Talking to the Taliban:an elusive peace in Afghanistan

January 4, 2012

It is the season for “progress” on Taliban talks. In January 2010, the London conference on Afghanistan put the idea of negotiating with the Taliban firmly on the international agenda. In February 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a major policy speech, insisted it was time the United States began to talk to its enemies. Her speech was accompanied by a leaked report that Washington was in fact already holding direct talks with the Taliban to try to convince them to join a political settlement and sever ties with al Qaeda. And now we have the Taliban agreeing to open a liaison office in Qatar to help speed along the talks process as Washington prepares to withdraw most combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

But what are we actually looking at here? A quick-fix settlement that could provide just about enough cover for war-weary western governments to pull their troops out before Afghanistan descends again into civil war? Or a serious process which might offer an enduring peace? Do we believe the Taliban are now more amenable to talks than they were before? Or rather that domestic political compulsions in the United States are driving it more rapidly towards the exit? 

Let’s be clear. The idea the Taliban would be willing to negotiate some kind of power-sharing deal, and that talks could be helped by measures like the release of prisoners, has been around for a couple of years, if not longer.  Moreover, a lasting settlement would require not just a deal with the Afghan Taliban led by Mullah Mohammed Omar, but also reconciliation among all the different actors inside Afghanistan as well as deep-rooted governance reform. It would  need intensive regional diplomacy to prevent the country’s neighbours from undermining any settlement — whether this be driven by Pakistan’s unhappiness with Indian involvement in Afghanistan, or the temptation for Iran to queer the pitch as its row with the west over its nuclear programme worsens.

Arguably the chances of reaching a lasting settlement  are less now than they were before the United States sent extra troops to Afghanistan in 2010 aiming to decisively turn the tide and force the Taliban to the negotiating table from a position of strength.  Since then, the military campaign has splintered the Taliban, making it harder for its Pakistan-based leadership to bring younger and more radicalised fighters  into an overall settlement.  The souring of ties between the United States and Pakistan over 2011 – particularly after the killing of bin Laden on May 2 - and the deteriorating political environment inside Pakistan itself,  all argue against the chances of making a real and enduring peace process work.

In that context, a new book due out this month on the relationship between the Taliban and al Qaeda by Kandahar-based researchers Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn could hardly be better timed. “An Enemy We Created, The Myth of the Taliban/Al Qaeda Merger in Afghanistan, 1970-2010” should be compulsory reading for anyone trying to separate reality from political spin. It is also an essential guide to what might yet be achieved through talks, and what might have been achieved had serious talks been held earlier.

The authors, who edited the memoirs of former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, examine in detail the failure of attempts to convince Afghanistan’s then Taliban rulers to expel Osama bin Laden in the years before the Sept. 11 2001 attacks.  That these attempts were not inevitably  doomed to fail is underlined by their assertion that the relationship between the younger and less experienced Afghan Taliban and the Arabs in al Qaeda was considerably less close than was commonly assumed (an argument also made by other scholars.) 

However, they argue that Washington’s single-minded focus on bin Laden jarred with the Taliban’s often conflicted views - where international pressure to expel al Qaeda competed with their own domestic insecurities as well as concerns about how such a move would be viewed by Muslims outside Afghanistan,  particularly in the Arab world . Even after the Sept. 11 attacks, the authors argue that an outcome other than war might have been possible. “A different development of the conflict is imaginable. Neither the United States nor the Taliban displayed the political will or insight to make it happen.”

While this assertion will no doubt be fiercely disputed by historians for years to come, what is relevant to today is that the two sides did not know how to talk to each other.  While the United States was in a hurry – just as it is now keen to bring a quick end to the Afghan war – the Taliban dithered, worried about their position inside Afghanistan. While the United States focused on international terrorism and the threat to its own people, the Taliban filtered its views through the prism of Islam.  Even today, it is hard to see how two such different entities – one a superpower, the other a relatively new and fragmented  movement – can talk to each other directly without an outside mediator, and a great deal of time and patience.

As for the present situation in Afghanistan, the authors argue that a settlement incorporating much of the Taliban movement is becoming harder and harder as the U.S.-led military campaign separates the leadership from new and younger fighters in the field. ”There are still possible interlocutors and options for discussions at the moment, but the veteran Taliban’s leverage over the chain of command is becoming increasingly limited, to a degree that significantly hampers their influence over all parts of the movement currently fighting, rendering the chance of forging a lasting peace more and more unlikely.”

