Do Obama’s Afghan plans still make sense post-Mumbai?

December 21, 2008

The United States is aiming to send 20,000 to 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan by the beginning of next summer, according to the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.  The plan is not unexpected, and from a military point of view is meant to allow U.S. and NATO troops not just to clear out Taliban insurgents but also to bring enough stability to allow economic development, as highlighted in this analysis by Reuters Kabul correspondent Jon Hemming.

But does it still make sense after the Mumbai attacks — intentionally or otherwise — sabotaged the peace process between India and Pakistan?

As discussed many times on this blog, most recently here, a crucial element of President-elect Barack Obama’s Afghan strategy was to combine sending extra troops with a new diplomatic approach looking at the Afghanistan-Pakistan-India region as a whole. The argument was that Pakistan would never fully turn its back on Islamist militants as long as it felt threatened by India on its eastern border and by growing Indian influence in Afghanistan on its western border.  India and Pakistan, so the argument went, should therefore be encouraged to make peace over Kashmir, to reduce tensions in Afghanistan and pave the way for a successful operation by the extra U.S. troops.

Where does that plan stand now? India-Pakistan relations are extremely strained and vulnerable to any second militant attack on India. It’s hard to imagine the two countries sitting down any time soon for serious peace talks, and certainly not at the United States’ behest, given that outside interference on Kashmir has always been anathema to India.

Yet as the Soviet Union discovered during its failed occupation of Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989, no matter how many troops you send in, you can’t win there as long as the Islamist mujahideen have sanctuary in Pakistan.  The United States knows this too having backed the mujahideen against the Soviets (this being a war that America has fought on both sides), which is presumably why it had begun to look at Afghanistan in a broader regional context.

So have the Americans reverted to a piecemeal approach with this plan to send in the extra troops? Are they just pushing on regardless and hoping for the best, perhaps thinking they have no other choice? Or should they have gone back to the drawing-board post-Mumbai and come up with a different plan?


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

“An Indian Reply to President Zardari: Rewarding Pakistan for Bad Behaviour Leads to Schizophrenic Relationships”
may be found of interest. It is at an-indian-reply-to-president-zardari-rew arding-pakistan-for-bad-behaviour-leads- to-schizophrenic-relationships/

Posted by Dr Subroto Roy | Report as abusive

No, they don’t make sense. The biggest problem is not Afghanistan, Taliban, Al Qaeda, Kashmir or anything of that sort.

The fundamental issue that will decide the fate of South Asia including Afghanistan, is Pakistan. To be precise, the issue is – can Obama use multilateral diplomacy, leverage with Pakistan and military means to persuade Pakistani Generals to abandon the use of Taliban and jihadi elements as a means to pursue Pakistan’s foreign policy interests?

As long as Pakistan is allowed to play both sides in the war on terror, the region will remain unstable and an tinderbox. Post Mumbai, there is a developing consensus in the US, UK, Europe and elsewhere that Pakistan is more of a problem right now than a solution. It’s good that this realization has come, albeit several years late.

I hope Pakistan is persuaded to stop using terror as a policy tool. The fig leaf of deniability is gone. No one is fooled anymore.

Posted by Rajat | Report as abusive

As long India is a threat to Pakistan on eastern borders and Afghanistan with Indian backing on eastern border, you cannot even imagine drawing an outline of Pakistan help to resolve war on terror. Pakistan has paid high price with blood and money to support US. It is high time that Pakistan looks its own interest and push back Indian designs.
Call it whatever you want, Kashmir struggle need to be addressed and resolved. More pressure on Pakistan from anyone will lead to more complications in whole sub continent.

Posted by Truth | Report as abusive

USA can send in 100,000 more troops, shed plenty of more American blood and trillions of dollars of American tax payer money. But US WILL NOT get any results until and unless it stops believing in the fantasy that Pakistan is an “ally” in the “war against terror”. This has been idiotic lunacy. MOST OF PAK ARMY, ISI subscribe to pan-Islamic jihadi ideology, but present “moderate” faces of a few generals to America to collect American money. Pakistan lives on dole money from US and EU.

Alternate supply routes to NATO troops avoiding Pakistan should be immediately implemented. The higher costs of transportation are nothing in the context of fake co=operation from Pak.

Pakistan’s army and ISI are playing a deadly double game and its population, despite living on dole from American and European “crusaders” has NO LOVE for America. Stop military aid to Pakistan ASAP if you want not to waste any more tax dollars and American blood.

Posted by victor | Report as abusive

Goint by the history of Afghanistan, Iran and present day Pakistan, one can not think of simple solutions. Fake excuses have been part of history of this entire region. Pakistan will keep blackmailing whole world with the dangers of nuclear war. High time Indian public is mentally prepared for the first and final all out nuclear war. Only way out of getting rid of terrorism from the face of Earth is all out nuclear war and nothing short of that. Let India loose also 150 million people and Pakistan be finished for once and all. Spooner we complete this task, better world we will have. Else we are doomed of slow and painful death of not only India but entire western civilisation.

Posted by Sambha | Report as abusive

the neocons plan to disassemble pakistan, give northern pakistan to afghanistan, southwest pakistan to the balochs… all this in an effort to restrict chinese access to energy and herd energy resources towards israel, the mediterranean and europe.

okay, that’s just wonderful… and it’s really reasonable to expect the utmost cooperation from pakistan as they see neocon plans under obama progressing.

until the US disavows the neocon plan to achieve “benevolent global hegemony” —the benevolence of which has already caused the deaths of maybe a million people— i dont see how anyone in their right mind can expect pakistan or any of the other proposed PNAC victims to cooperate in their own destruction.

PNAC and pakistan: nduringturmoilzv4.jpg

neocon peters’ new map of the middle east: ers_map_after.JPG

google image search of peters’ map: peters’%20new%20map%20middle%20east&um=1 &ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi

6000 returns on a google search, “ralph peters” neocon ralph+peters%22+neocon

overall PNAC plan: gcclosinghormuz3200dr3.jpg

Posted by wadosy | Report as abusive en&q=peters+%22new+map%22+%22middle+east %22

trying again with google image search for peters “new map” “middle east”

Posted by wadosy | Report as abusive

Obama will make an even greater mistake (than George Bush’s Iraq adventure) if he sides with Pakistan on Kashmir.
The message to the world terrorist fraternity, in that event would be loud and clear: kill more innocent people and your agenda will be accomplished. Terrorists around the world would be euphoric at this outcome.

