Obama takes Afghan war to Pakistan

March 27, 2009

U.S. President Barack Obama set out his strategy to fight the war in Afghanistan on Friday, committing 4,000 military trainers and many more civillian personnel to the country, increasing military and financial aid to stabilise Pakistan and signalling that the door for reconciliation was open in Afghanistan for those who had taken to arms because of coercion or for a price.

He said the situation was increasingly perilous, with 2008 the bloodiest year for American forces in Afghanistan. But the United States  was determined to “disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan”, he said, warning that attacks on the United States were being plotted even now.

But it is the emphasis on Pakistan that seems to be the most significant shift in the U.S. strategy since it went into Afghanistan more than seven years ago, with an avowedly aggressive carrot and stick approach. Time columnist Joe Klein said the most important aspect of the security review was a refocusing on the situation in Pakistan. “The terrorist safe havens in the tribal areas is the heart of the problem.”

Obama left little doubt that Pakistan was going to be front and centre of the war in Afghanistan, declaring this is where the top al Qaeda leadership was based.  And that their presence there posed a threat to not just America, but countries around the world from Europe to Africa and above all to Pakistan itself.

Here are some excerpts from his speech relating to Pakistan.

“In the nearly eight years since 9/11, al-Qaida and its extremist allies have moved across the border to the remote areas of the Pakistani frontier. This almost certainly includes al-Qaida’s leadership: Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. They have used this mountainous terrain as a safe haven to hide, to train terrorists, to communicate with followers, to plot attacks and to send fighters to support the insurgency in Afghanistan. For the American people, this border region has become the most dangerous place in the world.”

“But this is not simply an American problem — far from it. It is, instead, an international security challenge of the highest order. Terrorist attacks in London and Bali were tied to al-Qaida and its allies in Pakistan, as were attacks in North Africa and the Middle East, in Islamabad and in Kabul. If there is a major attack on an Asian, European or African city, it, too, is likely to have ties to al-Qaida’s leadership in Pakistan. The safety of people around the world is at stake.”

America, he said, wanted results from both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“And after years of mixed results, we will not, and cannot, provide a blank check. Pakistan must demonstrate its commitment to rooting out al-Qaida and the violent extremists within its borders. And we will insist that action be taken — one way or another — when we have intelligence about high-level terrorist targets.”

Will Obama’s stratetgy work? If Pakistan played ball,  it would get an unprecedented amount of military and financial aid, several experts said. “President Obama understands to get the support of the Pakistani people, which will make it easier to get the help we need from the Pakistani government, it takes carrots. And his plan focuses squarely on that,” wrote Jon Soltz, a former U.S. army captain in Iraq, in the Huffington Post.

Soltz said an even more striking part of Obama’s strategy was his willingness to deal with those who were not hard core Taliban.

“There is an uncompromising core of the Taliban. They must be met with force, and they must be defeated. But there are also those who have taken up arms because of coercion, or simply for a price. These Afghans must have the option to choose a different course. That is why we will work with local leaders, the Afghan government, and international partners to have a reconciliation process in every province,” Obama said.

In so doing and by signalling that he was ready to become partners with those who the United States was fighting today,  Obama had “given up the pipe dream of setting up a European-style democracy in Afghanistan, and instead has refocused our goals on a more urgent mission – protecting America and the world from terrorism” Soltz said.

But what about Pakistanis themselves? The popular All Things Pakistan blog noted that Obama had spoken to the Pakistani people and so invited them to comment on his remarks. Some of the early comments were generally positive, with one reader saying he was glad the United States had realised the high cost Pakistan was paying. “It is the Pakistanis who have been doing all the dying.”  .

(Reuters photos: President Barack Obama; Afghan women in Taloqan; Pakistani soldiers in Wana)

 

 

Comments

US DEMOCRATIC SENATOR RUSSELL FEINGOLD:
The proposed military escalation in Afghanistan, without an adequate strategy in Pakistan, could make the situation worse, not better.

We need to fully address the inextricable links between the crisis in Afghanistan and the instability and terrorist threats in Pakistan.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/79 68684.stm

Pakistan pessimism at Obama revamp
“The drift of the speech suggests that drone attacks will increase, and their area may be expanded to Balochistan [province] as well,” leading journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai told Geo TV

Analyst Zahid Hussain agreed it appeared that “in the coming days the Americans would be more aggressive in the border region, with US troops possibly pursuing the militants into Pakistani tribal areas”

“Lumping Pakistan with Afghanistan means that Afghanistan’s problems have been heaped on Pakistan.”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7968 716.stm

White House Won’t Rule Out Troops for Pakistan War
http://blog.wired.com/defense/2009/03/wh ite-house-won.html

Posted by Global Citizen | Report as abusive
 

Atlast there it took 8 years for the US to realize the reality on ground and finally they have come to conclusion. This is a long term strategy and it should work, the situation in Afghanistan has destablized Pakistan greatly. Now is the time to get on board and sort this mess. Finally US has shown some leadership, which is a good sign.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

“President Obama understands to get the support of the Pakistani people, which will make it easier to get the help we need from the Pakistani government, it takes carrots….”

— & Sticks!

Posted by anup | Report as abusive
 

“It is the Pakistanis who have been doing all the dying.”

—Who else do they expect to…???

Posted by anup | Report as abusive
 

@Sanjeev,

Now that Obama has made the right decision to topple the Taliban, those hardcore inflexible Taliban in Afghanistan are armed by the Pakistani Government and get all their weapons from Afghanistan.

Once the Taliban are defeated the next step is to topple Islamabad and Rawalpindi and give Pakistan a military regime change. This will mark the disintegration of Pakistan as we know it. The Pak Military and ISI and non-state actors will have no where to hide.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive
 

I hope Pakistanis understand and appreciate the value of USD 7.5 billion free aid in this recession. In America people are sleeping in parking lots and eating yogurt to live. These are American tax payer dollars. Even Obama is arguing with bank chiefs over few hundred thousand dollar bonuses!
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7585 696.stm

Even Pakistan’s close friends like Saudi, China didn’t loan them a penny! Hope, Pakistan will make good use of money rather than buying weapons, fighter planes from China.

Posted by David | Report as abusive
 

Now we know the size of the carrot. But what is the size of the stick?

Posted by Outsider | Report as abusive
 

Obama sounds more and more like Bush – just another example of why we need to simply fire everybody who has ever held political office in Washingtron and start over. Once someone gets elected – they morph into the “american president” there are no republicans or democrats anymore – just opportunists who use any crisis, any corruption and any cost to amass more and mre power – watch out Pakistan – we’re coming to get you next….

Posted by Gary | Report as abusive
 

Outsider,
“It is not clear, however, what sticks are available if Pakistan does not follow through”

Obama is not saying the size now, but we’ll find out in a few months

http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/i dUSTRE52Q69C20090327

Posted by Global Citizen | Report as abusive
 

United States had realised the high cost Pakistan was paying. “It is the Pakistanis who have been doing all the dying.”

Correction to the typographic error (I am sure):

“It is the Pakistanis who have been doing all the lying.”

And lie they did all these years while sucking up all dollars and letting the criminals have a field day.

If they do not wind up their acts, they will be “lying” in a ditch.

 

1. In his speech President Obama, ommitted to mention the existence of terrorist camps spread across length and breadth of Pakistan and no action proposed against them .
2. There is no mention of use and accountability of aid, in past even with the knowledge of US administration, Pakistan had used US aid to buy ammunition to counter some alleged threat from India
3.Though Obama Administration clearly is aware of links between ISI, Pak Army with terrorists , but still President has not proposed an action against such elements.
4.US Administration is aware that ISI is actvely passing on the information about counter terrorist activities to terrorists, yet President has not proposed disbanding of ISI
5. The presence of nuclear weapons in Pakistan poses great danger to international community, yet President Obama did not propose any action against these weapons

Posted by anju2008 | Report as abusive
 

US accuses Pakistan spies of helping Al Qaeda

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/art icle/ALeqM5jBs_MR2HFabpaowjNKkGDWHomWvw

Pakistan is the one creating the terrorism, namely the jihadi proxy armies being nurtured and grown for Afghanistan and India. Obama will be deceived and lie-to by Pakistan. Pakistan will continue to befuddle and obfuscate and fog away any evidence point at it, despite the intelligence pointing directly at Pakistan.

There will come a day of reckoning for Pakistan, where the Pak Army and ISI players will be set a trap by the Americans and Pakistan will be caught red handed, in one hand taking U.S. dollars, while in the other hand giving weapons to the same Terrorists that kill Americans and kill Indian Kashmiris.

Pakistan will continue to stick its chin up, even being caught red handed in a terrorism trap by the U.S. The U.S. Right Wing NEOCONS may want the U.S. to do a regime change in Pakistan, if Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are not defeated or contained, with respect to Pakistani influence in Afganistan.

Obama is walking on eggshells right as he must produce results and squeeze the jugulars in Pakistan’s neck to force it to comply and succeed. If Obama cannot fix Pakistan and there is another terrorist attack on the U.S., emanating from these tribal areas, Obama will lose the next time at the polls. At that point in time, U.S. NEOCONS far more radicalized than the Bush Administration will come to power at the promise of “settling a score” with Pakistan.

It is this future administration, that will bring about the regime change in Pakistan, which will be bloody beyond anything Pakistan has ever seen. The U.S. will get its way.

The U.S. is reluctant to admit, what India and the world already knows, the head of all the terrorism is sitting in the Military offices in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

The U.S. will give Pakistan one choice, denuclearize, become honest and we not regime change you, or defy us and be obliterated “back to the stone age”.

Holbrooke and Obama MUST you knee smashing diplomacy with the Pak Army and ISI before it considers any direct confrontation with Pakistan.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive
 

http://www.theage.com.au/world/pakistan- violence-underlines-need-for-obama-to-ac t-20090328-9etz.html

There is now a generation in the world of youth, who have observed so many suicide attacks by Muslim Youth, they hear “God is great” and then many muslims are killed.

It is horrible, but now the public is being conditioned by the acts of muslims to perceive Islam as a violent, hateful death cult that utters the name of God and brings death moments after……

Moderate muslims may say…well they are not muslims…well the public opionion does not feel that way, since the suicide attackers say “Allah” before every suicide attack, what other religion could they be?

Muslims are dirtying their own religion for political gain and using the misguided and poor and lying to them in their weakened mental state to use themselves to kill other muslims.

Is this what Islam is becoming? What else is the world supposed to think?

The prophet, may peace be with him, would be horrified.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive
 

One reason why most Pakistanis are parroting the same lines everywhere can be discerned by reading this article.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/Dawn %20Content%20Library/dawn/news/pakistan/ zia-s-revenge—il

When public mindset is beginning to get unanimous hatred, propaganda has succeeded. Pakistan’s intelligence system has taken a much more sinister dimension. It has managed to brain wash its people more successfully.

 

Global Watcher / Mauryan / anju2008
Excerpts from:
“The Holes in Obama’s Afghanistan Plan by Leslie H. Gelb”

‘With great strength and steely determination in his voice and demeanor, President Obama presented his one-shoe policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan on Friday. The one shoe was to assure Americans, Afghans, Pakistanis, and the world that the great American commitment to fighting terrorism would not be “a blank check.”
Blessedly, the president excluded from those goals the principal Bush effort to transform Afghanistan into a democratic, free-market paradise. (The resurrection of that effort will have to wait for the Palin administration.)
But nowhere did he drop the other shoe.’

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-s tories/2009-03-27/the-trouble-with-obama s-afghanistan-plan/2/

Posted by anup | Report as abusive
 

Guy’s,

Distrusted , By: Spencer Ackerman

“Some in the administration are skeptical that the Pakistanis will meet their commitments under the new strategy. “You have people there who just lie to our face, like Zardari, who just lies to us,” said one official who requested anonymity, referring to the Pakistani president. “Honestly, I don’t believe there’s a war going on in the tribal areas. The Pakistanis tell us that, but they’re just baldfaced lies.” The official believes that U.S. diplomats in Pakistan accept Pakistani claims of maximal warfighting efforts at face value: “They don’t speak Urdu, they don’t speak Pashto, and they eat it all up.”
Now this is the sort of quote you can’t get without promising anonymity.
Like Metallica said YOOO KNOW IT’S SAD BUT TRU-HOOOOO.

http://attackerman.firedoglake.com/2009/ 03/27/distrusted/

Posted by anup | Report as abusive
 

When death nears, insects run to the flame!

Pakistanis are running to US looking at the size of the carrot, but little do they know about the size of the stick!

Posted by Global Citizen | Report as abusive
 

“For the American people, this border region has become the most dangerous place in the world.”

Exactly how many of “the American people” routinely visit the border area and why, why, why, would we give on c*#p about spending billions more to secure an area of the world were we don’t belong or are wanted?

Oh yeah, that’s right, so Cheney and Co. can continue to rape the American financial and taxation system through lucrative corporate war contracts, even though he no longer holds public office. Now it is all becoming clear!

America needs to leave the world to the world and bring our troops home (the Pakistani people are far from stupid, if they want to fix a situation, IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY ON THEIR BORDER, they will fix it, they don’t need us to ‘rescue’ them).

And REALLY people our Military and Government has SUCH a good record with “border control” (we can’t even secure our own border) that sending us off to save another countries border is completely laughable. Fix OUR own border FIRST! Maybe after our troops get some real experience on their own soil, we can talk about sending them into the world to ‘save some other countries borders from the danger of illegal activities’.

We have an economic crisis HERE that needs our money and people HERE repairing the damage that the Corporate Capitalist Empire of the elite rich committed already!

Posted by Kiki | Report as abusive
 

Kiki writes: “We have an economic crisis HERE that needs our money and people HERE repairing the damage that the Corporate Capitalist Empire of the elite rich committed already!”

If the American government had not dipped its hands in this area in 1978, you will not be crying here. They should have left it to the Soviets and in my opinion, a lot of good would have happened to the region. The Soviets did not care for human rights and would have castrated most of the fundamentalists in Afghanistan. Pakistan could have been contained long ago. What America did at that time to get at the Soviets, won them a battle. But they lost the war. Religion is a dangerous thing if allowed to burst into flames. Islamic followers are even worse in that regard. They courted the wrong people to achieve their means of getting even with the Soviets and are paying the price for it. Pakistanis got into the wrong deal to achieve its means of getting even with India and are now paying the price for it as well. Pakistanis hate India passionately as much as Americans hated the Communists. Communists are gone. And now Pakistan will be gone too. America would have been responsible for both ends. But they will mud for getting into the pit. Short sighted global policies will always come back to bite in the long run. Hope the Americans have learned that. May be you need a constitutional amendment where declaring war on another country needs more than 75% of public vote. If that power was vested with the people, Bush could never have ventured into Iraq when Afghanistan was burning. May be you people should demand more rights in your democratic set up. It is getting old and archaic.

 

As part of new regional strategy, the demand on Pakistan to “cut ties between parts of its government and the Taliban” seems to be at odds with the desire to “peel away up to three quarters of the Taliban’s rank and file in Afghanistan from the Taliban’s leadership”. Instead of engaging in the anti-ISI campaign, the US should see Pakistan’s ISI’s Taliban links as assets in America’s efforts to reconcile with the vast majority of the Taliban. The British already see the value of the ISI-Taliban ties. According to the New York Times, the British government has sent several dispatches to Islamabad in recent months asking that the ISI use its strategy meetings with the Taliban to persuade its commanders to scale back violence in Afghanistan before the August presidential election there. There are reports that the Taliban leaders based in Pakistan have closed ranks with their Afghan comrades to prepare for a new offensive in Afghanistan as the United States sends more troops there this year.

As to the US demand on Pakistan to stop focusing military resources on its ongoing rivalry with India, the failure to help resolve the long-standing Kashmir dispute and the recent Indian war rhetoric in the aftermath of Mumbai make such a demand practically unacceptable by Pakistanis, even if they agree on paper.

As is often said, the India-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir is much more about Indus water than about a piece of land. The headwaters of the Indus River are located in Kashmir. Whomever controls the headwaters, controls the river. The Indus is vital. It brings green fertile life wherever it flows. The Indus begins in Kashmir, then flows through Pakistan, then flows into mainland India. If India chose, since Kashmir is controlled by it, they could dam the Indus and change the flow of the river, as they are apparently doing at Baglihar over Chenab. Without fertile land to grow crops, Pakistan would become a desert and its people would starve.

Notwithstanding additional US aid to Pakistan, the unilateral and impractical demands on Pakistanis by the Obama administration while continuing Predator strikes and dismissing the strategic interests of Pakistan in its neighborhood, do not add up to a serious and workable strategy. Such a strategy may look good on paper but it will not lead to US success on the ground in Afghanistan.

 

by funding pakistan’s exceptionally corrupted elite, obama is living out a short-term fantasy instead of working towards a proper solution to the afghan mess created by the US of A. now sit back and watch how zardari and the pak military squander this one..

Posted by Mr. Ketchup | Report as abusive
 

Mr. Ketchup,
If Obama misses the targets, Palin will come in 4 yrs. She is good in aerial shooting. No cave will save zardari and the pak military. They better get some wisdom now.

Posted by Global Citizen | Report as abusive
 

Should India be worried about US aid to Pakistan?

There is substantial military aid apart from the USD 7.5 billion financial aid? How is US going to stop Pakistan from buying Chinese planes or putting the military crafts near Kashmir border?

Is India consulted in the aid process? History shows us that everytime Pakistan gets free USD, India feels the effects in Kashmir or Delhi or Mumbai.

Posted by David | Report as abusive
 

US military deaths in Afghanistan region at 599: Forbes

Sad .. US people are paying from both sides. Borrowing from Chinese and paying to Pakis.

Posted by David | Report as abusive
 

Global Citizen:

You mention Sarah Palin. Lest we forget Mr. Zardari already has had an attempted fling with her ( http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0  ,8599,1844925,00.html )

I am sure she hasn’t forgotton or forgiven, and if Palin were to ever come to power it would be PAY BACK TIME. But I don’t think Zardari can last that long, especially given the dissent in his own party..

Posted by Mr. Ketchup | Report as abusive
 

“If the American government had not dipped its hands in this area in 1978, you will not be crying here.”

Mauryan, for the record, I am not crying. I am, however, furious with our wretched attempt at ‘foreign policy’ as an excuse to assign more money and contracts to an elite group of Americans that don’t represent the ideology of the ‘American People’ anymore than they represent the thoughts and wishes of Afghan or Pakistani people.

Nor do I (or probably even you, if you are honest) believe that the Soviet intervention would have been the ‘best’ solution for the people of Pakistan or Afghanistan. Occupation is general not historically celebrated by the occupied, no matter how many times CNN reports a peoples ‘appreciation and gratitude’.

I fully understand our role in shaping, financing and encouraging the Mujahideen to ‘punish’ the Soviets (I even remember when these same people were considered by the American people, and its government, to be ‘freedom fighters’ for liberty against the ‘communists’, I was only 9, but I remember them).

The Soviets might have been able to supply the Fist of Steel and Blood necessary to pacify the region, and drive the people before this same Fist, but this is not leadership, only a short term solution, after which unrest would continue.

