Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

India, Pakistan and the Afghan army

March 11, 2010


Afghan President Hamid Karzai is visiting Pakistan, and one of the issues on the table is a rather audacious Pakistani offer to train the Afghan National Army.

The Pakistani and Afghan security establishments have had a rather uneasy relationship, stemming from Pakistan’s long-running ties to the Taliban.

For the Pakistani army to be now offering to train the Tajik-dominated ANA – which is fighting the  Pashtun Taliban – is quite a shift in its approach to the neighbour.

Or is this the latest battleground for the tussle for influence between India and Pakistan?

India has for years been running courses at its defence institutions which small groups of Afghan officers have attended. In recent years, several security experts have urged New Delhi to get more directly involved in training the new Afghan army, triggering concern in Islamabad.

Pakistani army chief Ashfaq Kayani, who announced the surprise offer to help train Afghan national forces last month, said better security ties with Kabul were in Pakistan’s interest.

“Strategically, we cannot have an Afghan army on my western border which has an Indian mindset. If we have an army trained by Pakistan, there will be better interactions on the western border,” he is quoted as having said.

On Thursday he repeated the offer to Karzai during a meeting in Islamabad. And Karzai said he didn’t want his country to be turned into a proxy battlefield , either between India and Pakistan on the one hand, and between Iran and the United States on the other.

The Afghan chessboard is changing fast and regional players are positioning themselves for the time when the U.S.-led forces will retreat, leaving the ANA as the principle instrument of the state to keep the peace.

Kayani said as much: “Our objective is that at the end of all this (Afghanistan), we should not be standing in the wrong corner of the room and should remain relevant in the region. This is our greatest challenge.”

Changing course overnight and switching support to the Afghan security forces will also not be easy, warned Zafar Hilaly, a former Pakistani ambassador in an article in The News. While it made sense for Pakistan to try and prevent India from deepening its ties to the Afghan army, it wasn’t going to be easy for Islamabad to become the ANA’s instructor.

“Training a hitherto unfriendly, Pakistan-averse Tajik-dominated force to fight a Taliban/Pakhtun opponent that is traditionally well disposed to Pakistan would require a level of dexterity that only erstwhile Byzantine courtiers possessed. It simply won’t wash.”

The Indians might just be better placed to train the Afghan army, argues foreign policy expert Sumit Ganguly. Given its extensive experience fighting insurgencies including ironically a Pakistani-backed revolt in Kashmir, an infrastructure that includes a crack counter-insurgency school as well as a high altitude warfare institution, and above all old cultural  bonds,  the Indian army would be a natural choice, he says.

(Picture of new graduates of the Afghan National Army by Ahmad Masood)


Kayani is just another drone generated from the Pakistani Army war machine, a drone incapable of independent thought, trained and indoctrinated from day one to hate India and maintain enmity with India at any cost.

Allowing Pakistan into Afghanistan is really not much better than allowing Osama Bin Laden to be baby sitter for your children, now why on God’s good earth would Afghans allow that?

Pakistan merely makes these overtures to re-gain the nefarious ties, power and geopolitical influence it had pre 911, unfortunately, OBL screwed it all up by doing his own thing and ignoring directives from so called “Rogue” elements from Islamabad.

I have said all along, Pakistani Army should step aside, drawdown and even disintegrate, let democracy come along in Pakistan an learn to do something productive, like farm and feed people, instead of being fed by the poor of Pakistan and fed by the IMF.

The PA has outlived its useful existence. India is not a mortal threat. The real threat is Islamicists and Extremists. Pakistani Army is more a political movement with a business twist that has big guns, with its main goal in mind of hoarding or extorting cash from where ever they can get it.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive

GeneraL Kiyani has the right prescription,If PA & Afghan Army were on the same wavelenght then there would be no Taliban left.

India just cannot accept that its investment of last 10 years in Afghanistan has gone down the drain.
Karzai himself is no more than a mayor of Kabul what guarantees can he can give to Indians.Yhe only option left for India is to launch the RAW supported terrorists attacks in Pakistan.

The cold fact is that in future Afghanistan India Goose is already cooked!!!

Posted by Chengez K | Report as abusive


Your assessment is fundamentally flawed. You depict Tajik-dominated ANA is averse to Pakistani influence in Afghanistan and Taliban/Pashtuns as well-disposed towards Pakistan. Taliban do not represent the Pashtuns. It is mostly Pashtuns that are killed by Taliban and/or whose death is caused by the Taliban.