Indeed, while the authors assert that “the supposedly unbreakable link” between the Taliban and al Qaeda was “the principal strategic blunder of the war”, they argue that younger fighters, with no memory of peace in Afghanistan, are now in fact more likely to be drawn towards al Qaeda and other militant groups.

“The new and younger generation of Afghan Taliban are more susceptible to approaches by foreign jihadist groups, including al Qaeda, causing an increasingly ideological shift in the conflict. This development, paired with an overall increase in suspicion among the Afghan population as to the United States and its ‘real intentions’, bodes ill for the future. Current policies … are a key factor driving the Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda together…”

None of that is to suggest that talks are pointless, nor that they should not have been started in earnest much earlier.  But it does indicate that it will be incredibly difficult to reach a lasting peace agreement - and bear in mind, the more talk there is of a settlement with the Taliban, the greater is the incentive for their rivals and enemies to prepare for civil war, or for spoilers to try to sabotage the process. (To be fair, the United States and its allies have also been preparing for a situation in which there is no settlement by the end of 2014.)

And in the interests of keeping everyone honest, we should look out for any widening discrepancy between the U.S. domestic political need for a “quick fix” way out of Afghanistan, and the realities on the ground.

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

“An Enemy We Created” is due to be released on January 18.

And among many good reports on a political settlement on Afghanistan, do also read this overall examination by the Afghan Analysts Network;  and from earlier last year, this report by The Century Foundation (pdf). For a more micro level look at the kind of compromises which might need to be made, read this report by Antonio Giustozzi and Claudio Franco about how the Taliban have been allowing schools to operate in areas under their influence in return for the introduction of a more conservative curriculum.

(Reuters photo by Ahmad Masood)

16 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Very good analysis.

In my opinion, Taliban probably never was an enemy of the US. If they had acted smart and expelled OBL in 2001 or handed him over, the US might have left Afghanistan to its own fate. Taliban’s decisions at that time were mostly driven by the ISI, which miscalculated the American sentiments. They probably assumed that the US would fly in a few cruise missiles and bomb some targets inside Afghanistan and be done with it. They probably believed that the neocons would be more interested in going after Saddam Hussein rather than waste their efforts in Afghanistan. To their dismay, the Americans did both. The not only bombed the Taliban out of Afghanistan, but also invaded Iraq. Pakistan’s first priority was to buy time and bury the assets it had invested over the years for later use. When the US went into Iraq, it looked as though they’d let things thaw in Afghanistan. They kept claiming that they had time on their hands. Once Obama came to power, the whole equation changed. Obama and his advisers realized that the real villain in the whole thing is Pakistan’s military. So they have gone head on with the malicious army of Pakistan and its intelligence service. The results tell everything – Pak military is cornered, it is unable to deflect anything away from it, and the US has become less reliant on Pakistan for its plans. When they captured and killed OBL, Pakistan’s military and the ISI were kept in the dark and subjected to deep embarrassment. The hunting down of middle cadres of the Taliban by using drones successfully has further made things worse for the Taliban and Al Qaeda and their sponsors, the Pak military. I think, by agreeing to come to the negotiating table, the Taliban is finally waving a white flag. Its resources are blocked. It is getting splintered more. Its sponsors, the Pak army are cornered and are unable to do anything. There is no money pouring in like before. There is a danger of direct war with the US. The US is trying to drive a wedge between the Taliban and its sponsors, the Pak army. If it succeeds, then there will be opposing factions inside the Taliban, that would turn against each other and the ISI will lose control over the whole thing. This will lead to a peaceful time in Afghanistan as the factions will fight each other inside Pakistan. This is a good strategy and I hope it works. There is a lot of work ahead. Balochistan needs its independence. A divided Taliban would be a good starting point. The only way to maintain peace in the region is to keep Pakistan engaged with itself either violently or otherwise. Things seem to be headed in that direction, which is good news for everyone in the region. Jinnah never wanted a minority to be under the hegemony of a majority. He fought and founded a nation based on that principle. Jinnah’s country will follow this principle to the core and every minority group in his country will find its own nation in a few years. Who wants to be a minority in Jinnah’s vision?

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

@Myra

A very good write and several good references: The rats are always leaving the sinking ship and the opportunists always say I was right, I told you so.

There is nothing new about the new developments; despite the history that the current President mother twice opted to marry muslims, her son has now started a fullscale crusade against the muslims who are unfriendly or do not accept to be the vasal of the now bankrupt but still Imperial USA.

Death for the muslims is the new credo; no more follow George W strategy of arresting the suspects(Pakistan is no longer on board), rendition flights, torture, imprisonment in Gitmo and other bases and eventualy judicial or military trials! No more of this nonsense, kill the suspects wherever they are located as authorised by the USA congress under the so called terrorist act. Mr Obama also blubbered recentlyy that the USA spent a billion dollars in Libya to remove the its leadership in Libya without leaving an american footprint. This was the causual factor for the Egyptian military to raid NGO’s offices which are funded by the USA!

Now back to Talibans, this straight policy suits the Taliban leadership fine; they have never followed any other policy either. One pays them and stay outside Afghanistan,which is more or less under their control now and beyond in most of Pakistan. The USA is probably going to award them soon the highest award in chivalry and probably invite them to the white house as well. These developments are dramatic since it is campaigning time for the President and at the same time the Israeli pressure on the administration is growing hereas Iran is lurking on the sea waters with long ramnge missiles fitted with surprises! Pakistan is no longer an actor still mourning among themselves as to the extent of their involvement in killing their own citizens and of foreign nations against the blood money their leaders agreed with the USA. The divorce arrangements are in progress though the fate of the traitors is still not yet clear.On top of that North Korea has a new leader, inexperienced and unpredictable one.

Now to talibans, time and again I have posted on this blog that they do not negotiate with foreigners. They have demands and they must be met. That is exactly they have been doing this and in order to facilitate communications they have agreed to setting up a consulate in the Gulf country( formerly in Kabul)to facilitate USA communications. Pakistan is no longer prepared to allow American Cowboys in their capital. A security risk.

Did I say too much or enough or anything new? No madam. It is th American administration which has been ousted from Iraq and is going to ousted from Afghanistan and most robably from the Persian gulf which is on the defensive, not the talibans or the Pakistani military.

Rex Minor

Posted by fibs | Report as abusive

KPSingh:
Jinnah’s Pakistan will use nuclear weapons to ensure its territorial integrity, if need be. Pakistan’s enemies know that every single inch of Baluch territory will be defended to the last. so lets be clear here, Jinnah’s Pakistan remains and remains united. About Pakistan Army and ISI, your propaganda against them is not even worth a comment. Happy New Year!

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

KPSingh01:”the Taliban is finally waving a white flag”.

While its true that sections of Taliban want to end the conflict, but there are strong groups supported by the ISI who are trying to unify the resistance and force complete withdrawl of the Americans while building movement of insurgency against India.

http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com  /ChanakyaCode/entry/implications-of-uni fication-of-terrorist-groups-in-pak-afgh anistan-region

And Regards Baluchistan, The odds are in still in favour of Pakistan due both to Demography and Geography. Unlike Bangladesh, Baluchistan forms only about 4-5% of the total population of Pakistan and sparsely populated along half the landmass of Pakistan and (Baluchistan forms about 40-45% of total land mass.) being a contiguous entity with rest of Pakistan, its difficult to secede. And although an average baluchi resents the presence of punjabi pakistanis in their lands, the insurgency in Balunchistan is still largely elite which is run by few educataed baluchis. The last mass movement was crushed in 1977 by zia.
But the question is not whether provinces of Pakistan physically secede or not, but rather even if they are physically attuned to Pakistan, will they end up as single nation state?
Pakistan military’s thinking is right that given few numbers baluchis have a hard time seceding from Pakistan (unless external force assists them) while giving maximum autonomy to tribal areas where national laws do not prevail!
In a sense, in the long term, even if the Pakistani states holds itself together while its provinces warring among themselves it is only a pyrrhic victory for them. Pakistan in the long term will probably will be a “emirates of Pakistan” where the country survives as a confederation (unlike a federation where powers are distributed between centre and states) and exists as a namesake, while different provinces of the country make their own laws and give only nominal powers to the centre.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive

Umairpk: “Jinnah’s Pakistan will use nuclear weapons to ensure its territorial integrity, if need be.”

One needs to keep a nation’s territorial integrity safe from external forces. In addition, such integrity is also dependent on internal cohesiveness. The following link will show you that Pakistan does not enjoy such a cohesion.

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/alja zeeraworld/2012/01/2012121372863878.html

To keep the internal cohesiveness a lot of factors come into play. Nukes unfortunately are not one of them. You need a sound economy, hopes for improved quality of life, resources, focus on growth and desire for peace. Most of these factors have gone from bad to worse for your country. Your founders and leaders have relied on external forces to keep your flimsy unity alive. If the external forces went dormant, they have had to go and provoke them into retaliating, so that your people can be alerted and kept united. This is like using steroid to keep one alive. Wars and conflicts would definitely unite people and keep them united for some time. But wars and conflicts are like steroids. They cannot be used for survival in the long run. Their effects are short lived. One will need more steroids to keep going. The fact that you rely on nukes to keep your integrity shows how much your country has come to rely on your “enemies” (self created or imagined or both) in order to survive as a united country.

Your military does not want peace in Afghanistan. If Afghanistan settles down, your unity and integrity will begin to shake. A conflict outside – against other ethnic groups in Afghanistan using your proxies, in Kashmir etc will help your mindset engaged outwardly. This method has been tried for the past three decades and it has only made things worse for your country. You are banking on Imran Khan to salvage everything. No one knows how that will go. If he leans towards your military and supports fundamentalists in order to keep afloat, he would join the club of Nawaz Sharif and Bhutto. Then it will be back to square one.

“Pakistan’s enemies know that every single inch of Baluch territory will be defended to the last. so lets be clear here, Jinnah’s Pakistan remains and remains united.”

This sounds like the struggle for breath as one sees death approaching. Go on.

“About Pakistan Army and ISI, your propaganda against them is not even worth a comment. Happy New Year!”

I do not care if you offer your comments or not. Truth cannot be painted differently. It always bears the same color. Wish you a Happy New Year!

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

sensiblepatriot: “While its true that sections of Taliban want to end the conflict, but there are strong groups supported by the ISI who are trying to unify the resistance and force complete withdrawl of the Americans while building movement of insurgency against India.”

Things are not the same as before. In the 1990s, when the same elements were united and worked with their Pak military sponsors, Pakistan had a lot of money. The US gave them a lot of aid and couldn’t care less what these elements did with it. One reason why India has not cleared our military presence from Kashmir is due to the fact that things will come back to the old ways once the dust clears. There is no use removing the army from Kashmir and refilling it. Whether Kashmir is peaceful or not, we cannot afford to wink our eyes. We have been on alert.

Secondly, in order to stage proxy wars on a scale possible in the past, Pakistani army needs a lot of money. Without money, one cannot launch offensives and conflicts like before. Pakistan has almost no money and is relying on dole. Their sponsors, the Americans, have turned against them. The money spigot has been shut tight and aid is trickling in based on strict terms and conditions. The US is deeply hurt by Pakistan’s betrayal and will be itching to avenge the defeat in Afghanistan that was facilitated by Pakistan’s duplicity. So if Pak military tries anything inside India this time, the US is going to respond unlike before. It has business investments to protect in India. Any militant action from Pakistan is going to be dealt with severely on an international scale. The West is just waiting for one such occasion to punch Pakistan hard. It will start with sanctions, international isolation and economic hardship that will squeeze the nation. Under such circumstances, implosions happen. Efforts will also be taken by CIA, Mossad and RAW to create divisions and turn the militants against each other and the establishment. A weakened Pakistan is vulnerable to falling hard.

Things are not like they were before. Pakistan would love to have India launch a war and die in the bargain. That is the only thing their military will attempt by provoking India and wait for a retaliation. If retaliation happens, they will send the nukes and know what will happen to them. But that way they go down and take others with them – perfect mindset of a suicide bomber. Pakistan has become one. They tried that with Mumbai attacks and India somehow did not retaliate. That attempt made things worse for them. But their are preparing their suicide vest better.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

sensiblepatriot: “And Regards Baluchistan, The odds are in still in favour of Pakistan due both to Demography and Geography. Unlike Bangladesh, Baluchistan forms only about 4-5% of the total population of Pakistan and sparsely populated along half the landmass of Pakistan and (Baluchistan forms about 40-45% of total land mass.) ”

The goal is not to divide Pakistan. From a strategic standpoint, it won’t offer long term solutions. The goal is to keep Pakistan engaged in Balochistan. Continuous engagement will weaken an already weakened system. Pak military is desperately trying to recreate the Taliban resurgence because it can cut off its alleged influence of India in Balochistan. If Balochistan is kept as an irritant, it will keep Pak military fight a multi-pronged internal conflict. It won’t be able to repeat its actions it successfully executed in Kashmir before. That is why they are crying wolf about India’s “presence” in Afghanistan and the need to eliminate that entirely.

I think the Indian strategists have figured out that the only way to keep Pakistan engaged with itself and avoid a nuclear confrontation is to give them a taste of their own medicine. The Americans might have helped in this regard. The end result is obvious. Pakistan is burning. Only if Pakistanis realize that they cannot match India’s capacity and resources in sustaining small scale conflicts can they give up that pursuit. In the 1990s Pakistan definitely had an upper hand. If 9/11 had not happened, they might have succeeded in their mission. But lessons have been learned. The post American withdrawl strategy would be to keep Pakistan from balancing itself on its feet on a constant basis. A free Balochistan will not help in that regard. But a freedom struggle there will keep them engaged. They do not have much money and resources to keep up with internal conflicts. Do not worry. Mines have been set up to safeguard our interests. It is up to Pakistan to realize the situation and wave the white flag.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

@sensiblepatriot
Do you realy believe that there is a Pashtun or a section of talibans to wave the white flag? If yes, then you have no knowledge about the Pashtun people!

A taliban who makes a compromise and shows weakness against the enemy must escape from his dwellings for his own family and relations, or tribesmen are going to kill him. Despite coming from the powerful Pashtun tribe, Mr Karzai has lost several members of his family on account of offering compromises.

Foreigners must leave is the cry of the Pashtun warriors throughout their history. They have taken now a new step to set up a foreign consulate in Qatar, for contacts with foreign Govts. and resolve issues of mutual intersts and concerns.

The USA has now been flattened in Afghanistan and it is in the American interest to stop further bleed of USA forces and to disengage in a manner so that all the valuable weaponry is retrieved from Afghanistan. Pakistan is currently no longer a reliable ally to guarantee safe passage through Pakistan territory. Pakistan military has also very close with the Chinese military who are now being briefed about the USA military equipment. Preliminary preparations are now being organised for the potential next conflict and possibly the 3rd ww? I should analyse more carefully Umair’s commentry to appreciate the current situation in Pakistanon. It is not easy but the info he provides is more genuine in my view than that published by columnists in the Indian, Pakistan and western media.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

Somehow Myra and other pro-Pakistan reporters have been very quiet on Balochistan.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opin ions/opinion/solve-the-pakistan-problem- by-redrawing-the-map/article2278388/

India is not the only desiring such an outcome for this region. Looks like there are thoughts brewing in the lands that do dominate the world. Without settling Pakistan, Afghanistan cannot be settled, Taliban or not. Global approach is the need of the hour. It seems to be happening.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

Pakistan’s strategic command tests special weapons in Baluchistan

http://www.terminalx.org/2012/01/exclusi ve-pakistans-strategic-command.html

“The highly sensitive tests were carried out on vessels for direct attack on Indian installations as an effective countermeasure to the increased threat from across the border.”

-KPSingh, India has no business to f*** around in Baluchistan, you do that and you get nuked, its simple.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

KPSingh01:”The goal is not to divide Pakistan. From a strategic standpoint, it won’t offer long term solutions. The goal is to keep Pakistan engaged in Balochistan… and for rest of the post”.

Excellent! You just robbed my thoughts on this! Yes, history gives credence to the fact that Pakistan was not meddling in other’s affairs only when it is embroiled in its own internal insurgencies. We noticed that in the last decade after the US invasion of Afghanistan. The reason that Kashmir insurgency is at its lowest ebb is due to the fact that Pakistan was busy dousing the fires it lit up. Pakistani military tried to make it up with this vaccum throught Mumbai attacks, but they realized that stoking the fires back is a difficult task, moreso with a weakened economy.
India in its own capacity must do the déjà vu with regards to what Pakistan does in Kashmir. India must bring this issue to embarass the issue and internationalize as much as possible. The idea is to turn the issue of Kashmir as some sort of quid pro quo by India for Pakistan’s theatrics on Kashmir. The world community which largely ignores the Kashmir conflict as an insurgency manufactured by Pakistan will see the Baluchistan issue critically and it will either
1)Admonish Pakistan for its handling in Baluchistan.
2)Largely see it as a counter strategy to corner Pakistan on Baluchistan by India (as a quid pro quo strategy). And even if either of the cases play true, India’s interests would be served.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive

Umairpk: “India has no business to f*** around in Baluchistan, you do that and you get nuked, its simple.”

Pakistan has no business to f*ck around in Kashmir or Afghanistan. You do that. Or your back will be itching for a while. Keep licking your nukes. No one cares. The US demonstrated how spineless your military was and walked into Abbotabad and took out your priced asset. On top of that they fed him to the fish. Your nuke threats are causing laughter and nothing else. BTW do see the link I posted about Balochistan and see how much they love your Islamic paradise.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

sensiblepatriot,

Pakistan will never want a settlement in Kashmir. If that happened, they will lose the only grip they have to survive – keeping an enemy at all costs. So they will push Kashmir only up to certain extent. If India falls in the bargain, then they get to make a gain. This is something the US tried on the USSR and succeeded. But Pakistan is no US and a power at that.

In order to hold the grip, a country needs money and capacity for resources. India can cause a lot of irritation for Pakistan in Balochistan and elsewhere for as long as it takes. But it should just stop with that. If Pakistan falls in the bargain, then it is for everyone in the world to benefit. This is the reason why Pakistan is crying wolf about Indian presence in Afghanistan. That is the first thing they want to undo there once the Americans leave. Taliban is an essential force to destroy all foundations laid. But they do not realize that this time they will dig their own grave in the bargain. There is no money anymore for such operations. Logistics is a big factor in winning campaigns. That is one reason why even the US has been at the receiving end in Af-Pak. The logistical issue will haunt Pakistan military.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

Excellent analysis. This is the danger in any sort of prolonged conflict. The younger members of society become more and more radicalized. Sooner or later, the Afghan conflict will become more about Al Qaeda than about the Taliban. If that happens, this would be bad not just for the Taliban, the West, and Afghanistan but also for Pakistan, since they have no real control over Al Qaeda.

I suspect this is why there’s some newfound urgency among the PA to settle Afghanistan. They may want a Taliban run Afghanistan next door. But they certainly don’t want an Al Qaeda run Afghanistan next door.

As for Balochistan. It is sadly (for the Balochis) not really significant because the Balochis will never really be able to achieve any significant scale in their insurgency. This is reality. When it comes to complains about Indian meddling, well nobody cares either. After the massive global headache that Pakistan has become, they’ve zero credibility on any complaints about foreign interference. As you sow, so you shall reap.

Lastly…Umair’s talk about nukes. Well, every 3rd grader always says his dad can beat up your dad. Doesn’t really mean much. Pakistan will have no excuse to nuke anybody over any internal conflict. And if they ever did, that would be the end of Pakistan. As enthusiastic as Umair maybe to embrace martyrdom, I somehow doubt the PA and the rest of Pakistan shares that sentiment.

Posted by True.North. | Report as abusive

Umair,

WRT to Pakistan’s special weapons…once the Indians figure out how to put nukes on their subs, it’ll be game over for Pakistan’s attack-first ‘deterrence’.

Driven by concerns about the Chinese, the Indians will eventually field SSBNs that can launch ICBMs from anywhere. They need this to deter China.

Unfortunately for Pakistan, it will never be able to afford the SSNs to shadow the Indian SSBNs around the Indian Ocean. Ergo, once the Indians put SSBNs in the water, Pakistan will have no ability to launch a first strike that would cripple India’s nuclear capability. If indeed, it even does today (I don’t buy fancy demoes put on for the media).

And we all know nuclear weapons are kinda irrelevant. They’ll never be used. India isn’t going to violate Pakistan’s territorial integrity. They don’t have a reason to. And they don’t have to. The next terror attack in India that kills a few Westerners (because we all know that Jihadists are never just happy with killing Indians) or targets Western multi-nationals (or Indian multi-nationals with big Western contracts) will surely bring severe sanctions on Pakistan. The worst India would ever do, might be a few airstrikes. That won’t even come close to the threshold allowed for a nuclear retaliation.

So grow up a little and stop acting like an eight year old talking about nukes every third post. You’re just making yourself looking ignorant and immature.

Posted by True.North. | Report as abusive

@True North
Good thinking and sensible forecast! In case the show does occur in the subcontinent contrary to your calculations, there will be no body around to prove your thesis wrong!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive