Karzai’s hot pursuit of Pakistan

June 17, 2008

So which troops is Afghan President Hamid Karzai going to send to Pakistan to make good his threat to  hunt Baitullah Mehsud and his men, and stop cross-border attacks? The Afghan National Army, the Afghan national police ? Aren’t they already too stretched trying to cope with the Taliban inside Afghanistan to worry about them across the border ?

Hamid Karzai

Indeed Karzai spoke barely a  couple of days after 1,150 prisoners, an estimated 400 of them militants, escaped Kandahar jail after it was stormed by the Taliban in what must be one of biggest jailbreaks, even by Afghan standards

It is hard to see how Karzai can extend his reach into Pakistan’s rugged frontier region when his writ barely runs in his country. Or was he speaking on behalf of someone else, the United States, for example, as journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai asks in this piece.

“One is sure President Karzai doesn’t mean to carry out his threat to send Afghan troops across the border to Pakistan,” he writes. “The only manner in which he can hope to do so is to convince the U.S. and its Nato allies to undertake such a mission in Pakistan and then order some of his Afghan soldiers to accompany the Western forces.”

At a time when America has increased the  pressure on Pakistan by opposing its peace accords with Taliban militants and launching airstrikes in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan,  such a gameplan, however dangerous,  may not be impossible.
 
 

15 comments

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Yeah dream on Karzai…

Karzai may say but he wont really risk a conflict with the pakistani army. I mean Afgan forces on thier own would be no match for even Pakistani border forces forget army. I agree Karzai requires Nato forces to carry this operation but evan Nato does not want to risk a conflict with Pakistan. So I think Mr. Karzais plan will probably never materalize.

Posted by daniyal | Report as abusive

Pakistan has put up with almost10 million Afghans since 1977.influx of drugs,weapons and Talibanization of Pakistan are Afghan gift to Pakistan.and they have the gall to point finger at Pakistan?

Posted by Chauhdry | Report as abusive

Such irresponsible statements by Mr. Karzai only make matters worse. Everyone recognizes that terrorists and extremists have to be dealt with severely and ruthlessly but at the same time sensibly. I strongly agree that the two extremist Pakistani Taliban leaders mentioned by Mr. Karzai need to be brought to justice and I urge the Pakistani authorities to fight them relentlessly and not to negotiate with such elements. But does Mr. Karzai really believe that his rag tag Afghan army whom he knows cannot even protect him personally has the capability to undertake such an operation. Or does he feel that he has the authority to order U.S. and Nato forces into such an adventure. Even officials of his country’s provincial governments don’t take orders from him. Mr. Karzai would be well advised if he stayed far away from Afghanistan’s most precious cash crop. Mr. Karzai must not forget that when in a county of 25 – 30 million people like Afghanistan with half of its population in rebellion and the other half in a power struggle amongst themselves and where Mr. Karzai himself is mistrustful of Afghan nationals as his personal security guards and has to rely on U.S. Security, what makes him think that any of his own people are capable of attacking a sovereign nuclear armed neighbor with a 160 million people. The same neighbor without the help of whom Afghanistan could never ever have seen the defeat and departure of the Soviets. The same neighbor who paid for the freedom of Afghanistan in blood of thousands of its own citizens. The same neighbor who fed more than 4 Million Afghan refugees for decades. The same neighbor who who housed Mr. Karzai himself for year. Instead of making ridiculous comments like the ones he made, it would have been politically smarter and beneficial had he instead said that he would offer Pakistan a couple of thousand Afghan soldiers to help and assist under the command of the Pakistani forces on their side of the border. Mr. Karzai is facilitating more recruits and not helping anyone to rid the world of extremists by making such comments. There is an old Indian saying; “May God not give fingernails to a bald man”. (Moral: Me might scratch of his scalp). Look before you leap Mr. Karzai.

Posted by Terry Khattak | Report as abusive

The rhetoric by Hamid Karzai is both foolish and unwise. First, it is tactically impossible for him to send untrained “Afghan soldiers” into Pakistani territory against the much superior and equipped Pakistan Armed Forces. Any such attempt will simply backfire. Pakistan knows this area of tribal regions and Afghan border very well. It was the focus of attention in the 80s during Mujahideen resistence agains Soviet Union. Pakistani intelligence is experienced and Armed Forces capable of dealing any threats originating from this region to Pakistan. This time around, Pakistan being a Nuclear power gives more leverage, any attempts of misadventure against vital Pakistani interests could spark massive retaliation.

Posted by UMPK | Report as abusive

POPPY FIELDS OF MASS DESTRUCTION —- TIME TO AWAKEN

The beautiful and delicate poppy that now paints the landscapes of Afghanistan with vibrant colors, has long been the symbol for sacrifice. The aesthetic is as soothing to the sense of sight, as it is exasperating to the conscience.

http://pacificgatepost.blogspot.com/2008  /04/poppy-fields-of-mass-destruction.ht ml

Drastic action is required.

Back when I was in Pakistan, we used to have a saying that Afghani people are one of the most untrustworthy people on Earth. While I realize how ridiculous this statement sounds, given what has been happening, I cannot completely deny it.

We, the Pakistanis, have been supporting Afghanistan for so long and in return, all we get is accusations, some more refugees, and their Talibanization and suicide bombers. Instead of looking at their own problems and trying to fix them, Karzai is pointing his finger at us. Shame on him.

All parts of Pakistan have been swamped by these people and instead of being grateful to us, they are turning on us. Well, they can all go to hell then.

Pakistan should be most concerned about what is good for Pakistan, and then others.

Posted by Muhammad Sheikh | Report as abusive

Afghans and Afghanistan shielded pakistan from the soviet empire by fighting them face to face.

I still remember the tearful comments of General Zia in the Pakistani senate, Afghan Mujahideen Islam ke sepahi aur pakistan ke sarhado ke mohafez!!

Afghans could have been a really good friend with Pakistan, but Pakistan wanted them to be their slave.

Whether Afghan army is capable of carrying out cross border attacks on insurgents or not, but they do have a LEGITIMATE right to hit those who are funded, trained and armed across the border in Pakistan and then send to Afghanistan to carry out suicide operations.

Afghan Jails are filled with Pakistani prisoners and even the Pakistani army was heavily involved in fighting and supporting Taliban insurgents prior to 9/11. Do you guys remember the “Airlift of Evil”!!!! where hundreds of Pakistani Taliban, Pakistani Army officers and generals were airlifted from the Norther Kunduz Province of Afghanistan when the city was surrounded by Norther Alliance. But they were airlifted to safety as part of a deal between US and Pakistan.

But now US has realised the double game pakistan is playing and they have started bombing out terrorist hide out inside Pakistan.

When you catch tens of suicide bombers coming from that side of the Durand Line, Dont you have the right to hit them where they live in order to prevent them coming to your home.

I think the entire Waziristan region of Pakistan should be bombed out and flattened beyond recognition!

We pokhtoons of Pakistan entirely support comments of president Karzai of Pakistan who also said Pokhtoons of Pakistan should be freed from the slavery and oppression of Punjabi masters

Posted by Gul Zaman | Report as abusive

Gul Zamaan
Pakistan will have to stay united for ever. This is in the best interest of every one. Hell with Karzai and Pokhtoons, no one has the right to jepordize the unity of the country. And there is no issue of Punjabis dominating everything in the country. Having said that, Pakistan is a nuclear power. Whether it is external threats or internal challenges, Pakistan is mature enough to deal with these challenges. Pakistani Armed Forces will beat the shit out of any one dreaming of carpet bombing of Waziristan. I suggest, do not test the unity of this nation. Only a handful of foolish Pokhtoons like you, who dont believe in the unity of the country cant harm Pakistan. Remember what Government of Pakistan did with Akbar Bugti? Yes he was dealt with ruthlessly, thats how it should be with traitors. Go and ask Palestinians how life is under oppression and without a state. Start valuing your freedom and your country which has given you an identity.
Pakistan Paindabad !

Posted by UMPK | Report as abusive

Pakhtunistanis,Balochistanis are friends of India.Its only the punjabi sunnis with their delusions of pure persian,turkish and arab bloodlines that have problems.

Posted by Shantanu Chatterjee | Report as abusive

PRESIDENT KARZAI:

During your years in Quetta, hat in hand, when you and about 1/2 your nation fled to the unmitigated generosity of Pakistan, you may have come across a term in Urdu called ‘Namak Haram’. IF there is a repeat of such outside adventurism into your land again, as it may well be the case (history), then Pakistan, will find itself thinking twice about helping you folks – on the other hand, knowing our cultural fortitude at kind heartedness (remember Islam, Sir?) we will probably open our arms to our undeserving ‘brotheren’ one more time – and live to regret it – yet one more time. Imagine that…

Posted by Nasser Javed | Report as abusive

Suddenly Pakistanis on this forum sound like the warriors of all times in Asia.

Did you know that 40 000 Afghans defeated the 200 000 mighty Ottoman troops outside Tehran? Did you know 1000 Afghans defeated a well-equipped Arab army of 10 000 troops?

The history of wars in Afghanistan are full of these examples and you Pakis need to read Afghan history before declaring an elected Afghan leader a western puppet.

Can any Pakistani tell me when was the last time Pakistan won a war against anyone in the region? You lost three wars to India. If you ever had any success in the war against India that was thanks to the Pashtun soldiers and officers within the Pakistani army.

God be my witness, because I was one of the first boys of Kabul to start and participate in the Afghan freedom struggle against the Soviets. I started the war, like million other Afghans, with empty hands and knew from the beginning that Soviet won’t win the war.

So you Pakistanis are neither stronger than Soviets or their British counterparts. You Pakistanis need to ask the Soviets and Britishers about the fighting spirit and abilities of Afghans, irrespective of their ethnic background. Therefore history is against you Pakistanis, because the minute the Afghan nation decides to start a war against you, you are no more. You Pakistanis can ever never win a war against the heroic nation of Afghanistan.
So be careful and stop supporting and sending terrorists to Afghanistan.

Remember that Afghanistan has never ever lost a war against any country or power in her neighborhood. You can ask the Persians, the Turks, the Arabs, the Moguls, the Russians, the Greeks etc.

India and today’s Pakistan were liberated and became free nations thanks to the Afghans’ struggle against the British colonialism and imperialism.

When an Afghan leader makes the threats of war against you, then be very prepared and extremely afraid.

If you Pakistanis and your so called government MUST stop supporting and sending terrorists to Afghanistan, India and the rest of the world.

Trust me: the minute Karzai declares war on your terrorist supporting army and intelligence services, I will be the first one to volunteer. And you guys would regret meeting me on the battlefields, because you don’t know how it is to fight against the Afghans.

Stop supporting terrorists and we will save your life.

Posted by kabura | Report as abusive

MR. KABURA…

Well, well, my good friend, of all the postings here, and without equivocation, you certainly take the cake, and must be commended for showing your “Afghan” hand, in more ways than one – if you catch my drift. But, sorry to say – I’m slightly puzzled. Perhaps you can help me clarify a few things.

ALL this talk of your country annihilating us (seriously, I’m not laughing) I am somewhat bewildered. WHY did you guys not say all this when fully 1/2 of your nation arrived at our door steps, bowl in one hand, hat in the other, when we ‘were THE real deal and the only angels, bar none’. Irrespective of our painfully meager resources, (about 2 meals a day) we still, without hesitation, agreed to share and sacrifice for our ‘brothers’ next door in their hour of tribulation – no charge, no obligation, no return sought nor implied, for we considered it our sacred duty. Now that you have a full stomach, you not just threaten us, but go out of your way to give aid and comfort to our adversaries? Imagine how we must feel… WHAT sort of class and conscience do you people really have? Still believe in the hereafter, or written that off as well???

Us loosing 3 wars? Man! Now, I am not going to insult your intelligence by suggesting that you actually believe in the statement you’ve made. My friend, at a 9 to 1 disadvantage, in EVERY sphere, (except courage – they KNOW it!) if we can just hold our own (au contrair, we actually capture near equal territory EACH time) then isn’t it a shame for the big bully? Who then is is the victor and who is the vanquished? It’s no isolated off the wall accident that Mr. Vajpayee finally “offered his hand in friendship” something welcomed by Pakistan. Think about this too…

Now talk to them of taking on someone their own size (remember China?) Aha! Ram, Ram, they are SOOO amenable and ready to compromising borders, Tibet, etc. etc. with them. Just ask sir, here it is… Wash you car too? NO problem…

You know when they retreated 4 years ago after the hilarious huffing and bluffing, using their poor bewildered, haggard soldiers for SO long as political pawns, one of their retired generals made this astonishing statement – Ready? Here it is: ‘We did not have enough men and material to get the job done’. WHAT???? Do you need a 100 TO 1 advantage? Bangladesh? Don’t give me that either. That was a kid who wandered away from his parents hand into some remote distant jungle when the big lurking, conniving vulture not just jumped him mercilessly, but also brought big brother along for added measure – Russia (yes the country PAKISTAN saved you from; remember?) and THIS is your gratitude? Well, I think I’ve heard it all….

My friend, you and those like you should be ashamed of proliferating such aberrant, reckless and won-ton pronouncements. Class, in my unabridged layman’s dictionary, is that part of human characteristic that shows up when there is nothing left to gain, and all I can say is that your country’s ‘overarching gratitude’ has been QUITE an eye opening event.

For heaven’s sake, we are supposed to be ONE nation. The enemy at the gates is bad enough, and they are aplenty, REARING to split and divide us, whence we weaken for their ready pick. Don’t believe that? It’s right here, read above, courtesy of Mr. Shantanu Chatterjee . The ever lurking fitnas comes thru LOUD and CLEAR, just looking for an excuse to jump in and inject more poison at the 1st opportunity possible.

Unrest in our own compound? Imagine their delight. Just what their Dr. ordered. Next time you need someone, the country you mentioned will say “What’s in it for us? What collateral do you bring in addition to your wife’s jewelry, and What interest rate ($$) are you going to pay us?” No one will open their arms unselfishly like we did. Write that down, take it to the bank, for it’s as good as gold!

Finally, brother (imagine me still using that term) PLEASE, for the sake of our Ummah, and our struggling masses, I deplore you, your nation and it’s leadership, before it’s too late, to at long last, wake up and smell the coffee. We need to be standing along side, and not the other way around. Salam Alaikum.

Posted by Nasser Javed | Report as abusive

That is good
But, you better advise your politicians and Military guys.
When you smell fear, and foreign pressure, all in a sudden you come to know that we are one UMMAh, while you accuse afghans as being the problem in Pakistan, while my brother, Pakistan and Israel are made by British for the same purpose. Both Countries are the cancerous glands that breed war, destruction, pain, messery and death. May god save world from both pain creator countries and give an end to their existence.
Ameeen

Posted by Mir | Report as abusive

Taliban are now fighting positional wars with regular fronts in Khost and Kandahar regions.
The weapons to Taliban are being supplied, as per more and more intelligence reports, by the
Russian and even by Iranian sources. The contribution of Pakistani tribal areas in forging the
strategic outcome of the war in Afghanistan is less than 10% from every strategic and
military contribution. For all practical purposes, the war is an Afghan problem and is not
being controlled or decided from the Pakistani tribal regions.

But the Afghan and US game is simple –

• Blame Pakistan for all the sufferings and war in the country.

• Initiate a head-on collision between Pakistani State and Pakistani tribal militants.

• Create rift between armed forces of Pakistan and Pakistani society.

• Create environment for separation of tribal regions into an autonomous new country.

• And leading up to creation of enough chaos and anarchy in Pakistan to justify forced
removal of Pakistani nuke assets.

Frustrated by apparent defeat in Iraq, loss of public approval and support in Afghanistan and
failure to prove the campaign-fostered illusions that presence of NATO/US forces was aimed
at liberating the Afghans, the US and Mr. Karzai seek escape by blaming others for all the
ills.

Very systematically the local Taliban are infiltrated by the US assets led by Baitullah Mehsud
to create hatred against the government and armed forces of Pakistan resulting in many
attacks on law enforcement agencies. These US assets in the garb of “Taliban” have
succeeded to a great extent to create a divide between the local Taliban and the State.

US assets within Pakistani political parties and media have been mobilized to create
confusion among the Pakistani public about security situation and safety of nuclear program.
Under a well-planned strategy pressure is being built against nuclear weapons of Pakistan by
floating false propaganda.

The more sinister plan is being woven for turning Pakistani federation into confederation by
supporting the sub-nationalists in NWFP and Balochistan. The efforts for separating FATA is
already been initiated with bringing little known tribal leaders from FATA onboard. The
demand for a separate province consisting FATA is being tucked down the throats of these
unknown tribal leaders and press conferences and wide media coverage is being arranged for
publicizing this demand and smoothening public opinion.

