Towards a settlement in Afghanistan; on terms and timing

July 10, 2010

afghan girlIn the highly charged debate about Afghanistan, one of the more common features is the straw man fallacy - in which you deliberately misrepresent your opponent’s position in order to discredit it. One of the least common is a definition of terms and timing – thereby making the straw man attack even easier.  So before a round-up of where things stand on prospects for a settlement, here are some caveats on what it does not involve.

First, as Andrew Exum highlights here, few are talking about a helicopters-on-the-rooftops of Kabul-style, complete U.S. withdrawal come July 2011, the deadline fixed by President Barack Obama for starting to draw down U.S. troops. Second, few believe the war will end in an outright victory; but rather in a negotiated settlement, including with the Taliban.  Third, when people talk about negotiating,  they are not suggesting Taliban leaders are suddenly about to lay down arms and come to the table (it is just not the sort of thing you do when your names figure on the most-wanted list.) Beyond those caveats, what you do have is a set of questions about the likely influences that will define the timings and terms of a settlement.

ON TIMING:

The obvious question is how long will U.S. and European public opinion hold up in support of the war? And also how long will Afghan public opinion tolerate the war before some segments of the population see a return of the Taliban as the least bad option?  For one indication on this, do read this piece by Spencer Ackerman at Danger Room reporting on a study showing Afghans are far more likely to react against civilian deaths caused by ISAF than against deaths caused by insurgents. 

The less obvious question is how long Pakistan can withstand what it sees as blowback from the Afghan war. A new wave of attacks, including on the country’s most important Sufi shrine in Lahore, have raised fresh fears about stability in its heartland Punjab province. Pakistan has faced attacks in Punjab before, including an assault on its own army headquarters last year. What makes the latest attacks worrying though, is the deliberately religious choice of targets – first the minority Ahmadi sect, then a Sufi shrine - suggesting that the tactics and indeed the nature of militancy in Pakistan may be mutating.

The network of militants believed to operate from Pakistan — including the Afghan Taliban led by Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Tehrik-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan (TTP), al Qaeda, along with sectarian and/or Kashmir-focused groups based in Punjab – has never been particularly static. Allegiances shift for ideological or opportunistic reasons. Some have turned against the Pakistani state; others, like the Lashkar-e-Taiba have not. But militant groups have always been at risk of both splintering into more extreme factions, and – perhaps paradoxically – uniting into a force which would pose a serious threat to Pakistan.

For a sobering insight on this, do read Pakistan’s Competing Jihadists by Praveen Swami at The Hindu, arguing that militants belonging to the Lashkar-e-Taiba – traditionally one of the most cohesive of the militant groups – are peeling away to join more radical groups because its leadership has refused to fight the Pakistani state and the west. The Lashkar-e-Taiba’s humanitarian wing, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, has a huge following inside Pakistan and in the Pakistani diaspora. If the organisation were to splinter enough and go rogue – and Pakistani security officials already blame rogue elements for both the November 2008 attack on Mumbai and for those LeT cadres fighting in Afghanistan – it could pose a danger to Pakistan, to the region, and to the west, comparable to al Qaeda.

The third question on timing is when is the regional situation likely to be most propitious for a settlement? India and Pakistan – engaged in what can arguably be described as a  proxy war in Afghanistan - have resumed talks broken off after the attack on Mumbai. But these are likely to move slowly, especially given the latest flare-up in violence in Kashmir, and probably too slowly to meet all the other competing deadlines jostling for attention in the Afghan war.

And don’t forget the other regional wild card, Iran – which has the potential to act as spoiler in any political settlement, and, as Hillary Mann Leverett argues here, would certainly do so if it is at loggerheads with the United States over its nuclear programme. It’s hard to predict when that row over the nuclear programme will come to a head, but you would probably hope it is not July 2011.

All that is not to suggest Afghanistan is merely a victim of external circumstances. A change on the ground there will also influence external factors, particularly the situation in Pakistan. But the choice of the right time for a settlement is about more than predicting when, or whether, COIN is likely to achieve enough success to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table on the right terms. It’s more like trying to put together a 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzle which is at least three-dimensional and moving all the time (and preferably without powerpoint (pdf).

ON TERMS

Assume, for the sake of argument, that you were to decide the time to initiate (and the word is initiate, not conclude) negotiations is now, how would you get there? What does it take to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table? What do the Taliban want?

Gilles Dorronsoro makes a case here about why now is better than later, arguing that the best option would be to try to negotiate a broad agreement with the Taliban leadership to form a national unity government, with guarantees against al Qaeda’s return to Afghanistan. ”Time is not on the coalition’s side. The United States should contact Taliban leaders as soon as possible rather than waiting for the situation to deteriorate further,” he writes.

If you were to accept this argument – or indeed accept it six months, a year, or five years from now, the most obvious question is what do we know about the Taliban? 

After a dearth of information about the Taliban over the last nine years, some good stuff is beginning to get out there. “My Life with the Taliban” by Adbul Salam Zaeef, the last Taliban ambassador to Islamabad, is a good place to start.  Antonio Giustozzi has just published a new report on the Taliban (I posted a blog on it here). Do read Vahid Brown, arguing that the relationship between Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden was never as strong as it was made out to be; also see Leah Farrall on everything, but particularly this piece on links between the Haqqani network and al Qaeda; and Alexander Thier’s “Afghanistan’s Rocky Path to Peace” (pdf) (h/t Alex Strick van Linschoten). Then maybe go back to this old (2008) blog post about the Taliban studying the lessons of Dien Bien Phu if you need to be reminded that they are just as capable as of thinking strategically – or at least of using history to project the future – as the west. And then (and this is arguably a leap of faith that the straw man fallacists will pounce upon), assume they will act rationally in their own interest.

The Taliban know they cannot defeat the United States and its allies militarily. And waiting out the clock for the Americans to leave runs the risk of facing a renewed civil war – or as former U.S. envoy to India Robert Blackwill argued here, de facto partition. That is not a great option for a movement that, by most accounts, believes it has the upper hand and – just maybe – could secure more at the negotiating table than on the battlefield.

One of the things the Taliban sorely lacked when they were in power from 1996 to 2001 was international recognition – they were recognised only by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. A negotiated settlement could give them the legitimacy they never had, along with the possibility of international funding and investment. In return they would need to sever ties with al Qaeda, and accept a political settlement in Afghanistan that accommodated non-Pashtun ethnic groups and acknowledged the rights of the Afghan people (roughly half of whom are women).

Would they accept this? Does anyone know for sure until negotiations start?

Who would be involved in any negotiations? It’s clear that the Taliban will not negotiate without endorsement from the United States – President Hamid Karzai is not alone in a position to deliver. And would the main insurgent groups – the Afghan Taliban led by Mullah Omar, the Haqqani network and the Hizb-e-Islamli of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar – sit as one opposition? As one diplomat put it to me recently, “We are still not clear how many corners that table would have.”

More prosaically, how do you manage the mechanics of negotiating? If, as many argue, the Taliban want to be recognised as legitimate stakeholders, they are unlikely to negotiate in secret (and nor, for that matter, to depend on the Pakistanis or any other party as intermediaries). Also their leaders can’t easily travel, so the kind of locations often favoured by diplomats for secret negotiations (second-rate hotels on the outskirts of cities where journalists don’t go) are not an obvious option.

Dorronsoro suggests a ceasefire – which presumably would be a prelude to public negotiations. But how then do you address the question of the Taliban names  on the United Nations 1267 Committee sanctions list? The Taliban leadership is not expected to negotiate in public until their names are removed from the list. The United States and its allies are unlikely to remove those names from the list until the Taliban sever ties with al Qaeda. And the Taliban are unlikely to sever ties with al Qaeda until after negotiations start, since that is one of their strongest cards. It’s a Catch-22 that Joseph Heller would have been proud of.

That is more than enough questions for now. A journalist’s job is to ask questions rather than offer answers, but if I ask any more, I’ll be reduced to explaining them all on powerpoint. So before anyone thinks there is a simple answer out there, let me finish instead with my favourite quote from “War and Peace”, on Napoleon at the Battle of Borodino in 1812 during the disastrous French invasion of Russia. It is about the frailty of human ambition and its belief that any one person can change the course of history:

“Napoleon played his part as representative of authority quite as well at Borodino as at his other battles – perhaps better. he did nothing harmful to the progress of the battle; he inclined to the more reasonable opinions; he made no confusion, did not contradict himself, did not lose his head or run away from the field of battle, but with his sound judgement and great military experience calmly and with dignity performed his role of appearing to be in supreme control.”

56 comments

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Myra:
It is beginning to look clear without any doubt that political settlement with Taliban is inevitable.

I would like to take you to a different page in history, back to the Rhodesian bush war, and white Rhodesians war against the black african guirellas. The Rhodesian Army fought against the guirellas but atlast they were left with no option but to end the war and give independence, Rhodesia then became Zimbabwe.

In Afghanistan, just as then (Lancastar house agreement) where Zimbabwe’s independence was negotiated.
Maybe a good thing to do is an international conference, probably in Oslo, Copenhagen or Stockholm one of neutral venues. Taliban leaders must have the freedom to travel, negotiations must not be secret, international recognition and legitimacy must be given to them. And only a government of national unity will prevail in Afghanistan.
And Pakistan wants the situation in Afghanistan to ease and insurgency to end. Otherwise Afghanistan will descend into chaos once more and Pakistan will continue to suffer the fallout.

Time for big steps, now.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

Myra
“Assume, for the sake of argument, that you were to decide the time to initiate (and the word is initiate, not conclude) negotiations is now, how would you get there? What does it take to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table? What do the Taliban want?”

-To get there is simple, ceasefire and invite all parties to negotiations. It would take the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan to bring the Taliban to negotiating table. The Dutch and Canadians surely leave in about 6 months anyways. Taliban want sharia law in some form, they are conservative not neccesarily extremsts, they want international recognition. And certainly not bad to compensate them with fair treatment.

I think enough is enough, three decades of conflict is enough in Afghanistan. Pakistan too needs a respite. Hopefully the war should end, but it is not going to happen by dreaming. All parties involved need to work for a common goal, a stable and neutral Afghanistan, in peace with its neighbours.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

Paracha’s latest satire (published in Dawn)

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn -content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/colu mnists/19-smokers-corner-excuses%2C-excu ses-170-hh-04

Smokers’ Corner: Excuses, excuses
By Nadeem F. Paracha
Sunday, 11 Jul, 2010

* Always remember, while our existential adversary India is investing billions of dollars in Afghanistan’s infrastructure and municipal training, we are using our billions (that we don’t have) to create the ultimate strategic depth in Afghanistan: i.e. fattening macho Islamist bravados who will eventually recreate the Islamic caliphate that made Afghanistan the model of peace and prosperity from 1996 to 2001.

Posted by Seekeroftruth | Report as abusive

Let us all hope that the aggressors from the west are going to disappear from the sub-continent sooner than before. The western Govts. along with their self proclaimed leader, the USA are now bankrupt and almost totally rely on saudi’s and chinese credit. The USA has also the problem of accomodating the military at home. My suggestion they could send the military to settle down in Australia and Canada. The Pashtoon talabans do not fight for political settlements. They do not negotiate either. Every Pashtoon knows their basic requirement of removing all foreigners from their land. The Pashtoon talabans next agenda is clear, to expand towards Punjab and Kashmir and to confront the Indian Armada!!
rex minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

More than an end to war, we want an end to the beginning of all wars – yes, an end to this brutal, inhuman and thoroughly impractical method of settling the differences between governments.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Get OUT of Afghanistan — you can never resolve the ethnic conflicts of that religious morass, and you can’t afford it!!!

Posted by Warburton | Report as abusive

“The Pashtoon talabans next agenda is clear, to expand towards Punjab and Kashmir and to confront the Indian ”

Holy! You are cheering for barbarians. Some sick morality you got. Or, are you one of them?

Posted by Seth | Report as abusive

The Pashtoon talabans next agenda is clear, to expand towards Punjab and Kashmir and to confront the Indian Armada!!

Posted by pakistan
===

Is the electriciy invented by the infidels working in your cave? when are you going to hop on the horsey and march towards New Delhi?

Posted by Seekeroftruth | Report as abusive

@Seekeroftruth

What Rex minor (not pakistan, mind you) is implying that these Talibans are not controllable by anyone. They are brave (except beating meek women and blowing people while praying but that does not count) fighters who fight for what they believe in and nobody has a moral right to oppress them. Once they take the control back in Afghanistan, they may wish to head south-east including Punjab and then Kashmir and it is WRONG for anyone to try to prevent them because this is how they have been for centuries. Hell yeah! So were the predators beasts before Man conquered them. Now you see them either in zoo or in circus and that is what would happen to Taliban (and hopefully their supporters) one day.

Or would the Rex minor (not pakistan) rather prefer to go back to live in a forest with his family where predators roam free because thats how they have been. When did they care for any boundary and so won’t your pious Talibans. Yes, they have right to do whatever they wish in their homeland but when these predators start going out of their territory and hurting people of West and Pakistan, they should be ready to get some lead in their bodies. If you don’t crush them now, one day they will reach Germany(?) but then, it will be too late for you to apologize to yourself.

Posted by Seth | Report as abusive

Seth:

Be careful! Rexminor does not believe in entity called Taliban. He thinks it is figment of imagination of the Westerners or with that ideology. He also thinks that Taliban = Pushtoons and Pushtoons = Talibans. He has gotten equation wrong and is going down the slippery slope. So he will take anything u aim at Taliban as an attack on Pushtoons.

He considers Taliban to be a normal ideology not that it is a mutated Pushtoon ideology. But he is ahead of time and has rightly aligned with Taliban, the next superpower and closer he deviates towards is China.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive

A settlement is Afghanistan would certainly have its effect on the overall situation of the region. Peace is necessary for the overall development of this country. Drawing Taliban to a settlement would be a hefty task that all the stakeholders would have to really concentrate on.

Posted by SZaman88 | Report as abusive

The situation has become really sticky. Once US/NATO withdraw prematurely, they will be leaving Afgnistan in the hands of a stronger & emboldended Taliban. AfPak will imminently become a lot more dangerous than it was prior to 9/11.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2 010/07/us_military_begins_t.php

Myra,

The U.S. Army just released a press release showing links between the so-called “Good Taliban” the prodigies of the Pakistani State.

These Afghan-Waziri Taliban – Mullah Nazir are apparently engaging the Afghan and NATO forces while at the same time having links to Al-Qaeda and the notorious LeT, the same LeT that is not being destroyed by Pakistan, the same LeT that India keeps asking whose leader be arrested for plotting Mumbai with David Headly.

I am curious to see how the NATO mission will address Pakistan Army’s links with the Afghan Taliban and their supposed support of Militants in Afghanistan.

Why is these curious links not being challenged by NATO with greater ferocity?

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive

If you guys use the first layer of your brain, then you would spit out nothing more than the unintentional indoctrination you have consumed from the propaganda machinery of the CIA and the current USA administration. Try to use the second layer of the brain, which is the intellectual level and I have noted some of you have expressed in this forum very eloquently when you are dealing in the arena without prejudice. Have we not heard a lot of larifari with regard to terrorists, talabans(afghan and Pakistan) insurgents, failed state etc. etc. Try to be yourself and stop referring to the media. Internet is the enlightning of inner conscous and the extended arm of the defunct newspapers llike NY times and Washington Post, to mention some. Have a nice day.
Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

PS
INTERNET IS NOT REPEAT NOT THE EXTENDED ARM OF THE DEFUNCT NEWSPAPERS…….
Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

Rex Minor…

To some extent you are right. But none of us have the luxury of being in the ground on Pakistan, next to venomous mullahs or militants.

We have to trust our news agencies and decide what is true, by amassing large information from many sources.

There political propaganda and lies on both sides and leaders lie to their people.

At the end of the day, the people are victims and caught in the cross fire. Yes, Indians, westerners and Pakistani’s are all victims of the constant attack on their intelligence and psyche. There is much propaganda You do not ever know if you trust something you read, whether it is dis-information, or whether it is real. But you have to draw the line somewhere and accept that something is real, you cannot casually reject everything as propaganda.

My personal compass is that I have a strong rejection of people, any people who use a religious lens as a basis for their roles, actions and political views. I believe religion and politics are two distinct domains and for those who keep them as one are merely mental slaves of intellectual materialism and will be kept in a drone like state, incapable of seeing matters for what they really are. I believe human beings will be incapable of reaching their true potential of growth, as long as they continue to be slaves of uncompromising entrenched religious belief systems that guides all of their decisions.

But rest assured, whatever the case maybe, the militants from Pakistan ARE attacking the west and ARE being supported by Pakistan’s agencies. Yes there may be a lot more than this going on, on many sides, but with regards to Afghanistan, unless you have proof or a source you are willing to share, it is merely a conspiracy story and best be kept to yourself.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive

@GW
You said it. It is the inner compass we all have to focus on and this is going to guide all of us. The religion is another distraction, it has nothing to do with the events we witness in the world. This is one of the label for the media to approach the vast public on any issue. In fact I would recommend that in Pakistan the education in the madrassas should become comulsary for all. This is one of the way to eliminate the blame on madrassas? In the west our children receive religious education in schools and go to church on Sunday with the family. No one is blaming the religion when we find that the child abuse by the priests and religious ceachers. They are criminals in every evenue of the society and this is the reality. People Afghanistan and Pakistan believe in Islam(the light) because of its goodness and not beause the preachers are telling them stories about. Yet the suicide resistance fighters blow themselves up in a mosque not because they are anti religion, but simply to carry out their so called mission against a crowd which happens to be in a mosque. There is no need to blame the preachers of religion or the religion for the crime which took place. They are simply and very simply criminals, no different than the GI’s who are killing Pashtoons in afghanistan or from the indian soldier who is shooting the kashmiri to protect his own life against the civilian demonstrators. I guess it is now getting too complex. You need to decide for the culprit for the blame but the fact is that all of these acts are criminal acts. There were no heroes involved and please let us not give medals to the soldiers and curse the resistance fighters. All the intelligence units are more or less involved in criminal activities, but the question is to what wxtent? Have a nice day.
Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

@Rex,

I disagree, the mullahs are on the frontlines of propaganda and perverting the poor youth of Pakistan to radicalism and militantism.

Yes, children it the west receive Sunday school, but Sunday school is very fleeting, almost nobody goes to it any more and when they did, you should know that Christians do not teach violence, militantism or relgious supremacy over others in their churches, Hindus and Buddhists and Sikhs are much the same, there is no politics or religious venom taught, except morals and religious philosophies to make one a better person.

On that note, I would expect a responsible person, or families or communities to single out these madrasa mullahs who preach hate and god in the same breath. But your culture as a whole in Pakistan is complicit or too scared to challenge extremists in Islam, the prevailing opinion has not changed enough in Pakistan to make a lasting difference. You cannot keep blaming Kashmir or the Soviet occupation for that.

Rex, you had to admit to yourself and ask yourself, why do you not see Jews doing suicide attacks on Germans, why do you not see Bangladeshi’s doing suicide attacks on Pakistani’s and why do you not see Hindus doing suicide attacks in Pakistan? Pakistan is rife with backwardness and “blame it on India” style political opinions.

If Pakistani’s were even half as aware as westerners, your countries problem of Islamic Extremism and militantism would be history.

You cannot let ubiquitous global apathy be an excuse for avoiding your own shortcomings and problems and those should not be use to abrogate yourself from things that need true fixing.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive

This is what happens to stone-pelters in IOK. how is this any less inhumane than mumbai? it has happened a 100,000 times in kashmir.

http://kashmir.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/ omars-kashmir/

Posted by tupak_shakir | Report as abusive

http://drshabirchoudhry.blogspot.com/

‘I loved Pakistan until I visited Pakistani Occupied Kashmir’
‘I loved Pakistan until I visited Pakistani Occupied Kashmir’
Dr Shabir Choudhry 11 July 2010

Pakistan had to twist the knife to make it relevant again.

A few weeks before this unrest, an impartial survey confirmed that 98% of the people of Kashmir did not want to join Pakistan. This was a big slap on the face of those who claimed and continue to claim that people of Kashmir were eager to join Pakistan and were giving sacrifices for this purpose. These claims are made despite the current deteriorating economic and security situation of Pakistan in which many Pakistanis don’t want to remain part of the Federation.

Pakistani establishment and their puppets have, hitherto, made themselves relevant in the Kashmir dispute not because of any legal standing, but because of their de-facto control, religious card and Kashmiri collaborators which are available in abundance on both sides of the divide.

Many experts and Kashmir watchers after the survey thought Pakistan was becoming irrelevant in the Kashmir dispute because of this change; and because of Pakistan’s serious internal economic and terrorism related problems. Somehow Pakistan had to ‘strike back’ and make it relevant again; and they have done it in a style.

Posted by Seekeroftruth | Report as abusive

“U.S. May Label Pakistan Militants as Terrorists” – NYT

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/14/world/ asia/14diplo.html?_r=1&hp

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

U.S. May Label Pakistan Militants as Terrorists” – NYT

How does it matter? The US labels different groups as allies or terrorists based on its own interests. It should have labeled Pakistan’s military and ISI as terrorist organizations long ago. Unfortunately these non-state actors are their allies in the war on terror. It is like going to a drug cartel to fight a war on drugs. Only Americans can do such asinine things. All these years the Taliban, the Haqqani groups did not matter. Now they are going to be labeled as terrorist groups. Big deal! I won’t be surprised if they call Karzai a terrorist and give medal to Mullah Omar. American policy makers are a bunch of clowns.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

KP,

Although I do agree with your critisizm of american policy makers & the fact that this should’ve been done a long time ago, officially lebelling the Haqqani network as terrorists is relevant at this time as it would mean that the US is about to put pressure on Pakistan to go after their long time buddies. It means even more, given that until very recently, the Pakistanis were trying to involve the Haqqanis in some sort of power sharing arrangement in Afghanistan.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

@GW
May I suggest that you visit a madrassa and hear the words of the teachers and then post your experience on this forum. like many you are not in a position to free your self from the propaganda of the USA. Are you of the opinion that the USA is sending a love message when they are classifying states as the axis of evel and groups who are resisting the occupation of Palestine as terrorists, then you are not serious. Perhaps you also believe that CNN and Fox news are regularly sending love messages to the world. Then your inner compass genuinely need an expensive repair. As I recall the suicide missions were first undertaken by the japanese in the second world war. It was also the japanes who trained the first palastinian group to teach suicide lessons in resisting the enemy. In fact you should visit the ancient history and will discover that the jews were the first to commit a suicide act as a group. Israel current policy of aggression against the arab neighbours is described even by the american jewiwish community as a suicide mission. Finally to bring it home the current Indian strategy of close military ties with Israel and maintaining military rule in Kashmir tantamounts to a suicide strategy. In fact if you visit Europe and see the battle grounds where more than thirty millions soldiers died, then the word suicide will no longer be very foreign for you. The three Gurkhas who were shot down in cold blood by the afghan recruit during training session were equally on a suicide mission. a soldier who follows the orders of his commander and is prepared to kill in a foreign country is definitely on a tourist visa. They are all on a suicide mission, and so are all the intelligence folks from India to the USA and Russia are all on a suicide mission. Every one of them is equiped with a sleeping pill to have a permanent sleep when caught. Surprisingly the latest russian spies were caught without any one taking the pill. I am sorry if I have bored you with the reply on suicide. Have a nice day and keep on using your inner compass and not the GPS which is not very accurate.
Rex Minor
PS
I have not visited the madrassa but if do I would first learn the arabic language to understand what is being said. It is not easy to translate arabic language in English. For example there is no such thing as holy war. Wars are never holy, in history the crusaders declared a holy war against the Arabs and this was approved by the christian religous war lords. It is a lot of non sense to believe that the muslim priests are preaching hate against non muslims.

