On U.S.-Taliban talks, look at 2014 and work back

February 19, 2011

arghandab3According to Steve Coll in the New Yorker, the United States has begun its first direct talks with the Taliban to see whether it is possible to reach a political settlement to the Afghan war.  He writes that after the Sept. 11 2001 attacks on New York and Washington the United States rejected direct talks with Taliban leaders, on the grounds that they were as much to blame for terrorism as Al Qaeda. However, last year, he says, a small number of officials in the Obama administration—among them the late Richard Holbrooke, the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan—argued that it was time to try talking to the Taliban again.

“Holbrooke’s final diplomatic achievement, it turns out, was to see this advice accepted. The Obama Administration has entered into direct, secret talks with senior Afghan Taliban leaders, several people briefed about the talks told me last week. The discussions are continuing; they are of an exploratory nature and do not yet amount to a peace negotiation.”

I had heard the same thing some time ago — from an official source who follows Afghanistan closely – that the Americans and the Taliban were holding face-to-face talks for the first time.  He said the talks were not yet ”at a decision-making level” but involved Taliban representatives who would report back to the leadership.  There has been no official confirmation.

And given that the idea of holding talks with the Taliban has been on the diplomatic agenda for a year, you would probably expect to see the various parties involved in the conflict sounding each other out – though diplomats say that in the first half of last year it was hard to get negotiations moving without the direct involvement of the Americans.  By the second half of 2010 the Americans had given greater endorsement to talks, leading — according to the source I spoke to — to direct talks beginning towards the end of the year.  

In a speech to the Asia Society on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington was “launching a diplomatic surge to move this conflict toward a political outcome that shatters the alliance between the Taliban and al-Qaeda, ends the insurgency, and helps to produce not only a more stable Afghanistan but a more stable region.”

“As military pressure escalates, more insurgents may begin looking for alternatives to violence. And not just low-level fighters. Both we and the Afghans believe that the security and governance gains produced by the military and civilian surges have created an opportunity to get serious about a responsible reconciliation process, led by Afghans and supported by intense regional diplomacy and strong U.S.-backing.”

“Now, I know that reconciling with an adversary that can be as brutal as the Taliban sounds distasteful, even unimaginable. And diplomacy would be easy if we only had to talk to our friends. But that is not how one makes peace. President Reagan understood that when he sat down with the Soviets. And Richard Holbrooke made this his life’s work. He negotiated face-to-face with (former Serbian president) Milosevic and ended a war.”

Pakistan has been pushing hard for talks on a political settlement in Afghanistan which would force al Qaeda to leave the region. A senior Pakistani security  official said in December that Washington needed to identify “end conditions” in Afghanistan, rather than setting preconditions for talks that insurgents renounce al Qaeda, give up violence and respect the Afghan constitution. He suggested instead a process in which violence was brought down, insurgents renounced al Qaeda, and a consensus then negotiated on a future Afghan constitution.

Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Kayani also gave a detailed letter to President Barack Obama late last year on how Pakistan viewed Afghanistan. According to one western official who had seen the letter,  the ideas put forward had not been rejected, but were being studied carefully.

So it’s interesting to see that both Britain and the United States are now talking about outcomes for talks with insurgents, rather than preconditions.

According to Clinton, ” Over the past two years, we have laid out our unambiguous red lines for reconciliation with the insurgents: They must renounce violence; they must abandon their alliance with al-Qaeda; and they must abide by the constitution of Afghanistan. Those are necessary outcomes of any negotiation.”

A senior British Foreign Office official, talking last month, made the same point. She said requirements the insurgents renounce al Qaeda, give up violence and respect the Afghan constitution applied to a settlement rather than to the opening of talks. “These are not preconditions for talks,” she said.

And many Afghan experts have long argued that the Taliban could be separated from al Qaeda through a political settlement — most recently in this report by Kandahar-based researchers Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn.

However, whatever happens with talks, this will be a very slow process with a great deal of room to go wrong. The Taliban itself has publicly rejected talks, and as van Linschoten and Kuehn noted in their report, the ramped-up U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan may be fragmenting the insurgency and creating a new generation of younger, more radicalised leaders less open to a peace deal

For now, both the United States and Britain argue that the military strategy is succeeding in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table — a calculation that, if wrong, could mean that by the time substantial negotiations get under way, the leadership no longer has the authority to deliver.

And as I noted here, the aim of the current “talks about talks” is not to strike a peace deal overnight, but rather to lay the groundwork so as to reach a final phase by 2014 when the United States and its allies say they will withdraw their troops.

The United States and the Taliban never understood each other when the Taliban were in power in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.  In his New Yorker article, Coll quotes a story about how Taliban leader Mullah Omar made a cold call to the State Department in 1998. “The United States had just lobbed cruise missiles at Al Qaeda camps in his nation. Omar got a mid-level diplomat on the line and spoke calmly. He suggested that Congress force President Bill Clinton to resign. He said that American military strikes ‘would be counter-productive’, and would ‘spark more, not less, terrorist attacks’, according to a declassified record of the call. ‘Omar emphasized that this was his best advice,’ the record adds.  That was the first and last time that Omar spoke to an American government official, as far as is known.”

The Taliban, by many accounts, vastly misjudged the likely U.S. reaction after the Sept. 11 attacks, when they refused to hand over al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden for trial without clear evidence of his involvement.

So both sides need time just to learn how to talk to each other, not so much because of language differences, but because of cultural differences (though that process may have started in one of the many parallel tracks of Afghan diplomacy with former Taliban ambassador to Islamabad Mullah Abdul Salaam Zaeef visiting London this month.

And the substantial issues for talks lie ahead.

How will the Taliban be expected to break with al Qaeda? And where would al Qaeda remnants go once, or if, they are — to use Clinton’s words “on the run”?  With uprisings and protests across the Middle East and North Africa, few would want to introduce another element of instability right now if al Qaeda members filtered back into Egypt, where they have their ideological roots, Yemen, where it has a strong presence via Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), or North Africa, home to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

How far would former Taliban leaders be included in the political process in Afghanistan?  I hear mixed reports on what could be an acceptable compromise. One official said that the Taliban should not be compared to a national liberation movement – opinion polls, though unreliable in a war zone, tend to suggest they do not enjoy widespread support in Afghanistan.  So a power-sharing deal would offer them far greater legitimacy than they deserve — or so the argument goes. The  counter-argument, which I have heard from another offiicial, is that the Taliban do not believe that it is up to the Americans and their allies to dictate how Afghanistan should be run.

Then you have the issue of whether the Taliban would be expected to owe allegiance to the existing constitution — which few seem to like much, in part because it is so over-centralised, but are also unwilling to ditch without a better alternative.

A major cause of suspicion — not just in Afghanistan but among other regional players including Iran and Russia – is that the United States might seek permanent military bases in the country even after it pulls out most of its troops in 2014. Clinton, echoing comments made by Obama in 2009, said that, ” we do not seek any permanent American military bases in their country or a presence that would be a threat to any of Afghanistan’s neighbors.”  However,  the increasing size of American bases in Afghanistan give pause for thought.

We also do not know what would happen to the current government in the event of a political settlement – though it’s worth noting that President Hamid Karzai’s term ends in 2014. If you wanted a political settlement which allowed the former Taliban leadership into government in some form, that could be the time to do it – if, and that is a huge if, conditions are right at the time.

And we do not know how the Pashtun Taliban might be reconciled with the non-Pashtun members of the former Northern Alliance, which fought the Islamist movement when it was in power in Kabul.

So in the short-term don’t expect a breakthrough. Look for progress on smaller confidence-building issues – including the release of prisoners, and taking Taliban names off the UN blacklist - to see whether the talks about talks are making any progress.  And as is the case in any peace process worldwide, expect spoilers at every stage from anyone who might stand to gain more out of war than peace.

Comments

Afghanistan cannot be analysed or solved in isolation. The stability of an Afghan peace agreement depends on the stability of its external environment, specifically the balance of power between various adversarial power-brokers, such as Pakistan and Iran, and to a lesser extent, China, India and Russia. Uzbekistan and Tajikistan may also be important players.

I see a dramatic downward shift in Pakistan’s power over the next 5 years, thanks mainly to severe economic mismanagement. They will face severe guns-versus-butter issues over the next year itself because of spreading hunger, and will have to downsize their military power to avoid dealing with food riots. External funding to help them avoid this trade-off will be harder to come by. They cannot continue to maintain the influence that they currently have. The math doesn’t hold up.

So I don’t believe any Afghan peace deal will hold, because once a crucial power-broker suffers a sharp decline in its influence, the others will begin to jostle for greater influence and end up abrogating all treaties signed earlier. To be specific, I don’t believe Afghanistan will stabilise until Pakistan itself arrives at a new (and necessarily lower) equilibrium.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

On first look, the idea of US talking with Taliban may look outlandish. But on closer examination, this will make much more sense than depending on Pakistan army, which hasn’t worked anyways.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

The best thing to do would be to split Afghanistan into two parts – Pashtun dominated South and non-Pashtun North. No matter what the outcome of the US-Taliban negotiations are, the two sides (Northern Alliance and Pashtuns) will clash as soon as the US leaves the region. Al Qaeda will capitalize on this situation. India will align with Northern alliance and Pakistan will ally with Pashtuns.

What should have happened in 2001 is this – the US should have bombed the day lights out of Afghanistan, driven the Taliban and Al Qaeda and allowed Northern Alliance to take over Afghanistan. Then they should have used the Northern Alliance as the proxy to take on Taliban/ Al Qaeda and Pakistan. With drones, the US could have caused further restrictions on the Taliban from staging counter conflicts against non-Pashtuns. Once in a while cruise missiles could have been launched from the Persian gulf to knock out Taliban/Al Qaeda camps and support bases. This way, without wetting its hands, the US could have driven the war to their advantage. The Northern Alliance is as ruthless as the Taliban and no one would have had to put up a benevolent and diplomatic face in staging this conflict.

The US should have learned from the Russians – do not engage directly in this region. Proxy methods really work.

Now if the US leaves, it must be intelligent enough to set up proxies that will act on their behalf and keep the Taliban contained. And it will prevent Al Qaeda from gaining ground again. And the groups will be constantly engaged against each other, leaving the rest of the world alone.

It is still not too late. Northern Alliance makes up the majority of Afghan army now. Simply power could be handed off to Northern Alliance and the nation will divide itself naturally between Pashtuns and non-Pashtuns. It is important to keep these elements engaged with each other. Pakistan will not be able to set up camp in Afghanistan when the place is in conflict. And Pakistan can be prevented by coercive means to stop repeating its mistakes done in 1995.

There is no way any settlement will work here with tribals having grown up in conflict all their lives. They will never settle down.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

As an analogy of my recommendation above, look at what the imperialist Britain did – they set up a proxy in Pakistan that was created to keep India perpetually engaged in conflict and thus not allowed to rise against their interests. It has worked. Unfortunately it has led to the sub-continent vulnerable to complete destruction.

But that seems to be the only way from a geo-strategic stand point. The US should think of setting up proxies so that the elements are contained within this region in perpetuity. It is a selfish act, but it works. As time goes on, these groups will tire of the conflicts and come to their own settlement, which might be better than what the US is recommending.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

The strategic objective of American effort is control. It is a constant that is visible to perceptive. Sometimes it is direct military occupation, and at other times economic and financial. So in case of Afghanistan, it is direct occupation. It is costly and politically untenable.
The next step is to put the forces is in military bases, already being built. This requires an agreement from Afghan government. The only party in Afghanistan supporting this arrangement is Tajik factions and also India from outside. Now that is an iffy proposition.
Now Pakistan has been going around looking for solution with the help of Saudis, then UAE, Iran, Turkey and in each case Americans decided not to support any forward movement. The last one was a group of Afghan notables who visited Islamabad sometimes back. These efforts without American participation really angered them. Since then the Americans have been after Pakistan to take them down couple of notches. Raymond Davis is one of the actors involved in this effort.
This rumor of direct talks with Taliban with Mulla Zaeef is not worth much. He has been living in Kabul for a long time after his release from Gitmo. What can he deliver? It would create one more Taliban faction to deal with.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

Pakistan has to look for its own interesr, exert maximum influence in Afghanistan and curtail India’s foot print there. Also, keep Afghanistan united and cohesive, not let the northern alliance proxies split the country and flame the already 30 year old civil war. We need to see an end to this conflict, not to start another war.
As for the USA, they will have to clarify their strategy and let it be public where do they stand. Without clear objectives, this will be a defeat worse thaqn Vietnam .

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

KPSingh

Your suggestions on Afghanistan are very foolish, you don’t even know what u r talking about. The favourite pass time for Afghans is fighting. When they are at war, they fight with outside invaders. When they are at peace, they fight among each other to sharpen their skills. You don’t really have good options on the table to deal with such a warrior nation. And forget about using them as proxies, they don’t know how to take orders, they simply are not used to it. They are proud and fircely independent, recklessly bold people.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

The favourite pass time for Afghans is fighting
==

It may be their favorite past time. You forgot to mention the ONLY past times of pakistanis has been war mongering, terrorism, militarism for 64 years. Afghans may have other pass times, but pakistanis don’t.

It is futile on your part to try portraying Afghans are savages, and you are some sort of guardian angels.

The interests of Afghans, India,Iran, Russia, US /west are all alligned against pak desire to be imperial power lording over afghan through Taliban.

This is 2011……not 2001

Splitting p

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

One of the biggest tragedies for the Afghans has been that for a long time, everyone has been trying to control & expolit them to their own advantage & this sentiment is reflected in some of the comments on this blog as well. Pakistan wants to use the fighting skills of the Pashtuns as a “strategic depth” & India & Iran want to neutralize Pakistan’s influence by supporting the non-Pashtuns. The Chinese, Russians, Uzbeks, Tajiks etc all have their own interests to worry about. Unfortunately, nobody is talking about rehabilitating & educating the Afghans so that they can be a part of the civilized world. We must realize that the Afghans are also human & not some kind of robotic fighting macines. If given a chance, they’ll give up their guns for a good education, a job & a chance to contribute to the world. Maybe it’s an unrealistic or naive idea but all the countries invloved, would be better off investing money to rahabilitate Afghanistan rather than arming them to the teeth, in order to serve their own selfish interests.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Umairpk: “The favourite pass time for Afghans is fighting. When they are at war, they fight with outside invaders. When they are at peace, they fight among each other to sharpen their skills.”

So it is better to leave them fighting each other. This way, they do not get time to allow entities like Al Qaeda or ISI to infiltrate and take over the reins. Afghans, as you said, drifted towards their natural tendencies in 1994. It was Pakistan that created the Taliban and brought “stability” that allowed Al Qaeda to flourish. The US cared a rats rear end what happened in this region at that time. In fact you Pakistanis complain once in a while that the US abandoned this region after defeating the Soviets. It was Al Qaeda that triggered their return, not as a benefactor, but as a hostile enemy.

Afghans do not fight each other to “sharpen their skills.” That is a very polite way of acknowledging the fact that they are still in barbaric times. With little exposure to the outside world, having a history of raiding and plundering others, they do what comes best to them – fight. So long as they fight each other, no one cares. And that is my suggestion. So you are indirectly agreeing with what I am saying.

“You don’t really have good options on the table to deal with such a warrior nation.”

So why make a deal with the Taliban? It is a waste of efforts. They do not have any value for negotiations and treaties. They are barbaric in nature and will violate any rule if the situation demands it.

“And forget about using them as proxies, they don’t know how to take orders, they simply are not used to it. They are proud and fircely independent, recklessly bold people.”

Really? So how did Ahmed Shah Masood stage his campaign against the Taliban? Who proxy was he? Didn’t you guys accuse India of using him as a proxy? Secondly, if they are fiercely independent, reckless and bold people, how did they agree to work under the control of the ISI and create the Taliban? How did they rely on Pakistan’s covert support to fight the Soviets? Independent people fight entirely by themselves and perish with pride if they have to. Why are these fiercely independent and proud people hiding like rats inside Pakistan, under the protection of the ISI?

Do not assume that we cannot think for ourselves. These guys are just as ordinary as anyone else. They are gun toting criminals who are ruling others with the barrel of their guns. There is an unnecessary myth created about their invincibility. America has not made headway due to several reasons – they did not take their mission seriously in the earlier stages and focused on Iraq. They relied on a corrupt, double dealing and deceptive Pakistan to accomplish their aimless goals. And Pakistan took them for a ride by making a deal to ship out all critical elements from Kunduz and hid them in Quetta, Karachi, North Waziristan etc. The only strategy of these brave warriors has been to hide and stay underground for as long as it takes. They have relied on the frustration caused by delays and public anger in the US and NATO countries. The US is coming forward to negotiate with them because time is running out and public are losing their interest in the US. It is a huge electoral worry for their Presidents.

The only thing that needs to be done is to contain Pakistan from spreading its tentacles inside Afghanistan. If that can be accomplished by coercive means, Afghans will take care of themselves. Pakistan has no money and has no resources even to take on its internal enemies in Swat and Waziristan. And it should not be allowed to manipulate the natural development in Afghanistan like it did in 1995. If that can be done, Afghanistan will find its own natural settlement, which in my opinion, a division into two – one dominated by Pashtuns and the second one dominated by the others. And that will help other countries live in peace in the region.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

KP

When I say Afghans, I do not necessarily mean Taliban or Pushtoon. Though Pakistan has historically had more closer relations with Pushtoon Afghan since a sizeable majority of Pushtoons live in Pakistan too. Afghans have been tough because they have always faced invaders like Alexander, the British and then Russians who were all ruthless. This made the Afghan insurgent a formidable foe. And don’t forget the Soviet-Afghan war started with second world war rifles, the resistance got more advanced weapons like stingers much later in the 80s. You can sure dismiss them as myths, but these legends were depicted in a poem by Rudyard Kipling in 18th century.
As for Pakistan, we have a historical relationship with Afghanistan and helped them free themselves from Soviet communists. Pakistan is well capable of taking care of fringe elements in Swat/Waziristan funded by outsiders. Also, time and again Pakistan has assured it has no desire to control Afghanistan. And offered to train Afghan Army, help them with transit trade, have a thousands of kilometer border with them, sheltered millions of their refugees for decades. We sure will pursue our regional interest, our interest is an independent, neutral and stable Afghanistan free from Indian influence. That is it!
And that is precisely what Afghanistan should be, a landlocked country as it is already, it should be a neutral, buffer state with all its neighbours having a stake in it ready to assist it recover from civil war. Outsiders like India have minimal interest and should mind their own business, atleast don’t maintain four consulates engaged in questionable activities.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

BTW
Uncle sam will be getting really angry, already being in the line of fire nothing is more irritating like two schoolboys fighting each other out in someone else’s backyard. It will make the job of US much easier to talk to Taliban and push for settlement if India and Pakistan do not turn Afghanistan into a proxy battleground. But then, where does the Kashmir dispute stand? Oh we are supposed to remain silent on that, Kashmir is an integral part of India, there is no dispute there.

PS
Every wise military officer, diplomat, envoy etc have argued there is no military solution to Afghan war. The solution has to be a political one. The sooner this is realized the better, more lives will be saved and earlier a settlement will be achieved.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

@KPSingh
“Pakistan has no money and has no resources even to take on its internal enemies in Swat and Waziristan”
==

There was news item in pak news paper The News about Ahmad Rashid talking to pak military men in Karachi stating Pakistan is increasingly isolated, and has no friends. He has been explicitly stating repeatedly, there are no takers for pak position that India has no locus standi in Afghanistan. Especially, when every one is facing budget constraints Indian offer to assist Afghanistan is positively received except for the pavlovian reaction of paks.

pakistan’s diplomatic, economic stature has declined dramatically. But Paks are both unwilling and incapable of accepting this reality. This delusion of grandeur comes from false notion, having nuclear weapons will give magical powers to Pakistan.

North koreanization of Pakistan is unfolding.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

@”We sure will pursue our regional interest, our interest is an independent, neutral and stable Afghanistan free from Indian influence. That is it!”
Posted by Umairpk

Do you see the contradiction in your comment? You want an “independent” Afghanistan & yet you want to make sure that there’s no Indian influence on it. An independent Afghanistan means, a nation which is capable of making it’s own decisions with regards to who it wants to be influenced by & your country should have NO say in it. And since we’re talking about Indian influence, can you enlighten us as to what exactly is that “influence”? Is it the unproven LIE of a gazzilion conulates which were created to foment trouble in Pakistan OR is the FACT of a $2bn investment to build roads, schools & hospitals?

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Umairpk: : “Also, time and again Pakistan has assured it has no desire to control Afghanistan.”

Pakistan created the Taliban and controlled all of Afghanistan as a strategic depth for its activities against India. We all know this truth. Pakistan mixed in its military personnel with the Taliban to help defeat its rivals and take over Pakistan. In Kunduz, the US allowed the airlift of hundreds of Pak soldiers as a part of the bargain with Musharraf. We know that truth too. And you all know that India has gained substantially in Pakistan and has the support of the US and its allies. India has engaged in reconstruction and goodwill efforts much to the agony of your military bosses. And Pakistan has proved itself to be an unreliable country that cannot be trusted on any count. Therefore when Pakistan says there will be no interference in Afghanistan’s affairs, no one takes those statements seriously, other than some patriotic Pakistanis like you. Afghans are very suspicious of your ISI and military for having supported the Taliban before.

“And offered to train Afghan Army, help them with transit trade, have a thousands of kilometer border with them, sheltered millions of their refugees for decades. We sure will pursue our regional interest, our interest is an independent, neutral and stable Afghanistan free from Indian influence. That is it!”

In other words you are demanding that Afghanistan rid itself off any Indian influence as a pre-condition to their existence as an independent state. Unfortunately they are going to decide who they like and dislike. With the help India has offered so far, most likely they will increase their reliance on India. They know that India is an emerging economic power. Trade with India will boost their economy a lot. They cannot help being a neighbor of Pakistan. But they will not trust your military or the ISI.

“But then, where does the Kashmir dispute stand? Oh we are supposed to remain silent on that, Kashmir is an integral part of India, there is no dispute there.”

Pakistan got Azad Kashmir. India got Jammu and the rest. It has been 60 years. Pakistan has nothing left to settle in Kashmir dispute. What needs to happen in Indian Kashmir is better life for the citizens, more freedom, and opportunities. That is something India will work out with its citizens. And we do not demand anything about Azad Kashmir or Aksai Chin and shed crocodile tears. You got what you got and keep that. If Kashmir is an integral part of India, then so is all of Pakistan. But I know you don’t want to go there. So keep your Pakistan and we will leave you alone. We left Bangladesh alone as well. And they are not building nuclear bombs to be at par with us. Be happy with what you got and make sure that what you got does not fall apart.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65aj_511w OI&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca3V48jOi Zc&feature=related

It must be a wonder why these people want out of the holy land for Muslims. May be you should focus on those before trying to burn others.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

“And you all know that India has gained substantially in Pakistan and has the support of the US and its allies.”

It should read as – And you all know that India has gained substantially in Afghanistan and has the support of the US and its allies.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

“We left Bangladesh alone as well. And they are not building nuclear bombs to be at par with us.”

Something else for the Pakistanis to churn about: Bangladesh does not have nukes like you do. It did not “have the guts” to start unnecessary wars with India or “confront” India, like your smart generals did. The Result – In 1971, the value of 1 Banladeshi Taka = App 0.50 Pakistani Rupee & in 2011, 1 Bangladeshi Taka = 1.20 Pakistani Rupee.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

KPSingh:

Please clarify what does India have in common with Afghanistan? Did you help them when your beloved ally Soviet Union bombed and flatten villages? did you help them when their children lost limbs and arms were amputated due to rocket attacks and land mines? did you help them when in winter there was nothing for them to eat, no warm clothing was available? Did India donate a single cent to medical camps, charities in Peshawar to help them fight Soviet monsters? Did India shelter the millions of homeless refugees from Soviet-Afghan war? Is there a common border shared between India and Afghanistan? Do you provide transit trade facility to Afghans?
Pakistan has more in common with Afghanistan, they are like brothers to us. We never left them alone in their hour of need. We fought alongside with them and bled with them. It was unfortunate after signing Geneva Accords in 1988 peace was not established there and after Soviet withdrawal the country was left alone to plunge into civil war.
Just recently a few call centers opened up in India, a couple of hundered American jobs were outsourced to India and you guys suddenly become tycoons throwing gazzilion of dollars in aid to Afghanistan, building roads, bridges, and space shuttles for Afghanistan? Suddenly started playing geo-strategic games? And Pakistan must sit down and look like a duck? I don’t think so.
As I stated, Us must have a clear roadmap to rehabilitate the Afghans, work out a political solution. Pakistan’s help must be taken to stabilize Afghanistan and prevent that war to spill over to Pakistan’s tribal region. India must not use its influence in Afghanistan to destabilize Pakistan’s Baluchistan region. Afghanistan must remain a neutral buffer state, all its neighbours with a stake including Iran must create conducive conditions to establish a peaceful Afghan society. If anyone thinks there is another workable formula for the Afghan puzzle is living in a fools paradise.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

@”Please clarify what does India have in common with Afghanistan?” Posted by Umairpk

India has a lot more in common with Afghanistan than Pakistan has in common with China. So one can also ask, why is Pakistan sitting in China’s lap? Nations do not need to have anything in common to become friends, in fact they can be bitter foes in the past & still become good friends (US-Japan, US-Germany etc). India is in Afghanistan because a moderate, civilized & democratic Afghanistan is in it’s interest & also in the interest of the Afghan people & the global community. India is not in Afghanistan to control it or to keep Pakistan out. If Pakistan wants to joing India & the global community in the rehabilitation of Afghanistan, it is most welcome to do so but the problem is that Pakistan’s mission in Afghanistan is to control it (via an opressive regime like Taliban) & exploit it to serve it’s own geo-strategic agenda. Simply put, India is working with the Afghan people & the global community in Afghanistan whereas Pakistan is working against everybody else’s interests. You need to get it out of your head that India’s goal in Afghanistan is, to destabalize Pakistan. You guys have been claiming this for years now without providing an iota of evidence to the international community. Repeating a lie, over & over, won’t make it the truth.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

India has a lot more in common with Afghanistan than Pakistan has in common with China. So one can also ask, why is Pakistan sitting in China’s lap?
==

Ouch :-)

That’s a good one.

Chinese eat chicken tikka masala, listen to sitar and tabla, speak hindustani….and pakistan is Buddhist& Taoist republic…..

Haven’t you heard?

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

Umair
You ask Indians good questions but you would never get a straight answer from them.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

Umairpk: “Please clarify what does India have in common with Afghanistan?”

India’s history goes back thousands of years, much before Islam came to the sub-continent and the creation of Pakistan as a result. Buddhism spread through Central Asia and during the Kushana dynasty, Buddhism flourished in this region. During the rule of emperor Kanishka, Buddhism spread far and wide from this region as well. The giant Bamiyan Buddha statues in Afghanistan are testament to that. So India has a lot more in common with Afghanistan and Pakistan, no matter how much you try to cleanse that bond off. Our interest is having a region that is amicable, peaceful with healthy interactions between the people of the region. Afghans are willing to work with us. Are Pakistanis up to that? I do not see that in the horizon.

“Did you help them when your beloved ally Soviet Union bombed and flatten villages? did you help them when their children lost limbs and arms were amputated due to rocket attacks and land mines? did you help them when in winter there was nothing for them to eat, no warm clothing was available? Did India donate a single cent to medical camps, charities in Peshawar to help them fight Soviet monsters? Did India shelter the millions of homeless refugees from Soviet-Afghan war? Is there a common border shared between India and Afghanistan? Do you provide transit trade facility to Afghans?”

We would have done all that if we were allowed to. Pakistan’s first pre-condition with the US was absolutely no Indian involvement whatsoever. They were afraid that India would derail everything from Pakistan’s perspective. We surely could have provided all the medical and financial help if needed. The road block was set by Pakistan. And we were on the opposite camp at that time. The US did not want anything to have to do with India then.

When your proud military plundered your Muslim brothers in East Pakistan, we did everything for them that you have listed above.

When Pakistan created the Taliban to take over Afghanistan, we helped the non-Taliban Afghans fight them and keep their dignity alive. So we have helped Afghans, but it may not be on Pakistan’s terms.

“Pakistan has more in common with Afghanistan, they are like brothers to us.”

All this is lip service. The only thing common between Pakistan and Afghanistan is religion. And India has more Muslims than all of Afghanistan and equals in number to that in Pakistan. So, surely from religious stand point, we have common stuff too. There are many Afghans settled in India over generations and have contributed to our cultural fabric. To name a few – Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi (former prince and cricket captain), Mohammed Azharuddin (former Indian cricket captain), numerous artists, actors, lyricists etc in Bollywood. India’s grand Mansabdari system that prevails to this day was set up by Sher Shah Suri, one of the most brilliant and able administrators of his time. Akbar built the whole system on the foundations laid by Sher Shah and Moghul empire became one of the wealthiest after that. I can go on and on. Kindly read proper history before preaching to us.

“We never left them alone in their hour of need.”

When Armitage asked “Or you with us or against us,” looks like you dropped them like a rock and ran for cover. If you really are their brothers at all times, your country would not have taken stand with the Americans. At least the Taliban had more balls. They simply refused to hand over Al Qaeda criminals. And they paid the price for it. But Pakistan quietly dropped the Taliban and pretended to be fighting terrorism. You guys ran with the hares and ran with the hounds to save your rear ends. You had the nukes. Yet you let the Americans launch their drones from your soil to hunt and kill your “inseparable brothers.” Afghans are really miffed about that double dealing act on your part. No matter how much you can cover up facts with lies, we all can see for ourselves.

“We fought alongside with them and bled with them.”

See above. They bled for sure. Their women were reduced to the level of cattle, beaten up in public, and humiliated with their education and health care denied. And you had everything in tact in Pakistan and lived a happy life at their expense. Your “brotherhood” with them was for a long term strategic depth against us. There was no other intention.

“It was unfortunate after signing Geneva Accords in 1988 peace was not established there and after Soviet withdrawal the country was left alone to plunge into civil war.”

So what? It is their country. They would have settled it down on their own if given time. Pakistan was trying to prop up Hekmatyar and Haqqani and when it did not work, went to work on creating the Taliban. Your country did everything to control Afghanistan and capitalize on their backwardness. If you go to Kabul today, they will hack you down because you are a Pakistani. I can tell you that much. They have nothing against India. We have only worked towards their infrastructure building. And they are thankful for that.

“Just recently a few call centers opened up in India, a couple of hundered American jobs were outsourced to India and you guys suddenly become tycoons throwing gazzilion of dollars in aid to Afghanistan, building roads, bridges, and space shuttles for Afghanistan?”

It is not as simple as that. India built the needed infrastructure for industrial growth. It took about forty years for things to mature. India built high class educational institutions, medical colleges, research labs, sent people abroad to get graduate degrees in various fields, built steel, automobile, textile, agro industries. India has one of the best business management schools in the world. It is well respected for high quality education in computer science. Many Indians who went to the US helped the Silicon Valley there grow into a global power. If you look at most top US companies today, you will find an Indian’s name either as a founder or a contributor. Indians earned respect and regard for their hard work and potential in Western countries. So when in 1991 India liberalized the economy, it was ready with the needed potential and infrastructure to handle business with the West. And there was not a blip in the growth as a result. India was ready in 1970 for that matter. It was hard work that has brought us to where we are and of course I do not expect Pakistanis like you to appreciate that. You guys think we get free dole. We don’t. We have worked on self reliance and it has made us quite independent. Tomorrow if the US disappears, we still will be an economic power. It is just that the US and other Western powers are respecting us for what we have accomplished. It is not cheap labor.

“Suddenly started playing geo-strategic games?”

If India is such a weak country in all aspects, what makes Pakistan a power that can play its geo-strategic games?

“And Pakistan must sit down and look like a duck? I don’t think so.”

Pakistan should sit down and see what it can do to become a normal nation. The timer is ticking. If I were you, I will worry about the bomb going off.

“As I stated, Us must have a clear roadmap to rehabilitate the Afghans, work out a political solution.”

They are working on it. But they are ignorant and gullible. We know the region better than them. Hence our concerns.

“Pakistan’s help must be taken to stabilize Afghanistan and prevent that war to spill over to Pakistan’s tribal region.”

Pakistan should first take care of itself. It must eliminate all terrorism infrastructure, destroy radicalism, make democracy healthy, reduce military’s power hold and become a normal nation. The rest will take care of itself.

“India must not use its influence in Afghanistan to destabilize Pakistan’s Baluchistan region.”

All this is old story. India has no time to engage in such acts. India wants friendly relations with Afghanistan and no one can stand on the way. If Pakistan does not like it, that’s too bad.

“Afghanistan must remain a neutral buffer state, all its neighbours with a stake including Iran must create conducive conditions to establish a peaceful Afghan society. If anyone thinks there is another workable formula for the Afghan puzzle is living in a fools paradise.”

Afghanistan in today’s shape will not work. It has been destroyed beyond shape. All that is left are a bunch of tribals. It is not a nation in the real sense. It needs to be restructured so that it can work for the well being of the people in the region. The greatest danger to Afghans is Pakistan. So until Pakistan is corrected, nothing will change in Afghanistan. That is why the US is working on Af-Pak instead of Afghanistan alone.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

On a different note, a good analysis of the distortion of history in Pakistan by a credible Pakistani intellectual Najam Sethi. (Only for those who understand urdu/hindi)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUKr3bCaN JY

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Matrixx said:

> Umair
> You ask Indians good questions but you would never get a straight answer from them.

You see what you want to see, don’t you? I see Pakistanis failing to answer questions that Indians put to them. For a start, can one of you guys answer me about your Kashmir contradiction? “Azadi” means something very different from “Kashmir banega Pakistan” (or “banay ga” the way you guys spell it ;-). So why do you keep supporting azadi for Kashmiris knowing fully well that it will mean the loss of AJK and GB? Or is it a cynical ploy to get Kashmir out of India’s hands, after which azadi will be crushed underfoot and Kashmir banega Pakistan?

A straight answer will be much appreciated.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Ganesh:

Let me give you a polite and straightforward answer on Kashmir. India must keep things in Kashmir the same as they are, it will be only a matter of time before you will start to see its effects. Kashmir is a simmering dispute and can become a flashpoint. Just remember, just small flames here and there can quickly become a raging inferno and burn everything in its way. That is what going to happen to Kashmir in the long run, people there are not happy with Indian rule. Forget about Azadi or Kashmir bane ga Pakistan. Kashmir will be India’s nightmare and you will regret for not getting rid of the dispute, by that time it will be too late. You can see how decades of middle east dictatorships are collapsing. For example, the Egyptian government was toppled in just 18 days, but the revolution had been in the works for many many years. When decades of anger and frustration boiled over in the streets, that dictator had to cut and run. Hold on to dear Kashmir, a straight answer.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

Ganesh,
Let me add. People of Kashmir have lot more in common with people of Pakistan. So even if they are independent they will be much closer to Pakistan. Understand.
India treats Kashmir as a territory to be ruled from Dilli. You see the consequences.
Is it straight enough for you, dear neighbor.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

If Kashmiris have more in common with Pakistanis, then Pakistanis have more in common with Indians. If that logic is used, then we should talk of merging Pakistan with India because of genetic ties. I know Pakistanis do not like to be with India. So as a corollary, Kashmir cannot be with Pakistan. And if they try to stay alone, the testes of the Mujahideen will explode and they cannot control it. So it is better if Kashmir solution is worked out between Kashmiris and Indians. Pakistan has nothing to do with it. You got a nation for Muslims. You butchered half of it. Another part wants to leave. No one is happy. Life has become miserable. So go work on it. We will take care of Kashmir. May be you can give Azad Kashmir to us so that we can make life better for them.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

@”People of Kashmir have lot more in common with people of Pakistan.” Posted by Matrixx

That’s also a bunch of balony fed to Pakistanis, by their establishment. May I ask, what do Kashmiri muslims have in common with the Punjabis, Sindhis, Balochs, Pashtuns, Muhajirs, Seraikis etc. of Pakistan except religion? And if it is just religion then they (kashmiris) also share the same religion with 150 million Indians. And if you talk about ethnicity, Kashmiris have a lot more commonality in India (Kashmiri pundits & sikhs and also poeple living in parts of Himachal Pradesh) than they have in Pakistan. Twisting facts won’t change the reality.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

KPS and Mortal
I have not mentioned religion, genes or ethnicities not that all such factors need to considered at some level.
My proposition is simpler than that. Let Kashmiris decide what they like. Give them full freedom to travel, trade and interact and see where they go. If they want to form a union with Gujratis, it is their choice. You guys want to force things on others.
I believe that Indus valley is a distinct group of people relative to Ganges valley. Peace can be restored if you drop the concept Maha Bharat where ever it come from and make sincere effort to have cooperation in balanced trade and exchange. I should not write this para because you would consider it as an opening.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

Matrixx: “Let Kashmiris decide what they like. Give them full freedom to travel, trade and interact and see where they go. If they want to form a union with Gujratis, it is their choice. You guys want to force things on others.”

If that is the case, why is Pakistan desperately holding on to Balochistan? They want out and would like to be on their own. Would you first like to give them what they want? As far as forcing things on others, you guys are the world champions – four wars towards us, Kargil included, plundering of East Pakistan to thrust your dominance over Bengalis, pushing the Taliban into Afghanistan to control the country, do you need more?

“I believe that Indus valley is a distinct group of people relative to Ganges valley.”

On what evidence are you talking? Balochi language Brahui is related to the Dravidian languages in Southern India. Do not distort facts with ignorance and lies. Go read and enlighten yourself.

“Peace can be restored if you drop the concept Maha Bharat where ever it come from and make sincere effort to have cooperation in balanced trade and exchange.”

We are happy with what we have. Now it would be good if you do the same.
We have no interest in your country. We accept the fact that it is a reality and we are glad you are separate from us. You keep all the religious fanatics, militants and corrupt military and live happily ever after. As far balanced trade and exchange, everyone else is vying to do business with us. We have had close to four heads of states from wealthy nations make a visit last year and pitch for business co-operation with our country. If you want trade and balance with us, you will have to make the effort. We have no interest in your country or your affairs. We only show concern because events in your country affects us, for being your neighbors.

“I should not write this para because you would consider it as an opening.”

Opening to what?

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

KP
I can not take you seriously. In previous post you wanted Azad Kashmir handed to you for no reason and now you say that you are happy with what you got. Make up your mind. Then come back and talk.
What is your bottom line? Is it religion, genes, caste, languages?

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

Kp
The question of Baluchistan is unrelated. Why do you raise it when you don’t believe in rights of the people. The problems are being looked at and as soon as Afghanistan occupation is removed,you won’t see that problem also. Do you support occupation of Afghanistan? Why do you support division of Afghanistan and but not India?
If you don’t want to deal with Pakistan, why is Indian government holding talks?

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

KPSingh:”If that is the case, why is Pakistan desperately holding on to Balochistan? They want out and would like to be on their own. Would you first like to give them what they want?”

-Baluchistan is an integral part of Pakistan and things there are pretty relaxed except a few Indian backed desperate insurgents, Pakistan will take care of them. Today Baluchi nationalist leaders are being engaged in a national dialogue to address their grieviences if any.
And just forget about 1971, that is now history. Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine clearly states if any part of Pakistan’s territory including Baluchistan is under any threat, Pakistan will defend itself through all available means.
As with Azad kashmir, after making the life of Muslims in Indian occupied Kashmir a living hell, I don’t think Azad Kashmir will ever accept Indian rule. You must rather keep your hands off Azad Kashmir, they will remain better off.
If any country should ever be further divided, it should be India. India in its present state has become a regional hegimon imposing its will on its neighbours and is a threat to its neighbouring nations. Only a divided and weakened India will pose a smaller threat. All other countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan etc must remain united and strong to face the Indian threat and eliminate it. Few comments on this blog reflect the psyche of Indians, they think they are a bigger country, being huge means they should have a bigger share of everything. Impose their will on others, ‘cut other countries into half’. My foot. Just see even if you are a super power or not? Once you become a super power than think of these things, right now concentrate on your slums and poor farmers who are committing suicides in hundereds.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

@Umairpk

Pakistan was apparently opted for by the then muslim leaders to have some space for muslims. The military rulers of Pakistan, later forgot the mission and the intellectual thinking of the fathers( I say fathers since jinnah was not the only one, there were others before him who had similar visions) of todays Nation, did not improve upon the democracy which was used to create Paistan. Today the whole world knows the achievements of the military rulers, I do not have to elaborate on this. What I have experienced on this blog and many others that it is the space Pakistani bloggers their well wishers are not going to get from Indians. Some of the so called Indians are themselves victims, but their hatred towards a muslm Pakistan appears to be far greater than the Indian Govt. who have deprived them of their dignity. They are ready to ut out the biggest rap I have ever come across any bolg, they do not restrict their venom to a sentence or paragraph, but but half a page and more distortion and diversion on any subject affecting Pakistan or Afghanistan. Their knowledge is google, NY Times and Washington Post.KP is relatively harmless and most of the times blowing in the wind. This much about the people who are trying to confuse the article with the rhetoric.
You mentioned something about the wise officers who believe that there is no military solution in so called Afghan crisis. I beg to disagree with the wise officers.American might and the rag tag NATO military have been decidedly defeated militarily and on the battle ground. The timing as to when the foreigners are going to withdraw has not yet been decided by the so called Talibans. You are one of the fortunate ones to see the history being made in your part of the country. For Pashtoons DIGNITY is the guiding force, though money is their weakness. A balance between the two have always been difficult.Do not misunderstand karzai, who is also a Pahton Taliban leader. The word Pashtoon is synanimous with Afghan, Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras are afghan citizens bu no different from those who are living in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

The USA with their experience in Vietnam have taken adequate precautions to ull out f the region overnight, they have an airborne Division in Bagram!

The Pashtoons have always fought for their dignity, in peace time they do not fight among themselves. They are independent tribes and live with their traditional ethics. You have a wrong image of Pashtoons.

I wish sometimes that Pakistan military had that much dignity for themselves? They need not be intruding into the Pashtoon territory simply to get some bucks from the USA? Dignity is the word today across the Arabian penunciala and beyond which people have lost on account the desert rats who on accunt of oil installed themselves as their Amirs and Khalifas. A lively piece of history we are watching, the wrld is not going to be the same. Have a nice day.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

“I believe that Indus valley is a distinct group of people relative to Ganges valley”.
Posted by Matrixx

Aaah!

Would that explain why people who migrated from the Ganges valley in 1947 still feel like second class citizens in the country of Indus valley :-(

http://www.dividepakistan.blogspot.com/

Are Pashtuns and Baluchis Indus valley people?

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

netizen,
I’ll not discuss Pakistan issues with any Indian till such time you explain the concept of Maha Bharat and atoot ang.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

Matrixx said:

> I’ll not discuss Pakistan issues with any Indian till such time you explain the concept of Maha Bharat and atoot ang.

I explained to you before with numbers and percentages why the notion of undivided India is unviable. At the time, you claimed to understand logic but you seem to have suffered an unexplained memory loss. I’m not going to fall for this trick and explain again just because you find yourself cornered in an argument. I guess the lack of integration of the Mohajirs and the Bangladesh genocide are too embarrassing.

You are ironically right. Although Pakistan hasn’t been able to make its ethnic groups stick together on the basis of religion, it is a wonderful thing that Pakistan is an independent country and not part of India – wonderful for India, that is. Don’t use the phrases of an extremist political fringe in India to score points with everyone else. No Indian on this blog has ever said they want India to re-absorb Pakistan. God forbid! It would be a disaster for India to reunite with Pakistan.

There’s no contradiction if KP says India should take back Azad Kashmir. That’s what is meant by “disputed territory” – LOL. Both India and Pakistan claim Kashmir in its entirety. Thankfully, India realises that taking back territory is generally infeasible and is willing to freeze the current borders. Pakistan doesn’t realise the futility of changing borders and never gives up trying to take back Indian-held Kashmir, bankrupting itself in the process. What about the worsening condition of the common people? Never mind. If they don’t have roti, they can eat isotopes, right? More warheads now for everyone to eat.

In any case, the term you’re groping for is “Akhand Bharat” (undivided India), not “Maha Bharat” (India the Great). Maha Bharat can be used even to refer to India itself (current political borders).

Some constructive dialog we’re having, eh?

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Matrixx:

“I can not take you seriously.”

Thanks.

“In previous post you wanted Azad Kashmir handed to you for no reason and now you say that you are happy with what you got. Make up your mind.”

According to the instrument of access signed by the then head of state Hari Singh, all of Kashmir acceded to India. Pakistan is holding Azad Kashmir part of it illegally. As per the UN resolution of 1948, Pakistan is required to vacate from all areas in Kashmir and India is to provide a minimum security protection. Neither conditions have been satisfied. We are still happy with what we have got. But it is you Pakistanis who are demanding more. You got Azad Kashmir illegally. It has been 62 years. So I am all right with letting go off that piece of land. We have the rest of Kashmir and we do not want you demanding it from us. We will not let go off it. That was my point.

“Then come back and talk.”

I just did.

“What is your bottom line? Is it religion, genes, caste, languages?”

Do not divide on religious, linguistic and ideological terms. Do not draw arbitrary borders without an iota of knowledge about demographic and resource distributions. If the two are not considered, you get Pakistan. India is the right example of how many communities can co-exist and work towards progress as one nation. Pakistan which was created as a sand bag for the imperial UK and due to the power craze of a wily politician, is a classic example of what happens to countries founded on such factors. It is a complete failure. And now it is trying to drag other down with it. That is why it is important to help Afghans from being choked to death by a drowning Pakistan.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Matrixx:

“The question of Baluchistan is unrelated.”

How? Balochis want out of Pakistan. There is history of them being cheated and forcibly annexed with Pakistan. They have no special love for your nation. After East Pakistan was cut off, Balochis and Sindhis rebelled too. Your military used brutal means to suppress their demands. If it is all right for your to poke at us in regards to Kashmir, then it is all right for us to give you a taste of your own medicine. If you support Kashmiri self determination, then you are indirectly supporting the same for the Balochis. If you want to be fair, you cannot be selective.

“Why do you raise it when you don’t believe in rights of the people.”

I am asking you the same question about Balochis. Please answer that first.

“The problems are being looked at and as soon as Afghanistan occupation is removed,you won’t see that problem also.”

We will see about that. We are not going to let you have the cake and eat it too. Do not even dream that you will get back into Afghanistan the way you did in 1989. We will keep you busy. Do not worry. You might need a lot of blood donation in the process.

“Do you support occupation of Afghanistan?”

It is not an occupation. Get your head straight first.
The US did not come to occupy Afghanistan. They are on a hunt for Al Qaeda leaders and a permanent solution to Islamic terrorism that is emanating from Afghanistan and mostly Pakistan. If your country gives up its reliance on terrorism and hands over the criminals it has been hiding, the US will leave.

“Why do you support division of Afghanistan and but not India?”

Because Afghanistan has been burnt down by 30 years of war. It has nothing but rubble. Its people need to live in peace. They are prevented from living in peace by the marauding tribes and their supporters from Pakistan. In the current condition, Af-Pak will only create problems for the world than any solution. Hence the recommendation to seek a permanent solution. Division is one of those considerations.

India is not a quagmire of civil wars, tribals with machine guns, radical extremists blowing up everyone for breakfast. India is a proper nation with civil infrastructure and government. When any nation fails to meet the goal of being a nation, alternatives need to be looked at. If India was fuming with endless wars and calamity, surely one solution would be to break it up along a set of boundary conditions. India is not. Afghanistan is and Pakistan is headed in that direction as well. That is why Obama calls the whole thing as Af-Pak. It will become Pak-Af soon.

“If you don’t want to deal with Pakistan, why is Indian government holding talks?”

That is my individual opinion. I do not run the daily affairs of my government. And they represent a civilized nation. They have to deal with criminal states through negotiations no matter what. So they are dealing with Pakistan. That’s all. They know nothing will come out of those talks.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Umairpk: “Baluchistan is an integral part of Pakistan and things there are pretty relaxed except a few Indian backed desperate insurgents,”

You can believe your military’s version as much as you want. I used to know a Balochi when I was in the US during grad school and I know how much he hated your country’s occupation of its land. You will need to provide concrete proof of Indian involvement in Balochistan. Otherwise, you are pulling things out of the air, much like everyone in Pakistan is doing.

“Pakistan will take care of them.”

We know. And they know it too. That is why they are seeking international help for their self determination.

“Today Baluchi nationalist leaders are being engaged in a national dialogue to address their grieviences if any.”

It is all an eye wash and time buying tactic. No one trusts Pakistanis and their establishment. Your country has the reputation of backstabbing everyone. With that reputation, no one has any faith in any talks with your establishment.

“And just forget about 1971, that is now history.”

So why can’t you forget everything until yesterday? It is all history as well.

“Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine clearly states if any part of Pakistan’s territory including Baluchistan is under any threat, Pakistan will defend itself through all available means.”

And if Balochis manage to fight on their own, your nukes will be used on them I suppose. When a criminal is dangerously armed, no one in his right mind is going to confront him directly. But he will be contained until he is nabbed. So India will not come into confrontation with your criminal state. But we will try to help the hostages you are holding for sure.

“As with Azad kashmir, after making the life of Muslims in Indian occupied Kashmir a living hell, I don’t think Azad Kashmir will ever accept Indian rule. You must rather keep your hands off Azad Kashmir, they will remain better off.”

Ok. Keep them. And we will keep the rest. Case closed. Let me see for how long you can live with that.

“If any country should ever be further divided, it should be India.”

Unfortunately India is not going in that direction. You will be very disappointed.

“India in its present state has become a regional hegimon imposing its will on its neighbours and is a threat to its neighbouring nations.”

Only Pakistanis are saying that. No one else is. We have issues with our other neighbors and they have their with us. But that is very normal between neighboring countries. The real threat to the region is China and its proxies like Pakistan.

“Only a divided and weakened India will pose a smaller threat.”

I see the solution to Pakistan the same way. You guys got a nation and have done nothing with it. You have turned it into a terrorist swamp and have become a menace to the whole world. Every Islamic terrorist has its roots in Pakistan. And no one wants to come to your country. No one wants to even play cricket there. Everyone is corrupt. Players are making money betting and spot fixing. Politicians are stashing money abroad. Militants are blowing people up. There is no money. There is severe unemployment. Conditions are ripe for your country to fall apart. Bhutto’s dream is coming true – time to eat grass.

“All other countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan etc must remain united and strong to face the Indian threat and eliminate it.”

Dream on.

“Few comments on this blog reflect the psyche of Indians,”

And your views reflect your psyche too. When you point a finger at us, you have three fingers on your hand pointing back at you.

“they think they are a bigger country, being huge means they should have a bigger share of everything.”

No. We got a country. We want to progress and live well. Unfortunately the imperial British created a criminal state next to us to keep us from achieving that goal. Us being big has nothing to with any of it. Your country is a problem maker and a regional bully. And we are dealing with you accordingly. Only Pakistanis have staged attacks like the one in Mumbai and Madrid.

“Impose their will on others, ‘cut other countries into half’.”

I am only voicing my opinion here. I do not represent all Indians. Trouble makers need to be contained. Your country has done nothing constructive ever since its birth and it has turned criminal. At some point chains need to be put on the feet. Hence my suggestion.

“My foot.”

Your country might be left just with that and nothing else.

“Just see even if you are a super power or not? Once you become a super power than think of these things, right now concentrate on your slums and poor farmers who are committing suicides in hundereds.”

We are not aiming to be a super power. We are aiming to be a progressive and secular nation. We are working on eliminating poverty and backwardness. We have made substantial progress in that direction. But in a huge population like we have, changes are slow to take place. But things are moving in the right direction. So do not worry. We have taken care of ourselves. But I cannot say that about your country.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

KPS
I have read your mantra. There are no common treads between us, so I politely say go away. Let the history flow and decide the future.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

Matrixx: “There are no common treads between us, so I politely say go away. Let the history flow and decide the future.”

FYI, I do not take orders from you. So take a big hike.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

looks like we’re back to the same old rhetoric of 1971, nukes, kashmir, hegemony, call centers, slums, etc etc….yawn!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

I see there is a spirited discussion between the Pakistani members and the Indian. I can see the desperate defence from the Pak members about their country’s condition. I do appreciate the scholarly retorts from KP Singh and the others, though he (KPS) does get occasionally irritated by the responses from his ‘opponents’ in the debate. But I feel everyone, esp the Indian members, miss one basic point. The people of Pakistan, their civilians and their politicians included, have been put at a disadvantage by their ‘Establishment’. The troubles the rest of the world, most notably the Indians, face from Pakistan arise entirely from the actions of the Pak military, not their civilians. We need to appreciate that the Pak civilians in this blog end up fighting for their country’s honour but cut sorry figures because of the indefensible behaviour of their military. Remember, every country has an army but in Pakistan the army owns that country. Every effort by their civilian leadership to take charge of governance of the country has been nullified by the military.

So I request KPS and other bloggers to go ‘soft’ on the poor Pak civilians on this blog and not blame them for their country’s atrocious behaviour in the world stage the blame for which entirely is beyond theirs. They are more to be pitied than censured, if you know what I mean.

Posted by chidambaram | Report as abusive
 

@Hey fellows
Another smart Alec has appeared on the blog, patronising the minority Pakistanis and at the same time mentioning Pakistan military atrocities on the world stage. I am not sure if he wanted to mention American military or Pakistani military? Watch this guy and alert your ISI after him?
He is upto no good! Perhaps he is the third sikh(not Indian) living abroad due to the creation of Pakistan. These sikhs genuinely love their home towns in Punjab!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Chidambaram,

We know that Pakistan was created for its military. It is the real villain. I have mentioned that in most of my postings here.

There is no need to go easy on those who defend the actions of this military cartel and share its view towards us.

There are different kinds of war – some wars are conducted where there is no real passion involved. People do not get emotional about them. If a military unit is sent into quell unrest through a request, no one will feel much about it. When WW II happened, many Indians fought for the British colonial empire. No one felt patriotic or emotional about it.

Then there are wars where people get involved. And these wars do not happen on the battle front alone. It happens on all fronts. People stay aligned with their side almost 100%. In the case of India-Pakistan, or in the case of US-USSR cold war, this was the case. In such wars, people take very clear stance and fight in every which way possible. Any disadvantage to the opposition, makes one side happy. When Indians were attacked in Australia, I have seen Pakistanis supporting the attacks and feeling thrilled. When India is at the receiving end in Kashmir, the same feelings are vented. If India wins over Pakistan even in a cricket match, it appears shameful to Pakistanis. Indians in general are diverse and easy going in this regard. We have seen many such defeats and we go about our lives. In Pakistan, losing to India is not an option. If they go down, they’d like us to go down with them as well. Such is their psyche. In India there are factions that share a similar sentiment towards Pakistanis. But most Indians are not that passionate. Mumbai attacks changed everything. I have not seen one Pakistani here condemn the acts of their terrorists. They went on all cylinders to defend themselves. Sometimes I wonder is such attacks are carefully staged to divide people and widen that divide even more. And I do not see any difference between that attack and the Direct action launched by Jinnah. The goal is to create a divide and then unleash emotions. The divide will go on widening. Lies are being repeated consistently. We cannot allow that. Lobbying can make us look evil when in reality the other side is full of it. And Pakistan seems to be very good at it. Therefore we have to be doubly careful and challenge their false assertions. Otherwise, they can easily campaign for their cause and gain advantage. This forum is read widely. Many do not have clear knowledge of South Asian affairs. They can be misled very easily by persistent campaign of lies. That is one reason why we all come here and present our side of the case. There is no need to be easy going on them. They do not care the same about us.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

@Chidambaram

I have yet to come across an Indian on this blog, who blames Pakistani civilians for their current problems. It’s crytstal clear to non-Pakistanis (not just Indians) that the PA/ISI is the root cause of all ills in Pakistan & that’s exactly what we’ve been trying to impress upon the Pakistanis but unfortunately, they’re unwilling to accept the reality (at least not in front of Indians, maybe they accept it privately).

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

@Chidambaram

I’m going to disagree with you and some Indians here. It is a serious myth, fallacy repeatedly propagated by some on both sides of the border that pak civilians are innocent goats and military is the villain.

It is true pak civilians may feel frustrated with their military, but when it comes to anti-India war mongering and terrorism, the pak civilian population has been solidly behind Pak army.

Pak civilian population solidy cheered on and supported each war including 1999 Kargil until the humiliating end came each time. Through 25+ years of pakistan sponsored terrorism through India, pak civilians were either smugly pretending they had nothing to do with it or laughing at Indians and asking us to “address the root causes” of terrorism.

They started singing different tunes only in the past 3–4 years when they stared tasting their own bitter medicine with bombs exploding right and left in Lahore and Islamabad.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

@Matrixx

“I believe that Indus valley is a distinct group of people relative to Ganges valley. Peace can be restored if you drop the concept Maha Bharat where ever it come from and make sincere effort to have cooperation in balanced trade and exchange. I should not write this para because you would consider it as an opening.”

***The last time Maha Bharat (you used the word Akhand Bharat at that time) came into discussion, Ganesh convinced you into admitting that Akhand Bharat is a stupid idea from Indian perspective. I still recall that simple arithmetic. You have forgotten that and are back at it again. I wonder why.

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

“They (PA) need not be intruding into the Pashtoon territory simply to get some bucks from the USA?

***Is NWFP or Pakhtoonkhwa an independent territory for Pushtoons that PA is considered an intrusion? I do not know why it could be called “intrusion”.

*************

Umair

I have seen a number of Pakistanis telling me how Pushtoon immigrants were mistreated by Pakistanis. We know what is happening in Karachi with Pushtoons.

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

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