Few months’ back a selected group of little known tribal leaders was reportedly facilitated a
trip to the US where they were assigned the task to promote the notion of separate province
of FATA.

Civil society organizations have also been activated to make grounds for demand for making
FATA a separate province. These NGOs funded by US and Western countries are constantly
arranging seminars and propagating the idea while at the same time formulating suggestions
for the same.
US have already committed pumping millions of dollars in for ‘development’ of FATA to be
utilized through non-government organizations to win minds and hearts resulting in gaining
local support.

The doctrine of greater provincial autonomy is also being promoted through the sub-
nationalists who are in the first phase demanding total control of resources (which means the
elements within provincial governments can blackmail and bypass the centre regarding
important strategic issues in the future) as well as doing away with the concurrent list which
will empower the sub-nationalists to post own trusted people on key posts who will in future
carry on the agenda.

Many eyebrows were raised when soon after Yousaf Raza Gillani taking oath as prime
minister announced abolishment of Frontier Crimes Regulations (40-FCR) without any
planning. The decision was criticized both by the tribesmen as well as intellectuals even it
was questioned by many quarters that on whose behest the prime minister announced such a
decision in haste.

The game is exposed and now it is time that Pakistan develops some serious response to the
challenge: Really, Pakistan needs to “do more” to check the sinister game plan against itself.

So let’s do more.

To start with Pakistan should immediately initiate three following steps:

1. Revive Pak-Afghan Jirga held in Kabul in August 2007 which had concluded with the
agreement that Pakistan and Afghanistan governments will initiate talks with Afghan
Taliban and bring them onboard the peace process. The process was abandoned later
on after strong US objections to the idea.

2. Fence/mine the border to check any unwanted crossings and infiltrations. Install
biometric system at border at selected crossings as being done in Chaman border
crossing in Baluchistan.

3. Pakistan needs to redefine its Afghan Policy, ideally declaring neutrality in the conflict
and offering to act as mediator between Afghan parties of conflict. Pakistan still does
not have a defined anti-terrorism policy either.

4. Pakistan should immediate debate and discuss the Afghan and anti-terror policies in
parliament and develop a national mandate through the political parties, elected
representatives and the cabinet.

5. A high power parliamentary or judicial commission should be constituted to know and
identify the causes, perpetrators, ideology, groups and militants behind the suicide
bombings in the country against State and people. The crisis is huge enough to demand
a public inquiry and expose of the phenomenon.

Reviving the jirga:

Last year in 2007, on the suggestion of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a joint Pak-Afghan
Jirga – a commission for peace in the region was formed. The Pak-Afghan Jirga having full
backing of NATO and US engaged about 700 tribal leaders and other influential elders from
both sides held two meetings one each in both the countries. The meeting held in Kabul in
August 2007 participated by tribesmen and other influential persons from both sides
presented valuable suggestions to fight terrorism and bring peace in the region.

The ensuing Pak-Afghan Jirga was being viewed with great expectations to bring peace in
the region particularly to deal with the violence in Afghanistan. The participating
representatives of tribesmen from both sides suggested bringing Taliban onboard the peace
talks for bringing stability in the region. However to utter dismay of the people of both the
countries, the jirga the brain child of Afghan President Karzai, who was the main architect of
the structure and mechanism of this jirga, was put on backburner due to reasons that a peace
in Afghanistan clashed head-on with the US objectives in the region. Pakistani President
Musharraf at he concluding session of the jirga meeting had declared Taliban as legitimate
entity in the war and one of the delegates even went as far as demanding total withdrawal of
the US forces! Obviously, US was not amused and decided to shelve the idea. Now it is the
time that the concept be revived once again and brought in the limelight.

It is not some strange or alien idea as in the past during pre-Soviet invasion period tribal
elders from Pakistan used to be invited to Kabul as official guests and also used to attend the
proceedings of Loya Jirga of Afghanistan.

Fence/mine the border & install biometric system

Karzai’s ludicrous demands:

• Pakistan should stop Taliban from crossing.

• Pakistan should keep the refugee camps in Pakistan which act as safe areas for
Taliban.

• Pakistan should allow more people to people contact between tribes across the
border.

• Pakistan should not fence the border.

• Pakistan should not install biometric system to identity refugees from among
the militants.

• Pakistan should do more to stop Taliban !!!!

Now what do we make out of this confused set of ridiculous demands??

It is obvious that Mr. Karzai is only interested in creating crisis and confusion for Islamabad
and not in genuinely finding solutions to the problems of cross border movements. There is
no way Mr. Karzai or his government can accept fencing of the border as that affects their drug trade as well and they are then not able to support the BLA as well as some terrorists in
tribal regions. But it is time that Pakistan should “do more”.

Mr Karzai has been instrumental in worsening Pak-Afghan relations as the relations between
the two countries witnessed a steep downtrend following a continuing vitriol from Karzai
regarding the alleged “cross-border” infiltration of the Taliban from Pakistan.

To interdict the so-called movement of militants across the border, besides conducting
military operations in FATA, Pakistan also proposed to fence and mines the Pak-Afghan
border which was turned down by the Kabul Administration. It is ridiculous that Mr Karzai
constantly accuses Pakistan of ‘cross-border infiltration’ while at the same time advocates
open borders between the two countries. During his visit to Pakistan in February 2006,
Karzai opposed the fencing of the border and said he favored passport-free movement of
people along the Pak-Afghan border.

Fencing and mining the border can be very effective in checking infiltration of unwanted
elements into either of the two countries. If the Afghan president refuses to accept this
fencing and mining idea, then Pakistan has no responsibility of any sort to check any cross-
border movement. Enough is enough!

Many refugee camps were closed down in tribal agencies of Pakistan owing to the accusation
by Kabul that these are being used as sanctuaries by militants but the action did not sit well
with Afghan government unable to provide security and livelihood to own citizens. The
strange dichotomy is that Kabul is reluctant to accept the remedial steps for controlling
unwanted cross-border movement. It is nearly impossible to check each and every person
crossing without putting a mechanism in place at the border hence either the border has to be
fenced/ mined or biometric system has to be installed at Western border with Afghanistan as
has been done in Balochistan.

Pakistan has installed the system in Balochistan at Chaman at Pak-Afghan friendship gate but
again to utter disappointment some Afghans backed by some hidden hands time and again
damage the gate and even a high official of Karzai government took part in one such attack
aimed at damaging the system recently.

It dose not require a rocket science to understand that some vested elements in Karzai
government have some sinister motives behind such acts. The number of those who daily
cross over at only two crossing points of Chaman and Torkham is stated to be about 30, 000
with about 20,000 only at Chaman so put together with number of those crossing the porous
border points could go much higher.

Hence fencing/mining is necessary in the first place while installing biometric system is
equally important.

Needs for redefining Pakistan’s Afghan policy:

Since US attack on Afghanistan Pakistan has been carrying out a directionless Afghan policy.
It is time Pakistan declares neutrality in someone else’s war. Pakistan has already done great
damage to her security by supporting unequivocally and whole- hoggedly the US on its War-
on-Terror.

we had used every possible mean to destroy our assets and good will in Afghanistan but
despite damaging our presence in Afghanistan we get the blame for harboring Taliban and
relations with Afghanistan remain sour.

The bad relations between the two important neighbors would only contribute to the
instability of the region. It is, therefore, highly imperative for Pakistan to take an in-depth
stock of its future relationship with Afghanistan, assets and presence there.

What is most disappointing that despite taking a complete U-turn against Taliban even then it
did not win us the favor of the ungrateful Americans.

We must, therefore, in the best interest of Pakistan and its posterity realize that we can no
longer continue with this state of affairs at the cost and expense of our own national security.

It is time that we adopted a more neutral policy towards Afghan conflict and could play the
role of a mediator between the Afghan government and the Anti-Coalition forces including
Taliban and Hizb-e-Islami. Pakistan can play the role it was playing in the post-Soviet
invasion in Afghanistan by brining all those party to the conflict on a single platform to bring
peace to the war-torn country.

It is time that Karzai should accept ground realities and stop opposing fencing and mining of
border or installation of biometric system if he really is interested in effective checking of
cross-border infiltration. It is time that Taliban are accepted as a reality and brought on board
as agreed in Pak-Afghan jirga otherwise in plane diplomatic decent language borrowed from
the Queen’s English – Pakistan should ask Karzai to “put up or shut up.”

Posted by dr raheel | Report as abusive