Afghanistan and Pakistan: is it time to ditch “AfPak”?

October 12, 2009

One of the arguments frequently put forward for sending more western troops to Afghanistan is that western failure there will destabilise Pakistan.

Very roughly summarised, this 21st century version of the domino theory suggests that a victory for Islamist militants in Afghanistan would so embolden them that they might then overrun Pakistan – a far more dangerous proposition given its nuclear weapons.

A slightly different but related argument is that the United States needs to show resolve in Afghanistan to convince Pakistan of its commitment to the region and encourage the Pakistan Army and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency to turn against Islamist militants it once cultivated as ”strategic assets” to be used against its much bigger neighbour India.

“Many in Pakistan have always believed the Americans are not really serious about Afghanistan. They recall that the U.S. supported Pakistan and the mujahideen in Afghanistan in the 1980s only to abandon both once the Soviets left,” writes Bruce Riedel at Brookings in a follow-up to this weekend’s attack on the Pakistan Army headquarters.

If President Barack Obama ”shows resolve in Afghanistan, Pakistanis won’t love us, but they will believe we are serious and determined to stay until a stable Afghanistan and Pakistan emerges,” he writes. “If it appears the United States cannot make up its mind about what to do, then Pakistanis will say I told you so and make their own accommodations.”

Yet the assault on army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi raises several questions both about the domino theory and argument about the United States needing to show resolve in Afghanistan.

First, does the Pakistan Army still need to be convinced of the dangers from Islamist militants after its commandos, as the Daily Telegraph put it, “were forced to storm their own headquarters” to release hostages seized in an attack on the most powerful institution in the country?

Second, the attack - which in turn raised jitters about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons - appeared to have nothing to do with the main Afghan Taliban group fighting western forces in Afghanistan – the so-called Quetta shura led by Mullah Omar, which according to Washington is based in  Pakistan’s Baluchistan province.   

As discussed in this post and in this analysis, the gunmen involved in the Rawalpindi raid came from a nexus of militant groups linking up the Pakistani Taliban, or Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP), based in South Waziristan in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, and organisations which have taken deep root in the country’s heartland Punjab province – including sectarian groups and those originally set up to fight India in Kashmir.

The Guardian quotes Pakistan Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas as saying that five of the attackers came from Punjab while the other five were from South Waziristan. The ringleader, he said, was a Punjabi, while the operation was ordered from South Waziristan. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, but said it was carried out by its Punjab unit.

So if the threat to Pakistan comes not from the Afghan Taliban but from the Pakistani Taliban and the many militant organisations based in Punjab, can you still cite the need to stabilise Pakistan as a justification for sending more troops to Afghanistan?

There may be other arguments for sending more troops to Afghanistan, among them to prevent it again becoming a base for al Qaeda. As Reuters correspondent William Maclean writes here, analysts are still divided on whether the Afghan Taliban can be prised away from al Qaeda.

Pakistan’s former ambassador to Kabul argues in this interview with India’s Business Standard that they can. “First of all, we have to understand that the Taliban and the al Qaeda have totally different targets; and also that the Afghan Taliban are different from the Pakistan Taliban and there is evidence of this,” he says. ”We can do business with the Taliban and in order to bring back some normalcy in Afghanistan, the Taliban and the U.S. will have to do business. But we need to have some benchmarks for the conduct of the Taliban government before we do that.”

And in this article in the Washington Post, Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former director of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service, suggests looking anew at the Afghan Taliban.

“Change the media theme from attacking the Taliban and calling them the terrorists to concentrating on al Qaeda and ‘foreign terrorists’,” he writes. ”By removing the stigma of terrorism from the Taliban, you can pursue meaningful negotiations with them. Mohammad Omar has never enjoyed the full support of Pashtuns. He is a lowly figure in tribal terms, and he is blamed by many of them for the calamity that has befallen Afghanistan. Reaching out to tribal leaders is what will move negotiations.”

Those are big questions about Afghanistan, but are they the same questions as those now being asked about Pakistan? Or is it time to start looking at the two countries separately again, albeit within a broad regional context that acknowledges the very complex links between different Islamist militant groups?

The ”AfPak” label has never been popular in the region itself. Is it time to ditch it?

(Reuters file photos: Nuristan in Afghanistan; U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, and Pakistani soldiers in the border areas)

39 comments

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Is the “AfPak” label unpopular in the region? didn’t know that. It seems to be a very appropriate label.Afghnaistan should have a stable government that represents all its ethinc groups especially the Pashtuns. It should not be a “puppet” of any country. It should neither be pro-India nor pro-Pakistan, but it should be pro-Afghanistan only. Its government should not lend itself to any big power games, but beindependent. This may sound utopian, but it is a reasonable goal any fair-minded person would agree.However, the primary flaw in the above article is the clubbing of all terrorists into one bag and discussing whether pakistan army has made up its mind. This is a non-starter. Pakistan army is opposed only to terrorists who operate against its geostrategic goals. It is totally committed to supporting terrorists who are in alignment with Pakistan army’s goals in the regionand continuing terrorism as an instrument of state policy.The Saudi Arabian article in Washington Post is promotion and support of (pakistani + Sauid Arabian) self-serving imperialistic agenda rather than promotion of peace.Set aside for a moment how much violence and bloodshed Saudi Arabia has caused in this world by financial sponsorhip of a particular brand of miltitant religion in S.Asia & elsewhere.Look how he promotes his own and pakistan’s agenda:1) “Fix the Durand Line”—>Pray why? Pakistan doesn’t obey any international norms, mutual treaties in respecting kashmiri line of control with India. The same way Pakistan refuses to recognize LoC, Afghans refuse to recognize Durrand Line. In other words, this Saudi intelligence chief says terrorism and violence will continue until the imperialistic, geostrategic agenda of Pakistan are not addressed. This is dressed up as promotion of peace.2)”Push India and Pakistan to fix Kashmir.the nuclear energy agreement it has signed with Washington.”—> Ahem. Ahem. According to this Saudi Prince nuclear agreement is a leverage over India on Kashmir! Patently absurd, but then he is only promoting Pak agenda. No one has any leverage on India on Kashmir.3) “Convene a meeting of the security-intelligence departments of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, China and Saudi Arabia”—->Notice there is no role for India. Look in the map, compare the distance between New Delhi – Kabul and Riyadh-Kabul. Once again promotion of pakistan imperialistic agenda.

“does the Pakistan Army still need to be convinced of the dangers from Islamist militants after its commandos”. Myra, I suppose that is a rhetorical question given the delusional state that most in the Pakistani military establishment are in. For instance, take this excerpt from an article in the Washington Post that says “some (Pakistani) analysts and intelligence officials said the assault bore the hallmark of Indian fighters, who might have been acting in retaliation for a bombing last week outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul, the Afghan capital.” That is beyond ludicrous yet entirely unsurprising given the revisionist history that the Pakistani army puts out including the risible idea that they have defeated India in every war they fought against the Indians!

Posted by Vijay | Report as abusive

India has bad relations with all its small neighbors ask Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Pakistan is the country in the neighborhood which stands up to the Indian arrogance.India has usurped the Kashmir as the UN resolution of 1951 for plebiscite has not been implemented as promised by Nehru their PM then. Its not Indian Territory its still disputed territory Mr Raj check your history.India dismembered Pakistan in 1971 was that also a friendly gesture? India is against doing its mischievousness by interfering in helping the separatists in Baluchistan by using its 17 consulates in Afghanistan that has been proven by the proofs supplied to their PM by the Pakistani PM. This is the real purpose of their consulates to damage Pakistan nothing else. So Pakistan is facing two enemies right now the Taliban and the Indian destabilization in the heart of Pakistan territory that no one writes about in the biased western press.May I ask Indians have they dumped USSR their closest friend in the cold war and now are hypocritically acting to be closest friends of USA. Maybe they will also dump USA when it loses its status as a world power.India is just fair weather friend it is proven by her actions.

Posted by ratee | Report as abusive

Myra Says:”And in this article in the Washington Post, Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former director of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service, suggests looking anew at the Afghan Taliban”It is funny! In that article, the Saudi Prince has advice for all except for himself. Saudis are the ones who mid-wived the birth of Talibans and continue to finance the Talibans! The Talliban foot soldiers obey their commanders because the commanders can arrange funds from Saudis! And the Taliband continue to spread the obscure antique religion of the Saudis!ANd these immoral Saudi cave-dwellers, tent-livers, camel-riders have advice for the whole world!Is he expecting us to kiss his hand and follow him to his cave or tent?

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive

“Dr. Maliha Lodhi is being considered as a possible replacement for Mr. Hussain Haqqani as the new Pakistani Ambassador to the United States due to Mr. Haqqani’s alleged involvement in damaging Pakistan’s national interests abroad”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mali ha_LodhiMs Lodhi appointed herself the the new ambassador even before Govt sacked the current ambassador or announced any changes!

Posted by Sameer | Report as abusive

Exclusive: Pakistan ambassador says he hasn’t been fired (yet?)http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/ posts/2009/10/12/exclusive_pakistan_amba ssador_says_he_hasnt_been_fired_yetThe scene of Haqqani celebrating the F-16 deal, a long-awaited accomplishment of the U.S.-Pakistani relationship, amid the backdrop of the rumors of his sacking, show the complicated dynamic surrounding him.These sources also say that Haqqani has reams of documents that could embarrass the forces aligned against him and sacking him could open up a Pandora’s box of controversy that the government would not appreciate, which he might do if forced to defend himself after being fired.

Posted by Sameer | Report as abusive

Bravo Raj….there’s not a thing I could find in your postto disagree with, as I am completely with you. The Indians are the only people on Earth who actually understand Afghans AND support us in every way. I guess this explains why the Afghan and Indian marital vows has been in the making for generations, whilst the ugly, foul-breath mother-in-law in between keeps getting in the way! ;-)

Posted by Barekzai | Report as abusive

Anything that enhances India’s status in the region will further de-stabilize Pakistan.

Posted by dom youngross | Report as abusive

The blinkers are still firmly on. Pakistan’s military and political establishment are still sifting for the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ terrorists while their country is burning. The ISI emboldened by their success in ridding Afghanistan of the soviets still think that their archaic strategy can be replicated in Kashmir. The Al-Qaeda and the Pashtuns besides making some encouraging noises have shown little interest in taking their fight to Kashmir. The frustrated ISI have more recently offered captured Taliban fighters the option of going to jail or fighting in the Kashmir theater. Some chose the latter but promptly headed back to the NWFP with the arms and training. If Pakistan recedes into chaos, the ISI would be the unwitting contributor to their plight. Sad case of collective foolishness.

Posted by Jay S | Report as abusive

India dismembered Pakistan in 1971 was that also a friendly gesture?-rateeAgain the 1971 issue. Have you forgotten the massacres YOUR precious Pak Army caused there? India had to go in because having over 3,000,000 East Pakistani refugees is not an easy task. East Pakistan becoming Bagladesh was the biggest lesson you never learned about being racist against the ethnic Bengalis. Over 90,000 Pakistani soldiers ‘surrendering’ to the Indian forces. Still to this day Pakistan is refusing to accept those former East Pakistanis that supported the Pak Army actions.helping the separatists in Baluchistan by using its 17 consulates in Afghanistan that has been proven by the proofs supplied to their PM by the Pakistani PM.-rateeAs for Baluchistan proofs…there are none because they were disproved by Holbrooke (this was in a Dawn article). Otherwise the USA would have been all over India’s case and refused the nuclear deal. There are not 17 colsulates, but 4. With your madrassa education I am not surprised you cannot count. You state ‘real purpose’ because YOU cannot even prove yourself.The damage being done to Pakistan is due to the incompetence of your Pakistani politicians, the arrogance of the Pakistani generals, the determination of the Pakistani Taliban and the passive attitude of the general population.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

India’s a country of 1 billion people and as many issues ranging from poverty, hunger, corruption, gang wars, radical religious right wing grouops that breed intolerance and a bit of an insurgency in Assam. So I simply don’t understand how you people even have the time to obsess and fret over Pakistan. Sort yourselves out first and obsess over Pakistan later. You call yourselves secular yet secularism remains one big myth in India- work on that.You have territorial disputes with each and every one of your neighbours- whats that all about? 1 billion aint enough to look after, you greedily want more land and more people?And about using terrorism as a State policy…its so convenient that you gloss over India’s role in Sri Lanka! I wonder who gave refuge to the LTTe chief when he ran for his life…I wonder who gave the LTTE training and arms in the first place and I wonder who encouraged the call for a separate tamil state as well. Dont throw stones when you live in a glass house. Oh and about your friends the Afghans that you’re so concerned about…where were you when hundreds and thousands came for refuge to PAKISTAN…yes its not an easy task supporting hundreds and thousands of refugees….we know, but where were you how many did you take in? Sort out your mess and we’ll sort out ours.

Posted by embee | Report as abusive

embee, if whatever you state is true, then how has India EVEN managed to stay together? India is not going round the world with begging bowl asking ‘friends’ for aid. Sorry to hear that China and Saudi Arabia were not there at the last round.India took care of over 3,000,000 East Pakistani refugees, in 1971, while your Pak Army was conducting genocide in East Pakistan. Even today Pakistan refuses to accept those East Pakistanis who supported the Pak Army.We are sorting ourselves out, thank you for caring. Just each time I turn on the news there is Pakistan, again, again and again:People die in stampede for food.Sri Lankan cricket team attacked.Pak Army HQ attacked.Aonther suicide bomb…then another and another.India quit supporting LTTE or did you miss the news when PM Ragiv Gandhi was assassinated by them? This resulted in their pariah status even when Sonia Gandhi ‘forgave’ the suspects sparing them the death penalty.In Afghanistan, Pakistan based their Taliban junta during the 1990s bringing about a backward, barbaric, racist regime who murdered and butchered a lot people. India is building infastructure and the new parliament building as well as offering ‘free’ medical care to the Afghan people. This a lot more than what Pakistan gave the Afghan people.India is a democracy and it is secular and it will become a global power. I know for a FACT in my lifetime (I am 25 years old) I will never see a Pakistani PM or President who is not a Muslim.Taliban do not want peace in Pakistan; they want a piece of Pakistan:Pakistan’s Pashtuns, looking for statehood, may look to Taliban (CSM, 04/10/2009)

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

You know, we Indians fought for independence from the British a long time till we succeded in 1947. Similarly, USA left Afghanistan in 1990 after achieving its goal. It was a good thing. How can any Pakistani blame USA for doing something good.When you are in control, thats when your true nature comes out. When USA left Afghanistan after the withdrawl of USSR, Pakistan showed its true colors and destroyed everything in Afghanistan. They had the mujahedeens and when they looked at them, Pakistanis did not see Afgans who had to be rehabilitated, they saw startegic weapons that can be used against India.If they had built Afghanistan instead of destroying it completely with the help of Taliban, Afghanistan would have been Pakistans best freind and ally. If they had promoted Secular, democratic rule in Afghanistan, maybe right now Pakistan would be democratic too. If instead of trying to scare/control the people of Afghanistan through Taliban, Pakistan had asked the world community to build raods/ schools/industries/employment in Afghanistan, the afghans would love Pakistanis.When USA left Afghanistan, it was an oppurtunity and instead of recognising this, the Pakistanis call it a betrayal?? Are we living in the same world? The day USA and USSR both left Afghanistan should be celebrated as their independence day.

Posted by BetterYet | Report as abusive

American (and their allies’) strategies have only resulted in long term disasters everywhere. Their views are myopic with least knowledge of the rest of the world. They jump in with a lot of assumptions and realize that they have fallen into a deep swamp every time. Short sighted policies have led to long term misery across the world. It is not that their intention is bad. It is their vision that is bad.Look at what they have done in this region. They decided to keep Pakistan, of all nations, as a strategic ally. Without realizing Pakistan’s own sinister agenda, they kept supporting them and allowed them to grow beyond proportions into a global headache. This much of effort should have been done to help build their democracy, infrastructure and economy. Instead they kept feeding them weapons and donations, supported their military generals and turned a blind eye to their nefarious activities.They ignored this region after feeding the drug of Islamic radicalism to the frenzied locals in the late 1980s. They paid little attention to the woes of the neighboring countries which were struggling against state sponsored terrorism by Pakistan.After 9/11, they bombed the Taliban, allowed them to escape into Pakistan, didn’t push Pakistan to do the right thing, allowed Pakistan to cover up all its activities, went into Iraq, made a mess of that place, allowed Al Qaeda to move in breed over there, made an Af-Pak policy, tried to drag India into the equation, withdrew from it, did not make much progress, twisted Pakistan finally to do the right thing and now they are wondering whether Af-Pak strategy is worth it or not. I also see feelers like Taliban is not the enemy of the US and Al Qaeda only is. They have no idea who they are dealing with. These elements are experts at back stabbing. And the US is thinking of including them into the strategy.This region needs long term strategies and goals. One cannot keep on changing the game plan. Their enemy comes from an ancient culture that has been at the cross roads of war, betrayal, invasion, destruction and revenge for eons. It runs in their blood. Radical Islam has added more fuel to the already existing conflagration.My advice to the Americans and their allies. Do not make a deal with animals. They’ll only bite you back in the long run. Go after them and finish them off for good. Never trust Pakistanis or the Taliban. Keep the Af-Pak strategy alive and build on it. Make it Pak-Af if you can. Without resetting Pakistan, Afghanistan will never survive and the region will never let go off you.

ratee wrote:”India has bad relations with all its small neighbors ask Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Pakistan is the country in the neighborhood which stands up to the Indian arrogance.”=====Japan and China have disputes, but China does not send in terrorists to a commuter train station in Tokyo to shoot at unarmed civilians. But this is what Pakistan does. Singapore and Malaysia have disputes, but Malaysia does not send terrorists to slaughter unarmed civilians in a Singapore hotel. But this is what Pakistan does.India has been trying to resolve conflicts with its other neighbors as civilized countries would do. It is very common for neighbors to have disputes. America has trade disputes with Mexico and Canada. European countries have disputes amongst themselves. But Pakistan is the only country to indulge in terrorism under a mistaken belief that if you have nuclear weapons, it gives right to sponsor terrorism in an unlimited fashion all over.Three of your neighbors Iran, India and Afghanistan have been publicly asking Pakistan to stop cross border terrorism. And you are prostrating at the feet of one neighbor, being a client state, embarrassing yourself sending the President and Prime Minister every other week to Beijing. Very flattering!About standing up to India, I assume you refer to war mongering (you lost every one of them) and your terrorism in India. This “standing up to India” has taken you to where you are today with a begging bowl. Viceroy Clinton now has to certify the colony of Pakistan is behaving properly before you can budget. You are proud of it. Once again clarifies why you are there!

“India has bad relations with all its small neighbors ask Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Pakistan is the country in the neighborhood which stands up to the Indian arrogance.”–>Not actually true, China and Pakistan fueling all anti-democratic and anti-India factions to “contain” India.”India has usurped the Kashmir as the UN resolution of 1951 for plebiscite has not been implemented as promised by Nehru their PM then. Its not Indian Territory its still disputed territory Mr Raj check your history.”–>Wrong again. Pakistan army and ISI fueling terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy against India and to fuel its business model to fool Pakistani citizens to keep high profile to maintain political grip on power and justify its huge economic and parastic foot print by the Pakistani Punjabi Mafia Junta Elite.”India dismembered Pakistan in 1971 was that also a friendly gesture? “–>Wrong again, India had to deal with millions of refugess, after Pakistan systematically murdered and genocided 2.5million hindus and 500,000 muslims, in an attempt to crush the will of the people there who wanted to be free from Punjabi oppression from West Pakistan. It was a humanitarian effort that India step in and stop the most intense Genocide in human history and that it did in the end resulting in the surrender of 90,000 Pak POW’s. West Pakistan has no moral claim in East Pakistan, after it was carrying out the work of the devil, genociding millions. Please check history and your facts.”India is against doing its mischievousness by interfering in helping the separatists in Baluchistan by using its 17 consulates in Afghanistan that has been proven by the proofs supplied to their PM by the Pakistani PM. This is the real purpose of their consulates to damage Pakistan nothing else.”–>Wrong answer again. There is not proof, nor any dossier given to Delhi by Pakistan on any Indian interference of any kind. Balochi’s day in and day out want to be free of Pak Punjabi enslavement, please liberate them. They have their own minerals and materials and will thrive once out of Pakistan. Kindly please send detailed dossier instead of indulging in fabricated fairy tales sold to Pak public by mentally vacant mouthpiece Ahmed Quaraishi.”So Pakistan is facing two enemies right now the Taliban and the Indian destabilization in the heart of Pakistan territory that no one writes about in the biased western press.”–>Wrong again. It is Taliban all over that is challenging Pakistani security and State Agencies. We do not need to destablize Pakistan, the Militants that YOU created to keep Afghanistan in the 7th century, are doing back to you. Your own monster is wrapping its tentacles around your neck and squeezing.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

Myra:”a victory for Islamist militants in Afghanistan would so embolden them that they might then overrun Pakistan – a far more dangerous proposition given its nuclear weapons.”-It is very unlikely that millitants can take control of Pakistan given overwhelming majority of Pakistanis are moderate. Before the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, Pakistan was a relatively peaceful society, the extremism started after that.”related argument is that the United States needs to show resolve in Afghanistan to convince Pakistan of its commitment to the region and encourage the Pakistan Army and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency to turn against Islamist militants it once cultivated as ”strategic assets” to be used against its much bigger neighbour India.”-It is a no brainer that if Kashmir dispute is solved and relations with India are normalized a peace treaty is signed between the two countries things will improve. As a Pakistani, i feel if India genuinely comes forward to a just solution of Kashmir ( that doesnt necessarily means giving Kashmir to Pakistan) all I state is a ‘just solution’ to Kashmir, then i feel we have no enmity with India. Pakistan will make friendship with India once Kashmir dispute is out of the way.-As with the attack in Rawalpindi on Army Headquarters, and the millitant nexus behind the attack. Pakistan will need to adopt a step by step approach to deal with all these groups, the regional environment will have to be improved by creating peaceful conditions and resolution of disputes in Kashmir and Afghanistan. Only then can these millitant groups can be put out of business.-The AfPak term coined by Obama administration is reflective of the shortsightedness, Pakistan is a larger more developed country whereas Afghanistan is more underdeveloped and under foreign occupation. The solution in Afghanistan needs to be a political one, forming a national government, ending occupation and developing state institutions. Whereas in Pakistan, state institutions needs to be strengthened. Indeed, both Pakistan and Afghanistan need to be dealt differently.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

I am not sure I understand the argument of the above article. It seems to be saying that since there is an insurgency growing in Pakistan, that the issue of whether or not the Taliban take control of Afghanistan is irrelevent. This, however, completely ignores the fact that the Taliban would probably send fighters into Pakistan, to support the insurgency there, if they won. The reverse is actually part of how the Taliban took power in Afghanistan–extremists in FATA, as Ahmad Rashid writes, encouraged their followers to travel to Afghanistan to fight for the Taliban.A great number of arguments are currently being made about whether to send in more troops to Afghanistan, or withdraw them. I think that in making these arguments, the authors should also note what risks there are in stating what the intentions of the Taliban are. Because intent can change–and if we are simply wrong about the idea that the Taliban can be split from Al-Qaeda, then we will lose the war.

Posted by Mark Andrews | Report as abusive

@ Mark Andrews: You wrote:”I am not sure I understand the argument of the above article. It seems to be saying that since there is an insurgency growing in Pakistan, that the issue of whether or not the Taliban take control of Afghanistan is irrelevent.”I’m not saying that. I am saying that the questions to be asked about Afghanistan and about Pakistan are quite different. So bundling everything together under an “AfPak” label may actually be unhelpful, since it tends to oversimplify.That doesn’t in any way invalidate your question about the intentions of the Taliban as regards Afghanistan.Myra

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive

Umair: “As a Pakistani, i feel if India genuinely comes forward to a just solution of Kashmir ( that doesnt necessarily means giving Kashmir to Pakistan) all I state is a ‘just solution’ to Kashmir, then i feel we have no enmity with India. Pakistan will make friendship with India once Kashmir dispute is out of the way. “Mr. Umair, I’d like to point out the lack of consistency in your postings. I have been reading these blogs and reader responses for a while. I remember you declaring that Pakistan will not stop until the break up of East Pakistan is avenged. Now you are talking about a ‘just solution.’ I’d like to know what that ‘just solution’ is. Indians have gotten used to many such ‘just solutions’ from Pakistan. From our stand point it is nothing but buying time to do make the next move. You are now coming forward to find a solution because your country is neck deep in turmoil. So you want a breather. There is no guarantee that twenty years from now your generals will not start another ‘just cause’ in Kashmir. Until 1989 Kashmir on the Indian side was peaceful. From 1972 until 1989, the Simla accord was the interim ‘just solution,’ which was tossed out by Zia Ul Haq after the Afghan war ended in 1989.I also remember you showing no symapthy to Indian immigrants who are being attacked in Australia.What I am pointing at is that there is no consistency in any policy by your leaders or even citizens like you. In this situation, how do you expect us to trust any of what you say or do? To us all this regional peace solutions seem like empty talk to pacify the big powers.You have not ceased accusing India of subterfuge in Afghanistan against Pakistani interests. Some of your countrymen quote anywhere from 13 to 22 Indian consulates inside Afghanistan only for the purpose of causing trouble to Pakistan.Your country does not want to help India in resolving the Mumbai attack case. The leader responsible for the whole thing is walking around free and is having dinner with your military personnel.Finding a solution in Kashmir is not going to get you out of misery. Suddenly all your Jihadi maniacs are not going to drop their weapons and attitude towards India and start praying. In fact the recent developments in your country suggest that these monsters have gone out of control of your military/intelligence establishment. Your military does not care what your President claims. No one knows who is calling the shots in Pakistan.If resolving Kashmir issue is the source of all your ills, then why didn’t your countrymen start negotiations with India right from the start and go to the UN complaining about lack of co-operation from India? Why did your country start the proxy wars, trained militants, set up a ‘strategic depth’ inside Afghanistan and groomed the Taliban? If it looks so obvious now that Kashmir issue needs to be resolved by diplomatic means, what was all the drama over the past 20 years for?India will never bow down to Pakistan’s terms. We did try in the past only to be back stabbed each time. Remember Shimla accord? It says clearly that all issues are to be resolved by negotiations only. Remember Kargil? India’s Prime Minister at that time belonged to the BJP which is always projected as the Hindu Taliban by Pakistanis. Remember the hijack of Indian Airlines to Kabul? If Pakistan is such a peace seeking country, it would have handed over those terrorist leaders back to India. What is Dawood Ibrahim doing there, setting up marriage alliance with cricketers like Miandad? Musharraf cheated everyone and now he says he syphoned off internation aid to anti-Indian activities due to “Pakistani interest.” We have not forgotten Mumbai.When the devil reads out the Bible loud, we watch it with caution. No, Kashmir resolution will not do anything. It is meant for civilized nations only. We do not consider Pakistan as one yet. So get to that level first and then we will negotiate. Right now the view is that your country is one huge military establishment that is looking for a conflict somewhere or the other. Send them back to the barracks and have the take orders from a well established civilian government that works. Eliminate all terrorist activities and training from your land in a manner that it can be verified by international teams. Then we will talk of any negotiations with your country.We will definitely help those Pakistanis who consider us not as enemies. But I do not see many in your country fitting that description. We will wait and watch. Let us see if the fire in your country is put down or grows further.

Kp SinghArguments evolve and opinions are reshaped over time, despite of what i stated about a ‘just solution’ of Kashmir i still firmly believe that Indian elite and Indian establishment would like to see a fragmented Pakistan which is easy to keep check.You accuse Pakistan Army and ISI, I can guarantee if it were not upto the Army and ISI in Pakistan, terrorists would be stealing nuclear weapons and spreading all across. Pakistan has its problems like any other country, but you will be sadly mistaken if you think Pakistan is a sinking ship. Pakistan has the will, the resources and the manpower along with the expertise to fix all its problems. Drag your feet as much as you like, a time will come when rapproachment between the countries will simply not be possible.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Mr. Umair,India really does not need Pakistan for its existence. Six decades have elapsed since the two countries parted ways. We can move on entirely without caring for Pakistan’s existence. For us, your country is only a major irritant. We are doing whatever little negotiations with you because of your country being a drag on us. We have set up our defense forces and fortifications near the border regions with your country for the same reason. Your country has tried every possible way to stir up Kashmir issue and has failed. It has bled your country hard. Now your leaders are vouching for it by saying if Kashmir issue is resolved, then they will be good people. In India, the view is different. We know that if Kashmir issue never existed, we will still be considered as the worst enemy by your military leaders. There will some other issue that will be cooked up – like revenge for East Pakistan or a fictiously created holocaust of Indian Muslim brothers or river water sharing. Pakistan will create some issue to keep the enemy image projected. Your country is basically one huge military contonment and it needs an enemy to keep its flag flying high. So it has created one conflict after another or taken part in some in order to feel important, macho and belligerent.All Indians want from you Pakistanis is that you guys leave us alone. You can do whatever you want inside your borders. Kindly do not tell us what our foreign policy should be and what we should do with other nations. There sure will be intelligence gathering going on inside every country. So our RAW might be doing that inside Pakistan. But so do the ISI, CIA, Mossad etc inside India as well. This does not mean that India is scheming to stabilize and destroy Pakistan. If that is the case India would have annexed Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and even Burma by now. We have not. Neighboring countries do have issues and disputes. This does not mean they turn into enemies.Pakistan’s current turmoil is its own making. Though most of you blame others for all your ills, you will come through only when you look at your own faults and correct them.India will never take any concessions on Kashmir. So Pakistanis will need to take a deep breath and do something else for their survival. Kashmir issue has been beaten to death and India will not offer an inch there. Violent methods have been tried by your country and they have not worked.It is up to your countrymen to see what you can do to come out of your current turmoil. Since we are your neighbors, we will be watching the events. But no one can drag us into your problem. We offer no solutions. We have other important issues to deal with in our country – we have to quell the Maoist rebels. We missed the monsoon. Southern states are flooded. We are facings a drought. We are recovering from global economic down turn. The last thing we want is a desperate attempt by Pakistan to drag us into mud. And we are not going to allow that.This is the wrong time to do any diplomatic maneuvres between India and Pakistan. We will keep minimal contacts and exchange of information. Pakistan is unwilling to dismantle its terror networks that are anti-India. Until that happens, we cannot trust Pakistani leaders.We wish your country good. We want you to live well. Hopefully you will rise.

@ Umair: “i still firmly believe that Indian elite and Indian establishment would like to see a fragmented Pakistan which is easy to keep check”Can you blame the Indians for thinking that way? Up until the Mumbai attacks, most Indians (myself included) thought that Pakistan can be turned around & that a progressive & moderate Pakistan would be good for India but after the attacks, a vast majority of indians feel that Pakistan can never change it’s ways & that a progressive & moderate Pakistan is a highly improbably & distant reality.@ “You accuse Pakistan Army and ISI, I can guarantee if it were not upto the Army and ISI in Pakistan, terrorists would be stealing nuclear weapons and spreading all across”LMAO! Are you really serious? How can you say that with a straight face knowing what the world now knows about your army’s proliferation of nukes to rogue nations & extremists via the AQ Khan distribution network? The reality is that if your army/ISI were left unchecked by US & allies, they would’ve sold nuclear technology to every terror organization in the world. It’s one thing to be a nationalistic jingo, Umair but please don’t twist facts to the extent that the start appearing comedic.@ “Pakistan has its problems like any other country, but you will be sadly mistaken if you think Pakistan is a sinking ship”Can you name any other country which has the following problems? An increasingly radicalized, impoverished & intolerant populace, a country rife with terror, violence, civil war & insurgencies, a nuclear arsenal in jeopardy of falling the hands of terrorists. Can you name one?@ “Pakistan has the will, the resources and the manpower along with the expertise to fix all its problems”Same old rah rah devoid of substance, facts or track record. What resources do you have when your Govt is paying it’s bills by getting aids & loans?Manpower is an asset if it’s productive but when it is increasingly radicalized & unproductive as it currently is in Pakistan, it can be the biggest liability for any nation.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

Umair Says:(A) “Above all, I also stated that we (India & Pakistan) are way behind other nations in resolving longstanding disputes”(B)”China and Pakistan are always strategic partners in defense industry and economic cooperation, India can be an option too but not in the near future”Resp. A: DON”T compare India to Pakistan. There is no scale and nothing to compare! India has beat China in reaching the Moon, where as your PM is in China currently begging for a satellite and learning “Satelite-101 for Talibans”. Tell me a few areas where you want to compare Pakistan with INdia!What Long standing disputes? You wanted your own country and we gave you that! If you have no experience in running a country, NOT India’s fault! India has been been kind enough to give you a country! What else do you want? We had kissed you GOOD-BYE 62 years back! How long will you keep asking for things? I think it was a mistake to give you a country! You have become a danger to the whole world!Resp. B: NO, Thank you! India has nothing to learn from communists or terrorists! Pakistan and China can learn from each other begging, terrorism, communist skills, dictatorship, military coups, prisoner execution and organ harvesting, religious persecution. India has no interest in these areas! ALso send your terrorist brothers to China, NOT to India! Promote your bilateral trade with India?Don’t fool your self! China is not your strategic partner! Partnership is between equals! Beggar-Donor relation is not partnership! At what level do you compare yourself to China?

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive

If fired, Haqqani threatens to unveil ‘reams’ of Pakistan’s secretshttp://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan -news-n ewspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/1 4-Oct-2009/If-fired-Haqqani-threatens-to -unveil-reams-of–Pakistans-secrets- Posted by SamThe drama of Pakistani politicians, generals, diplomats etc never ceases to amaze me. I’ve never heard of an ambassador threatening to disclose state secrets, in order to hold on to his job. Only in Pakistan!

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

Umair:Kashmir dispute (if there is one) is between Kashmiris and Indians. What has Pakistan gotta do with it?What “just solution” you want? Plz be straight, specific and objective!Pakistan is illegallly occupying 40% of the Kashmir and INdians/Kashmiris are nice enough not to ask that back! What more do you want?If Pakistanis can’t take care of what they have got, why Pakistanis think they deserve more?

Posted by ANdy | Report as abusive

‘No change’ to Pakistan aid bill!http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_as ia/8306061.stmUS rejects Pak army’s concerns!Democracy survives for now in Pakistan!

Posted by Robin | Report as abusive

I think AfPak and Holbrooke were two hastily considered alternatives for Afghanistan by a new Obama administration, which wanted to show that it was doing something different from the previous administration. Should it be overturned? I think so.Would someone please enlighten me as to what is the US aim in Afghanistan? Speaking for myself, I think what needs to be addressed first is the political aim in Afghanistan on which this whole operation was based. All the discussions around sending more troops, or settling Pakistan first or bribing the Taliban etc. are secondary. The prime question is why is America in Afghanistan? Once there is a clear cut understanding on that one issue, alternate routes to achieving it can be discussed. From my limited knowledge, a single well defined, clear cut political aim is a must. My problem is I don’t know what it is.

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/18/magazi ne/18Afghanistan-t.html?pagewanted=8&_r= 1&hpWith its 180 million people, several dozen nuclear warheads and havens for Al Qaeda and the Taliban, Pakistan is one wild card in McChrystal’s campaign. “If we are good here, it will have a good effect on Pakistan,” he told me. “But if we fail here, Pakistan will not be able to solve their problems — it would be like burning leaves on a windy day next door. And if Pakistan implodes, it will be very hard for us to succeed.”-OK, so i get the point, there are some Al-Qaeda and Taliban havens in Pakistan. Just has there are some tax havens in the world like Switzerland or Moanco, but all citizens of those countries are not accused of money laundering and tax evasion. Pakistan, with international cooperation can overcome the Al-Qaeda and Taliban havens and bring the terrorists to justice who have inflicted much damage in Pakistan too.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

there is no taliban the gov just makes an umbrella of many groups arab, pashut and others so as not to confuse the public. They wouldn’t be happy if it was widely known that we are dealing with many unheard of groups, with the exception of al qaeda which only has 100 fighters in aphganistan compared with the 20,00 total fighters in aphganistan who fight each other often.If you want to go after alqaeda you can eliminate them in days in indonesia somallia (the places where osama bin laden if he is still alive ). Most experts agree he died in the battle of tora bora. Even the president doesn’t know this its been ignored so much by the media that we stil think he’s alive. And the osama videos propoganda made by the millitants they are all made by different people.

Posted by ben | Report as abusive

Just has there are some tax havens in the world like Switzerland or Moanco ..Pakistan, with international cooperation can overcome the Al-Qaeda and Taliban havens and bring the terrorists to justice who have inflicted much damage in Pakistan too.- Posted by UmairYes, international coercion (not cooperation) is the way forward! You should cooperate with the drones and special-ops. Tell your army/ISI that this the only option available for cooperation!Talibans won’t be allowed to have a Switzerland or Moanco in Pakistan!

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive

Mr. Umair: “so i get the point, there are some Al-Qaeda and Taliban havens in Pakistan. Just has there are some tax havens in the world like Switzerland or Moanco, but all citizens of those countries are not accused of money laundering and tax evasion. Pakistan, with international cooperation can overcome the Al-Qaeda and Taliban havens and bring the terrorists to justice who have inflicted much damage in Pakistan too.”Wrong conclusion. Tax havens are legitimate. They are recognized by international community. They are not mafia controlled money laundering black market businesses.Al Qaeda, Taliban, LeT etc are illegal criminal organizations that engage in terrorizing populations and destroying countries.Compare Dubai with Pakistan. Both are Muslim nations. Both do not have much oil or resources to be self sufficient. But Dubai is a flourishing business center, while Pakistan is mired in conflicts and wars. Reason? One went with business and the other went with the business of terrorism.One can bring up a dog as a pet and in general it will behave and follow commands. But if one brought up a crocodile as a pet, at some point the animal will start feeding on the owner when it cannot find food elsewhere.The two are not the same.

Hey Umair and other Pakistanis,Condolences and sympathies for your dead police officers and civilians!Hope these events will convince ISI that terrorists are nobody’s friends! Hafeeez Sayeed and likes should be put in jail and their terror infrastructure should be dismantled!Time is running out for Pakistan to act against these terrorists! No more peace deals or turning blind eye or my-terrorist-your-terrorist!

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive

Pak police blames India after terror attacks and hides real terrorists! Some people never stop palying games with dead!http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ india/Pak-police-accuse-India-after-5-te rror-attacks-in-a-day/articleshow/512844 4.cms

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive

The interior minister, Mr. Malik, a confidant of President Asif Ali Zardari, was prevented from entering the army headquarters on Wednesday for a ceremony he had been invited to, apparently because he has fallen into disfavor with the military command.http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/1 6/world/asia/16pstan.html?em

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive

Pakistan’s ISI still supporting the Taliban, say AfghansPakistan’s intelligence agency is directing Taliban attacks on Western targets in Afghanistan, Davood Moradian, a senior government official has claimed.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ worldnews/asia/pakistan/6338349/Pakistan s-ISI-still-supporting-the-Taliban-say-A fghans.html

Posted by Ramin | Report as abusive

Pakistan must act now and decisively. Since it has atomic weaponry, employ tactical nukes in Swat valley, South Waziristan and other areas infested by Taliban (Afghan or Pakistani), AQ, or other anti-government forces. This will help Jihadis get to Paradise faster and give Pakistan a chance to survive, possibly thrive.

Posted by Herbet Wills | Report as abusive

Mr. Herbert writes: “Pakistan must act now and decisively. Since it has atomic weaponry, employ tactical nukes in Swat valley, South Waziristan and other areas infested by Taliban (Afghan or Pakistani), AQ, or other anti-government forces. This will help Jihadis get to Paradise faster and give Pakistan a chance to survive, possibly thrive.”How about innocent civilians? Elderly, women and children? Everyone there is not Taliban sir. They are the majority and they will be the ones wiped out by the nukes. And those who survive, will join the Taliban in an act of vengeance. And instead of cleaning up the monster, it will only make it bigger. India and Pakistan have become such utter enemies because of the violence that slaughtered so many innocent men, women and children during the partition of the sub-continent. Imagine what a nuke will do.Bombs never offer permanent solutions. They only offer immediate shock. But everything recovers from it and the damage lasts forever. It begins to make things worse than before.Nukes must be removed from this planet for good.