There is one and only one way to root out terrorism in South Asia and for that matter the world. Punish them hard. Divide those nations that shelter terrorists into smaller parts. Start with Pakistan. Divide Pakistan into 4/5 parts. Call off Pakistan’s nuclear bluff and
nuke the Tribal regions in Pakistan. If you dont nuke them now they will nuke you in not so distant future.

Posted by Ben Thomas | Report as abusive

After Mumbai attacks India tried Pakistan’s diplomatic isolation and miserably failed. Pakistan’s relations with US are same as before. China and Saudi Arabia continue to remain Pakistan’s close allies. UK PM Gordon Brown has visited Pakistan and pledged more support, so has David Milliband mentioned in his statement the importance of cooperation with Pakistan. There is no chance of Pakistan’s diplomatic isolation in the international community and India will never muster the courage to carry out any military action.
More US troops to Afghanistan means closer US-Pakistani cooperation which means Indians get further annoyed. Only because large contingents of US troops will be ever more reliant on logistical support from Pakistan. The Americans are smart and know to have relations with Pakistan and India on its merit.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

It is a mistake to presume that the solution to Afghanistan can be found through the Indo – Pak conflict in Kashmir or that success in Afghanistan is dependant on solving the Kashmir problem. That problem predates Afghanistan by a few decades. Whether Mumbai had happened or not, the Pakistani establishment needs an India bogey to turn to when the screws are tightened against it. Like right now. Debate in Pakistan has been deftly shifted to India being the perpetual bully and how Pakistan will not cow down. The real problem of its own uncertain future and internal problems has been neatly side stepped.

The war on terror that it joined was solely with the intention of obtaining western aid to solve its problems of near bankruptcy and poor adminstration. It is again in the same boat, in spite of the tremendous US aid it has recived since 9/11. Does anyone know where the money was spent? Pakistan will always be on the brink untill it cleans up its internal contradictions – having a democratic facade functioning under military benevolence. To do that it needs someone who has the staure of a Jinnah. Unfortunately their cupboard of available statesmen or politicians is quite bare.

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive

For India and Pak, the only lasting solution is to dissolve the partition and the two communities try and live in harmony. Army and wars cannot deal with crime. The terrorist are an exaggerated version of hate crime. Only political reforms and a civil government can deal with crime. If across the world, in a single court, without any discrimination or byes, the hate crimes get a proper trial. A feeling of security can be restored, and such crime would lose sympathy and support.

Posted by Pinaki | Report as abusive

Delusions Delusions and Delusions continues…
After spending all those $bn that Mr. Bush presented to occupy Pakistani Soil for War On Terror you guys say you lost money and blood.
Please, India was also asked for a space to put US troops, we rejected and offered help for refuel only of course we are not scavengers….
Go ask Musraff, Nawaz Sharif, Mr.10% who as eaten up all your peoples $US and then talk about Money, as far Blood is concerned you people are so used of seeing it everyday from your own people killing each other.
More military to Afgha mean my dear friend US and allied forces will engage in fighting Taliban and Pakistan on that border while India will start on your other border.
Your nation is under Axed now, and if your most relying friend China comes to support you then China will face its unnecessary losses for not a Chinese war and Russia is keen to take on China.
So open up your minds and decide whether you still want a piece of Kashmir, Terrorism at the cost of your country. Stop thinking unrealistically and start to think on reality.
As rightly said by you closer friend US on Pakistan as “Pakistan an international migraine, Counting elements such as nuclear weapons, terrorism, extremism, corruption and poor economic situation, the important location of Pakistan converted every national issue into an international one.”

Posted by Indian | Report as abusive

Obama was bright enough to say terrorism should be addressed from the root cause but dumb enough to think the root cause was kashmir and Indo-pak tension..How can Indo-pak tension or the kashmir issue be related to 9/11 ?? OR the london bombings or Mumbai carnage for that matter ?? The root cause is Islamic radicals and war lord culture in Afganistan and support for such barbaric practise in pakistan. pakistan will never fully shun out terrorism as long as it the fight against terror is the revenue earner for pakistanis..longer the foreign troops stay in Afganistan, more hte pakistan makes to allow supply through pakistan to afganistan..and in the name of fake sovernighty pakistan is using its fake fight against terror for black mailing wealthy countries..shame on sucha failed state.I hope Obama and others wake up to the truth about pakistan and act to strike pakistan at once and give them sucha lesson that no muslim in the world should ever touch a gun.

Posted by Om | Report as abusive

Myra, We can all agree on that Kashmir is the main problem betwen two nuclear powers. Once both countries find a solution to this, which I very much dought as they have been unable to do it for more then six decades.

Yes we need someone to help resolve this and I think Obama is the man to do this as he has this appeal in both countries and the world. If UN can be involved in this Mumbai incident surely it can be used to sort of Kashmir, as there has been resoultion passed calling for a peblicite. India knows if there is free voting clearly the Kashmiris will vote for independence or be with Pakistan. How can Indian win the Kashmiri hearts when they have been burning their homes, raping their families, killing innocent people and staging it as it was a gun fight.

This is the reason why India wants to sort it billaterly knowing that Pakistan can be bullied by India which I dought as that dream has not become reality in more then 60years.

In reagrd to Afghanistan I think we can all agree that both India and also Pakistan has intrestin that country. As India always supported Northern Alliance and Pakistan backed the pashtuns or the Talibans. I fully agree with Obama this is a regional game without the main players this can not be solved.

How does one expect Pakistan to fully go after their own people or the militants when India always beenn the agressor from 1965 and many other misadventures. All the parties needs to be on board and have a plan how to deal with these terrorist elemnts. Who have caused more damage to Pakistan then any other country on the planet!!!

Help Pakistan, truly,democratcly,surely USA is blame in this militancy as anyone else wasnt it the CIA that helped train Bin Laden and his company. Then walked away as if everything will go away but it come back to haunt USA and now they have realised.

Pakistan have sacrificed more soldiers then anyone other allie and people still dout Pakistan. I have one suggestion for the Government pull out completly on war on terror we will see how the worlds superpower react. Let erm what they like if you cant trust your allie then pull out. USA knows too well without Pakistan nothing is possible is Afghnistan and has no choice as it was USA which imposed this war on Pakistan. As most Pakistani know this was never our war, but yes it has become one now!!!

Posted by Ali786 | Report as abusive

Before everyone gets too caught up in deciding who to blame, can we go back to the original question? Does it make sense to send 20,000 to 30,000 extra American troops to Afghanistan in the absence of a regional framework for peace?

Incidentally, I’ve been reading Jonathan Steele’s book on Russia and while there are limitations in comparing the Soviet and the American experience of Afghanistan it’s interesting to see how he describes Moscow’s policy when it realised in 1985 that it had to get its army out of there (and that was four years before it actually did so):

“The new policy had three prongs: to give more impetus to the United Nations negotiations over Afghanistan; to try to find a more broadly based government in Kabul; and a final push to try to seal the border with Pakistan so as to prevent the mujahideen from coming in and out,” he writes.

Sounds familiar? Or should we be arguing instead that the comparison is invalid and that American military might will succeed in Afghanistan where the Soviets failed?

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive

Everything was quiet and fine in 70’s then suddenly why all these terrorist activities erupt in Kashmir? In fact most of the Kashmiri Pundits were brutally murdered, this aggravate India to take tough stance towards Kashmir.

Why did Pakistan want to put it’s nose in Indian occupied Kashmir, when they were already given their part. If Kashmiris are doing Freedom fight, then its totally our internal(Indian and Indian Kashmiris) job to resolve, why the hell Pakistan want to interfere?

I have a lot of Kashmiri friends here, believe me they always miss the Land which they lived, they say that both Hindus and Muslims were living peacefully and like brotherly in 70’s, and they suddenly go tears when they think about Kashmir now. They still hope that all moved out Kashmiri Pundits and these people will go back to their Land and live like they lived earlier. This dream / thoughts of course bring some smile on their faces.

I bet that day will soon come when these people go back to their homes without any further problems and will live as they wanted.

This time India will take on PoK as well, and Pakistan “dhund tey reh jaaoge”

Posted by Indian | Report as abusive

Stop saying US is the culprit coz its CIA trained militants in the did so to save afganistan from Russian invasion. CIA didn’t ask those militants to become global jihadis to exploit innocent youngsters in the name of Islam and loot money..CIA did not train to grow and sell drugs in underground networks. CIA did not ask pakistan to host militants after russian episode it was uncalled for for pakistan to become the breeding ground for terrorists, it was not american decision but a conscious decision by muslims in afganistan and pakistan to become terrorists.

Myra, Yes american might will succeed in afganistan and pakistan simply because this time there is no CIA to supply funds and weapons..and its not just CIA against this Islamic terrorists but the whole world..this is the world on one side V/S islam on other side.

Posted by Om | Report as abusive

Myra, The question to be asked is whether America (not necessarily other NATO countries) really wants to ‘win’ & relinquish it’s strategic grasp on Afghanistan?

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive

I think US and allied forces has to keep their personal difference aside and approach Russians to get some idea about Afghan territories and if possible involve Russians to participate with forces fighting against Taliban in Afghan. This will psychologically hit Pakistanis and Talibans Morale, as everyone knows that they are fear of Russians.

At the same time seize the borders of Afghan so that there will be no infiltration of Taliban into Pakistan this will ensure that their (Pakistan & Taliban) links will be broken.
I understand these are too theoretical however we have to first cut all possible links of Taliban from Pakistan, so that Pakistan will have no chance to play double games with fighting War on Terror and help Talibans to infiltrate into Pakistan.

Posted by Indian | Report as abusive

In response to Indian:
Firstly I dont think you have set foot in Kashmir, and what you are spitting on this blog is what you have been spoon fed by STARNEWS.

“Why did Pakistan want to put it’s nose in — Indian occupied Kashmir,– when they were already given their part. If Kashmiris are doing Freedom fight, then its totally our internal(Indian and Indian Kashmiris) job to resolve, why the hell Pakistan want to interfere?”

Firstly I totaly agree that it is Indian occupied Kashmir, as you even refer to it at least even you know it is occupied. When the world refers to the part in Pakistan call “Pak Adminstred Kashmir”.

The reason everything was fine before 70 was because Kashmiris thought that India was true democracy and that would allow Kashmiris to decide their own fate which is even backed by UN resoulutuion. But when Kashmiris realised India will not give them the power to chosse what they want thats when they decided theses hindu terrorist army, occupiers, rapest, cowards will use any mean yo opress the people of kashmiri. Thats when the armed struggle started and yes we will moraly support anybody which is asking for their rights.

Kashmiris exausted all peaceful options they had, to let the occupiers know that Kashmiris will never NEVER surrender their beatifull valley to India.

When the partion took place it was on the basis of majorty of muslim state would go with Pakistan, so even on those principles Kashmir should have part of PAKISTAN. Let me tell and the world as a kashmiri that india can use all its extrvegent words and it might to supress us but will NEVER surender. We are more part of Pakistan in flesh, geaography, religion, they are our next of kin and in every other way.

If India is the mother of all democracies, then I would love to see it in action in Kashmir not theses staged voting. Where Indian army goes into kashmiri homes and is dragging them them to go and vote all kashmiris leaders in under house arrest. They are not even allowed to protest surly that is every citizens right.

All indians know wxactly what is going on but u want to turn ur face the other way u know why because the popel that are opressed are Muslim as they are eleswhere in India!!!

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive

Anyone one with the slightest bit of common sense, hindsight of past indian policy (such attacks always take place when foriegn dignitories visit) and a simple analysis of the mumbai incident by looking at police actions to get people killed; anti-terror head investigating hindu terrorists in army/temple sent to death and confirmed by indian politician; orange hindu religious bands on wrists of terrorists; allegedly asking for british/American citizens; obama taking office and wanting to discuss kashmir show that the indian neo-con government had the most to gain from the mumbai attacks.

Specially as India has international ambitions which can not be achieved until they deal with their old foe pakistan and so they will do anything to achieve this, in this case orchestrating the attacks to mount international pressure which they hoped would lead to international military being used as they are cowards themselves and would rather have their own , however the thoughtfull actions of pakistan and China ensured that the media frenzy campaign failed.

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive

Response to OM,

If you read my comment again I said CIA, USA knew too well the problem they were leaving behind. They never thought their own mistakes would come and haunt them and now they are.

I find you OM either stupid or just very ignorant the fact you cant even agee that USA was as much involved in the war with USSR as was ISI. So instead of leaving a poor country like Pakistan to deal with huge problems they should have helped. I am not saying Pakistan should have also taken steps but there is only so much you can do when your resources are so small. We still accepeted out afghan brothers in millions as refugees into our country.

Now to the point I think INDIA was a USSR puppet at time is that correct? Offcourse and still is!!!

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive


I disagree with this policy, it might have partly worked in IRAQ but this is Afghanistan. A lot more regional players which all have their own intrest to secure. More troops more targets for the Taliban more properganda ammo for the Taliban to say. Its been over 5years no devlopments except bombing villages and killing inncocent and that will only rage the locals. If history has taught a lesson is that no power in the World can occupy afghanistan the afghans are proud and they will never allow that. Ask the British they tried,USSR they tried now USA.

However Obama is right this is a regional game and all the player from Iran, Pak, India and even China needs to taken on boared on aset of plans not only to improve security but to make the life of ordinary afghans better.

Thta has not happened since afghanistan was invaded rightly or wrongly. People of afghanistan needs schools, hospitals and most of all hope.

A new aviation brigade will not bring about that change. I think western troops should leave afghnistan and instead get more muslim countries involved at least the local will not see them as crusaders.

As that what they percieve them now as CRUSADERS!!

Posted by Magic | Report as abusive

Myra and others,

Now is the time NOT to negotiate with Pakistan on ANYTHING, DEFINITELY not on

This is nuclear terrorism, OR terrorism backed up with the threat of nuclear war whatever you call it.

Humanity should not yield.

Posted by Victor | Report as abusive

Anup: You said: “The question to be asked is whether America (not necessarily other NATO countries) really wants to ‘win’ & relinquish its strategic grasp on Afghanistan?”

The thought did cross my mind that the idea of having an extra 20,000 to 30,000 U.S troops in Afghanistan is unlikely to go down too well with Russia, Iran and China, whose help the United States will probably need one way or the other. But aren’t you making a leap too far in suggesting that the Americans actually want to stay indefinitely in Afghanistan when previous invaders like the British and the Russians expended most of their energy trying to work out how to get out?

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive

The Indian subcontinent hosts hundreds of ethnicities, speaking 1000 languages and practicing all the religions in God’s earth. There are linguistic ethnic groups- Sindhis, Gujaratis, Bengalis, Maratis, Pathans, Punhabis, Tamil, Telugus,Kashmiris …the list is long. The only ethnic, linguistic group in the subcontinent that constitutes a separate country is Bangladhesh- born out of the genocide of THREE MILLION Bengali muslims perpetrated by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on fellow muslims.

Kashmiri muslims wanting a separate country seems to have born out of sense of entitlement out of events of partition, UN resolutions, etc. Either that or it is born out of the special racial supremacy the Kashmiri muslims feel. In either case another intolerant country based on religious exclusivity right next to Afghanistan and Pakistan is the last thing the subcontinent needs. These muslims have unleashed genocide on Kashmiri Hindus and expelled them from their homland where they had lived thousands of years. Buddhists in Ladakh, Hindus and Sikhs in Jammu fear another jiahdi terrorist state of “Islamic Republic of Kashmir”. Thus there is no question of redrawing maps.

The priorities are – control of religion based terrorism, as waged by Kashmir “freedom movement” should be completely eliminated Once this is achieved LOC could be liberalised. Other genuine grievances of Kasmiri muslims could be fullfilled without redrawing of India’s current borders which in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Impartial democratic elections should be held in POK, where India can help. No need to erect new Berlin walls!!!

Posted by Victor | Report as abusive

Jammu and Kashmir: A Multi-Ethnic State
Contrary to myths created by jihadis and their Paki sponsors, Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) is not a state where only Kashmiri Muslims live!!!!

It is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious state with 64% Muslims, 33% Hindus, and 3% Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians and others. There are three distinct geographical regions – Ladakh (with 58% of the area, and 3% of the population), Jammu (26% area, 45% population) and Kashmir (16% area, 52% population: of which over 90 % of the region’s minorities, i.e. 3% of the state’s total population have been driven out).

The primary languages of Ladakh are Ladakhi and Balti, of Jammu: Dogri, and of Kashmir: Kashmiri. In addition, Gujari, Pahari, Punjabi, Shina and various dialects and mixed languages are also spoken by different ethnic groups within the state.

Fifteen per cent of the state’s Muslims live in the provinces of Jammu and Ladakh . They are non-Kashmiris, and by and large, they stand behind J&K’s association with India. (There are a few small exceptions in some towns of Doda district).

Of the state’s 49% who reside in the Kashmir province, about 13% are Shia Muslims. Shia Muslims do not wish to have anything to do with Sunni-dominated Pakistan, knowing full well the fate that awaits them there. (Just recently, an Oct 4, Hindustan Times report cited Pakistan’s Shoora Wahdat-i-Islami who condemned what it called the genocide of Shias in Pakistan.) This is especially true of the Shias of Kargil who know of the poverty and degradation experienced by their ethnic siblings in Baltistan, a part of Pakistan occupied Kashmir referred to as the “Northern Areas”.

Posted by Victor | Report as abusive

Myra, recd. reply?

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive

Myra, The British & Soviet Union invasions were based on a territorial expansionist policy & this is not the guiding principle of the Americans as was not with Iraq, though the means & the underlining war economy remunerations differ in both the cases.
The real spoilsport for America was Tony Blair, who, during the Iraq war, smartly showed the way out to the NATO Nations from paying thru their nose for combat services, send your troops & join the Americans…but Blair earned from the spoils of war in Iraq but no such remunerations are there for the taking in Afghanistan, rather the NATO countries are been nudged by the Brits to abandon the ‘war on terror’ in Afghanistan & they would be most obliged to do so (as it’s their soldiers are half-heartedly fighting & nor is their presence being appreciated in their resp. countries, poor Germans had to ‘sacrifice’ thirty of their soldiers to prove their ‘commitment’ on ground), the Americans by sanctioning more troops to Afghanistan are trying to check-mate them i.e. either add more troops or withdraw your troops, we fill the vacuum, & you pay for the future damages incurred…in these times of economic meltdowns, it’s a catch 22 situation for NATO…

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive

Victor ;
You have given an excellent break down of ethnic and religious composition of Kashmir.
What I can make out that majority of Kashmiris will prefer to stay with India instead of joining a failed state like Pakistan.
The best solution would be to hold a plebiscite under UN resolution, and give a shut up call to all terrorist and so called Islamist freedom fighters.

Posted by Chaffcutter | Report as abusive

I’ve gone through this thread and what i can make out is that some people are communal in their thoughts….
Now as far as Afgan war is concerned it need co-operation as well as patience to make it stable,Militarily one can not and has not solved any such issue,so it need sustained dialog as well as military action if necessary….
Now as far as Kashmir is concerned it is the bone of contention between india and Pakistan,so it needs to be addressed in a very serious way
I saw some one saying Kashmir should be a part of Pakistan while other’s saying we will make it a part of India,to be very honest all of them are living in fools paradise….
There has to be a solution which is acceptable to Kashmiri’s 1st and then to Indian’s and Pakistani’s….
so in order to make this region Kashmir needs to be addressed and solved ….which inturn will make pakistan respond to world community to stop supporting Afgans ….
Now its high time for the responsible nation’s to address this issues which if not taken care of may end up in a disaster…
And Yes stop being communal and don’t be emotional when you are discussing some thing….

Posted by yasir | Report as abusive

–Will Pakistan let a Plebisite take place in POK?

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive

Myra,Pakistan has a majestic Plan (Ummah-Pan Islamic Nation) inclusive of the SouthEast / Central Asia & the Middle East, Russia, Iran & China are aware of the consequences of it & therefore their protests are milder than it ought to be against the NATO forces in Afghanistan, given Afghanistan’s strategic location, the presence of the Americans throws a wet towel on the Pakistani plot & ensures the safety of the Arab & Saudi royalties, also with half of such a federation, the ultimate target is America.

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive

Since many of the comments on this thread have revived the Kashmir debate, do please read my post about Pakistan, India and the United Nations: 2/10/pakistan-india-and-the-united-natio ns/

One of its points was to encourage people to read the wording of the 1948 UN resolutions calling for a plebiscite in the former kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir.

The wording makes clear that Pakistan must withdraw fighters first from its side of Jammu and Kashmir, followed by a progressive withdrawal of Indian troops, to allow a plebiscite to take place. It also says that the choice for the people of Jammu and Kashmir is whether to join India or Pakistan; independence — at least as far as the resolution goes — is not an option.

You might agree or disagree with either the wording of the UN resolutions, or their relevance, but at least knowing what they say provides an anchor as a starting point for discussion.

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive

December 22nd, 2008
8:09 pm GMT
– “The best solution would be to hold a plebiscite under UN resolution” Posted by Chaffcutter

Nice try!!! I know who you are. No question of India ceding any territory. No question of India agreeing to redraw the borders. Read my other post

Posted by Victor | Report as abusive

December 22nd, 2008
8:15 pm GMT – Posted by yasir
I’ve gone through this thread and what i can make out is that some people are communal in their thoughts….

Again NICE TRY!!! And we are supposed to believe you are a “non-communal” Paki. That’s hilarious.

But the fact remains “Pakistan” was created on communal basis. It was created with the sole argument being people who are of same ethnic, genetic, cultural roots cannot live together if they practice different religions. THE SOLE BASIS for Kashmiri Muslims’ “freedom struggle” is communal.

There are thousands of villages, neighbhourhoods in India with Muslim majority. Should they all become independent? That’s the ideology of Lashkar-e-Toiba.

Jammu Kashmir will remain a state of the Indian union. No question of dismantling India. Secular parties and BJP fight with each other on so many issues, but not on the status of the Indian state of Jammu Kashmir.

Posted by Victor | Report as abusive

It sounds like a real war here between the rivals, indians and pakistanis; kashmiris giving their viewpoints.

The real question is
“Do obama’s afghan plans still make sense post mumbai”?

Who kicked British and Russians out of Afghanistan out? The main force has been the Islamic ideology used on their Pashtun base. None of these basic factors are different from before. CIA and ISI used it for their favour against Soviets.

Putting more troops on the ground I think would not make any difference rather it will make it heavier in casualties both for the warring parties but also for civilians. It will continue to drag on and take the US / world economy further down. No way a troops surge going to make the things stable, it will help Pakistan as the border would be more effectively sealed. Recent estimate clearly gives evidence that >70% of the Afghanistan is under Talibans control. People are turning back to Taliban because of the corrupt government in Afghanistan and strengthening Drug driven war lords.

STOP SUPPORTING THE NORTHERN ALLIANCE, bring Pashtoons on to table and give a time table for leaving Afghanistan. Take Pakistan and Iran in confidence. India should keep its nose out of here! Use special operations (CIA/ISI) to clean up the Alqaeda from the region.

Wipe out the extremists from India and Pakistan by bringing them together by letting Kashmir an independent state.

I hope the conscience prevails with New American leadership and save further bloodshed.

Posted by Hindukush | Report as abusive

Myra seeing as you allow all kinds of dearagatory and racist talk against pakistanis and islam i’d like to see how you react to my last comment.

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive

Wipe out the extremists from India and Pakistan by bringing them together by letting Kashmir an independent state.

I hope the conscience prevails with New American leadership and save further bloodshed.

– Posted by Hindukush


“Non-extremist” clamor for the “indpendent Kashmir” will be safely ignored by the Obama adminsitration. This will be good for all the extremists and “non-exremists” alike!!

Posted by Victor | Report as abusive

I always wondered about terrorism and its source problems. US & Soviet Invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq War, Bosnian war, Dafur….the list is long and big. The most interesting thing is always one side is a particular religion or its zealots using the grim local condition into their favour.

Another interesting fact is US always wants some action in some parts of the world – either to keep its secretive & strategically important objectives or to keep its industry running by balancing the demand-supply issues, especially in Military industry. Case histories are Vietnam, Nicaragua and Colombia to Iraq. I think the Obama administration knows that Afghanistan is a waste of time as the whole episode is the part of Bush’s “oilology” but not as a waste of resources!!

Back to another relevant part of this topic – where does terrorist get money from??? Is that someone immensely rich is backing religious fanatics and lurking the poor & ordinary people by offering financial incentives to carry out suicide missions. Definite possibility! Only a handful, say less than 1% will die for their belief and 99% do it for money. So where does it come from??? Who funds them and Why?? Have you ever heard about any ruling family member or Elite of a GULF STATES died for their religious belief, except Osama?? Use some simple commonsense – you could narrow down your source to a handful of oil rich countries in Middle East. I think it is the DIRTY OIL CASH which funds most of the world’s problems!

I sincerely believe if democracy can flourish in Gulf States, much of the painful religious fights would die out …eventually….If you can provide people with some basic living and habitable condition, things will improve. But the point is whether the American Oligarchs and their coterie will make it happen??

If president elect Obama got some guts and nerves of steel, he can do it.…So act on SAUDI ARABIA and their AMERICAN PROTÉGÉES….…sometimes it is better to act and then think of the consequences…

Remember Nietzsche words – “In individuals, insanity is rare, but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule”!!

Posted by Appu | Report as abusive

Ali: You said:

“Myra seeing as you allow all kinds of dearagatory and racist talk against pakistanis and islam i’d like to see how you react to my last comment.”

Answer, I deleted it since it was derogatory and rascist, as I do whenever anyone draws my attention to comments which condemn any group of people, or religion, as a whole. I don’t want such offensive comments on this site, but you don’t solve that by posting equally offensive comments of your own.


Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive

Loaded question Myra,

yes it does make sense, I dont see any other choice..

That being said, dynamics of the regions have to be changed. India pakistan should accept the line of control and bury the hatchet. With cession of hostilities with India, pakistan will not need Taliban.

Keep taliban on the defensive and create a region in Afganistan which has strong industrial economic base (lot of $), sense of law of order and relative harmony. Slowly the people will gravitate towards this region and it will grow and weaken the need for taliban.

Afganistan has hardly seen normal government or time of peace, its a slow process and the world (india china included)should actively contribute to this process.

Posted by belligerent | Report as abusive

Mr ali.

Think like this. why the mumbai attack can not be the hand work of american executed with the help of pakistan. americans has to substantiate its presense in afganistan, give boost to existing soldairs there, send more and more troops to achieve its larger aim. pakistan in deed has to subtantiate killing of its own people in afghan pak border. pak has also has to subtantiate allowing US planes to kill its people. all this will be possible only americans can show that its people are in danger due to world terror and pakistan shows that it is also working to eliminate world terror. all this will not come to your mind since its is corrupted with anti india sentiments.

Posted by venkat | Report as abusive

I really don’t know why India and Indians should make pakistan such a significant country. There are no comparisons between India and pakistan. while pakistan is on the verge of economic collapse, India is doing good even in a world recession. while India is counted as one of the world powers, pakistan gets attention for all the wrong reasons. I think India should ignore pakistan as a little pain in the back, and concentrate in it’s own progress. India should not opt for an open war as pakistan precicely wants this. They cannot stand a fast developing and prosperous India. Being a failed state, they want India to become like them. By dragging India in to a war, they think they can economically ruin India.

What India should do is to covertly destroy ISI and other terror organisations in pakistan while taking measures to foil future attacks in India. This may take some time, but this is the only feasible solution.

Posted by jojoe | Report as abusive

QUESTION : Why is “PAKISTAN” today a failed state?

ANSWER: Have you ever heard of a country that exists not to take care of the people living within its current borders, but to take care of 4 million muslims in Kashmir and 150 million muslims in the rest of India and one billion plus global Ummah?

Posted by Victor | Report as abusive

Myra, a question for you

How can you change the hearts and minds of people, by being politically correct, frank and not sounding racist or offensive, please kindly post the type of wording you would prefer. In the age of political correctness, word smithing is very important to get one’s point across without causing anger and mis-understanding.

It is hard to speak honestly with so much political correctness that real frank discussions will never be possible.

Gentle and kind societies using liberality and political correctness are often perceived of as weak and behind closed doors are not respected as having any resolve or strength.

How can one show toughness, resolve and strength for their view point without when talking with people who get offended at the slightest mention of any criticism?

Have we become a people who are just too afraid to say anthing any more, at a fear of becoming labelled? This is not it will lead to resentment being built up.

Posted by Thank you Myra | Report as abusive


Yes, how do you say anthing anymore when talking to people who are easily offended and their first repsonse is always a defensive one?

Posted by Krishna | Report as abusive

QUESTION: Why is “INDIA” today a failed state?
ANSWER: India is infested with all kinds of hindu extremists and fundamentalists. The Rashtra Sevak Sangh (RSS) Vishwa hindu Pareshad (VHP) Shiv Sena, and its notorious leader Bal Thakery are goondas and only understand the language of force. India cannot boast about itself being the worlds largest (failed) democracy until the hindu fascists are tamed. Christians missionaries are burned alive, mosques are demolished, sikh temples are attacked, communal violence is daily occurence, HIV aids is on the rise, low caste dalit hindus live a miserable life, billions are spent on military hardware to feed the war mongering hindu elite while poor go hungry, ALL THIS IN THE LAND OF HINDU FASCISTS, WORLDS LARGEST FAILED STATE WHERE INSURGENCIES STRETCH THROUGH KASHMIR TO ASSAM, INDIA.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Where and when the biggest genocide of muslims happend since the Prophet Mohammed founded Islam?


The biggest ever mass slaughter of muslims in the history of Islam, and in the history of human civilization was perpetrated by the army of “Islamic Republic of Pakistan” on the innocent, unarmed Muslims of Bangladhesh in 1971.

“…… we were told to kill the hindus and Kafirs (non-believer in God). One day in June, we cordoned a village and were ordered to kill the Kafirs in that area. We found all the village women reciting from the Holy Quran, and the men holding special congregational prayers seeking God’s mercy. But they were unlucky. Our commanding officer ordered us not to waste any time.”

Confession of a Pakistani Soldier

Posted by Victor | Report as abusive

No wonder you are an Indian idiot stuck back in the past in 1971 and never moved on. HELLO SIR!!!! wake up this is 2008, kargil took place 2001-02 border standoff is long history. Pakistan has become a nuclear power. You are so obsessed with 1971 war, it was a civil war and Pakistan suffered. After which Pakistan realized we will have to agresively defent ourselves. Wake up to the realitites.
Victor believe me i really feel very sorry for you. Its a pity you got stuck in the past.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

QUESTION 1: Which is the biggest sham democracy in the world held hostage by ten gunmen for 3 days ?

QUESTION 2: Which is the 160 million strong muslim country and also a nuclear power?

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

QUESTION: Which is the only country in the world where terrorists carry out suicide mission but carry with them identity cards with full names so they can be identified later?
ANSWER: The wonderland of fools( INDIA.)

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

QUESTION: Name the Indian blogger deeply obsessed with 1971 Indo-Pak war posting silly questions on Rueters blog?
ANSWER: Victor

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

What are the future hopes for “Pakistan’s economy?

None. The brand name “Pakistan” means terrorism world over. 80% of terrorists come from “Pakistan” according to Birtish PM. With such an advertisement you can imagine the inflow of foreign investments. The “country” has no industry, no educational instituitions to survive or progress in the 21st centrury.

Posted by Victor | Report as abusive

Not sure about Obama unless he takes the oath. I’m waiting for Hilary to have a frequent fly to India.

However, to justify, if the more troops are pushed towards Taliban, and if India and Pakistan meets up in the War, this will ensure that Taliban will not be in a position to support Pakistani Army against India. But no one knows about the US plans, neither themselves unless its implemented.

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive


I know a lot of educated Pakistanis and work with them and respect and like them.

You however need to do something productive with your time, you are making Pakistani’s look very bad. You are indulging in one-sided hate-fueled rants against hindus.

Do you have even one hindu friend?

Posted by Indian | Report as abusive

You seriously need to grow up man.
I am ashamed of you.
You do not represent pakistani view.
Don’t bring more bad name to brand “Pakistan”.

Posted by jinnah | Report as abusive

If India attacks Pakistan, Taliban will be up in the air as it’s strong base Pakistan will be busy defending itself. The best trategy now for US is bring in few more troops in Afghanistan and let India attack Pakistan. That way Taliban will be weakened and India will cripple Pakistan which is the foundation of Taliban. You don’t need much proof of it as Taliban has said that they will fight for their along with their founding father Pakistani army if India attacks.

Posted by Sudhir | Report as abusive

I have enough friends in China & Pakistan, remember I’m an Indian too. None of these people have any intentions like you are telling.
Everyone of us wants peace and harmony, all those politicians and so called diplomats are making fun of our nations.
My Pakistani friends are worried a lot, have you ever thought what happens if your nation is declared as “Terrorist nation” your Pakistani brothers studying, working abroad will be kicked-off, they will be humiliated to the maximum. These are psychological warfare, therefore think that will defuse the tensions between our nations.
We all work aborad leaving our families at hometown, if the war is declared, remember how much tensions would creep in our mind about our families.
People like you must collect more and more people and insist governments and others to build relationships not to break relationships.
Also think, both the nations have nuclear weapons, if both use it, many of us will die for the sake of terrorists. The after effects are more dear, everything will be curious, anxious before War, but after War? Ask US soldiers families how they felt during Vietnam war, and now in Iraq and Afghan. Their lives are miserable without their men at home.
How many people will lose their children, how many will become orphans, how many will lose their assets. These politicians and diplomats will go and settle down elsewhere from the nation and enjoy their lives, the ultimate sufferers are common people.
So please think constructively and aggressively.

PS: We are all working for an Indian Company.

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive

@ Pakistani’s

Dear Pakistani’s you and Hindus share the same ancestors, that makes us brothers, even though we read a different book, that is ok though. We have the same food, music, languages and cultures, why would brothers need to hate each other?

Hate is manufactured to gain power and politics and religion is used against the people, like a huge hijacking and assault on your mind and sensibility of reality. All India wants is for ordinary Pakistani’s to remove the Madrassas, the ISI, the Military and corrupt Police. We don’t want to conquer or take over Pakistan, we have no such goals, but want to be free of hate and terrorism and enjoy cricket together, maybe even enjoy a dosa together, while we talk about cricket.

The Military, ISI and your government needs you to hate us to justify its existence.

Please take charge of your reality, the world sees Pakistan’s potential, but it is killed with so much terrorism and corruption.

The people are suffereing. India is not the cause, so please do not hate us, as hate takes so much energy and destroys the constructive energy.

Posted by We are brothers | Report as abusive

Sam and Sudhir
Both of you guys, I did have hindu friends one time when I was an overseas Pakistani living and working abroad. I am pretty much mindful of what an ordinary Pakistani goes through both inside Pakistan and abroad. I was only replying to a silly guy who was again and again posting silly things about Pakistan and highlighting Pakistan to be a failed state. As a Pakistani it is my duty to defend my country through every means.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

It’s ironic that the World Bank has been targetted for cyber-terrorism by Indian IT outsourcers. The World Bank has compiled shocking facts about poverty in India, which the Indian Government does not let the Indian public know. Thats why Indian IT outsourcers planted spyware in World Bank software system.

The World Bank reports that 456 million Indians are living below US$ 1.25/day (in abject poverty), i.e. TRIPLE the entire population of Pakistan! In any democracy, that would be cause for intense self-examination, but most Indians are in a state of denial about it.

Cybersecurity has become the top concern of Corporate America. All Western firms that have ever outsourced to Indian IT firms must firewall their systems and scan them for spyware. Indian IT outsourcing presents a huge exposure to cyber crime. It negates any short-term cost advantages if business confidential information is leaking via Indian outsourcing.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

In india more than 150,000 employees get laid off from thier employement so far see how many more – source “The observernt”

Any news of retrenchment in Pakistan so far – NO.

Who is th boss now?
Pakistan in better in economy than any other country in world – one proof for now.

Posted by Peace | Report as abusive

Pakistani terrorists have caused grievous casualties in USA, UK, Afghanistan and India.

Pakistan was and still is a rogue state fueled by acute insecurity and lack of faith in itself… exploited by the CIA over the last four decades.

India has a free media system unlike Pakistan and we don’t need a Pakistani to tell how many Indians are poor… and most certainly it was Pakistan that ran begging to the IMF too keep it from becoming BANKRUPT.

The essence of existence of Pakistan lies in hatred towards India, unlike the latter which rarely considers Pakistan in most of its matters… save a “really obnoxious neighbor” .. a ‘problem child’.

Posted by RW | Report as abusive

@Peace and Umair:

If you two are either the best or worst quasi-educated pak youth Pakistan has to offer, Pakistan is doomed as a society. You two have no friendliness, kindness to offer anybody, only a confrontational, superiority complex mindset fueled by hate. You call yourelves proud Pak’s? Just what are you really proud of, your morally bankrupt value system towards your neighbours and the world? You are shameful.

You have only hurt Pakistan’s image as you have only shown your value system to be confrontational, hateful and unfriendly. This is not a good way to make friends or get respect or integrity in the world.

If you are the typical youth in Pakistan. Pakistan is doomed to self implode.

Posted by Indian | Report as abusive

We Pakistani are proud of ourself only! our economy is self reliance and is not based any other country – like india – where lots of call center and IT & related-business are closed or at edge of closing.

Patience, love, tolerance, respect and self-esteem is in natural to us, it is in our gene and our blood.

Stop saying the same words and lines that have been spoon feeded to you by your lying media.

come to your senses if any exist.

Posted by Peace | Report as abusive

Gentleman and Ladies,

As I am sure you are all aware, there is more to this situation then the lines in the media. How much of this conflict is because of the reasons in the given statements, and how much is caused by human nature? I could argue both sides and win or lose on the flip of a coin either argument, but consider this. The conflicts must be dealt with in a total fashion, or it will continue. India and Pakistan have fought thier wars in as many generations since thier independance from the Empire.

Why? Why won’t they leave each other alone? Who is right? War won’t determine who is right, only who is left. Consider that next time you think hatefilled thoughts about the opponents. It could very well be you next time.

Posted by Padraic Lukowski | Report as abusive

Pakistan can’t compete with India economically nor militarily and a scary thought is the international recession will doom textile exports and destroy what is left of Pakistan’s economy, leaving an attack on India as they only unifying option for government. The ISI tried to fight in Kashmir and India on the cheap by supporting the terrorists and the chickens have come home to roost. Swat valley and the northeast as well as Kashmir is contrilled by the terrorist element. A line in the sand with the Taliban or against the Taliban must be drawn by the world to force Pakistan’s hand.

Posted by Jimbo | Report as abusive

The article represents the stupidest question I have ever read. I am going to very kindly suggest the article was a quick throw-away and the writer should not get paid for it, because it was obviously meant to just occupy space, and account for her whereabouts, and satisfy holiday-period requirements.

Perhaps the US should give up the war on drugs because a dozen headless bodies were found in a northern Mexico town recently.

Equating the actions of non-state actors with ANY kind of value is to give their desperate leadership the wrong kind of importance in the world. We want to see them dead, their bodies stripped and shamed, dragged around for several days, before being mercifully cremated (not buried). Their ashes should be used as an ingredient in concrete.

No non-state actor should be elevated to any level of important consideration. Ms. MacDonald should know better. Our soldiers definitely know better. The people who attack innocent civilians ON PURPOSE, and not even by accident, deserve to be shamed. Shame on them, shame on their beliefs, shame on their families for raising such monsters. It has nothing to do with religion.

I always respected Reuters. I now know better.

Please Ms. MacDonald, go back to your New Year planning. I hope after the party, you also plan on getting a new job. I can’t believe Reuters is paying you for such tripe.

Posted by Robert Pratt | Report as abusive

a. I think the Afghanistan plans are vital and should be implemented. America’s statecraft is facing the law of averages. whereas it achieved tremendous success nurturing rogue elements during the cold war the mess that left over after the soviet collapse needs some cleaning and I think US would do it if it eyes supremacy in international power game.

b. Pakistan’s policy on dealing with terrorism is self destructive. Pakistan would continue to be a global problem, if US does not act in Afghanistan. Regarding the conflict with India, I think there are only two possibilities I. The average Pakistani comes out of the state of perennial denial about their state’s ties with extremists and holds their defense and state accountable or II. Pakistan will implode upon itself and be something like Somalia. In both scenarios India will have an easy answer to the equation ….. only as long as the rugged terrains of Afghanistan are sterilized.

I think US realizes the futility of supporting Pakistan as long as it has a lame democracy and a shady defense establishment. So it would continue with Afghan plans. And as Obama said – if they(Pakistan) cannot or will not take him we will take him..applies to all forms of Bin-Ladens. They have kept the option of neutralizing the rogue elements in Pakistan open.

Posted by patel | Report as abusive

“In india more than 150,000 employees get laid off from thier employement so far see how many more – source “The observernt”

Any news of retrenchment in Pakistan so far – NO.”

Hey ‘peace’ thats because the only people employed in pakistan are the fundamentalists/tesrrorists/islamists and their work does not depend on anything,much less the global economy!

Posted by Karthik | Report as abusive

[…] broke off talks with Pakistan after the November 2008 attack on Mumbai — an attack which ended Obama’s presidential election hopes of a peace deal between the two whi….  As of today, it is not clear whether he has a fall-back plan.   After a flurry of peace […]

Posted by Will Obama refer to Kashmir in public in India? | Read NEWS | Report as abusive