CIA, which turned these JSOC soldiers into civilians for the purposes of deniability.

By the end of 2011, SEALs and the CIA Special Activities Division ground branch were crossing the border to target militants whom Pakistan would not. Presently, Task Force Green (also known as TF 3-10) is the active counterterrorist task force in Afghanistan.
Excerpted from The Command: Deep Inside the President’s Secret Army, available at Amazon and the iBooks store.