If we were to describe an Army as dominated by one ethnic group or another, then one cannot forget it was the Pashtun-led Afghanistan that has opposed Pakistan since its creation. Pakistan should never forget that it was only Afghanistan that cast the vote against admitting Pakistan to the United Nations. Until the Communists, Pashtun-led Afghanistan continued to support subversive activities, including Pashtun-nationalist and Baluch insurgency against Pakistan.

In conclusion, in the future an independent Afghanistan will continue to be ill disposed towards Pakistan, to the point of Pakistan’s disintegeration. Afghanistan has and shall covet the Afghan territory it lost to the British and which were later incorporated into Pakistan. Although, it is premature to define future national interests and policies of an independent Afghanistan; one can surmise that Afghanistan will pursue policies that will lead to the breakup of Pakistan in its current form and will pursue a policy that will lead to the creation of independent ethnic states such Republic of Punjab, Republic of Sindh, and Republic of Kashmir.

Posted by Omar Pashtun | Report as abusive

“extensive experience fighting insurgencies” yeah but not exactly successful fighting.

If anyone should be training them it should be NATO that way Pakistan and India can stick with saber rattling and polishing their weapons.

Posted by JJ | Report as abusive

The Pakistani offer give positive gesture of ending the war in Afghanistan. When Pak Army can train ANA, then it can influence Taliban also to join government, end violence. So the offer made by Pakistan make sense while Indian involvement will enlarge the proxy war unnecessarily too long.

Posted by Khan | Report as abusive

Pakistan was india not but 69 years ago.
If anything a United Region is in their own interested.
If anything the very Founder of Pakistan. Sir Dr Allama Iqbal once wrote
Sarey Jahan sey achha hindustan Hamara
Better than the whole world is our Hindustan.
He was the instructor of Mohammed Ali Jinnah Infact he would have to go to karachi to explain the foundations of a new state.
In Pakistan all absolutely every home would watch a movie produced by Bollywood. Which are indian movies.
Pakistan can hate india all they want. They can not deny these truths about themselves.
Their characters are indian.
so the great hatred should be regarded as a hatred against their ownselves.
If anything even as a seperate state. It would suit them to find a place to be United.
But then is it my place to suggest such big feats from such minds as pakistanis and indians.
worse still for pakistan is it is branded as the second most corrupt country in the world. Who’s officials are branded nothing more than corrupt and not really regarded by any authority becuase of the level of corruption. Infact if a pakistani official such as from Interpol etc is seen then you are sure he has been investigated or is being investigated by anticorrruption who are self confest corrupt officers.
Upto the point where I talked with one anticorruption officer from Pakistan.
Who told me we stand them outside. On a daily basis we expect 20 to 100 Thousand rupees from corrupt officers. Just to let them off the hook for being corrupt.
That is the level of corruption coming from these organisations.
So when they come to England saying we are from Interpol we expect them to either be stealing a victims wealth or taking bribes as so not to aprehend culprits.
Thats all we have seen.
Upto the point where We have seen pakistanis using their official government capacity. to steal money from victims in the United Kingdom. claim compensation in their name. Take money for harming their health. take money from the Compensation agency and take the victims own personal wealth then flee to pakistan as well as remain in England.
So I can not see india wanting to be a part of such a nation which would do such a thing.


That Pakistan would like to sideline India totally in Afghanistan is nothing new. Simply part of its Indo – phobia mindset.

However, the current buzz is that Uncle Sam has told Karzai that he should mend fences with Pakistan, as he is likely to be out on a limb after the US exits the region. This offer then by Kayani, though expected from a Pakistani perspective, is also something that Karzai may consider very seriously.

Pakistan’s little games to push India aside in Afghanistan, though childish, are however likely to boomerang on them in the long run. Their plan to control Afghanistan and the region after the US leaves has one major drawback – history.

No one has managed to subjugate the Afghans, as the old saying goes, you can rent a Pathan but you can’t buy one. So far no one has succeeded and more often than not, those who have tried have ended up with egg on their face. Will Pakistan be the exception?


I thing we should comment related to the piece of news but unfortunately some of the members who belong to the country who even did not condemn the Soviet occupation, bashing the country (Pakistan) who push back the agressor and save the region from claw of a Bear. They bring the issue of corruption where world know about state of the people of india and their institutions. The Army, which for the sack of medals can make fake video of their bravery, have no credibility to train others.

