Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

America takes the war deeper into Pakistan

October 4, 2010


One of the most interesting things in Bob Woodward’s re-telling of the Afghan war strategy in his book “Obama’s Wars” is the approach toward Pakistan. It seems the Obama administration figured out pretty early on in its review that Pakistan was going to be the central batttleground, for this is where the main threat to America came from.

Indeed, the mission in Afghanistan was doomed so long as al Qaeda and the Taliban were sheltered in the mountains of northwest Pakistan straddling the Afghan border. The question was how do you deal with Pakistan?

Like much else, the administration debated long and hard just how far to push Pakistan to cracking down on the militants, some of whom it had spawned as assets in Aghanistan and as a front against its much bigger traditional enemy, India. One of those arguing for a tougher posture inside the administration was Dennis Blair, then the director of National Intelligence who thought there were just too many carrots being handed out and not enough sticks. He suggested the United States bomb targets inside Pakistan without seeking Islamabad’s approval. “I think Pakistan would be completely, completely pissed off and they would probably take actions against us … but they would probably adjust,” he once told Obama.

Josh Rogin, recounting the debate from a piece in Foreign Policy, said that Obama chose a less confrontational path toward Pakistan. A year later, patience is running out. Last week’s repeated incursions by NATO helicopters  from Afghanistan into Pakistan while pursuing militants seemed to signal a new, muscular strategy of the type Blair advocated.

Three Pakistani soldiers were killed in an attack by a NATO helicopter, triggering outrage and prompting authorities to close down a supply route for NATO troops in Afghanistan. Trucks carrying fuel for the foreign troops were set on fire in southern Pakistan in apparent retaliation for the soldiers’ deaths, and on Monday, three guards were killed in an attack on tankers bound for Afghanistan in the nation’s capital.

By choking off NATO supplies, even temporarily, the Pakistanis are saying they have had enough, says Robert Haddick, editor of The Small Wars Journal. While NATO said the helicopter strikes were carried out in self-defense after cross-border firing and in line with the rules of engagement, Pakistan saw it as a flagrant violation of its sovereignty, which is already under sustained pressure from the United States.

For Pakistani officials, it became one slice of the salami too much. These officials have accustomed themselves to the CIA’s drone campaign inside Pakistan, a campaign that accelerated sharply in September. If U.S. policymakers thought they could get Pakistani officials to get accustomed to ever more aggressive air raids into the sanctuaries, Pakistan’s closure of the border is designed to bring those thoughts to an end.

Where do the two nations go from here? As Haddick noted, the drone campaign has already turned intense, with over 20 strikes in September, almost double the previous highest in January when the CIA vowed revenge for the attack on a post in Khost in eastern Afghanistan. Pakistan seems to have resigned itself to thes attacks by unmanned U.S. planes; there was hardly a protest at the sustained bombardment last month which was quite  a contrast from the time when people took to the streets each time a Hellfire missile was fired.

The worry, then, in Pakistan must be the more frequent these incursions become, the weaker the resistance over time. It’s a slippery slope. First the unmanned drones became part of the Pakistani landscape, hovering over its skies for hours and raining missiles. Then, manned incursions by helicopters, some of them as deep as 5 km inside Pakistani territory according to reports in the local newspapers. Tomorrow it could be small bands of troops or special forces crossing the border in “hot pursuit,” something no self-respecting army, least of all Pakistan’s professional army  can accept.

For, all this may eventually also play into what happens on Pakistan’s eastern flank where it confronts India’s huge military. If the U.S. and NATO can cross the border in hot pursuit and in line with the rules of engagement, what stops India from doing it next time there is a militant attack on its soil. Isn’t it going to be harder to hold them back if they want to go across the ceasefire line in Kashmir?



You are right, US is backing Afghan government talks with Taliban, Pashtoons have certainly become a force to be reckoned with. Yesterday in Khber Pukhtoonkhwa in Nowshera and Quetta a total of above 40 NATO fuel tankers were set ablaze. US cannot pacify the Pahtoons,

here is an interesting piece from Eric Margolis:

Mission Creep in AfPak leNew.asp?xfile=/data/opinion/2010/Octob er/opinion_October38.xml&section=opinion

They lost the war in Vietnam by expanding it to Laos and Cambodia. They will loose again by expanding the war to Pakistan.
Eventually US will have to compromise with the Pushtoons, it is 10 years but the resistence keep getting stronger. Afghan war is coming to an end.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive


So naive. They lost in Vietnam because the Chinese were in there and they weren’t willing to directly take them on. Last I checked, even the Chinese aren’t really interested in helping Pakistan save its hide from the US.

Pakistan is no superpower that the US is running scared to confront. They might not do it militarily. Why waste bullets when a few signatures on paper can bring Pakistan to its knees? Mark my words, Pakistan’s intransigence is signing it’s own death warrant.

By the way, they lost Vietnam and won the Cold War. That should tell you something about American and Western resilience.

Posted by Keithz | Report as abusive

Im amazed that we r skipping one big issue here. We amercians created these wicked people when we lied and attacked a innocent country which was not involved at all in 911 attacks. This created a mass movement around the world tonsee us as a state who is trying to attack Muslim countries. This gave crazy people the justification to recruit more people against USA.

So it was lies which ruined the world. Lies and lies after lies. We must stop doing this or this all will burn.

From Pakistan


Posted by Jami | Report as abusive

Eric Margolis has a number of mis statements and has very limited knwledge to understand the so called Pashtoons, afghans and now with the lable of talabans. it is equally difficult for Pashtoons to understand their own stregnth and weakness. They are more than seventy million in number now and occupy roughly a terrain of more than 250,ooo sq miles between south asia and central asia and the iranian plateau. To imagine that Afghanistan could be split per their ethnic divide or Pakistan could be further destabilised to the advantage of the USA or India are nothing more than the delusionary strategies of the think tank neo liberal conservative elites as they call themselves and once in a while release their program to the world in a clandastine manner via the NY times, washington Post, CNN and lately Fox cable net work. The Pashtoons have always been a great asset for the Pakistan military, until the arrival of 5th columnist Musharaf.His unprofessional tactics, lies and irresponsible behaviour, and military skirmishes on the Indian in the border area made Pakistan an unreliable friend and foe. The over-stretch of non pushto speaking military of around 150,000 into the independant tribal belt was a bad decision, particularly when the so called ISI was known to have been previously engaged in the Pashtoon territory in building special forces with support from the CIA and other western Govts. The extended stay of the foreign troops in Afghanistan by redefining their mission was another cardinal mistake and exposed the credibility of the USA. On top of that in comes mr zardari who together with the new chief of staff tried to contain the Pashtoons influence in the main land and to accept the unmanned drone operation in the tribal belt against cash support from the USA. A very shabby deal to provide assistance to the USA under cover. How do the drones operate, certainly with the help of observers on ground who confirm the identity of the selected target.
The Pashtoons tribes have always been in a position and are still in a position to clean up the areas now inhabited by tajiks, the uzbeks and others should they loyalty for the country is in doubt as well as to bog down the regular military thereby exposing the impotence of the coventional force.
Mr Karzai is a Pashtoon and not a traitor, and sooner or later he would agree to the so called talibans demand and order the exit of foreigners from the land, by tactics or force.
It is not a win win drama as it progresses but fascinating to watch the history being written by the people.
Rex Minor

Posted by rex Minor | Report as abusive

“Afghan war is coming to an end”

No war can go on for ever and ever and Afghan war is no exception to the rule.

And I am surprised with the “Bomb the Pakistan to stone age” attitude of American bloggers. No one in this world today can bomb anyone else to stone age. It is not the resources it is the knowledge that matters. And even if super hypothetically Pakistan does go back to stone age then what if China still supplies it with nukes. Will America bomb China back to stone age?? Think of it and all you Americans will know how stupid you have been.

As for pashtoon land the US/NATO forces lack one major ingredient — CRUELTY. To deal with pashtoons one needs infinite cruelty by keeping aside all the human rights. Human rights are for humans and not barbarians like Taliban. Without the cruelty factor US/NATO are the weakest forces to have ever conflicted with pashtoons. And second missing thing is shrewd diplomacy. US has failed miserably when it comes to ‘Divide and Rule’ principle of conquering foreign lands. It is a well known fact that there are a very large number of pashtoon tribes in land and it is only a small few who are fighting US. US should have been able to make these tribes fight amongst each other and not with US. British have been historically much better in shrewd diplomacies than anyone else. And as for cruelty factor I believe it is Russia, China, Japan are top three in decreasing order of cruelty.

I sometimes think what if a bomb blast in Beijing gets traced back to Afghanistan. Will Pashtoons be able to withstand the Chinese ire. Lets hope better sense prevails and Pashtoons not attack China (or in Rex’s words, hope that pashtoons do not come out and destroy chinese power center) for their own sake.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

@”Pakistan has choked the logistical lifeline of NATO troops, daily dozens of NATO fuel tankers are burnt down and convoys are under attack….”
- Posted by Umair

Yet again, you are getting excited pre-maturely & jumping like a little kid, on this development (just like you did when your army was facilitating the talks between Karzai & Haqqani). Just wait n watch!

@”Afghan war is coming to an end”

Maybe. But the war in Pakistan is just getting started!

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

@Umair, Keithz, Mortal1, RexMinor, Singh, others,

The unfortunate attack on the poor Pakistani soldiers was a horrible mistake and mistakes happen when quick decision have to be made.

However, pakistan’s response to this has been unreciprocal and Pakistan has escalated the situation to an entirely different level by blockading the NATO supply route.

With the Afghan mission at an impasse, the western alliance is not shaken in its ultimate goal to bring removal of AQ and militants from the region. I predicated almost a year ago, that the real war is not in Afghanistan, but Pakistan.

Pakistan has elevated their importance as a target for NATO, now for several years, by helping Afghan Taliban, Harbouring them, and undermining a centralized pasho authority and this has hindered Hamid Karzai’s ability to build a central authority and consensus.

Pakistan’s hands are dirty with blood and the brown stuff, upto their neck. It is not unplausible that the Af-Pak war theatre will expand into Pakistan, in fact over time, deep into heartland Pakistan, even ,as new militant sancturies get created to counter the initial onset of attacks against hideouts in Pakistan, the U.S. will have to deal with new militant camps and cells as they go viral and out of control.

This was the worst case situation that nobody wanted. Everybody wanted Pakistan to do its job, it got the cash and let the Afghan mission succeed. But now, Pakistan has pushed NATO to the brink. NATO is not just going to walk away from a bunch of small time rookie jokers in Uniform with small teeth.

NATO will up the ante and make a very large style statement in the coming future. The pakistan border may not have as much relevance anymore in the fight against Militants.

In fact, the Bush era had a huge retribution plan in case of Afghan mission failure: a heavy, punishing large scale, sustained barage of surgical attacks on militant camps within Pakistan.

History has shown that this will escalate into a much larger conflict in Pakistan and as militants go viral in Pakistan, NATO may further increase the intensity of its campaign to compensate for this and I also for see Kashmir becoming a target, as new militant camps form there in response to the potentially forthcoming NATO retribution campaign or incursions.

NATO and the U.S. had better either buy the nxkes backdoor or dedicate a potent attack team to seize the nxkes there, in case somebody loses their head and decides on a misadventure.

Time will show that the PA gambled and lost. The gambling table is owned by a superpower. Pakistan could have gambled if they had a superpower at their side to counter NATO here, but that is not the case. PA gambled and it will bring NATO into Pakistan. The double dealing will come to an end and the dealing will be done by NATO.

After extorting billions of USD, hopefully Pakistan cools down and opens the supply route and increases its co-operation on the Afghan war effort, quits interfering in the centralization of pashto power in karzai’s government and hands over the Afghan Taliban.

The Pakistani’s should not be under any false notions here, if the Afghan war is coming to an end, the western alliance will continue the mission to completion in other manners, by extending the war theatre deep into Pakistan itself.

Barack Obama will re-define the mission, depending on how the PA responds. If the PA works with the U.S., the Af-Pak mission may come to end quickly, but if the PA resists and provides counterproductive effort, the mission will take on a new “meaning”, something nobody wants now, or even ever contemplated.

It is still not to late to reverse course and do the right thing and prevent further war and loss of life. All sides should embrace peace and embrace removal of militant sanctuaries that continually threaten civilians in the west.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive

War should always be the last resort. The safety and security of the entire region depends on whether Pakistan has pushed NATO to this last resort.

I hope to GOD almighty that IS NOT case. There has been too much innocent life lost in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan already, all starting with 911.

Wars are horrible and the people of Pakistan have suffered greatly. Yes, Pakistani’s are resilient, but all humans have a limit on the amount of suffering they can take. If people have nothing to lose anymore, they will take their anger out on the state itself and each other.

Hopefully the elites of Pakistan think of the welfare of their people first, before they continue selfish geo-political double dealing games with the west.

The west’s goals are to prevent another 911 and as long as it feels that has not been addressed, NATO will not leave.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive

“Pakistan is no superpower that the US is running scared to confront. They might not do it militarily. Why waste bullets when a few signatures on paper can bring Pakistan to its knees? Mark my words, Pakistan’s intransigence is signing it’s own death warrant.

By the way, they lost Vietnam and won the Cold War. That should tell you something about American and Western resilience.”

-Keith, it is so ironic your memory is too short. In your words you sided always with the under dogs. In Cold wars we were partners, together we defeated a common enemy which was cruel and occupied Afghanistan. No doubt it wouldn’t have been possible with CIA operation Cyclone and Carter and Reagen admininstration’s support. But it was the heroic Afghan Mujahideen resistence and Pakistan’s covert support that made it possible.
We are still not your enemy, you just need to accept in 1990s a loss of interest in Afghanistan resulted in Civil war there and consequences for everyone. Rest is history.

And certainly Pakistan may not be a super power, but somehow we have mustered enough power and courage to confront, take a stand and shut NATO supplies for over a week now. Despite apologies from NATO secretary General, US Ambassador to Islamabad, Gen. Petraus the ISAF Commander Pakistan still needs action to be taken against Pilots and crew who opened fire on our soldiers. Until then Supply routes will be shut, certainly Pakistan has some power.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

@”We are still not your enemy, you just need to accept in 1990s a loss of interest in Afghanistan resulted in Civil war there and consequences for everyone”
- Posted by Umair

You sheild the people who want to kill us, every chance they can get. You proliferate nuclear technology to countries which are hostile towards us. Are these supposed to be actions of friends? I agree that we have a common enemy but the problem is that your establsihment does not see it that way. Yes, on the outside you may say so, as lip service but in actuality, you are not willing to take on that common enemy & in fact you are sheilding them by not allowing us to eliminate them either. As I’ve said repeatedly, nobody is interested in invading your country. You don’t have anything that anybody wants, so don’t flatter yourself. Al we want to do is, eliminate the elements which are a threat to us. So either you join the fight against this “common enemy” or stay on the sidelines & let us finish the job.

@”but somehow we have mustered enough power and courage to confront, take a stand and shut NATO supplies for over a week now.”

If I were you, I wouldn’t get too carried away over that. All that “courage & power” that you seem to have mustered, will fade away rather quickly, once a “stop payment” is made on your aid & loan checks.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

Some more “friendly” actions by Pakistan:

“ISI urging Taliban to fight US” – WSJ 052748704689804575536241251361592.html?m od=WSJ_World_LeadStory

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

Let us have some patience. The ball is in the court of the Americans who are running around as headless chickens, some are deserting the white house, others trying to find some sort of advice for Obama to save his face. I wonder where Henry is, the advisor to the several presidents on foreign affairs? Last time, he said that the USA should not have accepted the creation of Pakistan as an independent country? Perhaps another threat to Pakistan establishment reminding them of the stone age. Musharaf did not realize that his country is mostly made up of desert and mountains, but it worked and so started his double game with George, the decision maker but the most incompetent of all Presidents. Poor zardari they first got him into a hot seat to give up all powers and now they want from him to do something about the so called talibans. The NATO countries are equally fed up with the yankees drama, the exception being the Prime Minister of the UK and the Dane secretary General of NATO, who got elected after the Turks caved in under pressure from the USA President.
On top of this the saudis are getting very impatient and so are the chinese for further financing for the USA adventures. Perhaps, the USA aught to sell or lease one of their aircraft carriers to improve liquidity? mr Bin Laden or his duplicate(the guy is dead for several years now)call for solidarity with Pakistan poor is also under process by the saudis and the gulf countries. Soon the Saudis would be going to Obamas ranch, o’k the white house to rearrange the payment terms.
@Mr Kaz, your october 5 observation is very interesting. perhaps, we are going to witness the clash of civilisations in the new milinium. There are a number of disturbing developments in various countries organised and instigated by the Zionist media and the right wing radical and extremist political parties( I use deliberately the word ‘Zionist’ and not the jewish people) to link almost daily unpopular local events with Islam. The absence of laws aginst blasphemy and the slogan of “free Speach” in these countries have brought about discussions in the communities but not a stop in their activities. This is nothing new and reminds us of the previous campaign of the crusaders against the so called muslim Barbarians. The crusaders the received financial support from their rich jewish merchants. Perhaps, after all this is not a very negative development for the citizens of europe would sooner or later going to accept the positive influence of Islam on their culture and traditions, which they consider today being the mix of jewish and christian influence. The arabian intrusion into Spain and franco land is forgotten, so is the rule of Ottamans in hungry and beyond. They only remember the expulsion of muslims and jews from spain and departure of the muslim armada from the gates of Austrian capital.
Rex Minor

Posted by rex Minor | Report as abusive

From attached link above, wall street journal:

“The Taliban commander in Kunar, like others interviewed in recent days, said he remained opposed to the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan and had no plans to stop fighting them. But “the ISI wants us to kill everyone—policemen, soldiers, engineers, teachers, civilians—just to intimidate people,” the commander said.

He said he refused, and that the ISI had tried to arrest him. “Afghans are all brothers; tomorrow we could be sitting together in one room.”

–>I am baffled. Pakistan wants to maintain sovereignty, yet fails to, or has no the will to take on militants and lets so-called “rogue” ISI or “unofficial” ISI operate in Afghanistan in this manner and in the same breath claim to be fighting the war on terror, when the Pakistani’s are in fact, aiding and abetting terror, based on this report, if its true.

What do pakistani’s expect the west to do? Just sit down and take and let Pakistani agencies undermine the afghan mission? I am curious, if the shoe was one the other foot, what would Pakistani’s expect NATO to do with an ally like Pakistan?

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive

Your oct. 6 post. Nato countries are not authorised to take any hostile action in Afghanistan or pakistan. we would probably discover that the so called Nato helicopter was of the American origin,and therefore the Americans were involved and also apologised. The anglo saxons are the exception, the Brits would do what the Americans do. Not to forget the NATO commander in Afghanistan is also the american. Inspite of 150,000 troops on the border, Pakistan military is not in contact with the Pashtoons nor are the soldiers of the USA and Nato have any stomach to confront the Pashtoons on the other side. The Israeli army tactics of identifying and assasinating individual personalities are being knocked out while mr Karzai finds a solution to avoid the full scale return of the so calllec Taliban Govt. Since this could result in a blood bath of those afghan leaders who cooperated with the USA. The alternative is that the USA grant assylum to their friends on a large scale.
The intrusion of kashmiri resistance into India from Pakistan by land and sea is very unlikely, so is the intrusion of the Indian military into Pakistan,in my opinion is not thinkable since the reports indicate that both armies first choice for defence is the nuclear strike. It is a useless exercise to estimater the consequences for these countries and beyond.
Rex Minor
PS this blog is becoming very liberal now and I hope there are no more snotty comments from the hot blood indians.I am only an observer and reserve the right to differ from many of you.

Posted by rex Minor | Report as abusive

@”I am baffled. Pakistan wants to maintain sovereignty, yet fails to, or has no the will to take on militants and lets so-called “rogue” ISI or “unofficial” ISI operate in Afghanistan in this manner and in the same breath claim to be fighting the war on terror, when the Pakistani’s are in fact, aiding and abetting terror, based on this report, if its true”
- Posted by G-W

The ambivilance of Pakistan as a nation, can be personified by our friend Umair here. He talks about terrorism being a “common enemy” of all but in reality, he just considers those terrorists as enemies, who are targetting the Pakistani state while secretely supporting those, who target the West, Afghanistan & India. I would bet that a vast majority of Pakistanis are like Umair. They start yelling about “sovereignity” when American drones & jets target the terrorists hiding in their caves BUT when those same terrorists run wild & bomb their people, they see no impingement of sovereignity at all. It’s like, it’s OK to be bombed by a fellow Muslim than being protected by an infidel.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

Just a reminder that we will remove comments that are offensive in nature, or indeed block the whole debate if it goes off course. Let’s try and address our comments to the blogpost instead of flying off in different directions


I don’t think NATO will fight off with Pakistan; why risk human life when dollars can do the job. Pakistanis and Pashtoons all dance to tune of dollars. Earlier it was AQ and now it is US that is paying the highest price. So all this taking war deeper into Pakistan is all fake. And equally fake is PA general’s concern about the poor PA soldiers who died of misunderstanding. All that PA starred fools saw in whole episode was an opportunity to extract some extra money/bribe from US pockets. There is nothing more to it. Only sad thing is PA soldiers lost their lives out of sheer misunderstanding.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

Let us not completely ignore the reality on ground and talk over the people’s head. Both the Americans and the Pakistan army with their military of 150,000 odd have been avoiding to make contact with so called talibans, says the former ISI chief General Gul to AlJazeera!
Rex Minor

Posted by rex Minor | Report as abusive

Lets also not forget that Pakistanis are not willing to take on so called Taliban (Students of Islamic Knowledge Movement). And how can Pakistan take fight on its own muslim brothers. But NATO does not understand this. NATO thinks Pakistan takes bribe and should do the job. But Pakistan believes it will take bribes and not kill its pious taliban brothers. What if under Taliban rule the disease and death was paramount in afghanistan. So what if people crippled financially and living out of selling drugs or alms from UN. Living a life of dignity with one’s own hard earned money is nothing when compared to living under Taliban’s rule of Islam. So Pakistan wants Taliban to rule, even if that means giving up dignity and living on alms with massive unemployment, disease and death, so as to create the “holy” Islamic empire with “holy” Islamic bomb.

NATO has been very successfully fooled by Pakistan right from day 1. And current events are no different. All this drama of shutting supply routes will end as soon as US pays the right price.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

@Sanjeev Miglani

Sir, Thank you for reminding everyone to stick to the topic.

Please remove all religions comments from the blog.


Posted by Billy | Report as abusive

Incentives and aid to Pakistan for acting against Afghan Taliban have failed. US has already shown that cooperation with Pakistan is not working and it’s time now to reverse tactics.

Playbook for US:
Get the hell out of Af-Pak immediately. This will allow US to apply extreme economic and political pressure on Pakistan. Post-floods, Pakistan is in no position to face down economic sanctions. A few hellfired talibs aren’t going to make a difference. A Pakistan fighting for economic survival will have no option but to act decisively.

However, I suspect that cold-war mentality will prevail and US will continue to see Pakistan as an ally.

Posted by trickey | Report as abusive

Picture this: US withdraws completely from Pakistan. And then starts the fun. Pakistan alms gets dried up completely, there is complete trade ban on Pakistan (similar to that imposed on India at time of Pokhran), Pakistan’s internal economy is already shattered because of floods, and to top it all stop all the oil shipments to Karachi….then only US will truly take war deep inside Pakistan. Pakistan will be left with no option but to succumb to financial injuries and then buy their nukes out. And not even Saudis or Iranians will come to their aid. That is when they will realise the cost of burning NATO oil tankers.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

Guys, please enlighten me, is it just me, or is Pakistani State agencies basically contracting out, almost “outsourcing” this dirty militant, terror work to: Kashmiri Militants, “Rogue ISI”, Afghan Taliban and Al-Qaeda?

It seems like Pak state agencies are doing this sort of dirty double dealing tactics to ensure plausible denial, so that they can keep asymmetrical warfare’s going on all fronts, against India, Afghanistan and NATO, so as to let the proxies and militant contractors(LeT, HuM, JeM, Afghan Taliban, etc) take it to the chin and they can always walk away with clean hands, at the end of the day.

I truly think many Pakistani’s are suffering from a mental psychological dissociative disorder. In one breath they can say all the right things like terrorism is bad and they want to fight it, but in the other breath, they continually stoke, foment, support, arm, train and mentor these same types of guys!??

It appears at times, that Pakistani’s are calculating, hardened cold blooded liars and actually so far dissociated from what they say in public, compared to what they actually do in reality on the ground, perhaps a bit of both.

I am left wide eyed and gasping at times, when I see some of things said here by Pakistani’s and the way they have selective morals and compartmentalize and justify certain godless types of acts.

What really makes me laugh though, is that they keep trying to manage perceptions, keep telling the same lies, excuses and they keep getting caught with their pants around their ankles. Despite the level of embarrassment, the depth of shame is bottomless. Aside from colourful metaphors to describe all this……it is undefinable…..

The question then is, do all roads lead to the top? If that is the case, then why is the west wasting its time attacking the outsource militant contractors? Should the west not deal directly with the guys at the top and finish this?

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive

A gas pipe line project underway from Iran to Pakistan and then to China. Also a large number of chinese and Pakistani engineers and workers are engaged on Karakoram highway along with some secret tunnels for gas pipeline. Karakoram highway will be linked with Indus highway down to south, ultimately lead to strategic port of Gawadar. Once Afghanistan freed and governed by its people, will pave its way for huge trade with CAR’s through Gawadar.Dont forget these Republics are very rich in oil reservoirs my friends. I think its crude form will be refined in Gawadar through the refineries of billion dollars. OOOpps these are imaginations.. Lets finish the mess first which is started in Afhanistan then start think of fun… Ohh i went against the spirit of the topic… Miglaani saab naraz ho jaiga.. ok lets come to the topic… yes its 9th day of blockade of the NATO supply. Any related news guys..?

Posted by Khan | Report as abusive

Further to my last post, i don’t think war with Pakistan is a good answer, but neither is the status quo.

The west has to see beyond its own goals and realize that success in Af-Pak must be a part of the larger global vision in that prosperity,jobs,education, moderation and democracy must come to Af-Pak.

The Pashtos must be made to understand that the modern world does not have patience anymore for a decentralized Pashto authority in Afghanistan, the groups must unify, accept democracy and create a forward thinking vision for their people and fighting, looting and killing as a way of life, must come to an end, in this generation. The Pashtos must build integrity, peace with each other and a vision to join the modern world in thinking. Japanese Samurais and Ninjas, still exist, but they wear expensive suits these days and use cell phones as their swords. Why cannot Pashto’s create such a vision for themself?

Pakistan must be made to understand that it must stop hindering political progress in Karzai’s effort to centralize authority. There is no reason why Pashto’s cannot build consensus and tribal elders and leaders become the senators and statesmen of tomorrow.

Pakistan, India Afghanistan and the other s. asian neighbour nations must create an economic union to align common goals and work for the greater good. There is a strong potential, with India being the greatest source of it, that a unifed S. Asian continent can have the greatest manufacturing work for the world has ever seen.

In a generation or two, if capitalism and democracy can be embraced, even special forms of it, tailored to meet the social requirements of each nation, it can be potentially quite transformative and bring peace and prosperity and 20-40 years from now, Pakistanis, Pashto and Indians will be laughing during their coffee breaks at how backwards their ancestors were, butchering each other needlessly and prompting foreign nations to attack and occupy their lands.

The entire S. Asian region is too incoherent and lack of unity will be their undoing. The Chinese are going to blowpast the S. Asians and many of the S. Asians will continue to be stooges for other nations, while their people suffer from these horrible wars. People need to wake up and embrace a grander vision of their existence.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive

Your post of october 8 is very logicaly explained. Your vision very well explained is of the perfect world and like you said is achievable over generations.
The question one should be allowed to ask, where is the starting point.
Most countries of the world have invaded afghanistan and are now confronted by the Pashtoon warriors and their comrades including chechenians, arabs and others from the central asia. Their struggle is in the tenth year and during the past six months they have just managed to provide very limited space to the invaders to fight, other than with aerial weaponry. They are not samurais or ningas, you see them in modern clothing as US and Canadian citizens, even as diplomats and at home they have orchards and control most of the trade on thousands of kilometre highways, from karachi port to Kabul and central asia and from Baluchistan to Qandhar and beyond, they also control the Nukes of Pakestan and its rocketry. No sir they are not samurais, nor do they commit suicides, but one thing is their weakness or stregnth perhaps, they do not negotiate their independence. O’h by the way they are more than 70 million people of their own territory without any regular Govt. control. All what you have narrated is achievable but not by force.
Today we have the conflict of the so called modern forces versus the straight forward uncomplicated independent tribesmen. The rest of larifari about terrorism etc. is not the reality but a distraction from truth.
Good Luck any way.
Rex Minor

Posted by rex Minor | Report as abusive

“I truly think many Pakistani’s are suffering from a mental psychological dissociative disorder.”

Let’s not make it harder than it is. This is simply “manifest destiny” all over again, fueled by jihadi fervor.
The dual attitude to terrorism is understandable too. Intelligence agencies may be able to somewhat manage the ambiguity of supporting one form of terrorism but rejecting the other. But it is impossible for the common man to contextualize something as violent as a terror atta ck.
It’s either good or bad. Most Pakistanis believe that the jihad in Kashmir is a just cause. This creates a tolerance in Pakistani society for terrorism. Just say that you are fighting for Kashmir and you will be forgiven, even though you end up killing people in Mumbai and Karachi. Every terrorist in Pakistan hides behind the Kashmir facade.

Posted by trickey | Report as abusive

“A gas pipe line project underway from Iran to Pakistan and then to China.”
Purchasing gas at the current oil-linked prices from Iran will wipe out Pakistan economically. China is simply not foolish enough to buy natural gas at a price linked to that of oil. The long term price trend for natural gas is downwards and that for oil is north-bound. Natural gas supply is set to increase dramatically all over the world.

” Karakoram highway will be linked with Indus highway down to south, ultimately lead to strategic port of Gawadar.”
Last year, a lake spontaneously emerged over the existing highway. It’s going to take a couple of years to repair the existing highway. Not the best of plans to build anything strategic over disputed territory anyway.

“Once Afghanistan freed and governed by its people, will pave its way for huge trade with CAR’s through Gawadar.”
The largest trading partners for the CAR’s are likely to be China, Western Europe. Pakistan is not in the picture. Even if that is not the case and you assume a peaceful Afghanistan, then the Iranian port of Chabahar, is very very promising, since it is already connected to a highway in Afghanistan.

“Dont forget these Republics are very rich in oil reservoirs my friends. I think its crude form will be refined in Gawadar through the refineries of billion dollars.”
The largest importer China is next door to the oil rich republics. CARs will likely be connected to Western Europe via Russian gas pipelines. Only left overs will pass through either Gwadar or Chabahar.

Posted by trickey | Report as abusive

@Rex Minor,

While you advocate legitimization of the Taliban, I don’t think legitimizing and rewarding 7th century behavior is the answer either.

Those that move against unification, against consensus, against civility, against progress, against modernization, should be told bluntly and clearly that they are road blocks and road blocks have no place anymore in this world, if we are to achieve and build anything lasting.

The consensus at the highest level should be, that there should be peace, but how?…not by violent wars, but not by appeasing militants and sharia either. There has to be a better way, that allows people to choose their own destinies and pursue happiness, once they have redefined what would make them happy, in a modern world context.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive

@Rex, Umair,

I got to hand to these pathans. If earth ever needed rugged, tough as nails fighters to take on aliens from outerspace, let’s put the Pathans in front. No aliens would ever think of invading our planet….

These guys got nothing to offer themselves or the world, except fighting.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive

“they also control the Nukes of Pakestan and its rocketry”

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
then why have ‘they’ (Taliban) not launched nukes yet and why are ‘they’ fighting for 10 years to NATO to get their independence? Please don’t reply if u do not have any logical answers.

Umair, u said nukes are integral and inherent to the sovereignty of pakistan and Rex says Pak nukes are controlled by those same terrorists that PA is fighting which effectively means that what Rex wants to say is that PA handed over Pakistan’s sovereignty to terrorists. Any comments?

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive


Your racist comments lead you nowhere except exposing your rear and so called civility.

Posted by Khan | Report as abusive

My simple advice to you would be to think logically, study the history of Pashtoons, whose ancestors were no other than white huns, Rajputs, and buddhists, arabs, jews and what have you who then converted to Islam and became one the cohesive fighting force never defeated in their history. They offered a lot in the Indian subcontinent, fought the moghul kings to protect Sikh Nation etc. etc.This compares to the natives of the continent who hung on to the ancient practices of worship, strggling with the ancient caste system to divide but not unite. I leave it to your judgement now. The Pashtoons do not have any intention to offer any thing to the world, and equally do not want to be messed about by others in their own so called primitive environment, and yet with all this history there have been smart alecs who still believe and think what is better for these people, from Brits to Russians and now the entire western force headed by the gross setan is not leaving these people in peace. They are still prepared to test their mettle and trying to measure their sttregnth. India of all the countries in the world have always had better understanding of these people and have sent physicians to heal the sick and offered refguge and offered higher education for these people in their universites, and ther same facilities were offered by pakistan leaders trying to integrate these people into their domain. I find little recognition from the people of Indian background on this blog surprises me. What a shame. The role of Zardari has had no effect and their time is now up, the Pashtoons have taken over the affairs of the entire country on both sides of the border. What we are witnessing is just the beginning. The USA administration has to reorganise their security team and replace the current actors and this should be the question of the day and not to mesure the capability of the Pashtoons!
Rex Minor

Posted by rex Minor | Report as abusive

correction, the roles pf Zardari and Kyani with their show with the Americans has had…….
Rex Minor

Posted by rex Minor | Report as abusive

Let us give more credibility to comments by Omair, Trickey and Khan. My respect to others who based theior comments simply on info they gather from the media, wall street, NY times and washington post etc. Info does not equal knowledge nor our commentry is any knowledge, but provides us the possibility to pause and engage our intellect with the subject, without pourin out emotions.
Rex Minor

Posted by rex Minor | Report as abusive

Given the realities, Stark Choice for the Dovish Obama…
Either withdraw toute suite OR up the Ante..
1. Carpet Bomb the border 15km into Pakistan x 800 km from south of Kandahar to north of Kabul…NO sanctuaries
2. Cut a deal with the Baluchi rebels and carve out an alternate supply route thru Baluchistan to the port near the Iran border west of Karachi. That would serve notice on the (by Baluchis) hated ISI that we mean business..
3. cut off the flow of funds to the Taliban and ISI by reducing outsourcing of security services to contractors

As for India. They have had it. The equally dovish ManMohan Sngh that the Elite General Staff “dissed as cowardly” is bound to unleash their counterparts on the next strike they are surely deep into planning. The Musharraf admission, coupled with the Daoud Gilani (aka Headley) revelations has now openly confirmed to both USA and India of official State involvement in cross border terrorism. No room for doubt anymore. The Generals in Delhi are confidant they can take out the silos but will first start with some “training camps” near Muzzafarabad..


The marine General who provided the advice similar to yours has gone into disgrace and retirement. The next ontion on the card is the Professor Robert Gates, whose exit from his post is expected before the year end, provided some one is prepared to accept the job of disengaging the USA and not the carpet bombing.
In your proposal, the fact that the Pakistan Nukes were never developed as a deterrant but as the first strike weapons is also been ignored. There are few countries who possess this capability, not even the UK and France.Both the Indian intelligence and the CIA knows this, and let us not forget the Iranians Nukes, about which the smoke screen of the USA administration is in place, telling the world the larifari story of nuclear program, a tactic which the clintonians used under Bill Clinton about North Korea.
Pakistan military under Musharaf suffered its reputation by going into politics and taking over the management of civilian and the judicial order. In addition they took over the role of the para military in the border region.
No wonder that you believe now that the USA
and India are in a position to undertake uch missions. You should have a little more patience and wait for the honourable departure of the Zardari, Gillani, Kyani trio. The next leaders of Pakistan are not going to accept the current chaos and stranded NATO supplies nor are they going to undertake missions for the Americans and weaken their own security.
Rex Minor

Posted by rex Minor | Report as abusive


Your solutions are not practical. Going through Baluchistan still means relying on Pakistan. Not only that, this route already runs. Canadians and Brits in the south get supplied through Chaman-Quetta, not Torkham.

The problem with the Southern route is that once you get to Kandahar, you then have to drive the supplies up the highway of hell to get to Kabul. As it stands, it’s less risky to go through Pakistan and cross at Torkham.

As for clamping down on the Taliban in the FATA, only the Pakistanis can really do it. And sooner or later the Americans will find the right pressure point to get the job done. Sadly for all concerned, they just don’t have enough leverage right now, with American troops next door. Just imagine American foreign policy if they have no troops in the region and don’t have to rely on Pakistan for anything.

As for India attacking Pakistan. Not going to happen. Even if there’s another Mumbai. India might use other methods…economic pressure on Pakistan, covert strikes by RAW, etc. Or they might even create tension on the border. That alone would do more damage to Pakistan than an actual war….forcing Pakistan to field its Army at an incredible cost for weeks at a time. For a country with mere weeks of fuel reserves, always short on currency reserves, not much industrial capacity, etc. this would be devastating. All are better strategies, that don’t risk nuclear war, but definitely would cause Pakistan significant pain.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive


Supposing for a second, this pressure you speak of, actually causes the Paks to become desperate and they do use a first strike of some kind, just suppose….is it plausible that the west immediately disengages in afghanistan and immediately engages Pakistan to remove wmd’s?

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive

In case of economic pressures what Pindi boyz will do is sell nuclear tech or even sell nukes. All that Pak military wants is to keep their high fi lifestyles going even at cost of Pakistan.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

All right Pakistan opens all NATO routes. 52079420101009

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

And if routes are reopened after just an apology or so called actions against pilots by US then I would say US has got off literally free. Of course it is unlikely. Can any of our American or Pakistani friends share any insight on amount of bribes involved for reopening the NATO supply routes.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

-Though supply routes have been reopened for NATO, this time around hundereds of NATO fuel tankers were set on fire and attacked across Pakistan. For almost 10 days the supplies were suspended, in Washington, Brussells and Islamabad intense negotiations took place and ISAF Commander, US Ambassador and NATO secretary general offered an apology to Pakistan.
Pakistan’s objective was to send a clear message, define the rules of engagement, remind NATO that it’s mandate ends at the Pak-Afghan border and it has no jurisdiction on Pakistani soil, also to US that its leverage is limited and Pakistan can rapidly increase the costs for the coalition if its interested are not considered and soveirngty is violated.
I do not think any bribes were involved, these are policy issues and challenges. Pakistan after having met the objectives above has decided to reopen the route. Since the border is closed on Sunday, so it would be uptill Monday that supply convoys would start moving into Afghanistan.
I do not think NATO will violate Pakistani border so casually again having got the message loud and clear.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

“In your proposal, the fact that the Pakistan Nukes were never developed as a deterrant but as the first strike weapons is also been ignored. ”
This is the one thing I do not understand about Pakistanis. When it comes to any issue, India is not to be trusted. But when Indians say they will not strike first, Pakistanis make it an article of faith.

Posted by trickey | Report as abusive

“Your racist comments lead you nowhere except exposing your rear and so called civility.
- Posted by Khan ”

–>Khan, what do you think about Shiites and Ahmadiyas and other minorities getting killed in Pakistan?….if you think me a racist, I hate think what you call Sunni’s who commit these crimes against Shiites and other minorities.

I admire Pashtoons for their toughness and fierceness of spirit, but there are many things lacking in that region, which make it a productive, cohesive, moderate and safe society.

Its the year 2010, the world is getting crowded all nations need to share with each other, take the best from each other, look at themselves and adopt things from each other, philosophies that improve the viability and advancement of the culture. IE…India has adopted much from the west..political structure, education, technology…In this regard, the Pashtoons are static….

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive


I think you have it the other way around, I think Brussels has forced Islamabad to open the border, after they were told the consequences of a protracted closure of supply lines and what NATO would contemplate in the future. Don’t kid yourself.

I think NATO will do as they please, and always have, but will find better modes of communication with PA, so these mishaps do not repeat.

Any public statements are always given to maintain favorable public opinion.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive


As I told you earlier, all this “US/NATO apology is a victory for Pakistan” speech is meant for folks like you, to feel good about the situation & claim a moral victory, in what is actually a loss. Behind the scenes, the “sale prices” are being set. I’m also hearing about a new tax for the use of Pakistani highways by NATO. What do you think that “tax” actually is?

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

Ahh…there you go Mortal. I knew a Pakistani/Indian (or for that fact any other country’s) official not taking hefty bribes when there is opportunity for it is a very very distant reality. But what is disturbing is that when income tax paid by ordinary Pakistanis is being “galloped” by their politicians then its useless to think of NATO tax being used for public good. Its definitely a bribe and a big one too.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive


And “public statements” are meant for “ordinary public” only with very less truth in them. So learn to read between lines. And if you already knew the tax/bribe deal then its fine on your part to defend your country’s position on an international forum. Anyone would do that.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

India should help us out with North Waziristan.

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive

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