On either side of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border: Bajaur and Kunar

October 31, 2010

damadolaWhat is going on in Kunar and Bajaur, two neighbouring regions on either side of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border?

NPR has a view from the Afghan side in this piece written from the perspective of U.S. troops fighting in Kunar. (h/t The Captain’s Journal) Key takeaways are the level of mistrust about the Pakistanis, driven by the suspicion its military is supporting the Taliban, and the presence of a massive but newly abandoned CIA post there.

First the mistrust.  According to NPR, American officials acknowledge that the Pakistan Army had made significant gains in fighting the Taliban in Bajaur but still wanted them to do more to stop militants crossing over into Kunar. “Elements of the Taliban and al-Qaida are believed to cross the border at this point from safe havens inside Pakistan.”

Yet having been to Bajaur in April, I have heard the same complaint from the Pakistani commander on the other side. In his view, the Americans need to do more to stop militants from using Kunar as a base from which to attack Pakistan. (The Pakistanis still seem to be making the same complaint, judging by this article in the Boston Globe.)

The two conflicting views give an interesting insight into how the narrative of mistrust in Kunar and Bajaur – a microcosm of the strains in the wider U.S.-Pakistan relationship — is constructed. In particular, you can see how distrust between Pakistanis and Americans is magnified by the mutual suspicion of Afghans and Pakistanis.

Look at this detail in the NPR story, presented under a bold-type sub-heading reading “Taliban in Their Midst?”

The Americans are invited to lunch by the Pakistanis. “The long lunch ends when the Pakistani colonel is called away, and the Americans walk back up the hill. Full bellies, heavy flak jackets, and the altitude at 7,000 feet have everyone moving a bit slowly, but then they get some information from their interpreter that makes them walk a little faster.  The interpreter tells the soldiers that some of the Pakistani commander’s men are spies for the Taliban. ‘So he suggests we get out of here quickly,’ a soldier tells (Captain Thomas) Billig,” the NPR reports. 

Whatever goodwill might have been generated by the lunch is presumably undone by the words of the Afghan interpreter, whose warning about alleged Pakistani duplicity appears to have been taken at face value. You see similar accusations against Afghans in the Pakistani media, where they are accused of helping militants in Kunar to attack Pakistan.

We are never going to be in a position to know for sure what is going on.  What we should be able to do, however, especially nine years into the war in Afghanistan, is to understand better why soldiers on either side of the Pakistan-Afghan border think the way they do.

 Second, is the CIA base on the border.

The NPR says interviews with Pakistani border guards and U.S. soldiers, and some Pakistani press reports, all suggest that the CIA built this massive base compound more than two years ago. “The construction included a road, the helicopter landing zone and several hard structures, including one at the top of the mountain called ‘Camp Karzai’.” 

The base at the Ghakhi Pass served to keep the border under control while U.S. soldiers were fighting in a valley to the west.  It was recently evacuated, in what NPR quotes a U.S. intelligence official as describing as ”an orderly closure of a U.S. government facility that involved coordination with the U.S. military.”

Yet neither the American nor the Pakistani soldiers in the area appeared to have had any warning. “”Why didn’t you tell us they were pulling out?” the Pakistani colonel asks Captain Billig over lunch, adding that his border guards would have adjusted if they knew the other side was suddenly going to be empty. “Billig simply nods in agreement, and allows that the abrupt departure came as a surprise to him as well,” NPR says.

I can’t find anything to explain why the base was set up two years ago, nor why it was abandoned now — unless it was part of U.S. plans to pull back from remote areas and concentrate on counter-insurgency in populated areas.

But compare its operations with what was going on in Bajaur in the same time period.

Bajaur was long believed to be a base for top al Qaeda leaders - Osama bin Laden’s deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri was repeatedly rumoured to be hiding there some years back — and it was the target for some of the earliest drone strikes.  Was the CIA base linked to the hunt for al Qaeda? And does the closure of the base mean al Qaeda has moved elsewhere?

Two years ago, militants had all but overrun Bajaur, setting up a parallel administration and raining rockets down on the army base in the town of Khar.  It got so bad that the army feared even the fort at Khar might be overrun. After 20 months of intense fighting, in which 150 Pakistani soldiers died and 637 were injured, the Pakistan Army managed to clear out most of the main militant strongholds in Bajaur, and have since been taking foreign journalists on organised trips to show what they had achieved.

Yet even when we were there back in April, we were told the gains from the military offensive would gradually fall away unless a civilian administration could be brought in to restore governance in the region, and compensation paid to those whose homes had been destroyed in the fighting.  I have not seen any evidence that has happened – the civilian administration, never good at the best of times, has been stretched beyond the limit in trying to cope with the devastating floods which hit Pakistan this summer.

So you would assume the security situation in Bajaur may well be deteriorating — an assumption supported by this Jamestown Foundation round-up of press reports on Bajaur released in August, which says it is a emerging as a new hub of Islamist militancy. Why would you therefore choose now, of all times, to abandon a base which was meant to limit movement across the border?

It is pretty difficult to get answers to these questions. What you can say is there seems to be a fairly serious problem with coordination on the ground on either side of the Pakistan-Afghan border. And that in turn creates more and more distrust, poisoning relations between Pakistan and the United States right up the chain of command until you reach the so-far unsuccessful attempt to create a strategic partnership between the two.

(Reuters photo: Abandoned caves used by militants in Bajaur/Adrees Latif)

Comments

The longer this kind of stand off and mistrust continue between US and Pakistan, it is going to get worse for Pakistan. After all the American citizens are far removed from the conflict zone. Pakistan is right next to it. If Pakistan is trying hard to keep its “assets” safe in this region, the American pressure is going to intensify. This means the blow back on Pakistan will get worse. All the gains achieved by its military will go to naught and Taliban will strengthen its hold in this region again. Without any economic base to fight this menace and sustain peace, Pakistan will fall victim to the radical terrorist groups. American aid is keeping Pakistan alive. Pakistanis should remember this and give up the belief that these “assets” will be useful against India in the future. They are digging their own grave.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

@Myra
you left a minor detail in your article. On both sides of the so called Afghan/Pakistan border, is the independent Pashtoon tribal territory. Both the Alpha soldiers with their Afghan party and the Pakistan military with the border militia were nothing more than the intruders or tresspassers. Pakistan army must justify to the tribal chiefs that they were there to prevent the foreign forces crossing the border. If this was not the case they took the risk to be fired at by the Pashtoon tribesmen.
These scenes are nothing more than the snippets and the demonstration of force. Their overstay would have brought about an assault from the locals, the Pashtoons or so called Talibans. THe route of Bajaur and kunar is used by the armed smugglers and has witnessed many armed soldiers including those of the Brits and the Alexander the great who quitely slipped over the mountains in the darkness of the night and thus thwarted the assault from the locals. This is not meant for the innocents who wish to enjoy the scenic beauty or a moonlight stroll. The Alpha soldiers should thank their helicopter pilots and the Pakistan military should thank the local tribesmen who escorted them and after entertaining them with food and chai,
made sure that they are out of the territory before the Talibans tackle the intruders.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Myra

Once again great article, thanks.

In my view Pakistan’s importance has never been recognized by the US. It is still thought that Pakistan is not worthy of a strategic partnership with the US. This nation has endured so much, the US-Pak relationship is vital to counter the threat from violent terrorists. Pakistan must do all it can to regain the trust and standout as an trustworthy responsible ally. The US must do all it can to understand the complex dynamics of the region and hurdles Pakistan is facing. Ironically, there are no quick fixes and time is short to sort out this unprecedented mess. Worryingly, Pakistan is facing a dire situation, if things go worse before they get better, God forbid Pakistan can implode. There is no time to waste for Pakistan and US to get the strategic partnership going.

Good luck and peace to all!

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

The mistrust between the US & Pakistan will exist & continue to grow as long as Pakistan sheilds terrorism & keeps it’s own agenda & regional ambitions ahead of global security. It’s no secret that while the civilized world wants to completely eliminate the mennace of terrorism, Pakistan wants to keep it alive, under the facades of “security” & “strategic depth” & in the process, milk the west for more “aid”. Pakistani leaders must realize that by sheilding terrorism, they are taking their country on a dangerous & suicidal path which will lead to it’s inevtiable demise. If they don’t mend their ways, it’ll only be a matter of time before they either self-destruct & implode on their own or get annihilated with a retaliliatory strike, following a terrorist attack in the US/West. I hope they wake up!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

I must say that for once I am in total agreement with Umair. Both need to do more.

However, there is one important caveat, I think the US needs to do more to prove that they understand Pakistan’s legitimate internal security concerns from local organisations that have gone rogue. While it is understandable that the US is in there for its own security it somehow seems to presume that Pakistan’s priority must also be US security even if it be at risk to their own.

Has the US really helped Pakistan to overcome its internal disturbances and do the Pakistanis consider it enough? If not, then both will continue to have the same complaint against each other. Merely talking of a stable Pakistan and paying lip service to that idea is not going to put any food on the table. Money is just one factor. How about helping the Pakistanis in kind just as the US expects Pakistan to fight its battles for it also.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive
 

Gee I wonder why the Americans don’t trust the Pakistanis. Maybe I’m a bit slow on the uptake but I think the fact that the Pakistanis are hiding Taliban bigwigs like Bradar or Omar may have something to do with it. Or could it be the eagerness of the Pakistani military to involve the Al Qaeda friendly Haqqani clan in te AFghan “peace talks”?

Only someone who is blind or paid off can find doubt in the Pakistani double game.

Posted by SilverSw0rd | Report as abusive
 

“There are no permanent allies, no permanent friends, only permanent interests”

This is the crux of the issue. My sense is both US and Pakistan recognize this and are playing for their own interests. And the US interests are aligned exactly opposite 180 degrees to the Pakistan interest for now.

The main question is once the US leaves Afghanistan next year, what happens next? In Afghanistan and Pakistan.

My sense is people expect that all the current bombings and violence inside Pak will end when US leaves. I think things will just get worse + Pak ability to count on US as a banker will also be limited. Interesting times.

Posted by nvrforgetmbai | Report as abusive
 

nvrforgetmumbai: “My sense is people expect that all the current bombings and violence inside Pak will end when US leaves. I think things will just get worse + Pak ability to count on US as a banker will also be limited. Interesting times.”

On the other hand, I expect to see violence and suicide attacks increase inside India. Pakistan’s military, ISI and the Jihadi groups have been itching for that for a while. Mumbai attacks was a starting point. With the US sitting too close, they could not expand on that. Therefore brace yourself for more such attacks if a “solution” or settlement is reached for Af-Pak. From Indian standpoint, the longer the US stays, the longer Af-Pak settlement is delayed, the better it is for India. For the past decade, India has faced relatively much less violence sponsored by Pakistan since its nefarious actvities have been severely curtailed. Unfortunately, for India to survive, Pakistan’s elements and its military have to stay in a perpetual internal conflict. It might make Pakistan implode, but it will keep them busy and engaged with each other. Allowing them to focus outward is a very dangerous thing for India and the world. Pakistan resembles its current cricket team. Divided they fall. United they can take on anyone and destroy them. Unfortunately this is not cricket. Lives are at stake here.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

KPSingh,

I don’t think it’s going to be that easy for the Pakistan army/ISI to just turn on the switch & step up attacks inside India. Pakistan has learned that Mumbai was the boiling point & it will have to deal with consequences for any future misadventures in India. Things have changed in the last few years & the world has an increasing stake in India. India and the world will simply not take Pakistan’s assault, sitting down. India’s clout in the world is gaining strength & the influence of Indian lobies/diaspora in the US, west etc is also rising rapidly. I was in Japan last week & was pleasantly surprised by rising influence of the Indian disapora in that country. Pakistan may face, not just a military action but also deal with severe ecconomic & diplomatic fallout. They have already been isolated a great deal since the Mumbai attacks, I don’t they can afford further isolation & hence will think twice before attacking India via their infamous “non-state actors”.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

In today’s world India and pakistan has very little to contribute other than the task to clean up the mess and destability in their countries. The USA is the biggest headache for the world since they are no longer in a position to halt the economic decline and reduce the ever growing loan burdon. Their role in destabilising the world must stop so that some sense can be made out for the next century.

THE MAN WHO WAS ELECTED BY THE NEW VOTERS HAS LET THEM DOWN; SIMILAR TO THE AFRO-AMERICAN ELITES BEFORE HIM. Colin Powel and Condi Rice to mention some. When Jimmy Carter, the former USA President, rebukes the Supreme Court for allowing unlimited donations from corporations to the political parties, and when the local court sentences a person whose alleged bomb did not go off, a prison term of eighty five years, one can imagine the corrupt structure of the justice system in the country. WORST THAN THE ROMANS!
Rex Minor
PS Let us pray that a sense prevails among the people of the USA!

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Mortal,

Criminals never change. Once a criminal, will always be a criminal. Pakistan state system has become criminal. ISI is heavily involved in drug pushing to get money for the Taliban and other militant groups. Pakistan has been trying hard to delay and frustrate American efforts because it does not want its criminal infrastructure compromised.

It is entirely India-specific for its own reason of survival. They have nothing else on their agenda. American presence has poured water over their efforts and delayed everything for them. Mumbai attacks were tried to prod and see how the response would be. If the US had not changed its perspective of Pakistan after Obama arrived, things could have gotten worse.

Criminals learn from their mistakes and make it ever harder to trace them and catch them in their acts. Any loosening in grip by the Americans will help these elements to slip out and take on India. That is all they have got. They want to get at India for two reasons – It is an enemy from the beginning and it had made tremendous progress that has made it a darling of the world. Jealousy is burning them from within as well. They’d like to see India shattered at all costs, even to the detriment of their own survival.

In that mindset they are mad as hell and would not hesitate to press the nuclear button. The world might sympathize with India, but most will bail our before their investments are jeopardized. India hesitates to take on a nuclear rogue state like Pakistan because we want to progress and do not want our soil decimated by nukes. Pakistanis believe they will all go to Heaven if they get nuked. And they have nothing to lose.

What India and the US have to do during Obama’s visit is to discuss about getting the nukes out of Pakistan and dismantle its nuclear bomb making infrastructure. This is definitely achievable, considering the state Pakistan is in today. Otherwise Pakistan needs money and it will sell the dangerous technology as soon as everyone looks the other way.

I’d love to see India punish the criminal elements in Pakistan, but the rogue state has nuclear missiles pointed at us as a first strike response. You might be an armed cop, but when you approach an armed criminal you will have to take your precautions. This is not because you lack the balls, but because the criminal does not have to follow any law, while you still do. You still have to read him his rights while he can shoot you down.

Pakistan should not be allowed to have nuclear bombs. It is going to fall into the hands of terrorist elements sooner rather than later and will burn many countries including India and the US. That’s what the world leaders must be discussing today. Remove the nukes and Pakistan can be contained easily. And Afghanistan can be brought back to normalcy. It is the nukes that have given them an arrogant attitude. They have shown no responsibility. Therefore they should be relieved of the dangerous weapon they are holding.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

People have spoken. This time they demand from mr Obama to “change Course”. Too late for Mr Obama, who had planned a trip to India to seek wisdom and perhaps a surprise visit to his military in Afghanistan, who are in dire need of his “Yes, We can” majic.

He is well advised to leave afghanistan and try to negotiate a military base in India, his new ally. Let the american marines have a base in a friendly country.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Rex minor: “People have spoken. This time they demand from mr Obama to “change Course”. Too late for Mr Obama”

In US politics and national foreign policies do not affect each other much. In general, very little change is made in approach towards wars and allies. War strategy, geo-political priorities are set by the US business enterprise and the Pentagon. Presidents and politicians come and go, but the course is set by a long term influence from the two groups I have mentioned. If you observed the thawing of relations between India and the US after 1990, it has not changed despite the change of governments between the Democrats and Republicans. I’d say Obama is more conservative than Bush in regards to India. If national politics decides the course of war, it will be a huge disaster. Americans are quite patriotic in supporting their President when it comes to outsiders.

In the case of Af-Pak American apprehensions have been kept alive by the new generation of Jihadists who are increasingly coming from middle class background with exposure to Western culture. Americans are not going to change their attitude towards Pakistan and Muslims in general. The change in the US is only internal based on internal issues – public frustration with the stagnation in economy and too much of government. So do not assume the US will change its course towards Af-Pak. It might get worse as Obama will get anxious about the 2012 elections. He has to find a solution in Af-Pak and emerge victorious to win that election. He has already scored badly on internal issues, despite the fact that none of them were due to his governance.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

To add on to KP’s comment, after yesterday’s results, I think Obama will get a lot more serious in AfPak & tougher with Pakistan to show some positive results in the run up to 2012. The Dems were steam rolled, no doubt but a lot can change in 2 yrs. The only positive for me from last night, is that another Indian American was elected governer (Nikki Randhawa Haley, South Carolina).

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

@KPSingh
I beg to differ with your analogy.
Mr Obama was not elected by the Tea Party people. Those who stayed at home and made republicans come back, were his voters, he has let them down!!

From your various posts, you do not easily accept the consequences of history and always ask if more time had been given…… How much time do you reckon a President needs to close the Guetanamo guest House? And how much time and number of lives the Commander in chief is allowed before he ends his aggression in a foreign land?
He framed Hillary Clinton as a war monger for supporting George W in the senate vote for Iraq war, and now within two years he has proven that George W was more competent than Barrack Obama is at least in decision making. Probably not in law. Afghanistan has brought his fall down like the one before him in history, the torture machinery of Guetanamo prison is still there and his foreign policy is in tatters. The GI’s are at the mercy of Petros who suddenly realised that in order to win the hearts and minds of the Afghans they need to learn the persian language. Clowns are around Mr Obama, so were the words of four star General McChrystal, the GI’s cannot even speak or write proper american english? The UK prime minister might now demand of the Gorkha solidiers in their force in Afghanistan to at least speak english? What a farce, the soldiers are being asked to become teachers.

Forget it, he is a looser now and no intelligent voter is likely to give him a second chance. Bill Clinton was a unique phenomina and received lots of help from the clintonin group, who would prefer Hillary in 2012 and no one else. We should all be prepared for a new republican President in 2012.
In the meantime, the jehadis as you call the resistance people are changing course and mking use of the mail service. Parcels with dangerous material is now being sent from Greece. Time has moved on!!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Rex Minor: “Those who stayed at home and made republicans come back, were his voters, he has let them down!!”

No he has not. He has actually stemmed the slide after taking over the reins. Economy tanked in 2008 just as elections were going on. Auto companies were at the brink of collapse. There were two wars going on simultaneously. Housing industry had collapsed. US had lost its respect and stature in the international circles. Imaging managing all this in a whirlpool of crisis and trying to stay afloat. That is exactly what Obama has done. In early 2009, the Dow Jones had dropped down to 6000. Today it has recovered back to 11000. Obama brought in health care reforms which will help a lot of unemployed and self employed people. He has brought in banking reforms that will prevent banks from running wild. He closed down the war in Iraq. He has done the right thing towards Af-Pak. He has tied foreign aid to Pakistan with pre-conditions so that its military does not siphon off the money for its activities against India. He has reached out to the Muslim world by making trips to some of those nations. He took up the first step in global nuclear disarmament, along with Russian PM. He has called a spade a spade and is forcing China not to manipulate its currency to make profits using unfair means. He has done a lot in these two years compared to anyone else. It is a pity that you have no clue about his accomplishments in such a short time. You are celebrating because your beloved country is getting hurt on its rear end by Obama’s focused Af-Pak strategy.

Unfortunately he is sitting on the hot seat when people are getting frustrated. They will take it out on him and his supporters since there is no other punching bag available.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Rex Minor: “From your various posts, you do not easily accept the consequences of history and always ask if more time had been given……”

First of all your historic knowledge seems to be very limited. You did not even know about the genocide in East Pakistan and you were asking Rehmat and others for reference in order to understand what happened there. With this kind of historic knowledge, I find it funny that you are advising about knowing historic consequences. How does it make you an expert on consequences when you do not have any authentic knowledge on world history? Will you be able to cite genuine references if I press for them in future arguments?

“How much time do you reckon a President needs to close the Guetanamo guest House? And how much time and number of lives the Commander in chief is allowed before he ends his aggression in a foreign land?”

What aggression? Do you expect a bunch of lunatics to bomb and kill 3000 innocent citizens of your country and expect them to get away with it? Especially when your country is the only super power in the world? Aggression begets aggression. First of all your co-religionist Bin Laden and his supporters launched the offensive against the US. So they are back in Afghanistan hunting him down. Iraq was the only blunder and Americans admit their mistakes unlike your kind who always blame others even for your own mistakes.

“He framed Hillary Clinton as a war monger for supporting George W in the senate vote for Iraq war, and now within two years he has proven that George W was more competent than Barrack Obama is at least in decision making.”

That must be some kind of decision making isn’t it? Lying to the Congress that Iraq had WMDs and attacking Iraq or cozying up with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and attacking Afghanistan? The right decision maker would have hurt Pakistan and Saudi Arabia hard for 9/11. There is nothing else in this world that can be pointed as the source of Islamic terrorism. Instead, the idiot made the two villains the closest allies. Can anyone fight a drug war by turning the largest drug cartel as the ally? Bush did that. Obama came in and pointed the finger right at the source of the problem. He said Afghanistan is not the problem. He knew that fixing Pakistan would fix the menace the world is suffering from. He ended the war in Iraq and has focused on Af-Pak. Give him some credit will ya?

“Probably not in law. Afghanistan has brought his fall down like the one before him in history,”

Afghan war is not over yet. So do not jump to any conclusions. He has had to fight many battles on different fronts at the same time since the day he walked in. In Bob Woodward’s book, “Obama’s wars” there is a famous statement Obama makes as a President elect – “During election I was worried about losing. Now seeing the war in Afghanistan, I am worried about winning it.” The words are not exactly the same. But he was honest about it. Americans have been kind to Pakistan. That is the reason why this war has dragged on like this. But things will tighten towards Pakistan. There is no choice since there are only two more years in his term as the President.

“the torture machinery of Guetanamo prison is still there and his foreign policy is in tatters.”

That’s good. I want those dogs to stay there as long as possible. Can you care to give some authentic references to substantiate your claim that his foreign policy is in tatters? Since you are in Germany, it must not be very difficult to get some.

“The GI’s are at the mercy of Petros who suddenly realised that in order to win the hearts and minds of the Afghans they need to learn the persian language.”

References please?

“Clowns are around Mr Obama, so were the words of four star General McChrystal, the GI’s cannot even speak or write proper american english?”

Need references. I read newspapers and blogs too. I’d like to know where McChrystal has said this. The GIs have to know how to read and write because they use GPS and modern technology a lot on their missions. They are not walking around with WW 1 rifles anymore. They get trained a lot and training needs the capability to read and write. They need to complete at least high school in order to be a GI. So please provide a reference.

“The UK prime minister might now demand of the Gorkha solidiers in their force in Afghanistan to at least speak english? What a farce, the soldiers are being asked to become teachers.”

Mind telling me where you are getting these wonderful facts from? These guys are not that dumb. They are professional soldiers. What I have read is that the Americans are trying train the Afghan army and to their dismay they find that most are illiterate. To teach them basics, the American trainers do not know Dari or Pashto. They do not have enough number of them to achieve their goals of making a strong and well trained Afghan national army. Is there a problem for you reading in English? I am wondering.

“Forget it, he is a looser now and no intelligent voter is likely to give him a second chance.”

I don’t know much about intelligent voter. Voting seems to be based on emotions rather than on rational thoughts most of the time. Votes reflect the mood. That’s all.

“Bill Clinton was a unique phenomina and received lots of help from the clintonin group, who would prefer Hillary in 2012 and no one else. We should all be prepared for a new republican President in 2012.”

So that he would shower Pakistani military with money and weapons and close his eyes. Dream on. Obama will make it so bad in Pakistan that any incoming President will have no choice but to complete the mission in Pakistan.

“In the meantime, the jehadis as you call the resistance people are changing course and mking use of the mail service. Parcels with dangerous material is now being sent from Greece. Time has moved on!! ”

Something for you to feel very proud about. This tells me that you sympathize with terrorists and you support their actions. It makes you a terrorist in heart. The repercussions of such actions will only come back to haunt you and your people. Remember that.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

@KPSingh
You have gone loco!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

“@KPSingh
You have gone loco!” Rex Minor

Coming from you, sir, that’s not only exceptionally funny but also quite complimentary! LMAO

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Myra,

Unfortunately, these are the realities of war and multi-national operations, especially when the principle allies distrust each other.

In my most humble opinion, this can only be solved from the top down. The soldier on the ground is fairly bright (unlike Rex Minor’s characterization of US GI…they all have high school and most have some education beyond that) and usually forms opinions based on what they read in the press. The constant stream of news about Pakistan’s duplicitious nature does colour the situation on the ground.

And it’s only natural for soldiers to trust those they fight with. That’s how camraderie works. Put me in the same situation, and I would most certainly take the word of my Afghan interpreter over that of the Pakistani Colonel. When lives are on the line (particularly my own), there’s no room for political correctness. I’m sorry, but that’s the reality of combat. Those who judge, usually have the luxury of comfy armchairs away from incoming enemy fire.

So what’s the solution? I don’t believe it’s bottom up. I believe it’s top down. Pakistan has to show that it’s serious by taking out those high level, highly visible targets that bother the US so much. Once that happens, the troops in the field will start to view the Pakistanis as much more trustworthy and start to confide in them a lot more.

That said, at the lower levels, co-operation has to improve. And I am sympathetic to Pakistani frustrations. However, even the Pakistanis don’t seem to realize that a lot of it is plain old fashioned bureaucracy, not some American conspiracy to screw them over. It’s the left hand not telling the right hand what’s going on. Just look at the inter-service rivalries in the US military alone. Then tack on all the other US players and all the coalition partners and their participating agencies. It’s a miracle things are functioning as they are right now. This is something the Pakistanis have to accept. It’s going to a slow and long process to improve co-operation and there actually is a lot of sympathy and desire on the part of Western forces in Afghanistan to pull that off.

Posted by kEiThZ | Report as abusive
 

I have got a very simple proposal, the yanks are not wanted in any part of the world. Most monsters of the current world go back to their caves or villas and would disappear, making the world more peaceful than before.
The monsters created by the paranoid of the western Govts, would simply starve their resistance spirit. Slowly but gradually the Pashtoons would calm down and go about looking after the orchids, agriculture and fruits export business, leaving their klashnikovs in their homes, the words of the President of Afghanistan, not mine.

Now that the emerging economies of the new world are bringing long over due prosperity for their hitherto poverty stricken people, future Obamas and Bonaparts of the western world could try to optimise their export business in order to protect the domestic industry.
Rex Minor
PS watch a GI’s high school performance in a flight,when he or she is asked to fill in the landing card before landing in a european country.

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Rex Minor: ” Slowly but gradually the Pashtoons would calm down and go about looking after the orchids, agriculture and fruits export business, leaving their klashnikovs in their homes, the words of the President of Afghanistan, not mine.”

You forgot opium. That gets the most money now-a-days in the glorious land of the Pashtuns.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

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