Posted by Khan | Report as abusive

@The Army, which for the sack of medals can make fake video of their bravery, have no credibility to train others.
- Posted by Khan

Khan: Do not embarrass yourself with childish statements. Ask PA about IA. They will tell you.

Posted by rajeevk | Report as abusive

Let’s hope all involved can restore peace to this region


Thanks to commentators on this blog. It is most interesting and informative to have your views even if you do not agree with each other. Please continue to frequent and comment for those of us who follow events in the region.

Posted by Old Professor | Report as abusive


These are not childish comments but you are in denial mode.

Regarding PA telling me about IA, would make the account biased. Would you like independent and Indian officer’s account about PA and PAF?

Posted by Khan | Report as abusive


Issue is training. If corruption is what will be the basis of who will train ANA, then what are your thought on PA that has no checks and balance and are better known as real estate agents. So what you said means nothing.

I asked you to check PA, not about medals but about the fact that they faced India in wars. They will tell you tales.

Read “well done Mr Anthony…” in Dawn by Mr Shafi. There is someone overlooking IA but who is watching PA. None.

Posted by rajeevk | Report as abusive

@ The Army, which for the sack of medals can make fake video of their bravery, have no credibility to train others.”
- Posted by Khan

Khan: Also, how about PA using helicopter gunships and F-16s to bomb its own areas in Waziristan and Baluchistan in the name of “softening the target” to take on militants. Clearly PA does not have the courage to fight with the militants without resorting to such practices and this what they will teach Afghan National Army, isn’t it? India does not “soften the targets” in Kashmir by IAF or any such bombing. It faces terrorists head on. Based upon this, one is free to derive conclusion on the bravery of PA and IA.

Posted by rajeevk | Report as abusive

@ The Army, which for the sack of medals can make fake video of their bravery, have no credibility to train others.”
- Posted by Khan

Mr Khan you are so sure as if you made that video
Please grow up – PA lost 3 war against IA , Should I remind of 1971 war and 90,000 PAW

Afganistan was once India too till Khandar !!, but I am glad the we got rid of pakistan and afganistan and the people who live there on time .

All the Best and I hope still have a country to talk about in next ten years !!

Posted by Mr Wolf | Report as abusive

@Issue is training. If corruption is what will be the basis of who will train ANA, then what are your thought on PA that has no checks and balance and are better known as real estate agents. So what you said means nothing.
If you put it on training or corruption, both stat will show you your failed face. If i strat an attitude like indian, there will be endless events which will surface regarding your brave army against kashmiri freedom fighters and their moral heights. And well i appreciate your IA check and balance , where your RDX find way to kill innocent Pakistani civilians in Samjhota Express, supervised by your brave army Col. Prohit. Now i should not talk about mass killing and raping of Kashmiries seeking freedom under UN resolution.

Posted by Khan | Report as abusive

@I asked you to check PA, not about medals but about the fact that they faced India in wars. They will tell you tales.

Rajeev: Its school time, beta late ho gao ge. You again and again throwing these laughable and childish questions i.e they will tell you etc etc. Better they dont tell me and i dont narrate it here. If you console yourself its another matter.

Posted by Khan | Report as abusive

Pakistan using its gunship, tanks and every available source to fight against terrorist funded by foreign consulates on the border. But you will not find our soldiers whining like children unlike IA when they came under attack in Lal Chowk and caught by camera.

Posted by Khan | Report as abusive

And i would not mentioned that only 2 freedom fighters penetrate into indian army camp and fighting for days inside and in the end whole camp get destroyed. I think this you will teach to Afghan Army?

Posted by Khan | Report as abusive

@ you are so sure as if you made that video
Please grow up – PA lost 3 war against IA , Should I remind of 1971 war and 90,000 PAW
Afganistan was once India too till Khandar !!, but I am glad the we got rid of pakistan and afganistan and the people who live there on time .
All the Best and I hope still have a country to talk about in next ten years !!

This is another class mate of Mr.Rajeev. Even dont know about the fake video scandals of IA. Or he pretending to be un aware. Mr. Wolf ask Mr. Rajeev about the matter.

You also have your right to console yourself that you won 3 wars but remember lying hardly bring consolation.

We accept our troops got POW in 71. That situation was inevitable for any force of the world keeping in view the geographic constraints, resources, long and disrupted supply line under the enemy’s belly. And after getting independence, creation of Bangladesh was the desirable objective as it was not feasible in practice.

Yes its true once india was Afghanistan and Pakistan or vice versa, little confuse here. Its good to hear that Pakistan came into being and you are happy hmmm oh sorry you dont want it again after ten years in your wet dream.

Posted by Khan | Report as abusive

Regarding POW, your army having no constraints on supply and having mass deployment in 62 got run by chinese army and more than 5000 got prisoned and thousands ran away while leaving their weapons in few days only.

Posted by Khan | Report as abusive

Its too funny to see Pakistanis, from a country that cannot live without US aid, talking crap about India and Indian Army. Well, looking at the figures like GDP it is evident that which country is REALLY doing good. I would like to advise those people to wake up and come out of their li’l small hole that they dug up!

Posted by Jones | Report as abusive

Guys, comparing Pakistan with India is like comparing David with Goliath. India is like that big, burly and strong wrestler whose comparison with a smaller, leaner and weaker person is a defeat in itself for the big guy. If India wins, civilized world will call it a regional bully who picks on smaller (and admitedly weaker) nations to feed its ambition and if India looses in a stand off then the world at large would ridicule India of having been out-witted by a smaller yet smarter country.
Hence my suggestion to Indians is to compare themselves with similar countries like China, USA and Russia and see how many strides they still need to make to come at par with its competitors who are way ahead. Leave Pakistanis to fend for itself for now. They are still a very young nation who are passing through an identidy crises yet faring well against all odds. Unless Pakistanis dont reach the pits of despair they wont come out as a more stronger, resilient and aware nation. Peace be on all of you.

Posted by Mr. Objective | Report as abusive

I am sorry the article has brought out so many emotional commentry. Let us cool down for a minute. No one has asked our opinion or the agreement. Our comments should be constructive. Let me try.
Neither Afghanistan nor India and Pakistan have national armies. All three armies were raised to suppress their own citizens and are not able to protect their own country borders. The Indian army massacre of the sikhs and criminal suppression of kashmirirs is in their bag, the Pakistan army is not innocent either and have suppressed and lost the eastern wing and have lately been engaged in areal bombimg and use of long range artillery destroying the home land of Pashtoons.
The first order of the day would be to rid afghanistan of the foreign armies which would facilitate the reconcilation of the Afghan folks among themselves. Mr Karzai in my viw is not the ideal but definitely capable of achieving it. After this action it should be easier to raise the Aghan National army, imposing consciption on the Pashtoons as well as the other ethnic groups.
Provided there is peace and reconciliation, the military from Turkey would be the best choice to train the new Afghan army which could take up the security in cities and protect its borders. Pakistan should be politely told to nationalise the structure of their own army which is as of this date basted on the colonial times, some of their muslim regiments are even proud today of having marched against Afghans. Indians should do like wise.

Posted by rex minor | Report as abusive

India has no ethnic,cultural or religious ties with afghanistan and its a well known fact tht 71 indo-pak war was a result of indian proxy mukti bhani which resulted in collapse of east pakistan through civil war etc.
Iwas amazed how an indian says PA lost 3 wars?When 48,65 and kargil were won by Pakistan…In48 india was being supported by 18 ordinance factories whole Pakistan didnt even have 4 rice mills.Still u had to run to UN for a cease fire where nehru promised refrendum for Kashmir in offer to Pakistan to stop ceaswe fire.Same happened in 65 when indian head of state went to Tashkent requesting a cease fire while half IAF was destroyed and major landmarks like rajhistan fort,munabad ,khemkaran,ran of kuch were captured by PA…..I hope u guys remember ACEs like M.M Alam 5 kills in less then 1 minute?
Pakistans govt at the time agreed for not going forward in turn Z.A Bhutto became the president for opposing the cease fire?
Also in 71 it was not 90000 POWS it was 4oooo rest were civilians caught by the newly carved bengladeshi,indians and with USSR help…In face to face war u never won a war….
So how can we forget the proxy mindset of indian establishment?when there leaders were creating Mukti bhani terrorists causing a civil war and threatning of using Sindh card?
We cant.Thts why we dont want an indian mindseted army on our North as well as east…also its a positive step in development of our TWIN BROTHER AFGHANISTAN.

Posted by Ali Khan | Report as abusive

kyani should solve his country problems 1st. then he is allowing to use his power for any other country. the new policy of Pakistan govt. about education sector is v.v.v.v bad. this policy is about the summer vocations that schools will remain closed from 1st June to 12 September. kyani should realize his responsibilities about his country. he is not a show peace. plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz sir take an action and relief the strength of country means that the poor for whom this country is being in existence. thnxxxxxxxxxxxxx


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