The position of the American government is that the current situation is the result of a crisis not in ‘leadership’ but in ‘appropriate Corporate Capitalist leadership’. The Soviets would have failed the same way that we will fail. Dictatorships/occupations burn hot, weak and fast, lasting no longer than their strongest leader, nor are those same leaders interested in training strength or competence into their followers for the obvious reasons.

Religion accelerates a fire that is already burning, it is not the original problem. It is interesting for me, as an outsider and a non-Muslim, to see my government trying to prevent, control and oust religious leadership from the region.

Although I do not share the ideals of the Islamic movement, as the fastest growing government of Priest Kings on the globe, the Islamic religion is perhaps the only force in the world that will challenge the Corporate Capitalist Elite (CCE), for power, over the next 50 years. It is no mystery to most thoughtful people that this is not about durable goods or resources but a true threat to the underpinning of a Corporate Capitalist society (and I don’t mean by ‘terrorist’ actions, it is a threat of heart, soul and mind that American leaders fear).

The CCE must have trouble sleeping at night knowing that the enemy they seek to crush into the dust actually believes in their own actions as righteous, how that must frustrate and infuriate them. Men who can’t be bought, can’t be controlled.

Posted by Kiki | Report as abusive
 

Kiki,

You got bored, huh? No Jon Stewart on TV tonight?

I recommend you keep chatting with Mauryan. You two make a cute couple. His overwhelming sense of humility and compassion will blend well with your bounding optimism and faith in humanity. By the way, your fiscal policy is interesting. I hear Hugo Chavez wants it back.

Posted by Patrick | Report as abusive
 

Riaz Haq
“As is often said, the India-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir is much more about Indus water than about a piece of land. The headwaters of the Indus River are located in Kashmir. .”
“The Indus begins in Kashmir, then flows through Pakistan, then flows into mainland India.”

**‘The Indus river Originates in theTibetan plateau in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar,(under Chinese control, usurped from India in 1962) the river runs a course through Ladakh district in India and the Northern Areas(Gilgit-Baltistan), (usurped from India by Pakistan in 1948) flowing through the North in a southerly direction, It gradually bends to the south, coming out of the hills between Peshawar and Rawalpindi to merge into the Arabian Sea near Pakistan’s port city of Karachi.’

—Where’s the ‘piece of land’, the Kashmir valley – anywhere in the picture?

“Whomever controls the headwaters, controls the river.”
“If India chose, since Kashmir is controlled by it, they could dam the Indus and change the flow of the river,”
—-‘If India choose’ – well as long as it is not, it’s all merely wild speculation….
But But But…how bout this!

“China builds dam on Indus in Tibet,keeps Pakistan uninformed”
Alice Albinia, a British journalist and writer who recently visited Indus up to its roots, wrote in her book ‘Empires of the Indus’ that “All the water that drains from these mountains, I remember, is currently being stopped by the new dam at Senge-Ali,” she wrote.
Source: http://www.thenews.com.pk/print1.asp?id= 167900
Now will Pakistan produce ‘freedom fighters’ for Tibet?
It would’ve been more wiser if highly intellectual & esteemed citizens like you had engaged in more compassionate & constructive activities like pressurizing the authorities to ensure max. utilization & mordernization of the existing obsolete infrastructure on the Indus, rather than engaging in spreading of the malicious paranoia of India among the simple folks.

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive
 

Obama is that latest puppet put in “power” by the US elite (capitalists) to run the pipe line from the central asia to Karachi exclusively for Europe, mega dollars in profit.

The current fragile economic conditions in the western nations begs the US to get the “oil situation” fixed before european nations go bankrupt paying for unreliable russian oil, used as a weapon in the cold winter months.

Pakistan from its inception has been an American ally of sorts sucking on mummy USA taxpayers teats for geopolitical reasons. The leadership in Pakistan is so used to American aid that its part of their national budget. Though the American taxpayers are protesting, they really don’t have a real say in their democracy, which is bought and paid for by the same lobbists Obama so complains about.

If Bush or Obama really cared about terrorism or Al Quaida they would have carpet bombed Pakistani and Afhganistani terror camps as Nixon did in Vietnam – clearly not the case here. These leaders openly lie (its called diplomacy btw) about “democratizing” and “helping Pakistan fight terror” etc. To reduce taliban resistance they bribe the Pakistani leadership, and Pakistan fully expects it as well, to cooperate and even temporarily to stop taliban infiltration, to get what they want – stabilize Afghaistan to set up their oil pipline period.

The Americans military brass, who have far more integrity and honesty can’t stand dealing with or relying on the ever morphing Paksitani leadership and fully know Pakistan is making it more “expensive” for the US by killing US and Nato troops via their proxy the Pak Taliban, so palms will have to be greased to calm things down a bit. Soon the same enemy taliban will be on US payroll to protect the pipeline against wahabi Al quaida supported by Saudi rebel princes, financed by US petro dollars. The other way to control Pakistan is via drone attacks, which are also used by the US when things go awry to get the message home loud and clear in Islamabad.

Peace.

Posted by Nathuram Waghmare | Report as abusive
 

well at last some strategy …but i agree with america that it cannot work without the participation and commitment of pakistan…and it also has to make sure that all parties are involved..looks like they heading in the right direction but its a huge ask…

though india would not like to get involved too much into this as sending troops to afganistan would be a strategic advantage but that will increase the distrust in pakistan .india is already fulfilling the reconstruction commitments..

these are the toughest times for pakistan…but look at the pakistani govt.doesn’t seem strong enough..

additional troops can help , there can be reconstruction in afganistan too, a change in leadership in afganistan will definately help…the only area of concern is the pak govt.. its hard to trust the competancy of pak govt..especially as its headed by mr 10%.

the developments in the next few months will make things much more clear in afghanistan,pakistan..and ofcourse for india too as there will be a new indian govt …

Posted by Raging bull | Report as abusive
 

As an initial reaction, I feel that much depends on Pakistan’s ability and willingness to take on the Taliban and Al Qaida operatives head on. So far, at least, these are two big question marks for me.It cannot continue running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. Best to be optimistic about it to start with.

 

I wonder if all this stuff is true. I found out from the Father of one of the Troops that we are protecting Chinas interests in the Aynak Copper reserves located South of Kabul in the Jalrez valley. How come China is NOT supporting the fight against the taliban with their troops and/or money but depending on us? John

Posted by ginsengjohn | Report as abusive
 

Kiki writes: “I am, however, furious with our wretched attempt at ‘foreign policy’ as an excuse to assign more money and contracts to an elite group of Americans that don’t represent the ideology of the ‘American People’ anymore than they represent the thoughts and wishes of Afghan or Pakistani people.”

Kiki,

The politics in the region is at least a thousand years old. It is much older than the whole history of the USA. All the feelings of distrust, vengeance and venom have survived over generations and have amplified with time. In this scenario, the entry of powers from afar only fuels the conflagration even further. I don’t think any Western power can come in and start cutting pipe lines without digging into the local sentiments. Ignoring what has been dug will only bring more calamity.

The venom between Pakistanis and Indians dates back to the raids of Mohammed of Ghazni who razed down a famous Hindu temple, took its idol and placed it in the foot steps of his mosque. At that time, many Muslim Pakistanis of today had Hindu or Buddhist ancestors. What started then, has etched a series of similar memories throughout the land where the Muslim emperors desecrated Hindu temples, raped their women, looted their wealth, imposed taxes on them and kept the subjugation going for almost 800 years. This memory never left the people of the land. Imagine, one knock at the twin towers in New York can agitate everyone’s mind so much, including non-Americans. Now imagine a series of them where people felt powerless watching their beliefs crushed, edifices destroyed and faith threatened.

The rise of the Marathas, and the arrival of the British finally destroyed the grip from people belonging to an alien faith from holding the sub-continent.

I do not want to teach you the history of the land here. You can read about it and understand the depth of the problem (History of India by Romilla Thapar and Perceival Spear is a good start).

The Indian leaders of freedom movement wanted to follow the Western ideals and keep religion out of politics. They envisioned a secular nation. This is when the first mistake was committed. Selfish leaders like Jinnah, who could compare with any Aryan nation leader in the US or the KKK, instigated violence and murder that led to the partition of the land.

So when outside powers like the US get involved in the region and ignore the local sentiments to achieve their goals, things go out of control. I remember in 1979 when India was told bluntly by Wienberger, “We understand India’s sentiments. But Pakistan has a problem.” Indian warnings about the consequences were completely ignored and Pakistan was fed with arms and training that is haunting the world today.

Countries like UK, France are old colonial powers. They have not changed their mentality. Warring nations mean profit for them. They want to sell weapons to all warring parties and make money. UK, France, Sweden etc are the ones that must be curtailed first if the US has to make any long lasting impressions.

For cultures of this kind (Afghan, Pakistani), one should never make a half hearted attempt. Either you go entirely ruthless like the Soviets or do not even get involved. The Communists, be it USSR or China were good at wiping out cultures entirely. Look at what China is doing in Tibet. That is why I feel leaving the Soviets in charge of Afghanistan would have worked. They had done the same emasculation of the Mongol Central Asian regions successfully. Even if they had collapsed after that, they would have brought in a change to this region. These people work under the stick better than by any other means.

 

ginsengjohn, you said:

“I wonder if all this stuff is true. I found out from the Father of one of the Troops that we are protecting Chinas interests in the Aynak Copper reserves located South of Kabul in the Jalrez valley. How come China is NOT supporting the fight against the taliban with their troops and/or money but depending on us? John

- Posted by ginsengjohn

We have covered this in this post:

http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2009/0 3/23/in-afghanistan-china-extends-its-re ach/

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive
 

mmm… interesting that foreign sticks seem to work better to emasculate. May be the entire subcontinent should be handed over to British for another century. It will help avoid the bleeding in SriLanka, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Afganistan. It would stop the blood demanders like Ladens, LTTE, LET, Sangh Parivars, This that Senas, HUJI, etc etc. By then the locals will get better sense to live together, instead of finding excuses to plot schemes to create riots to come to power or get power. British did say Indians would not rule well. It applies to the entire subcontinent as well, from seeing what happens each day in India and around.

 

President Obama was first elected by the left wing which include Chuck Shumer,Barney Frank, Paul Krugman, don’t forget acorn and all the phony registrations and also SEIU which was responsible for demonstration against AIG and so on and so forth.

He during election campaign was centrist but changed his tune afterwards. He has broken most of the promises and the whole world knows about it. I am sure people in Pakistan will take note of that.

Posted by VJ | Report as abusive
 

4subcontinent writes: “British did say Indians would not rule well. It applies to the entire subcontinent as well, from seeing what happens each day in India and around”

Pakistanis somehow desperately try to equate Pakistan with India and drag it along with their miserable state. India has moved on. It was teetering on the edge and it looked as though it would prove the British right. But its overall secular and democratic system has managed to push them forward towards a better condition. If they continue for a few more decades, they will emerge a very stable and strong democracy. The riots, leaders etc that you mention in India are too small to make a global impact on the whole nation.

Pakistan unfortunately is controlled by a martial group who have war running in their bloods. And their hair is burning with religious fanaticism. They have chosen the wrong path. As a result, I was referring to Pakistan specifically as those who need to be kept under control by a bunch of powers.

Sorry if it hurts.

 

4subContinent
“May be the entire subcontinent should be handed over to British for another century.”

—Would the bunch of thieving mercenaries dare!

Posted by anup | Report as abusive
 

well anup and mauryan i think british were the problem and not the solution..

It’s such an ironic thing. Before the British came, India was one of the world’s great economies. For 200 years India dwindled and dwindled into almost nothing. Fifty years after they left we have finally begun to reclaim our place in the world.

All the empirical facts show you that British rule was a disaster for India. Before the British came 25% of the world trade originated in India. By the time they left it was less than 1%.
for more enlitening facts check out
“sea of poppies” by amitav gosh.

Posted by Raging bull | Report as abusive
 

“the arrival of the British finally destroyed the grip from people belonging to an alien faith from holding the sub-continent. ”

Funniest thing I’ve heard… from one slavery to another, happily…

Posted by Same..old.. | Report as abusive
 

continuing…

strangely, the majority of people at that time didn’t consider the rulers in the subcontinent, regradless of creed, as invaders. The same can’t be said of the british occupiers.. seems some people (read hindu ultra-nationalists) are trying to re-write history to suit current geo-political goals…

Posted by same..old.. | Report as abusive
 

same..old..says….–strangely, the majority of people at that time didn’t consider the rulers in the subcontinent, regradless of creed, as invaders. The same can’t be said of the british occupiers.. seems some people (read hindu ultra-nationalists) are trying to re-write history to suit current geo-political goals…

my friend i have given a referance over there .go ahead and read the book sea of poppies by amitav gosh…britishers were just imperialits…

their policy of divide and rule…divided india on religious lines..the partition of 1947 was a complete blunder by radcliffe..a divide was ovious but the way a british lawyer who never lived in india and scrablled some lines on the map of india without having any idea of ground realities was ironical…
kashmir is a problem because of british !! it seems u are brainwashed by ur own silly british pride..

Posted by Raging bull | Report as abusive
 

@We have an economic crisis HERE that needs our money and people HERE repairing the damage that the Corporate Capitalist Empire of the elite rich committed already!
- Posted by Kiki

Dear Kiki:
Make a habit to protest en masse. Blogging alone does not help. In Europe and Asia, people protest to pressurize their govts. Do ur own share.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

same..old..
“strangely, the majority of people at that time didn’t consider the rulers in the subcontinent, regradless of creed, as invaders.”

—Some crap, haven’t heard of the term ‘Mughals’ it seems…

“seems some people (read hindu ultra-nationalists) are trying to re-write history to suit current geo-political goals…”

—Yeah, so according to you Aurangzeb should be considered as the most just ruler of India…

Posted by anup | Report as abusive
 

anup aurangzeb was a bad ruler.. for eg pervez musharraf or george bush..he considered india to be his country..

whereas british were imperialists..they came to india to exploit and make money..plundered india and later had to leave..

mugals were one of the best too…like Akbar,jehangeer and shah jahan isn’t it.

check the following link..http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/s outh_asia/7460682.stm

Posted by Raging bull | Report as abusive
 

Raging Bull: “kashmir is a problem because of british !! it seems u are brainwashed by ur own silly british pride..”

My reference to the British was both past and present.

I also disagree that the Kashmir problem is primariy due to the British, I would say it’s mostly due to the greed and corruption of Indians and to a lesser degree the Pakistanis.

The indians (mostly Hindus) are to blame because they were largely willing to accept the British as their new masters and the pakistani’s (Muslims) as they were unable to excercise the amount of control needed to keep the subcontinent strong and united.

It’s no surprise that the Pakistani’s were left in the weaker position as otherwise there was a strong possibility of the subcontinent returning to the pre colonial status, something the British could ill afford. The situation in Kashmir was inevitable and a throwback of allowing ‘any’ invaders to have taken control.

You can’t keep blaming all your problems on others when in reality anyone could have taken advantage of the animosity and disunity between the people of the subcontinent. The british simply took advantage of the situtaion and were even largely aided by the locals.

Parallels can be drawn to the current situation in the subcontinent and central asia, and if the talbian were to be defeated in Afghanistan, there will likely be a new ‘Kashmir’.

Posted by same..old.. | Report as abusive
 

“—Some crap, haven’t heard of the term ‘Mughals’ it seems…”

Seems the Mughals were muslims..

“—Yeah, so according to you Aurangzeb should be considered as the most just ruler of India…”

Just or not, the people of the subcontinent did believe the mughals to be the rightfull rulers .. otherwise the hindus involved in the 1857 rebelion wouldn’t have accepted Bahadur Shah II as the ruler.

Quoted from wikipedia:

“There are roads bearing his name in New Delhi, Lahore, Varanasi and other cities. A statue of Bahadur Shah Zafar has been erected at Vijayanagaram palace in Varanasi.”

Posted by same..old.. | Report as abusive
 

same..old..
@”Quoted from wikipedia:

“There are roads bearing his name in New Delhi, Lahore, Varanasi and other cities. A statue of Bahadur Shah Zafar has been erected at Vijayanagaram palace in Varanasi.”

– Zafar was secular and those statue was to honor that trait. And dont go by the name of the roads. There is a road in Delhi called Aurangzeb road,

@”I also disagree that the Kashmir problem is primariy due to the British, I would say it’s mostly due to the greed and corruption of Indians and to a lesser degree the Pakistanis.”

– Oh yeah! Pakistan sent her regular amry under and kabaylis to Kashmir to capture Kashmir by force. This forced Maharajah of Kashmir to sign treat of annexation to India. Rest is history.

@”The indians (mostly Hindus) are to blame because they were largely willing to accept the British as their new masters and the pakistani’s (Muslims) as they were unable to excercise the amount of control needed to keep the subcontinent strong and united. ”

– Read your history carefully or if you are a pakistani your are excused. When British came Mugal rule was at its death bed. In South marathas were rising and in north Sikhs. Between, i see that you tring to peddle ususal pakistani propoganda that hindus should be subject and muslims should be ruler of india garbage.

@”It’s no surprise that the Pakistani’s were left in the weaker position as otherwise there was a strong possibility of the subcontinent returning to the pre colonial status, something the British could ill afford. The situation in Kashmir was inevitable and a throwback of allowing ‘any’ invaders to have taken control.”

– Pakistan is weak because of its ideaology of hate. but you can not do anything about it. Hate is the founding stone of Pakistan.

@”You can’t keep blaming all your problems on others when in reality anyone could have taken advantage of the animosity and disunity between the people of the subcontinent. The british simply took advantage of the situtaion and were even largely aided by the locals.”

– Yes that is correct. Had india stand united no invasions would have been possible. No Alexander, No Gazni and no British.

@”Parallels can be drawn to the current situation in the subcontinent and central asia, and if the talbian were to be defeated in Afghanistan, there will likely be a new ‘Kashmir’.”

– Au Contraire Taliban has to be defeated to prevent future Kashmir/Pakistan where minorities are annilated.

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive
 

same…old…
@”Just or not, the people of the subcontinent did believe the mughals to be the rightfull rulers .. otherwise the hindus involved in the 1857 rebelion wouldn’t have accepted Bahadur Shah II as the ruler.”

- Over generalization! Bahadur shah zafar was declared “leader” of the rebellion not the “right ful ruler”.That rebellion had many Rajahs and nawabs fighting for independence of their own territory. Ex Lucknow and Jhansi. One important reason for declaring Zafar as leader was because he was more of less Secular.

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive
 

that’s right i think muslim rulers treated india as their own land akbar became one of the most secular kings but britishers were just imperialists..NOW U CANNOT DENY THAT FACT..

but if u are saying british rule helped india that’s not true.. and yes as far as our failures are concerned we can reach the same hieghts …

it may take another 20-30 years and within our life times u will see the differance..after all it takes some time to get over all plunder that british did in this subcontinent..

as far as pakistan is concerned …troubles like these makes a nation stronger..hope they come come out of it and become a stronger nation.. as far as britain is concerned ..its a nation of theives..

Posted by Raging bull | Report as abusive
 

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