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

Man from cuckooland: First he asks someone to visit a Madrasa to get the real experience of what it is.

“May I suggest that you visit a madrassa and hear the words of the teachers and then post your experience on this forum. like many you are not in a position to free your self from the propaganda of the USA. ”

Then he goes on to write some confused garbage on suicide attacks.

Late on he confesses that he has not visited a Madrasa himself. So how is he asking someone else to visit a Madrasa to certify that they run charity service?

“I have not visited the madrassa but if do I would first learn the arabic language to understand what is being said. It is not easy to translate arabic language in English. For example there is no such thing as holy war. Wars are never holy, in history the crusaders declared a holy war against the Arabs and this was approved by the christian religous war lords. It is a lot of non sense to believe that the muslim priests are preaching hate against non muslims.”

He does not know the Arabic language. Then he declares that there is no such thing as a holy war. Jihad in Arabic means “Holy war.” There are lot of Muslim preachers venting out hate for non-Muslims. Have you heard of Ayotollah Khomeini? He was famous for fatwas to kill the enemies of Islam.

This article is about India-Pakistan dialogue and the importance of the Kashmir equation. Let us see if he can come back to it.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

@The Pashtoon talabans next agenda is clear, to expand towards Punjab and Kashmir and to confront the Indian Armada!!
rex minor

–Rex that sure is what you want. SICK!

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive

@Pakistan,

Actually I was going to suggest the opposite to you, that you goto any mandir, outside of Pakistan, in India, or in the west, regardless of the language you speak, regardless of your religion, or even if you are an atheist, you are allowed to enter and listen and all translations will be made for you. There is nothing to hide in hindu temples, there is not politics, there is no discussion of violent struggles or enemies of any kind. There is purely spiritual endeavor and one’s struggle to better oneself.

I would goto a madrasa, but, as you know the tradition, non-muslims are not allowed in. I am scared for my life anyways, entering any such madrasa place. Not all clerics and mullahs are violent, nor do all of them preach violent jihad, I did not claim that they did.

But you have to admit, Islamic holy places are very tightly guarded to outsiders, for a whole range of reasons, but that is not the case with Hindus, Chritians or Buddhists and especially Sikhs…for these institutions believe that God’s house is for everyone, and no body shall be barred from being in God’s house.

Just for your information, and your personal amusement, I do not sit all day praying to cows, goats, monkeys and buffalos and such nonsense, in fact I have never known even one hindu to live in such a way. You Pakistani’s have a characterized and warped view on Hinduism and how Hindus practice their religion. Due to the recent terrorism in the last decade, by Muslims, to large extent, muslims are also viewed in that manner, even though a few may be militants, most muslims are good muslims, good people and are not extremists in their viewpoints, they just want to live and improve their lives. We hindus are not much different.

Feel free to come and be enlightened, talk to the Pandit, talk to the people, you would be suprised how giving, warm, genuine and friendly these kaffir types can be to outsiders.

I appreciate your charitable discussion on Madrasas, but the fact is that there are some thousands upon thousands of extremist style madrasas, and more growing in Pakistan that preach extremists militant style Islam.

The Madrasas are the recruiting ground for extremists, where they can pervert the young minds and prey on their naivity and trains some of them to do suicide attacks while others do various other ranges of militant activities for everthing from the Taliban to the so-called “Charity groups” in Pakistan, like the one LeT, that did the Mumbai attack.

You said that it is nonsense to believe that muslim priests are preaching hate….well…these radicalized you th, who goto madrasas, where are they learning this stuff from?…from their mothers?…their siblings?…the madrasa bathroom graffiti? space aliens?….no…it is from the fatherly and loving clerics, imams and mullahs….they are radicalizing young children, as we speak. Please do not utter such nonsense.

Those certain madrasas churn out psychologically warped individuals that go under extensive mind-breaking and reprogramming propaganda designed for one purpose..to suicide and sacrifice themselves for Allah…at least….that is what they are told.

So you see…most mullah masters in one breath preach Allah, in the following breath preach violence using Allah’s name against Kaffirs or non-believers, in effect these guys are serving two masters…one is God…the other one is known to all….And you cannot serve two masters and call yourself a man of God.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world  /us/US-may-label-Paks-Haqqani-network-a s-terrorist-outfit/articleshow/6169174.c ms

Looks like American patience is running out on Pakistan.

If the Haqqanis and other so-called strategic depth groups become labelled as terrorists, like Hezbollah and Hamas, Pakistan risks becoming labelled a “rogue, terrorist” state.

The screws are tightening on Islamabad.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive

@how is this any less inhumane than mumbai? it has happened a 100,000 times in kashmir.”
–Tupak
–Since we are into comparisons, tell us if it less or more inhumane than Bangladesh genocide by Pakistan Army.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive

Yes,

Tupak, what is your opinion of the Bengali Genocide. Is it just a another zionist jew hindu propaganda concocted to make Pakistan look bad?

If that is the case, I am quite impressed at the lengths and staggering body number, 3million body extras they used to perpetrate such a well executed and hugely detailed hoax.

Joking aside, Rajeev, again Pakistani’s fall eerily silent on the Genocide, that seems to end the conversations with most of them quickly.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive

KP Singh:

@Man from Cuckooland:
LMAO
–He sure does stamp visas for that place very easily.

RexMinor when in good mood asks India and pakistan to stay out of Kashmir–I assume with that he means Pakistan operated terrorists like LeT.

Then he hopes that Pushtoons will come all the way to Punjab and Kashmir to face “India Armada”.

Only Rex can clear all these contradictions.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive

GW:

@Joking aside, Rajeev, again Pakistani’s fall eerily silent on the Genocide, that seems to end the conversations with most of them quickly.
Posted by G-W

—although not relevant to the topic, I don’t expect them to say anything on B’desh genocide. It is too much for them.

Heck, they hide behind couch when asked to discuss a genione easy to discuss stuff like Kashmir issue in totality. They cannot discuss AJK and the contradictions of Pakistan’s official stance (self-determination by kashmiris) and giving them nothing of the sort in AJK (pre-determination that only those Kashmiris who take oath that “Kashmir will become Pakistan” survive in politics).

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive

@May I suggest that you visit a madrassa and hear the words of the teachers and then post your experience on this forum. like many you are not in a position to free your self from the propaganda of the USA.”
–RexMinor

—-Agreed that CNN and FOX are superficial and have no idea what Madrasas are. But do u think all these respected Muslim authors who know the language the culture and live in the region are telling lies that Madrasas are a problem. It is understandable that not all Madrasas are doing that –but some are and which is a problem. Others just hold public rallies in Pakistan and do the same.

Why should one trust you and not those authors,,,,do u want list who criticize Madarasas. Let me know and u have it.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive

@Rajeev
“RexMinor when in good mood asks India and pakistan to stay out of Kashmir–I assume with that he means Pakistan operated terrorists like LeT.

Then he hopes that Pushtoons will come all the way to Punjab and Kashmir to face “India Armada”.”

His views are so distant from the ground reality, I wonder if he posts them from outer rim of our galaxy.

Posted by Seth09 | Report as abusive

@Seth 09
I estimate a period of fifty odd years for the advanncement of Pashtoons out of their bunkers and to spread across the sub continent. The route is know to them and your ancestors in India experienced this and this is not to say that it is unlikely to happen again. The axis of the enlightened one from Turkey to Iran would equally need around half a century ro complete the powerful alliances. It took almost sixty years for the Turkish people to realise that their Kaemal ataturk dream of ligning with Europe at parity was a miscalculation. They were defending the european continent with the second largest force against the Soviet power and even enjoying the love affair with the Israeli military. The Pashtoons are unlikely to wait for the next foreign power to intrude into their land on some concocted story.
Those who talk against madrassas should visit them and then make immoral accusations. You guys do not need to be the spokesmen for the USA administration. The administration full of clowns” the words of the respected four star american general, not my words.
Jihad does not equal holy war and this is precisely what I was referring to. There are reporters who take the pain and learn the language, understand the customs and the culture of the people before they send their reports on serious issues. Others armed with their english lnguage take the flight straight into various parts of the world, hire an interpretor or a translator and start sending reports. Just imagine for a minute that the interpretor tells the reporter that there is no english word for a specific Pashto, french, Italian and even the german language. There will be a shock and utter confusion. Well, my friends today you have got a surprise lesson from me.
Believe me I have no less problems, I think in German and write in english and speak French. I have lots of difficulties and know that that I have not expressed well enough. Rex Minor
Ps Do you recall the famous speach of colin Powel, the afroamerican secretary of state
talking about the mobile units of weapons of mass desrtuction deployed by saddam hussain?
He was telling lies not only to the american people but the entire world. I have never noticed a grain of truth coming from the USA administration ever since. You believe in their lies, themn please be my guest. On this forum please do not quote USA statements, please but your own opinion and views.
Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

@Rex Minor,

Your pathalogical man-crush on Pashtuns & your morbid fascination with them keeps achieving higher comedic levels on this blog.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

@Rex Minor,

“The route is know to them and your ancestors in India experienced this and this is not to say that it is unlikely to happen again.”

Either fix “your ancestors” to “our ancestors” or own up that you or your family never had any roots in Pakistan or India and then I’ll respond to your post.

Posted by Seth09 | Report as abusive

@Pakistan

You have done a good job of identifying liars:

“He was telling lies not only to the american people but the entire world. I have never noticed a grain of truth coming from the USA administration ever since. You believe in their lies, themn please be my guest. On this forum please do not quote USA statements, please but your own opinion and views.
Rex Minor”

–>Do you feel just as strong when your leaders, officers and leaders of state agencies lie, but on the ground the Afghan Taliban continue to subvert the NATO afghan mission and the LeT group continues to function, despite evidence of your ISI helping them?

It is a pity that you say nothing against those things going on.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive

@His views are so distant from the ground reality, I wonder if he posts them from outer rim of our galaxy.
Posted by Seth09
–RExMinor is just learning about the region on this blog.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive

RexMinor:

you said:
“The Pashtoon simply and very simply are allergic towards foreigners! This is a fact ..”

Then what makes them spread into other countries like u said
“I estimate a period of fifty odd years for the advanncement of Pashtoons out of their bunkers and to spread across the sub continent………..”

You are cheering for Pushtoons because they are facing the invaders and you are still cheering Pustoons even when they themselves are invaders.

What kind of logic you are working with?

I have a suggestion for you. Please visit Asia once in your life time.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive

RexMinor:

To add to the confusion you have stated this:

@you should also be aware that Pakistan military has plans to walk into Sirinagar and simaltaneously cross the border into Punjab and go for Delhi with the use of strategic weapomry, come what may.”

let us know the source other than that you used 7yth layer of your brain to understand this. Or is it your wishful thinking, which then works against whatever else you are saying.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive

Rex Minor, the enigmatic mytsery….

Who is he?…a Pakistani?…an Afghani?…a Pashtun?….a German?….a human?….an alien?…a human/alien?

What is he?….a genius?….an idiot?….a shrink?….someone who needs a shrink?

So many questions, so very few answers…

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

@Mortal
LOL!

That’s the best post I’ve seen from you ever!
Poetic.The enigma that is Rex Minor AKA Pakistan.

Posted by Seekeroftruth | Report as abusive

Rex minor says:

“@you should also be aware that Pakistan military has plans to walk into Sirinagar and simaltaneously cross the border into Punjab and go for Delhi with the use of strategic weapomry, come what may.””

–>Rex, in PA’s dreams. You can come to Delhi, but you may get limbs and your head severed in the process, if you misbehave. You can bet it will be a one way suicide mission.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive

@G.W
Do not get upset, after all it is only aplan. I am sure the Indian military has also a similar one. The plans are a suicide missions, but if I were you, the citizens need to be concerned with these plans. None of the countries recognise each other’s borders and both countries are very likely to confront each other sooner than one imagines. I do not know of many countries with nuclear weaponry and without a peace treaty. Do you?
A nice day.
Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

@Mortal 1
Once again you are thinking loudly. hve you not studied philoaphy. You need to meditate, wisdom will awaken in your mind. It would be more interesting to seek answers to othe novelties?
.who is the new messiha in reality occupying the post in the white house, a son of a kenyan and irish mother, a muslim who was baptised by his father at birth as a muslim, or a christian vising the chicago church or an imposter who is something of every thing but nothing.
. Try another one mr Sarkozy, the new resident of the elysee palace, a christian because of his hungarian father or a jew because of his greek mother. Both families suffered the rule of Ottoman empire(modern Turkey). Is this why he is against Turkey membership of Europe.
Please discuss the subject and that is what matters and not who we are. We are all prejudiced and biased of some sort or other but are still able to rise above it in the name of humanity. And this is what matters. The history is likely to take its course regardless of our opinions. We have studied all previous Empires and heard about the brave armies and how they perished. Let us hope that we as individuals are stating something to add some good and not to perpetuate the string of ignorance.
Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

@Rajeevk
The NY times and Washington Post would not tell you their source of info. I am not going to tell you eaither, You would not believe it anyway. There is so much propaganda, lies and crap coming from the USA that it is hard to even believe in one’s existance. Today all the intelligence institutions of the various states are considered a normal community and even the true statements are not accepted. Have you some knowledge of philosaphy: then try to solve this mystery;
The entire experts were climing that Iraq nuclear and chemical weaponry was destroyed after the first Iraq war, but the USA administration insisted about their existance.
Like North korea Iran has the possibility to acquire a nuclear weapon, but the USA administation have been insisting that Iran does not have the nuke and still need several years to manufacture a bomb. About Israel they are silent. As soon as you have solved this puzzle, in my opinion you are eligible to study for PHD in politics.
O#h to answer your question, I guessed it.
Can you prove otherwise.
Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

@GW
I guess I have said it earlier in my post. I would never trust a Pashtoon!! A Pushtoon never negotiates, they have demands and they are usually minimal and are not negotiatable. The Nato has no business in Afghanistan, nor do the USA? If they do not cut and run a train of commondos would accompany them to their homeland. For the time being most of the tribes along the route from Peshawar to kabul and Qandhar are receiving cash payments to allow a free passage. The problem is now from Karachi to Peshawar and Pakistan military is cashing the money so this should be under attack.
Mr Karzai is a Pashtoon and I would not be surprised if he orders a free pass for killing all foreigners in Kabul. This has happened in the past and his forefathers took part in it.
Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

@”who is the new messiha in reality occupying the post in the white house, a son of a kenyan and irish mother, a muslim who was baptised by his father at birth as a muslim, or a christian vising the chicago church or an imposter who is something of every thing but nothing”
Posted by pakistan

oooh, you are really starting to spin my head now lol!
BTW, Obama was never baptised by his father as a muslim. In fact, the only time he met his father in his life was at an airport for 30 mins when obama was 10 yrs old and his mother Ann Dunham wasn’t Irish but American of english descent. As always, thanks for the entertainment.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

RexMInor:

@The NY times and Washington Post would not tell you their source of info. I am not going to tell you eaither, You would not believe it anyway. There is so much propaganda, lies and crap coming from the USA that it is hard to even believe in one’s existance.”
—Stop making presumptions and start arguing the points.

And this one was in response to my question to u to tell me the source of ur info that PA will walk into India. You are worse than American talk show hosts who if they want can talk for hours without making any sense.

You only threw more crap and more questions and lots of assumptions that I am reading NY or Washington Times. Garnish with Iraq, Isreal and N. Korea (landmines for the posters,,,lol) and serve it.

Did I sing a song about the USA. Who the hell cares about the USA in context of my last post. Damn! so hard to get something sensible and specific out of you.

Put my point up there (like…@XXXXXXXXXXXXX) and respond/ Nuff of generic crap that one gets no where. I will respond to your points. Now can we begin and u already have list of questions/points. If not go fish!

PS: we can talk philosophy too. this is not the place and no time for this.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive

In all honesty I have no intention to upset any of the people on this forum. You guys get sometimes so personal that I wonder. I have said it earier, there are no terrorists in our world. why do#nt you call them the resistance fightersinstead of terrorists? What difference would this make if you accept that like the French, the poles and many other Europeans resistance against German occupation of their land was genuine and so is the palastinians, the Kashmiris, the Pashtoons, the chechenians and many other groups who are resisting with violence the occupation of their land. it would be ideal if they were to practice Gandhian non violence resistance and aiming at military targets only. But things are as they are, why give them names which the colonialists have always used against rebels. You do not agree with my analysis then I am not disturbed. Let us talk about the State terrorism, Israel embargo against Gaza and looting of the Palestinian houses and target killings. You do not call this terrorism, it is o’k with me. You obviously do not consider Indian and pakistan military operations against their own citizens as a genuine police action against criminal lot. It is o’k with me. You probably believe that the american military adventure in vietnam, korea, several latin countries, Iraq and Afghanistan were not terrorist acts, it is o’k with me. But let us use our common sense and follow the golden sentence of hillary, the great diplomat of our times, there will be consequences!! Now I guess you are not happy with the consequences of the State terrorism. Well, I am sorry, you should have guessed it, the worst possible consequences! They are usually very ugly. Something for your thoughts. As a neutral man I would propose that to avioid further extreme consequences both India and Pakistan undertake a highly technical joint project to bring their best scientests together and this could go a long way towards allevating the mistrust and solving together the common social and economical problems. Playing cricket is not enough. The european story is a good example for them, no territorial greed. Do you guys have any concrete proposal in this direction instead of talking about the territory exchange and the talk about the terrorist groups. Look towards east and not west, only fools would demand of Pakistan to hand over the terrorist suspects to the USA or India, after having occupied Afghanistan for a decade and Indian military adventure in the Kashmir valley. Is Pakistan military responsible for the security of the USA or India? Definitely not!!
The lady is a fool to demand this and the Indian leader is nuts to ask for this. Ö’h sorry, you guys agree with these demands and are prepared to quote the state department fatwas on this subject. What is the difference in your view about the fatwas of muslim clergy, the late khomeni and the USA state department. Jehad is resistance not holy war. Though shall not kill, this is the commandment of God almighty and no muslim clergy is in a position to deviate from this. Khomeni or otherwise. let us not kid ourselves and consider the silent people of the world as fools.
We have got our master degrees and Phd’s of a much higher standard than those granted to fools like George W in the USA and the afro american constitutional law expert, calling himself the commander in Chief!! If you guys do not follow my way of thinking then you need to refresh your studies and do not abuse the post.
I am not an expert either and do not understand some of your jibberish and short words, but do not criticise you and try to consult american and english dictionaries, sometimes without success. And I I do not regard you idiots or ana logues species living on hormone rich american and canadian food.
Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

Pakistan:

The word Terrorist is functional not descriptive. The function (speaking of fallacies..) is to evoke description by the use of the word ‘terror’. It’s a false implication that marries the title “terrorist” to the feeling of terror, the desired result.. and that is why it’s been so useful in the modern world.
The ACTUAL definition is simply ‘to coerce one through force or fear’, which is a very common thing in this world..
Though the true strength of the word is in it’s non-descriptive ambiguity, in how one uses it. Like the use of the word ‘communist’ in apartheid South Africa..
Since 911 there has been no public definition of the word “terrorist”, only an implication that it involves ‘the targeting of the civilians of a MORE POWERFUL country’.
This is not what the word means at all..

Think about it.. what is it that we hate most about “terrorism” ? What gives it it’s meaning?

The use of deadly force to get your way.

No matter who this force is used on, you can bet on one thing.

The countries using this word the most are the same countries most forcing their power on others to get what they want..

Posted by brian_decree | Report as abusive

@brian
Well said, I would add the use of deadly force to meet your political aims.In my opinion I do not of any political groups which are using today the terrorist acts to achieve their political aims in a democratic environament. I do not want to name any resistance group in this category, who have resorted to violence against their occupiers. The Bader meinhof group in Germany and the Ira in northern Ireland were the last serious groups operating in a democracy. I would not place ETA in the same category.
Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

[...] names from the  United Nations 1267 list of individuals subject to anti-terrorism sanctions. As discussed in this post, the United States is unlikely to want to take Taliban names off the list until they renounce ties [...]

@ Is Pakistan military responsible for the security of the USA or India? Definitely not!!:
–RexMinor

–No, but it is expected that they do not train terrorists and send to India.

What you said is very similar to many common Pakistanis who were saying the same after Mumbai 26/11 attack by Pakistani terrorists—–that Pakistan is not responsible for Indian security and it is the fault of Indian security apparatus.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive

RexMinor:

@We have got our master degrees and Phd’s of a much higher standard than those granted to fools like George W in the USA and the afro american constitutional law expert, calling himself the commander in Chief!!”

-I will call you Dr. Minor then. But tell me who are “We” above?

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive

@RajeevK
I have the impression that you are simply kow towing the propaganda of the American, Israeli and the Indian Govts. Sorry, using this philosaphy successfully used by George W, particularly with the former Pakistan govt., namely either you are for me or against me, would mean that you need to have allies first and then the collective response against the so called *enemies’. India would very much like Pakistan to become its ally against the Kashmiris Well, you are joking ofcourse. Both India and Pakistan of course are staunch enemies and more than once India has demonstrated this act. Or do you believe that the Indian military intrusion in former East Pakistan was to give moral support to the Pakistan military. Pakistan military should hve struck India when indian military was suppressing its sikh population, no the Pakistan Govt. played by the rule. Pakistan could have pretended Indian aggression in Pakistan after the momby attack and entered into the Indian territory, but no the clever Delhi born incompetent General and self appointed head of state was sleeping. no sir, Pakistan military have lost many opportunities, the Indian military on the other hand have never lost a single opportunity and waiting still for a pretext to enter into the territory of Pakistan to save the Pashtoons or the Baluchis. Like one American General once said( the name does not matter) Pakistan has got very professional officers but at a general level they lack much.We in the west are witnessing the display of a Pkistani general to be the spokesman for their operations in the tribal territory and a load of retirees now looking for jobs with the cable networks as experts on politics in pakistan. What a shame. I would send every senior officer beyond the battalion command to a compulsary retirement in Pakistan, introduce compulsary military service for a period of eighteen months as soon as the person reaches the age of eighteen years. This army would then be the national army and could then confront any enemy regardless of the weaponry. There is a very easy course for the Indian govt. to stop military adventure in Kashmir or any other province for that matter, there will be no home grown terrorists using the sea route or the land route or the air corridors. Otherwise, all the countries who are accustomed to force are sooner or later going to meet the liittle people. they can not have the cake and eat it too. Have a nice day.
Rex Minor
Ps
It is always wise to listen to the people and not talk over their heads. We, and I mean you too,are not fools.

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

gentlemen, Let me state a joke of the day. The USA and the Nato would train Afghan army to defende their country. A pashtoon is taught to shoot at the age of three, and he is known to be the best in defending his land. They are exempt from the conscription.
Rex Minor

PS It would be better if they are taught to fly the fighter planes.

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive