"Doctrine Of Blind Obedience And Unqualified Submission To Any Human Power, Whether Civil Or Ecclesiastical, Is The Doctrine Of Despotism, And Ought To Have No Place Among Republicans And Christians."
Angelica Grimke - (1805-1879)
Source: Anti-Slavery Examiner, September 1836
While the world spins along at a dizzy pace; the planet hurtles head long into space and history and the US is preoccupied by the divisions and polarization of hate and race, bickering over what should be a humanitarian right healthcare for all, driven by the last gasp of irrelevant Neocon fantasies of an era long deceased, religious pulpits gone mad, media hate mongers determined to rule this nation via opinion formation and social ferment, victims of unbridled Corporate/Financial Institution Capitalist greed, fraud and criminality in a “Managed Depression”; somehow we have all forgotten, or been purposely distracted from the fact there is smoldering fuse that has been ignited that could reduce this planet to a lifeless charcoal briquette wandering in the cold void of space.
If one is concerned with the armed camp nature of America that has developed since the election of Barack Obama; they ought to be more concerned with the crazed foreign policy of this nation premises upon self-destructive premises that threaten world-wide conflagration in a World War III. From Saudi Arabia to an Israel with a current “Hawk” government having no intention of resolving “The Palestinian Issue “on any terms but their own, (and were caught in the vice of ally by necessity---a s we see it---coupled with a significant anti-Semitic population at home), to Iraq and an illegal, unconscionable, ill-fated war where we have allowed/dictated the criminal squandering of young American “Blood for Oil “for which all architects and political supporters ought be held accountable for their war crimes, complicity, collusion and/or stupidity on the hangman’s scaffolds of Nuremberg or erasure from the political scene of America at the ballot box, to Iran where a “nuclear intention “in progress is leading to an inevitable military strike, the consequences of which no one can forecast, (no nation so inclined can be prevented from achieving their goal short of military action on the level of obliteration of the means of production and assassination/execution of the advocates and personnel capable of implementation in criminal acts against humanity and murder by its most basic definition.
And that brings us to the geographic area of Afghanistan and Pakistan which may well prove to be the end of the fuse. The foreign policy of this nation has been flawed for decades by the fact that it has been premised upon “our perceived interests” and totally devoid of the understanding of the peoples, their historical memories, values, culture, political systems, economics, simple geographic considerations. We have been simply…stupid. It has been easy to be blind to local/regional realities because we have had no respect for them as it has been our intent to impose our notions upon those whose lands we have invaded, occupied in our crusader-like fashion in remaking the world in our image, our values and our systems.
Make no mistake about it; if the current war in Afghanistan, for which there is dwindling support in America , is continued in its current mode; the final show down will come in Waziristan in a genocidal action against the Pastuns, the al Qaeda and Taliban as we define them---perhaps in nuclear-like obliteration with our as yet non-deployed MOAB weaponry. That would require herding and isolation followed by a Genocidal act. That is no longer possible as the forces we seek to destroy have spread across the Afghan like a virus.
The real long range issue is the fact that we are dealing with a “Nuclear Pakistan “neighbors whose hands are not clean in the conflict. The materials that follow will further clarify the issues merely touched upon here. Looking down into the Abyss a genuine reality check is an imperative! The world could be engulfed in a nuclear incident(from Saudi Arabia all the way to India, and yes there is that nasty North Korean Issue on the table that could ignite the Far East).
What have we wrought?
On This day of all days it has become clear that the trigger of falling buildings in NY could have been averted and an entirely different course of History could be in place today.
Agent Faults FBI on 9/11
By Richard A. Serrano, Times Staff Writer
March 21, 2006
ABC News Video http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=8544160
[On the eve of the eight year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, an FBI informant who infiltrated alleged terrorist cells in the U.S. tells ABC News the FBI missed a chance to stop the al Qaeda plot because they focused more on undercover stings than on the man who would later become known as 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta.
The FBI initially declined to comment but released a statement following the ABC News report, saying: "The 9/11 investigation, the most extensive ever conducted by the FBI, has been reviewed in its totality by the 9/11 Commission, Congress and others. The claims made in the news report and the factual conclusions contained in the story are not supported by the evidence."
The FBI did not specify which claims or conclusions it referred to.
Asaad said he told ABC News the truth and stands by his story.
Assaad, who posed as "Mohammed" – a personal representative of Osama bin Laden, says he's a "million percent positive" the 9/11 attacks could have been stopped if the FBI had gone after Atta and Shukrujumah. But because Atta and his men were suspicious of the FBI undercover operative, and secretive, Assaad says his FBI agent handlers sent him after the easier target – two wannabe terrorists whose cases were easy to crack and who were both eventually convicted and sent to prison.
"I was right, I was a hundred percent right," Assaad says of his suspicions. He says that when he learned that Atta was one of the 9/11 hijackers, when the FBI asked if he could identify any of the attackers, he was "very upset, angry" and cried.
"I curse on everybody," Assaad says. "I destroyed half of my furniture. Uh, I went crazy."
The FBI's focus on stings, which Assaad has worked in at least 10 states and overseas since becoming an operative in 1996, are being questioned by many counter-terrorism authorities, who wonder what the true value of the stings are. Since 9/11, the stings have largely targeted people that are more aspirational than operational.]
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The FBI agent who arrested Zacarias Moussaoui weeks before Sept. 11 told a federal jury Monday that his own superiors were guilty of "criminal negligence and obstruction" for blocking his attempts to learn whether the terrorist was part of a larger cell about to hijack planes in the United States.
During intense cross-examination, Special Agent Harry Samit -- a witness for the prosecution -- accused his bosses of acting only to protect their positions within the FBI.
His testimony appeared to undermine the prosecution's case for the death penalty. Prosecutors argue that had Moussaoui cooperated by identifying some of the 19 hijackers, the FBI could have alerted airport security and kept them off the planes.
Moussaoui is the only person to have been convicted in the United States on charges stemming from Sept. 11. His sentencing trial began several weeks ago, but the prosecution's case was nearly gutted when it was learned that a lawyer for the Transportation Security Administration had improperly coached key aviation security witnesses. U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema decided to allow the government to present a limited amount of aviation testimony and evidence.
Samit's recollections Monday were the first ground-level account of how FBI agents in Minneapolis -- where Moussaoui was arrested on a visa violation 3 1/2 weeks before the attacks -- were appalled that their Washington supervisors denied their requests for search warrants in the effort to find out why the Frenchman was taking flying lessons and what role he might have in a wider plan to attack America.
"They obstructed it," a still-frustrated Samit told the jury, calling his superiors' actions a calculated management decision "that cost us the opportunity to stop the attacks."
The government considers Samit's testimony essential to its case. On March 9, the agent told the court about his arrest of Moussaoui, now 37, and his desperate efforts to win the suspect's cooperation.
Yet much of his testimony Monday might have backfired on the government. The jury easily could have been left with the impression of an FBI so at odds with itself that it not only missed critical clues of an impending terrorist attack, but did not even know how best to coordinate efforts to stop it.
Samit was not alone in his contempt for his superiors.
Justice Department Inspector General's review notes bureau's role in fumbling case, including at least five missed chances to detect the hijackers.
The inability to detect the Sept. 11, 2001, hijacking plot amounts to a "significant failure" by the FBI and was caused in large part by "widespread and longstanding deficiencies" in the way the agency handled terrorism and intelligence cases, according to a report released yesterday.
In one particularly notable finding, the report by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine concluded that the FBI missed at least five chances to detect the presence of two of the suicide hijackers -- Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar -- after they first entered the United States in early 2000.
"While we do not know what would have happened had the FBI learned sooner or pursued its investigation more aggressively, the FBI lost several important opportunities to find Hazmi and Mihdhar before the September 11 attacks," the report said.
Although many of the missteps surrounding Alhazmi and Almihdhar have become well known, Fine's report adds significant new details about the FBI's role in fumbling the case. Previous reports, including the best-selling tome by the independent Sept. 11 commission, focused more heavily on the CIA's failure to track the men after a pivotal terrorist summit meeting in Malaysia.
The FBI said in a statement that it agreed with many of Fine's conclusions but "has taken substantial steps to address the issues presented in the report."
"Today, preventing terrorist attacks is the top priority in every FBI office and division, and no terrorism lead goes unaddressed," the FBI said. "Stronger centralized management has strengthened accountability, improved information sharing, facilitated coordination with outside partners and guided a national counterterrorism strategy."
The 371-page report is the latest in a stream of assessments from Congress, the Sept. 11 panel and other investigators documenting serious shortcomings in the performance of various U.S. government agencies in the months leading up to the hijackings. It also comes amid a wave of criticism of the FBI in recent months over a scrapped $170 million software program and its continuing struggle to attract qualified analysts, translators and other intelligence personnel.
"We believe that widespread and longstanding deficiencies in the FBI's operations and Counterterrorism Program caused the problems we described in this report," Fine's investigators wrote, including a shoddy analytical program, problems sharing intelligence information and "the lack of priority given to counterterrorism investigations by the FBI before September 11."
Jamie S. Gorelick, a deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration who served as a member of the Sept. 11 panel, said the "litany of reports" documenting FBI problems in recent months "has to be a wake-up call" for Director Robert S. Mueller III and other FBI officials.
"I think they believe they have made significant progress, but there is still quite a bit of work to be done," she said.
Fine's investigation was requested by Mueller shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, but it has been held up for 11 months over classification and legal issues. It focuses on three major episodes before the Sept. 11 attacks: the missteps in tracking Alhazmi and Almihdhar, the failure to connect al Qaeda operative Zacarias Moussaoui to the hijacking plot, and the handling of a July 2001 memo theorizing that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden might be sending operatives to U.S. flight schools.
Although the memo from Phoenix FBI agent Kenneth Williams was proposed as "a theory rather than a warning or a threat," the report concludes that the bureau "failed to fully evaluate, investigate, exploit and disseminate information related to" the memo because of shortcomings in the way its analysis and intelligence programs were set up and run. "Even though it did not contain an immediate warning and was marked routine, Williams's information and theory warranted strategic analysis from the FBI," the report says.
Fine's conclusions about Moussaoui are less clear, because most references to the case have been blacked out by court order. U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema, who is presiding over Moussaoui's prosecution in Alexandria, blocked release of the full report because of objections from defense attorneys.
Some hints of Fine's conclusions are still evident in the censored version of the report, however. In one paragraph that clearly pertains to the Moussaoui case, the report says agents "did not receive adequate support . . . from the field office or from FBI headquarters" and criticizes the FBI for "disjointed and inadequate review" of requests for secret warrants.
Previous investigations have found that Moussaoui's laptop computer and other belongings were not searched in the weeks after his arrest in Minneapolis because the FBI mistakenly believed it did not have enough evidence to obtain a warrant.
In the case of Alhazmi and Almihdhar, the report said the FBI missed at least five opportunities to possibly locate the pair after Almihdhar was first identified in connection with a Malaysian meeting of al Qaeda operatives.
Even after the FBI learned that the pair had reentered the United States in August 2001, "the FBI did not pursue this as an urgent matter or assign many resources to it," the report found, noting that "it was given to a single, inexperienced agent without any particular priority." Agents within the bureau were also hampered by disagreements over the hazy rules governing the separation between criminal and intelligence investigations.
In the end, the report concludes, "the FBI was not close to locating Mihdhar or Hazmi when they participated in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001."
Let It Not Be Written In Headlines: “War Weary West Wallows In Waziristan Wash Of Wasted Blood!
Part II: Analysis Detail and Documentation
Table of Contents
CAUSES OF REBELLION IN WAZIRISTAN
Objectives of states in the region
Impact of partition on Pakistan
Nature of the Pakistani state
Influence of religion in Waziristan
The JUI (F) connection in Waziristan
General facts about Waziristan
Current ground situation
History of pacification in Waziristan
Reasons for insecurity
Other issues in Waziristan
Recommendations for solution of the Waziristan crisis
Notes & References
The Regional Institute of Policy Research and Training Peshawar have prepared this report in furtherance of its charter, which mandates it to examine policies and recommend measures for conflict reduction in the region. Waziristan is in the center of a storm again; in many ways it is a repetition of a parallel situation, which prevailed there from 1936 to 1946.
This study examines Waziristan in the context of nation building begun in 1947. It highlights the factors, which led to the strengthening of a culture of violence, which prevails constantly in Waziristan and is now spreading rapidly to NWFP and other parts of Pakistan.
Issues threatening the Pakistan state and peace in Afghanistan are identified. The report concludes by suggesting measures for strengthening of Pakistan and reduction of violence in Waziristan. The boards of RIPORT hopes that the report contributes in some measure to the reduction of violence and thereby enlarge human freedom in the region. Policy analysis contained here is not meant to embarrass any person or institution but to improve governance for conflict reduction.
Khalid Aziz, Chairman 22nd Feb, 2007 Peshawar
“Of all the ills afflicting men the worst is lack of judgment”, (Sophocles)
This report examines the long and short-term causes leading to the rebellion in Waziristan, and resulting in the devastation of parts of Afghanistan as well as crippling state institutions in FATA, and NWFP. It argues that the cause of the rebellion lies in events far back in history and Pakistan’s initial exposure to threats from India and Afghanistan. It turned the mind of the Pakistani establishment towards state protection and security rather than the development of its people. It forced Pakistan to adopt the policy of using proxy warriors, which has come to haunt it in Waziristan. The Afghan policy towards Pakistan also led to Afghanistan’s own destruction.
The report highlights Britain’s post World War II need to maintain a presence in Pakistan for protecting its oil interests in Iran; here the Pakistani military and the British interests were mutually beneficial. Pakistan needed weapons for its army and Britain wanted the army to protect its interests; a decision, which pushed us into becoming a rentier state. In hindsight, it appears that the faith in proxy warriors has turned out to be a significant reason for making Pakistan a dangerous place to live and pushing it further towards the abyss of state failure (Rashid: 210); relying on non state warriors has proven a grave error of judgment. In the backdrop of these factors, the report suggests that there are also certain autonomous reasons for radicalization in Waziristan, linked to demographic causes with which the state has not kept pace. The report concludes by offering suggestions for meeting the challenge of Waziristan.
In order to find a pattern in what is happening in Waziristan, it is important to understand the nature of asymmetrical war, where states fight non-state combatants like the Al-Qaeda or the Taliban. In Waziristan, we are seeing another low intensity conflict in FATA, where many of the current weapon systems maintained by the military are redundant. Size and weaponry possessed by an army and which normally provides a tactical advantage will not be decisive in Waziristan. Creveld (207) predicts that combat in low intensity conflict causes regular forces to degenerate into a police force and if the struggle lasts longer, then into armed gangs. It is unavoidable that in the struggle in Waziristan and Afghanistan, the advantages available to Pakistan, NATO and the U.S through their respective armies is neutralized.
Secondly, as witnessed during the months of December 2006 and January 2007, the Waziristan insurgents have brought the war to the districts of NWFP; policemen have been assassinated in Tank, D.I. Khan, Lakki and Peshawar. Suicide bombers have been used to cripple the morale of the police and the public. Judges have received warnings not to adjudicate identified cases. Society has been asked to comply with strict rules pertaining to shaving of beards, music, TV and VCR; women in districts adjoining Waziristan have been asked to wear the “burqah” or the shroud. Non-conformists have been made to either comply after being warned, or killed. It is thus a war of belief and conviction. It has no state boundaries or military targets; the people of contrary belief are the object of conversion. It is war with different rules. There are no physical objectives to be over run.
Apparently, the rules governing this war are different and citizens are combatants in this battle of conviction. The Talibans feel that the US forces are “Kafir” or non-Muslims, who must be removed from Afghanistan through Jihad. The Pakistan army and Gen. Musharraf are identified by the Talibans as comprador of the US and to be dealt with under the doctrine of “Takfir”. Within the critical province of NWFP and Baluchistan, which border Afghanistan, the governments are managed by a religious political alliance headed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s JUI (F) a conservative religious party with links to armed surrogates. Fazlur Rehman is also the leader of the opposition in the lower house of Parliament. Many of the religious students, who are in the Taliban fighting units, have attended JUI madrassas and Fazlur Rehman is a person of considerable influence with the Taliban.
The existence of such an ambivalent situation, where on the one hand, the Pakistan government is fighting the Taliban yet on the other hand it permits the functioning of the religious alliance governments in NWFP and Baluchistan with close links to the Taliban has puzzled Rubin (16-17,22,16), many others hold the view that the Pakistan authorities are responsible for rising casualties amongst troops in Afghanistan. Grare (1) thinks that Pakistan’s military stage manages the threat from the Taliban and creates this show of resistance to derive benefits and prolong the life of the Musharraf government. The U.S, on the one hand characterizes Pakistan as a strong ally. The presence of two religious governments in NWFP and Baluchistan raises many eye brows; these governments encourage Islamist programmes which in turn foster the growth of the same creed as imposed by the Taliban in Waziristan. Many observers are further surprised by the military’s use of JUI (F) influentials in Waziristan for brokering two agreements with the hostile Talibans in South and North Waziristan (ICG: 12).
The Secretary General of NATO, and General Ekenberry, who is commanding the US forces in Afghanistan, expressed strong misgivings about the existing state of affairs and are predicting a bloody spring in Afghanistan and Waziristan. The U.S government has formally complained that Pakistan has failed to reign in the Taliban, who are operating from its territory.
It is evident that the time has come for Pakistan to concede that it does not have adequate security capacity to keep a lid on Taliban activity in Waziristan and protect the sanctity of the Afghan border in the framework of the existing arrangements of polcy and administrative structures. The confusion is providing both time and space for the creation of another Hamas or Hizbullah in Waziristan and Eastern Afghanistan in the near future. When that happens, Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s JUI (F) and its military wing Harkatul Ansar will be in the forefront (Shahzad 2004).
Another aspect of the present war in Waziristan is its nature. As stated earlier, this is a war of conviction. The side that believes it has won wins. There is a lot of weight in the statement that in this war the state is not the fighter. This is a war of opinion of entire populations. The state is more like a prize and a weapon wielded by this or that population and guided by this or that doctrine. It is a war, whose outcome will be decided in a battle of minds and in a battle of collective resolve. It is foremost a battle in the court of pubic opinion (Pai: 2006). The outcome of this war in Waziristan and eastern Afghanistan will be decided in the court of public opinion. The finality of this war will be what public opinion wants it to be. This is war of the long haul. There will be no battles for the capture of symbolic citadels or destruction of “enemy” infrastructure as in Yugoslavia. It is only human beings and their convictions that must be won. It is impossible even to identify who the corporeal enemy is in this conflict.
There are some who believe that the real purpose of the invasion of Afghanistan was not the removal of Al-Qaeda only. There were other reasons also. This view held by many which states that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were planned not to spread democracy or to make the world save from terrorist threats, but to control the petroleum resources; that these wars were conceived much before Sept 11 2001. A Washington think tank headed by William Kristol, called. “The Project for a New American Century”, is allegedly the source of President Bush’s doctrine of pre-emptive war paving the way for the U.S to dominate the oil and gas resources around the world. Afghanistan is strategically located near the Caspian Basin, which contains up to $ 16 billion worth of oil and gas reserves. It is also in the path of the most direct pipeline route to the richest markets in the world.
In Nov 1996, Bridas an Argentinean company had acquired production and exploration leases and contracts in the region and had signed contracts with the Taliban and the Northern Alliance’s Rashid Dostum to build a pipeline across Afghanistan. An American firm Unocol, contested Bridas all the way and hired a formidable collection of powerful consultants including Kissinger, Richard Armitage, Zalmay Khalilzad and Hamid Karzai to use their influence for Unocol. The Afghan Taliban was invited to Texas and Washington and met officials there.
However, they did not accept the entreaties of the Unocol officers. On Feb 12th 1998 Unocol’s Vice President Maresca formally requested the House Committee of International Relations to have the Taliban government removed and a stable government installed in Kabul. After the missile attack by Clinton in July 1999, the Taliban assets in the U.S were frozen.
After President Bush took office, pressure was put on the Taliban to review the contract with Bridas; for this the parties met three times in Washington, Berlin and Islamabad but the Taliban refused to budge. In the spring of 2001, the U.S consulted and obtained consent from India and Islamabad to attack the Taliban in July. The UK Guardian, reported that Christina Rocca told the Taliban in the last pipeline negotiation in August 2001, just five weeks before 9/11, that, “Accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs” (Behan: 4). Is this just another conspiracy theory or is there a grain of truth in it? The events may have coincided with one another or there can be a conspiracy of sorts. Only time will tell.
The stated U.S national security objective on the other hand is to ensure the eradication of all terrorist organizations, which are a threat to peace and trade. It has also been noted that such non-state organizations flourish when countries are isolated and barely surviving. Al-Qaeda has shown its preference for a foothold in near failed Muslim states. This is the reason why the U.S wants to remain in this and the central Asian region for the foreseeable future.
This U.S objective however is being challenged by an equally formidable and battle hardened opponent, the Taliban. They have used the Islamic rhetoric to organize resistance to the U.S and NATO forces. The tribes of Waziristan have throughout history been closely involved with matters in Afghanistan, as we see later. They view the U.S presence as a threat to their way of life and as in 1897, are organizing themselves for a fight on Jihadist principles. Pakistan is viewed by them as a collaborator with non-Muslim forces and is thus classified an enemy. The Islamist combatants are veteran of civil wars since 1978 and will be hard to defeat in battle given their mastery of the terrain.
The US wants to change the situation to protect itself and its interests. It has a 30,000 strong military operating in Afghanistan; 22,000 troops are assisting ISAF and NATO while 8000 are under direct US command for special operations. The primary policy goals before the US are; building of Afghan state institutions particularly its army and related security framework and to develop the Afghan people. This they hope will lead to the re-creation of a strong and a viable Afghanistan. Secondly, it is the larger U.S war aim to eliminate radical Islamists in Afghanistan and Pakistan who are a threat to Afghanistan and international peace. The difficulty facing the achievement of these goals is the absence of an effective administrative structure in Afghanistan, which could assist in early pacification. Warlords, drugs and weapons entrap Afghanistan. This is an area that must be cleansed if state formation is to be fast tracked in Afghanistan.
The objective of the Pakistan military is to secure pacification of Waziristan, so that the Taliban are prevented from assisting the hostiles in Afghanistan. The situation on the ground shows that the pendulum is in favour of the tribesmen and they are nowhere near being pacified. They are slowly eroding the stock of administrative and security assets of the military and the police, and have now become a grave threat to the future of the state.
It may be noted that both Afghanistan and the Pakistan lack institutional capacity to deal with challenges arising in FATA and Afghanistan. The principle cause for this institutional degradation in Pakistan has been the continuous embroilment of the military in civilian spheres and the experimentation with the civilian administrative structures. It has led to militarization of foreign and domestic policy and has eroded civilian capacity to deal with security issues.
Secondly, the removal of the assistant commissioners, deputy commissioners and commisioners has abolished three tiers of administrators essential for dealing with the insurgency and crime situation in the volatile NWFP districts. It has given the Islamists plenty of space to organize themselves without resistence. It is one of the reasons for their rapid growth and extension of influence; one would like to believe that this happened because of hasty local government reforms without a full comprehension of implications at the ground level. Similarly, there has been a failure to rapidly develop Afghanistan’s governance capacity. Its army has not been recreated to fully undertake operations in eastern Afghanistan even after five years of U.S assistance. If the Taliban face the Afghan army then their rallying cry of Jihad against the infidel weakens considerably.
Both Pakistan and Afghanistan, though for different reasons, have decaying state structure confronting a resurgent radicalized Islamist movement in FATA and in the eastern Pukhtun provinces of Afghanistan. The ranks of the Islamist have grown considerably because of Pakistan state failure to provide jobs and develop FATA socially and politically; FATA has been put into a time lock of the imperial past. The only difference is that Pakistani officialdom has replaced the imperial British political agent. Furthermore, the Islamists in FATA have been strengthened by support from Jihadi sympathetic organizations both nationally and internationally as well as the addition to their ranks from the Diaspora emanating from repressive Central Asian States and now from Iraq.
In the previous section we identified the serious problems facing Pakistan, in Waziristan. How did this happen? The answer lies in history; what we are seeing unfold before our eyes in Waziristan began a long time back and is a part of our history. It will be helpful to the analysis to understand it.
On 6th February 1946, Lord Wavell the British Governor General in India, telegraphed the Secretary of State for India recommending that a part of India comprising NWFP, Baluchistan, West Punjab and Sindh would be adequate to protect British interest in Asia after the partition of India. These interests were principally meant to maintain control over the sea-lanes in the Gulf and to protect the oil interests of Britain in the Iranian oil fields and prevent the intrusion of the Soviets towards the warm waters of the Indian Ocean (Sarila: 1).
Earlier in 1939, Mr. Jinnah had pledged the loyalty of the Muslim troops to Britain during World War II. The Muslims composed 40% of the British Indian army. Mr. Jinnah’s commitment won Britain’s gratefulness. When Khaliq ul Zaman of the Muslim League met Lord Zetland the Secretary of State for India, he obtained the latter’s support for the creation of Muslim states within an Indian Confederal arrangement; this later led to the passage of the Muslim League Resolution of 1940 demanding independent states for the Muslims. On the other hand, as time passed Congress’ relationship with Britain worsened (Sarila: 1, 2). In 1942, when Congress passed the Quit India “resolution”, the contrast of this act with pledges of Muslim loyalty became favourably apparent to the British. Thus, when the Cripps Mission visited India latter, the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill announced that the option of creating a Pakistan and Princestan was very much on the table for division of India (Sarila: 2).
The Muslims of British India became convinced in 1946, when Nehru the Congress leader stated that his party was at liberty to amend the Cabinet Mission Plan after Congress formed the government under it. The Muslims now knew for certain that Congress was unwilling to provide political space to them in India. The Mission Plan had called for the grouping of the Indian provinces into three categories, in which some of the provinces would have Muslim League governments. However, Nehru’s ambivalence was the final death knell of a united India. His subsequent maneuvering to successfully replace Lord Wavell with his friend Lord Mountbatten hardened Jinnah’s demand for Pakistan, (Munir: 1-10) As later events proved, Britain and India’s actions gave birth to a still born Pakistan. The new state was placed under constant threat both from India and Afghanistan. The early death of Jinnah and recanting of his dream of a secular Pakistan, by none other, than his closest lieutenant Liaquat Ali Khan soon afterwards, through the introduction of the Objectives Resolution in the Pakistan Constituent Assembly in1949; stated that Pakistan was to be an Islamic state. This gave space to the right, which advanced in subsequent years to turn Pakistan into a full fledged religious state.
The threats to national solidarity in Pakistan’s formative years led her to adopt certain policies of survival, which made its reliance on Islam and Jihad essential; in the absence of a broad based movement like the one developed by the Congress party in India, the organizing principle of religion was used in Pakistan: the state was constructed likewise in the following years. Unfortunately, mid course corrections could not be made, since powerful elements in the military and the religious right had occupied the space and would not permit a revision. As state formation proceeded, the purpose of the new state began unfolding through the measures adopted. In all respects the purpose of the Pakistani state was to serve the strategic interests of the west. (Jalal: 121).
Pakistan was born in an atmosphere of Indian ill will. Both Kriplani the President of the Indian Congress and Patel a senior Congress leader proclaimed angrily that sooner than later, Pakistan will be part of India again (Burke: 9). Not only was Pakistan beset with the burden to resettle 8.3 million refugees, who had come from India, it did not have the institutional or administrative infrastructure to cope with such a large human catastrophe. Tragically, it was also not permitted to have the financial and security capacity to meet its obligations. This capacity had to be provided by Britain as the implementer of the Partition of India.
Britain’s inactivity in the face of this tragedy cannot be explained. While Pakistan was still in its birth pangs, Britain did India a favour by agreeing to the wishes of the Indian cabinet on a matter of vital security interest to Pakistan. The responsibility for dividing the assets of a united India including equipment of the Indian army was agreed under the instruments of the Partition plan, to be the responsibility of the joint Commander in Chief of the armies of Indian and Pakistan, and for this purpose Gen. Claude Auchinleck was selected. His command was to last until 1 April 1948. However, on the request of Baldev Singh, the Indian defence minister, Britain without Pakistan’s agreement unilaterally dissolved Auchinleck’s command on 30th November 1947. Auchinleck while departing predicted that Pakistan will not get its share of defence assets, which rightfully belonged to her (11).
By removing Auchinleck, Britain provided India with the additional territorial gain in Kashmir. It previously allowed her to use her army to occupy Junagadh and Hyderabad. Some British historians have explained this patent partiality towards India and harm to Pakistan, by trying to avoid problems where two dominions may end up fighting under the same Commander in Chief. A very queer logic indeed! Whatever, her reasons, Britain sowed the seeds of many of the problems that we witness today including Pakistan army’s taste to fight proxy war through jihadi groups.
Pakistan in 1947, witnessed hectic efforts by Indian leaders to conspire for the cessation of Kashmir to India. It is not the intention here to go into the legality of Kashmir’s accession to India. What occured was that the Kashmir war forced Pakistan to protect its vital interest, since Britain was not neutral as witnessed in the movement of British commanded Indian army into Hyderabad on 13th September and Junagadh on 19th September 1947. It may be recalled that Auchinleck relinquished his office as Commander in Chief on 30th November 1947. Since Auchinleck was the commander he obviously knew about the preparation of the move of the Indian army into Kashmir, which occurred in the last week of October 1947.
Pakistan bereft of justice and threatened by Indian expansionism, took the only step it could. In the absence of weapons and in possession of a weak army; it organized armed tribesmen and launched them into Kashmir. Official resources and army officers were provided to lead the tribesmen from Waziristan into Kashmir; the NWFP’s Chief Minister Qayyum Khan organised the dispatch of the tribal warring parties from his office in Peshawar. (Khattak: 60). Whether she was justified or not in doing so, is not at issue; Indian hostility coupled with tacit British complicity, forced Pakistan into de-institutionalized behaviour, which her army perfected to excellence in furtherance of her defence strategy in the years to come. Pakistan relied on a Jihadist intervention model in 1947 in Kashmir and later this model was used in the 1960’s for the ill-conceived operation Gibraltar, in Kashmir again (Gauhar: 209-215). It led to the 1965 war with India. As if that war was not lesson enough, we pursued the Jihadist approach during the Mujahideen war in Afghanistan from 1978-2001 as well as Kashmir in 1998-99 in Kargil. In a sense the London tube and bus bombings can be attributed to this first cause.
Indian threats and intransigence traumatized Pakistan. When in 1950 and 1951 India repeatedly massed her troops on Pakistan’s borders in West and East Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, the Prime Minister was so stressed that he told Ayub Khan, the army chief that he would accept India’s challenge and fight it out once for all. Ayub Khan pleaded with him not to do so, since he had only thirteen tanks with fifty hours of total engine life to defend against an attack. (Burke: 61).
In order to fill this capacity gap Pakistan pleaded for western defence assistance. At the same time Pakistan army’s British officers were designing the force as the West’s policeman in this region. We thus see a crippled Pakistan made dependent on assistance outside its own budget. Obtaining outside help forced Pakistan into a rentier mould as early as 1949, when Maj. Gen Tottenham, the Pakistani divisional commander in Quetta received orders from the Pakistani army commander Gen Gracy, to be prepared to move troops for controlling the Anglo Iranian oil fields in Iran in case of nationalization (Jalal: 122). There was even a war game called “Exercise Stalin” undertaken in 1949 to fight an imaginary war against the USSR. The Pakistani military and political leadership did not demur.
It is thus clear from evidence and conduct of Pakistan’s ruling elite that the primary purpose of the state since its inception was generally accepted to be as a strategic outpost of the west rather than serving its people. Brig Latif, in 1948 questioned the wisdom of becoming a tool of imperial forces and Ayub Khan, the senior most Pakistani army officer, who later became the Commander in Chief, reprimanded him. Subsequently, quite a few senior officers including Gen Akbar and Brig Latif, who thought in nationalist terms were involved in a “conspiracy” case created by the army and Iskander Mirza the Defence Secretary; this was the first purge of the army and paved the way for the military to become a rentier force divorced from the interests of the people of Pakistan and reliant on the good will of those who plied it with money and weapons.
Pakistani military has stood firm on this commitment to the west since the early years of independence. It was such a commitment from the Pakistan military that convinced the U.S State Department to say in 1951, that the kingpin of U.S interests in Pakistan was its army (Jalal: 127). Pakistan’s subsequent membership of CENTO and SEATO and its role in funneling the Jihad against Soviet supported Afghanistan in 1979, was a link in the same chain. It can thus be stated safely that Pakistan is a rentier security state. Its action is rarely guided by feelings of altruism for its people. Putative threats precede the priority of developing the country or dealing with conflict in society from the peoples’ angle.
As we have noted Pakistan was forced to become a security state due to threats from India; however Afghanistan joined India and also showed early hostility to the new state. It voted against the entry of Pakistan into the UN on 30th Sept 1947. In November 1947, Sardar Najibullah Khan visited Pakistan as a special envoy of King Zahir Shah. He made three demands on Pakistan; FATA & NWFP should be constituted into a sovereign state, Pakistan must provide Afghanistan access to the sea by giving her either a special corridor through western Baluchistan or creating a free Afghan zone in Karachi, and Afghanistan and Pakistan should sign a treaty that in case of war each would remain neutral and not attack the other (Burke: 74).
Matters between Afghanistan and Pakistan worsened when Afghanistan raised fighting groups and with Indian help created Pakhtunistans in various parts of FATA. Afghanistan also diverted her trade route from Pakistan to the Soviet Union, with whom she signed a trade and transit agreement in 1950. Then in 1954, the Soviets gave Kabul a loan of $ 18 million further entrenching her within its influence. A religious leader from Waziristan, the Fakir of Ipi became the President of the southern Pakhtunistan assembly in 1960. Afghan forces entered Pakistan in Bajaur agency in the 1960s when fighting took place with Pakistani forces. Acrimony with Pakistan led Afghanistan into the influence of the USSR, when in 1978 it invaded her to protect the socialist revolution of the Afghan communist party.
When these threats arose Pakistan lacked security, friends and finances to meet the challenges of survival. To tackle these very serious deficits, it became focused on state survival rather than development of its people. Secondly, it introduced religion into statecraft for dealing with internal and external threats. For instance to defeat the ethnic pressure from Afghanistan for the creation of a Pathan state incorporating the Pashtun of NWFP, FATA and Baluchistan, Pakistan supported the concept of global Islam contained in the idea of a Ummah (all the followers of Islam are one irrespective of national boundaries), followed by Islamists everywhere. Simultaneously, the lack of compassion for Pakistan by both India and Afghanistan led to the creation of a Jihadi security infrastructure as extension of the official policy of Pakistan for confronting the challenges; it compromised state institutions, led to islamization of society and finally encouraged the birth of the Waziristan Taliban, who is a threat to Pakistan.
The word Taliban needs definition for the purpose of this report. The Waziristan Taliban is different from the Afghan Taliban. The former are sympathetic towards the Afghan Taliban but their objectives are largely confined to Waziristan. Some groups of Waziristan fighters may participate in Jihad in Afghanistan, but they are not the same as the Afghan Taliban which is political movement associated with Mullah Umar. Secondly, the Waziristan Taliban is a term, which has been applied without precision. Groups like Baitullah Mahsud are basically Islamists with links to Al-Qaeda and the freedom movements of Uzbekistan.
It is ironic to note that Afghanistan’s acrimony towards Pakistan led it to its destruction through the long civil wars of 1978-2000; she is still crippled, and barely surviving, thanks to U.S assistance. Pakistan too has burnt her fingers by playing with the Jihadist fire to fulfill its objectives in Kashmir and Afghanistan. In following this policy Pakistan began sliding rapidly into institutional decay and state failure; it has gathered momentum after the war in Waziristan. It has brought the influence of Islamists to all the southern districts of NWFP and the future remains bleak.
Pakistan’s former protégé the Taliban of Afghanistan disintegrated in the 2001 U.S attack. They dispersed and after considerable re-building, with assistance from an international Islamist movement, resurrected itself in southeastern Afghanistan, with a support base in Pakistani tribal area, NWFP, Baluchistan and Karachi. The Waziristan Taliban is now fighting against the Pakistani and the U.S forces. The Taliban are a serious embarrassment for Pakistan. The later used the Islamic rhetoric for state building, but now the same rhetoric has transformed itself under the Taliban who are challenging Pakistan: Ill judged state policy based on expediency has lead to unintended consequences damaging the state.
It was discussed earlier that Pakistan had become a rentier state. What is this concept? A rentier state is one, which depends on funds provided by other countries for achieving (their) objectives. A rentier state may also be based on earnings derived from the sale of natural resources that do no need labour of its people for production. Most of the well functioning states have strong direct taxation systems, which generate resources for carrying out the multitudinous functions of a state. A state which is dependent upon taxes paid by its people is strong and co-opts the citizen in its functioning, through a process of democratic consultation. Such states are normally peaceful with prevalence of the rule of law, respect for human rights and gender equality. In the case of Pakistan a large part of its income is earned through pricing mechanism or indirect taxes or transfers by foreign countries. Pakistan also earns money from the exploitation of resources like oil, gas or hydel resources.
A substantial amount of money is earned by Pakistan by obtaining funds under military agreements with foreign countries, for which Pakistan in return provides security related services. Over a period of time the normal state institutions like the parliament or the judiciary and the constitution become irrelevant since the military is not beholden for support for money or equipment to the people or the democratic institutions. It has been calculated that since 9/11, Pakistan’s GDP growth due to direct U.S financial transfers on account of military service provided by Pakistan has amounted to about 2% of Pakistan’s total GDP in a year, since 2002. (Saleem: 4). This is indeed a substantial sum of the total. Afghanistan too has remained a rentier state par excellence throughout its history. It has been argued that Afghanistan cannot exist unless it has rentier arrangement with benefactors (Rubin: 64-65). It is ironic that both Pakistan and Afghanistan, who are facing a Taliban revolt, are both rentier states. Is there a message contained in this similarity?
It is the Pakistan military’s intent to be pro western in its outlook because the west has provided funds for its functioning. Because of this support the military did not feel a need to associate the parliament of Pakistan since it is financially independent. This has made it autonomous in its decisions. It has been argued that the reason the military has achieved this supremacy is not because of superior skills but due to foreign support; that is the reason why the pendulum of power has shifted away from the political leadership (Jalal: 124). If the state does not have autonomy and has an abridged sovereignty over certain parts of the country like Waziristan then it cannot bring into play the advantages accruing to a sole decider of policy, because the superior partner will always override it depending on its own compulsions. It also gives inkling into the real problem of administering Waziristan. The tribal administration in turn is facing a similar situation of disempowerment. It has been dominated by the military, ever since 2002, after the military moved in and which makes negotiations with tribes difficult, since the political agent has been sidelined.
The Coalition forces are waging operations in Afghanistan; on occasions when some of the Pakistani hostiles assist the Afghan rebels, the Coalition forces have attacked them inside Waziristan with missiles; Pakistan being a rentier state is unable to condemn such attacks. The tribes of Waziristan have come to realize that the Pakistan military does not have autonomy of decision making. It makes meaningful talks with it or the political agent futile. That is the main reason that the peace agreements signed by the government lack credibility. On the other hand a state, which always relies on coercion for problem solution on the behest of others, invites radicalization of the people and slowly leads them to the path of rebellion and finally revolution. Rentier states encourage violent state behavior, which in turn invites reactions based on Jihad or the suicide bomber.
As noted earlier, Pakistan’s post 1947 security and political developments were heavily influenced by deficit in its military capacity. The military built its capacity by negotiating Pakistan’s strategic location to global players. The military’s distance from the citizen and parliament permitted it to dictate security and foreign policy. Pakistan used the military for foreign policy formulation relating to Afghanistan and India; today the ISI leads policy creation for India and Afghanistan, and the Foreign Office is relegated to the background. This creates de-institutionalized behaviour and a conflict of interest since an implementer becomes policy creator.
It is always salutary to classify the type of state, whose policies one is examining. It can help in anticipating the type of route that Pakistan is likely to take in its dealing with the problem in Waziristan and Afghanistan. The communalist basis of Pakistan has been adumbrated in religious terms. The creation of Pakistan has been depicted as the struggle of Muslims to have a homeland of their own. However, the communalist justification falls to the ground, when the Partition in 1945 did not lead to the shifting of all the Muslim population from India. The majority remained in India, and only a portion shifted to Pakistan.
A counter hypothesis states that the movement for Pakistan was a combination of the ambitions of the Muslim elite to obtain political power, which they could not get in a united India. In this version it is argued that the Muslim League was supported by the Muslim feudal land lords as they feared the Congress’ social platform in which land reform was promised. After independence Pakistan has shied away from genuine land reform except the cosmetic and non-functional one introduced by Gen Ayub Khan in 1958. The failure to carry out genuine land reforms in Pakistan is now considered as the single most important cause of rampant poverty, absence of democracy and the policy capture by the rich. It is apparent that the fruits arising out of the creation of Pakistan have accumulated to the rich landlords since they have captured policy making.
Pakistani has also been classified as a state-nation in contra-distinction to nation state. A state-nation believes in putting people at the service of the state; the people are to serve it and do not have a purpose other than this. On the contrary a nation-state is supposed to serve the people within its borders; their welfare is the principle objective of the state (Bobbit: 175-177). The history of Pakistan leads one to the conclusion that it is a state-nation. It is governed to achieve doctrinaire and global objectives instead of the welfare of its people. If it is accepted that the purpose of the state is greater than its meanest citizen, then violation of human rights and penury of the citizenry is understandable. It is a corollary of state-nation syndrome for its ruling elite to treat the citizens with disdain. Such a state can legitimize imperialism, foreign adventure, Jihadism, minimization of democracy and poor record of human development.
Investigative reporting has uncovered the soft under belly of state sponsored terrorism by Pakistan during the period 1980-99. The ISI with the approval of the not fully aware CIA recruited youth from the Pacific to Africa and trained whole generation of youngsters in Jihad. The youth were drawn from the Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines and from the Arakan in Burma. An al-Badr facility was organized in Khost in Afghanistan. Out of this camp, the Palestinian Hamas and the Arab sponsored Moro movement led by Abu Sayyaf emerged. The Al-Badr was originally organized by the ISI to keep the Arab movements under check while the Al-Badr itself was created with the assistance of the Pakistani Jamaat-i-Islami’s Bakht Zameen Khan. The Pakistan Army in Kargil used the Al-Badr fighters. Being close to Waziristan, the Al-Badr was used to train the tribesmen for jihad and to assist the Taliban gain control of Kabul in 1996. If one wanted to find the reason for radicalization in Waziristan this is a good example to remember.
When the Deobandis under Maulana Fazlur Reman, of the JUI (F), felt threatened by the increase in influence of the Jamaat-i-Islami through the Al-Badr, they raised their own Jihadi outfit the Harkat-i-jihad-i-Islami under Akhtar, which was soon cultivated by the ISI and provided it with special training facilities in South Waziristan and Khost. This organization’s conservative credentials won it adherents from Bangladesh and Myanmar and was grouped under its international arm Harkat-i-Jihad-i-Islami al-Alami, again led by Akhtar, who was the brain behind “Operation Caliphate”, in which several senior Pakistan army officers like Maj Gen. Zaheer ul-Islam were involved and were later arrested for trying to carry out a coup against Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto in 1995. When Musharraf came to power in 1999, he released the coup leaders including Akhtar, who went to Kabul and was welcomed by Mulla Umar and entrusted with the training of police and the armed forces (Shahzad). It is only but natural that this radicalization by the Deobandis in Khost and in Waziristan strengthened the JUI (F) and its leader Maulana Fazalur Rehman immeasurably in Waziristan. This has been used to good advantage by him and he claims openly that if the government wishes to solve the problem in Waziristan it must speak to him (Naqvi)
We have seen one example how Pakistan propagated Jihadist policies and trained people who are now fighting against the same establishment that created them in the first place. There are many other similar cases. However, it is clear that Faustian policies lead to very unpleasant consequences indeed. These non state forces are close to tearing the state built which has been built on the doctrinaire bedrock.
It is fair to suspect as latter events have proved that the weaknesses surrounding the functioning of the new state of Pakistan in 1947, were purposively created so that a need was created for establishing Pakistan’s dependency on Britain and which by the late 1958 stood fully transferred to the U.S. Heavy defense expenditure resulting from maintaining sophisticated equipment having a high cost further eroded its meager resources. It forced the state to borrow more and left meager allocations for human development in education and health. It sowed the seeds for the break away of E. Pakistan, (Jalal: 49-135) and the creation of other anomalies like the Taliban in Waziristan.
Since the main goal of the state was to concentrate on acting as a surrogate security provider to the western alliance, it has resulted in unhappy results, which can be traced to the militarization of state and society in Pakistan. Today Pakistan is suffering from advanced state and institutional decay; for instance: the judiciary and the executive including the bureaucracy are not independent and are an adjunct of the military; political parties in Pakistan have no independent role since actual power to make policies does not reside in them; instruments of state oppression including the intelligence services and the judicial process is used for prolonging military rule and not enhancement of individual or state security; Pakistan’s external and domestic institutions are suborned by compulsions of defense and prolonging rule by the military; provincial rights and people focused development are not priority areas; intelligence agencies have an over blown role mainly to help the status quo; religion is used to create a consensual basis for the existence of the as since human development is not encouraged; religion is also used to battle the ethnic pulls of the state instead of political negotiations; since overt use of military in foreign policy areas can lead to war and international condemnation reliance is placed on secret ‘Jihadi’ organizations which are state created.
It has created a full blown sectarian crisis between the Shias and Sunnis and the creation of the MQM as a foil against the PPP in Sindh province. FATA is used as the launching pad for pursuing great power agendas in Afghanistan. Tribal area was used during the Afghan campaign when the US and Zia-ul-Haq destroyed the Soviet ambitions in Afghanistan. The 1978-92, Afghan war caused a regional and human rights catastrophe, and in its aftermath created Al-Qaeda, the 9/11 tragedy in New York and the existing war in Afghanistan and Waziristan.
When the West used a Jihadi model for evicting the Soviets from Afghanistan, little thought was given to its after-effects in Waziristan and Afghanistan. From 1978-1992, $ 66 billion worth of weaponry was introduced into the region, which works out at $. 134 million per person (Coll: 238). It is evident that as a result of Pakistan’s reliance on the Jihadist intervention model, it led to the creation of a worldwide network of Afghan war veterans of all nationalities. They spread their message and the response was positive. It led to the creation of organizations like the Al-Qaeda and others.
There has been a steep internal cost paid by Pakistan for its policies. Jihadist were officially supported they began to proselytize the army and society. Pakistan army officers began leading Jihadi raids in Afghanistan and as far deep as the Soviet controlled Central Asia. Civil society in Pakistan was dealt with in the same doctrinaire approach. Madrassas and religious seminaries blossomed. In 1971, there were only 900 Madrassas in Pakistan. By the end of Gen. Zia’s era in 1988, there were 8,000 registered Madrassas and 25,000 were unregistered (Rashid: 89). To coordinate Jihadist activities, the Pakistan Inter services Intelligence in 1994, created an umbrella Jihadist coordinating organization called the Muttahida Jihad Council (MJC) composed of thirteen leading organizations. By early 1999 their number rose to fifteen. Elements of this organization fought alongside the Pakistan army in Kargil. These organizations also operated in Kashmir by undertaking terrorist raids against Indian forces, (Wikipedia: 1)
The linkage of armed groups with the army degraded and severally compromised Pakistan’s internal security apparatus and its ability to act with neutrality. The Sunni - Shia violence in Pakistan is a direct consequence of this de-structuring. (Abbas: 1-3) It also led to the increase of pressure from this state created lobby during Gen. Zia’s rule and he obliged by wholesale Islamization of the law, state and society. Radicalization prevailing in Waziristan has created a nexus between the local Jihadist and the ordinary unemployed youth. The pressure for employment and creation of a niche for existence has led to the rise of the Taliban movement in Waziristan. A more detailed discussion of this phenomenon in its demographic aspect may read below.
Thus the policies followed by Pakistan has crippled civil society and brought it the gun and narcotic culture. These evils are now beyond the capacity of the state alone to control (Musharraf: 276). The current president of Pakistan has made this statement. If the head of state gives such a pessimistic account what else can one add? It will however do everyone a lot of good if the interferences and aberrations are exposed and their evil on state formation under scored. It may prevent a repeat of the same mistakes in the future.
When Pakistan is castigated or accused of failing to do enough, it is not only because Pakistani officials are compromised (some of whom may have been), but more so because they are unable to control events any longer. Pakistan’s capacity in internal security has been seriously crippled. The world must not lose sight of this factor when criticising Pakistan. The recent statements made by the US Assistant Secretary of State, Boucher, during his recent visit to Pakistan is an example of such criticism. (Baabar: 1)
Let us now examine briefly the role of religious groups in Waziristan and Pakistan. There are allegations that Gen. Musharraf and the military are complicit in the revival of Islamist by secretly giving them official patronage and sponsoring Jihadist groups including the Talibans in Waziristan. Senior U.S military planners and intelligence agency heads have spoken how the Taliban of Waziristan, while operating under the very nose of the Pakistan army is able to launch hostile operations against U.S forces in Afghanistan, (ISI: 5).
Pakistan has denied these allegations and says that it is doing all it can to prevent the hostiles from attacking the U.S troops. Pakistan’s creditability suffers badly, when an incident like the one that occurred in January 2007 takes place. A group of hostile Talibans began collecting in the Mahsud area of South Waziristan and about four truck and busloads of fully armed men began their journey increasing in size as the convoy picked up Jihadis on the way. It entered Razmak in North Waziristan and added in strength. It next came to Spinwam via Mirali exiting into the town of Thall in Hangu district. It held a public meeting in Thall, while being fully armed and in full view of the military and the police. This war party then entered Kurram Agency, where it collected more Jihadis. Finally, a large convoy of about forty buses and truckloads of full-armed fighters entered Afghanistan through Kurram Agency. In Afghanistan they were confronted, where fighting took place. Many Jihadis were killed or martyred before returning by the same route. There were also casualties on the Afghan side. The U.S authorities presented proof of the movement of this large group of men through army and scout checkpoints. The U.S sought an explanation for the failure to stop them. The Pakistani authorities were embarrassed; they did not have an answer. Pakistan ought to have come clean and told the U.S frankly that the guards on check points were out gunned and out manned. They could thus not prevent the party from proceeding.
After more than three and a half years of fighting in Waziristan, the military decided that military pacification was not possible. It allowed the signing of the North Waziristan accord on 5th Sept 2006, with the tribes. After the agreement there have been persistent reports of increase in Taliban attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan near the border with Waziristan. U.S commanders have shown their desperation and concern in the surge of attacks there. They have also criticized this policy of reaching agreements with the Taliban as according to their view it compromises the war effort against them. Media has reported U.S commanders reporting that after the accord there was more than a three fold increase in attacks on coalition troops in the Afghan districts of Khost and Paktia, which border Waziristan, compared with the situation prior to the North Waziristan accord (Cloud: 1).
The charges against Pakistan of supporting Talibans and the consequent allegations of military support to them arise out of circumstances of Pakistan’s early history and its reliance on Islamic rhetoric for dealing with of Pakhtunistan irredentism. Islamization of the state and the Jihad against the Soviet Union has radicalized Waziristan.
Pakistan did not have any worthwhile security structure in 1947, to defend its interests against India in Kashmir. It led to reliance on proxy warriors, who fought in Kashmir under the command of Pakistan army officers, a majority of these proxy warriors came from Waziristan. One of the consequences of this early experience was a weakening of the military institution and indulgence in the gray region of intelligence operations. Ever since then, Pakistan has placed heavy reliance on proxy warriors. The 1965 war with India began with a Special Forces Pakistani led operation in Kashmir. The point to note here is that as time passed the links between the military and the proxy warriors increased. The military began more active proxy penetration into Kashmir and Afghanistan after the start of Jihad in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union from 1978-92.
If a watershed has to be determined when Pakistani proxy operations mushroomed, then one must conclude that it occurred during the military rule of Ziaul Haq. Once President Reagan took the lead in fighting the Soviets, through well-supplied proxy warriors of Islam in Afghanistan the seeds were sown for the rapid growth of Islamist warriors worldwide. The birth of Al-Qaeda and subsequently the Taliban, 9/11, and the bombings by Islamic groups and increase of radicals throughout the world can be attributed to this single decision.
The war in Afghanistan during 1978-1992 drastically changed the way of managing the Pakistani state; Gen Ziaul Haq did not have political backing. Therefore, to gather support for remaining in power he aligned himself and the military with the Pakistani Islamist groups. The Jamaat-I-Islami with links with the international Islamic movement became a potent force in his government. In the NWFP similar support was obtained from the JUI of Maulana Mufti Mehmud, which after his death split into two, his son’s faction under Maulana Fazlur Rehman came to be known as the JUI (F) and the other faction was the JUI (S) of Maulana Samiul Haq of Akora Khattak. The later specialized in providing madrassa education. Most of the 3.5 million Afghan refugees who came to NWFP after becoming refugees sent their youth for education to seminaries / madrassas run by the JUI (S) in NWFP.
A similar role was performed by the Jamia Banuri, a society of Islamic madrassas in Karachi and parts of Baluchistan. The about 2 million Afghan refugees settled in Baluchistan or Karachi was influenced by the Binori variant of madrassa education. Thus, almost all the children born in camps or in villages and cities of Pakistan, especially in NWFP, tribal areas of Pakistan, Karachi or Baluchistan were provided grounding in Islamic education of the Deobandi School.
It may be noted that while the Jihad against the Soviet Union was going on, there was rapid radicalization of Muslim communities around the world. Muslims from the Pacific to the Atlantic came to join the war. Others contributed charity to the cause. This created many who were trained in the art of guerilla war and also the principles of radical Islam. International Islamic charity gave financial strength to Islamists in Pakistan. It created a financial base both for the Jamat-I-Islami and the JUI. A considerable amount of funds meant for the Afghan war ended in the coffers of the Islamists. They accumulated large properties in Peshawar, Quetta, Islamabad and Karachi.
The JUI driven madrassas were fed with funds and not only to teach Afghan refugee youngsters but a considerable number of Pakistani homes began sending their wards to schools and madrassas run by Islamic parties. At the same time, the world was undergoing changes brought by globalization and miniaturization. The Internet provided an instrument for advocacy, training and mobilization on Islamic basis. Miniaturization of technologies made it possible to confront organized military through asymmetric techniques.
The Washington Consensus which was a model framework for creating wealth in the fast changing world of globalized economics, based on trade and free markets and a small public sector reduced public spending and subsidies for education. It drastically increased poverty. Families in the rural areas did not have money to afford education for their children. Many families on or below the poverty line sent their children to madrassas. Some Islamist had an incentive scheme of a sort; if a family provided one of its sons for Jihad, not only all the other siblings received a free education, but the family was also be granted a subsistence allowance. The state was unable to meet this challenge in a climate of diminishing investment in public education because funds were pre empted by defence and elitist expenditures. Failure to provide high-class public education has further fragmented Pakistani society; the rich attend private schools while the less poor attend government managed deteriorating schools. The very poor go to the madrassa.
While everyone was focused on the war in Afghanistan, Pakistani society like in many other countries was being re-born with a specific Islamic identity built within a historic framework, which viewed the woes and stagnation of the Islamic world as a bye product of western imperialism; a world which was interested in taking away Islam’s oil resources, while imposing dictatorial regimes on an impoverished people. To make the comparison biting it was noted that U.S assistance went more to the militaries, which were instruments of maintaining the unrepresentative regimes in power rather than helping civil society. In comparison Islamic NGO’s put people first and became substantial providers of services in health and education; this also provided them with political space.
What was happening to Islam globally was also affecting Waziristan in the same manner but to a larger degree. The tribal areas more than the districts of NWFP have remained extremely back ward. Today, the literacy level is below 20%. In Waziristan it will be surprising if it is above 10-12%. For more than 80% of the boys education at the primary and the secondary level is provided by the madrassas. There is one hospital bed for approximately 6000 populations. There is no industry or agriculture to speak of. The tribal areas of Pakistan are an abject picture of poverty and misery. Superimpose extreme isolation on this description and one would not be surprised when the people of this region rebelled so violently. The state has only a coercive link with the population and not a benevolent one. On the other hand the Islamic charities and social workers have done better.
One other ingredient deserving mention in this brew is that the madrassas in Waziristan are under the control of the JUI (F) of Maulana Fazlur Rehman. 90% of the madrassas in North and South Waziristan are under scholars, who adhere to the Deobandi school of thought. What does it signify?
The Deobandis arose as a progressive Islamic movement during the early 19th century in colonial India. Its aim was to reform and unite Muslims of British India as they struggled to live within the confines of a colonial state. Deobandis believed in education as the route to salvation of the Muslims of India; they emphasised focus on Sharia as a method to harmonize classic Quranic teaching with current realities (Rashid: 88). The JUI was purely a religious movement aimed at mobilizing the Muslim community. It was in 1962 that the JUI was formed into a political party in Pakistan. (89)
Pakistani military owing to Gen Ziaul Haq’s preference for the Islamists, routed the Afghan Jihad funds through the Jamaat-e-Islami. The JUI was ignored but due to charity from international sources the JUI grew. It concentrated in providing madrassa education everywhere specially where there were refugees and also to the tribes of Waziristan. The seeds of the JUI (F) and JUI (S) links with Taliban were sown at this time. The Jamaat-i-Islami on the other hand, built its connections with Gul Badin Hikmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami. It may be mentioned that although Pakistan’s ISI, the military intelligence service, had created a nine party alliance to run the anti Soviet Jihad, yet it’s favourite was the Hizb of Hekmatyar, which received a major portion of weapons and funds obtained from the CIA. The ISI was certain that Hikmatyar would be the future Afghan leader after the Soviets left Afghanistan. Thus the ISI had at the back of its mind a final solution of the Afghan irredentist claim on behalf of the Pakhtuns of NWFP, tribal areas and parts of Baluchistan, once for all.
Once the U.S decided to launch a Jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan, it handed the task over to the ISI. The later thought it to be a God given opportunity to plan the Jihad in such a manner that it would result in bringing to power a government in Kabul favourable to Pakistan. It made its major judgmental error, when it decided not to partner traditional mullahs leading the Jihad; like the Harqat-e-Inqalabi Islam of Maulana Nabi or Hazbe Islami of Moulvi Khalis. Both these stalwarts were educated at the Haqqania Madrassa of Maulana Samiul Haq at Akora Khattak. By partnering the traditionalists, ISI would have transacted in the Pukhtun rhetoric; first a Pukhtun and then a Muslim. The thinking within the ISI was to avoid the Pukhtun nationalist, who it feared would combine into a powerful ethno-nationalist force. Instead they chose those, who were Islamists like Gulbadin or Ahmad Shah Mahsud. The later was dropped in favour of Gulbadin. This decision of the ISI may have damaged Pakistan and the world permanently. It was a very costly lapse of judgment.
Thus we had a situation of Jihad in Afghanistan in 1979 where the Afghan Islamists due to the Jamaat-i-Islami factor looked at the Egyptian Akhwanul Muslimeen or Islamic Brotherhood for leadership. Their beliefs were anti Pukhtun, anti nationalist, anti feudal, anti traditional Pukhtun leadership and Pro Pan Islamic; to coin a phrase it was an institutionalized system concentrating on creating Islamic universalism like Communism or Catholicism.
One of the basic beliefs of the Afghan Islamist is their hate of the neo-colonial elite. A large part of the violence by the Islamist parties in Afghanistan and subsequently borrowed by Taliban of Waziristan is based on this Islamist precept. It is important to understand this doctrinal dispute. Islamism is basically a reaction by Muslims to the challenge of the western model of development. It wants state power to enact an ideologically defined programme (Rubin: 86). To Islamists it is obligatory for Muslims to wage Jihad against governments promoting western models or supporting the West. To them Muslims living in such non-Islamic states are apostates; a belief known as “Takfir” is borrowed from the early Islamic group the Kharijites (87). The Taliban in Waziristan borrow from this doctrine and consider it lawful to wage war against fellow Muslims, since they are apostates by not waging ‘Jihad’ against a government (Pakistan) for supporting the Coalition of non-Muslims.
A remaining ingredient, which needs to be factored for understanding the Taliban rebellion in Waziristan in all its ferocity, is the influence of Wahabism. Saudi Arabia introduced Wahabi influence into Afghanistan, when it organised a pro-Wahabi Mujahideen group under the leadership of Abdur Rasul Sayaf. His Itehad e Islam was one of the Jihadi outfits against the Soviets. Wahabism is a conservative interpretation of Islam, which does not recognize intermediation between a believer and Allah. It is closely aligned with the Saudi family and is the Saudi Arabian version of Islam. Although Saudi Arabia is conservative at home but uses its charity and exports its firebrands internationally into Muslim trouble spots. Before the Taliban came to power in Kabul in 1996, Maulana Fazlur Rehman of the JUI (F) used his good offices to introduce the Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki, to the Talibans in Kandahar in 1995. It is a fact that the Saudis provided the Talibans funds, vehicles and fuel for the attack on Kabul (Rashid: 201). However, due to lack of governmental discipline and the making of policy by regional cabals, when Taliban rule ended in 2001, they had annoyed the Saudis, Iranians and the Pakistani!
As early as 1995, pro Taliban parties had sprung up in NWFP (194), and tribal areas due to radicalization by the Afghan Taliban. The working of the Taliban was hidden from public view but they were known to be completely de-institutionalized and worked in secret regional cabals. There were no formal institutions as in the Iranian model and one never knew who made the decisions. But by their simplicity they had set a model, which is now eagerly followed in Waziristan and NWFP.
So what is an apt description for the Taliban of Waziristan? They are composed of tribesmen who have been radicalized by the rhetoric of Jihad due to the invasion of Afghanistan by the coalition forces. They are the product of a tradition of resistance, which began in the 1860’s and lasted till 1947, when the British departed from the sub-continent. After 1947, began another phase in the relationship of Waziristan with Pakistan in which the state used tribal warriors to fill a capacity gap. During the Jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan the people of Waziristan were introduced to radical doctrines by the presence of committed fighters in their midst. This developed further during the Taliban rule. By then the example of Taliban had favourably captured the imagination of the people and local parties mimicking the Taliban arose. Many of the Waziristan tribesmen took part in the Afghan Jihad against the Soviets since 1989 and latter joined the Taliban in their civil war.
After the disintegration of the Taliban in 2001, the people in Waziristan say they are now fighting the second Jihad war against the U.S and Gen. Musharraf. It is ironic to note that instead of buying security for Pakistan, the ISI driven plan of fighting the Jihad through Islamists has misfired. It has neither doused the fire of sub nationalism nor given security to Pakistan. As a matter of fact both the tribal structure in Waziristan and Afghanistan has been seriously damaged. Warlords like Baitullah Mahsud in South Waziristan and Sadiq Noor in North Waziristan or the Iraqi Arab Abu Kasha, in Mirali or Najimuddin Uzbek have more power. The ISI strategy atomized power into the hands of gangs. Maulana Fazlur Rehman, has influence because a great number of Waziristan Taliban have been educated in madrassas managed by his supporters; Fazlur Rehman justifiably remarked recently that he holds the key to peace in NWFP, tribal areas and Baluchistan (Naqvi: 4)
Whilst the institutional structure in Waziristan has collapsed, matters in the districts of NWFP are rapidly deteriorating. Taliban pockets have appeared in the southern districts of Tank and Bannu. In Tank police posts from Tank to Jandola have been abandoned since the police are out gunned and cannot face the Waziristan Taliban onslaught. The Indus highway connecting Karachi with Peshawar and used by truckers is no longer safe. A convoy of ten trailers was hi-jacked and vanished, a couple of days ago. Suicide bombers have struck Peshawar, killing the head of city police along with fourteen other senior police officers in January 2007. It is suspected that the suicide attacks are emanating out of Waziristan. The policy begun by Ziaul Haq in 1978 and followed by the security services subsequently led to the destruction of Afghanistan and has brought Pakistan itself very near an implosion or a Taliban-style revolution (Rashid: 210). It is time for the Pakistan authorities to realise what is happening. It will be wise to segregate Waziristan from Afghanistan as a first in seeking a viable solution. Secondly in designing the way forward it must be noted that the rebellion in Waziristan is driven by the same fear that was in the imagination of the tribes in 1897. They fear that if they do not fight, their identity will be lost when the state begins to control them by force.
As a result of a strategic review after the end of the 3rd Afghan War in 1878, Britain decided that in case she was to stop a Russian Invasion of India there were two defensible positions; either in the plains east of the Indus or in the plains of Afghanistan. The decision was taken that the British forces would confront a Russian advance inside Afghanistan. In order to do so she moved forces into Waziristan, Kurram, Chitral and the Black Mountains region of Hazara. This led in 1897, to a revolt throughout the Pathan belt of FATA, NWFP and parts of Baluchistan. The fear then was also that they will lose their identity.
Similarly, today the whole tribal area and NWFP has been beset by an identity crisis. The people of these regions, although at different levels of development, maintain one common perception, that their way of life is under threat. They see this threat to their religion, to Pashtunwali or the Pathan way of life and thus to their identity. It has become obvious that neither the Coalition forces in Afghanistan nor the military in Pakistan have the capacity to make a meaningful difference to the unfolding of events as they occur. Resistance under the existing circumstances will increase and Pakistan will lose control over Waziristan and southern districts in the D.I. Khan region.
The Coalition has frequently said that Pakistan is not doing enough; another allegation against Pakistan is that somehow the military itself is involved and supports the Taliban and has used Islamic organizations for its own ends and actually there is no danger from an Islamic peril to Pakistan (Grare: 1). One agrees that no Islamic organization in Pakistan has the capacity to challenge the military at the moment. This is not always true as was witnessed so many times in the fighting in Waziristan; the Taliban did confront the military and inflict heavy casualties. So Grare’s argument is not wholly realistic. There is a degree of peril.
It is also likely that in the weeks to come as matters worsen in Afghanistan; the U.S will use air power to neutralize the hostiles. That is the time when matters will become very critical for Gen. Musharraf. Air attacks on Waziristan will lead to retaliation against NWFP, Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi. Law and order will worsen and this will suffocate life in this marginalized province further.
It is time for Pakistan to accept that it does not have the capacity to put off the fire lighted when the policy of using proxy warriors was first adopted. After gaining nuclear capability we should have depended on building institutional capacity of the foreign office and civilian authorities to deal with international affairs. We should have ended building Jihadis as extension of official policy. We did not do so in the past, but we must do so now. At this point in time we are near a melt down. We must now evolve a strategy that will address the causes of the rebellion in Waziristan, which have been addressed in this report.
In the final analysis a good leader is one who uses policy instruments with fine judgment and in proper measure; one size fit all approach is destined to fail since it will definitely lead to errors of judgment, which Sophocles termed as the cause of our greatest tragedies.
In the previous section we observed the role of religion in Waziristan and touched upon the connection of JUI (F) with the Madrassas. Here we look a bit deeper into this party’s role in Waziristan in order to find solutions to the problem.
History is replete with examples where past decisions have come back to haunt decision makers. The connection between Pakistan, US and JUI (F) during the Afghan Jihad against the USSR and later between the Pakistani intelligence and JUI (F) in support of the Taliban administration in Afghanistan became an albatross around the Pakistani neck.
Can one blame Pakistan? The Taliban it has been said is not a Pakistani creation. It is recorded that they arose as a result of a spontaneous uprising against the immoral and tyrannical conduct of Afghan Mujahideen and warlords. In 1992 and 1994, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran tried to convince the Mujahideen to form a unity government. However, the attempts failed because the Afghans would not unite (Sattar: 180-186). Pakistan’s former foreign secretary also said that by 1998 the Taliban had captured most of Afghanistan but the states including U.S had lost influence with them by having previously washed their hands of Afghanistan, it left only Pakistan to cope with the Talibans. He further added that Pakistan lacked the power and resources to force the Taliban in Afghanistan to rectify their fatal policies (186). It was not because Pakistan had lost influence with the Taliban that Afghanistan failed to form a broad based government; the failure to assist the Afghans was mainly due to internal politics in Pakistan.
History shows that during Benazir’s second stint as Prime Minister, Gen. Babar her highly regarded interior minister was master minding the creation of a broad based government in Afghanistan, after the Taliban had emerged as a force. Gen Babar had obtained the commitment of the Taliban and Gen. Dostum of the Northern Alliance to create a joint political commission to administer Afghanistan. It was to have representatives from all provinces based on population. The idea of managing Afghanistan by a political commission was not supported by the ISI.
President Farooq Leghari, held a meeting on 3rd November 1996, regarding the installation of a broad based government in Kabul and which was attended by Benazir, the army Chief, ISI and Gen. Babar. It was agreed that Gen. Babar should leave for Kabul on the 5th and assist in the formation of a broad based commission since the Afghan leaders had requested his intermediation. However, before Gen Babar could leave the next day, the President removed Benazir’s government! It is possible that had Gen. Babar visited Kabul, the chances of installing a broad based government in Kabul was a definite possibility. Unfortunately, the new caretaker government, which followed, had neither the influence nor the back ground to make a meaningful contribution. Secondly, after the new set up was installed in Pakistan, the ISI was again in the driving seat on Afghan policy. Had the commission been established, there might not have been an Al-Qaeda or 9/11. It is one of the great ifs of modern history (Babar: IV). Apparently, Pakistan could do more only if it had kept its own political house in order. Sattar is therefore not completely right in stating that Pakistan could not influence events in Kabul. It could, if only the pettiness of its politics was shelved.
Gen Musharraf’s personal hostility to the major national secular parties and partnership with the religious right to deny political space to secularist has worked in JUI’s (F) favour. This became visible when the speaker of the national assembly, the lower house of parliament, selected Maulana Fazlur Rehman of JUI (F), as leader of the opposition. As a result of governmental support in the 2002 national election, 10 out of the 12 parliamentarians elected from FATA belonged to JUI (F) (ICG-II). The JUI (F) linkage with the military thus paid considerable political dividends.
Senior US officials have commented on the close Pakistani links with Al-Qaeda and Taliban organization. US Director of National Intelligence, Negroponte, during a recent congressional hearing stated that Al-Qaeda was still active in Pakistan (Baabar: 1) he also said that Pakistan was not doing enough. Senior U.S and NATO officials have criticized Pakistan’s lack of support for anti Taliban action. The Secretary General of NATO issued a warning to Pakistan to stop militants from incursions into Afghanistan. (NATO: 1). Mike Rogers of the US House of Representative termed the North Waziristan agreement between the tribes and the Pakistan government, as a failure and a detriment to US security. Gen Eikenberry, leading the US forces in Afghanistan has also criticized the North Waziristan agreement saying that after the agreement, attacks by Taliban inside Afghanistan have increased by 300% in two months (Cloud: 1). Afghanistan has alleged that Mulla Umar is living in Pakistan under the protection of its intelligence. Pakistan’s President has denied any such involvement (News: 1). This is quite a barrage of criticism. Most of it though is based on the links of the JUI (F) with the Taliban.
Lets us first get a glimpse of this rugged and inhospitable land and its equally brave and hardy people. Waziristan occupies about 5000 square miles of mountain land; its mountains and valleys are like jigsaw pieces. The region extends 120 miles from north to south and 60 miles from west to east. The Wazir hills leave the Indus plain abruptly and rise towards the Afghan frontier reaching altitudes of 10,000 feet or more. Apart from the Tochi valley in North Waziristan and the Wana plain in South Waziristan, there is hardly any arable land (Warren: 5). The population of Waziristan today is about 785,122. About 15% of this population is between the ages of 15-25 years. There is no industry or agriculture to offer employment to the youth (DCR 1998).
Coupled with this demographic youth bulge is the fact that from 1978 to 2000 this region was the launching pad for radical activity connected with the Afghan Jihad against the Russians and later the war waged by the Taliban to resist the U.S in Afghanistan. Waziristan is held by the most powerful Karlanri Pathans, the Darwesh Khel Wazirs and Mahsuds [Caroe: 392]. There is an ancestral link between the Wazirs and Mahsuds but for practical administrative purposes the Mahsuds are a separate tribe. Caroe compares the Mahsud to a wolf and Wazir to a panther . The Mahsuds live in the central block of mountains of Waziristan, surrounded by Darwesh Khel Wazirs to the North, West and South. Their main centres of population are small clusters of villages around Kaniguram and Makin around the 11,500 ft Preghal Mountain. Historically, the Mahsuds hold aloof and are continuously at war against the Wazirs.
Both North and South Waziristan are of strategic importance because of geography and location close to the Afghan districts of Khost, Paktika and Paktia. Historically the Daurs, Wazirs and Mahsuds who live in Waziristan have played defining role in Afghan dynastic struggles in the past. For example it was with the tacit support of the British, that Nadir Khan returned from France and raised a tribal warring party of Wazirs and Mahsuds from Waziristan to snatch the Afghan throne from King Amanullah. Nadir Khan became the Afghan king in 1929, mainly due to the effort of the tribes from Waziristan. Since Nadir Khan did not have money to pay the warriors, he allowed the Wazirs to loot Kabul for five days.
This experience provided the Wazirs the opportunity to earn money from raiding Afghanistan and in 1933 they again attacked Matun in Khost.
Britain finally used air power demolishing the houses of the attacking tribesmen to stop the incursion.
Even Hitler in 1938, wanted to foment trouble in Waziristan by using his link with the ex-Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin Hussaini. The later sent a Syrian relative to create rebellion in Waziristan and to work for the restoration of the former king Amanullah. Britain had to use force and bribe to obtain the surrender of the Syrian, who was better known as the “Shami Pir” or Syrian Pir in Waziristan.
It is obvious that the Wazirs consider Afghanistan as their back yard; they have moved into Afghan territory at will in the past and feel no hesitation in going there now especially since they consider it their religious duty to fight a holy war for the removal of “foreigners”, from an Islamic land. It was for this reason that the prescient British tribal administrator, Caroe said, “Kabul will always need the good will of Pakistan to keep Wazir ebullience within bounds”. (409)
There are certain localities around the world, which are difficult to govern since they resist control. Waziristan is one such region and has defied all attempts to control it. Britain in it’s hey day was the only super power in the 19th century and it failed to stabilize Waziristan. The future does not provide any optimism whether Pakistan will succeed on this score. Interestingly, Waziristan has been at its most peaceful, when the army was not present as in 1947; when it was withdrawn due to manpower shortage in the war against India. Perhaps, there is food for thought in this observation.
The tribes in Waziristan have resisted control and pacification during most of their history. The reason for the failure of Britain to pacify Waziristan was due to the peculiar socio-cultural nature of the region. For lack of a better explanation, the genetic make up of the tribes makes them remarkably brave, fearless and revengeful (badal). We will examine briefly the milestones in the pacification policies, especially during the period 1936-47, so that some insights are gained for making policy recommendations.
When in 2004, Pakistan was persuaded by the US to act strongly in Waziristan the area had by then become a center of ‘Jihadi’ activity. Military operations were started and the tribes resisted it. There was severe loss of life on both sides. But the operation failed to evict the foreigners who had gathered in Waziristan. According to some estimates more than 500 soldiers lost their lives.
One other adverse consequence of the use of military in Waziristan has been the loss of authority of the chief civilian administrator, the political agent. The military did not anticipate this loss of control. The loss of administrative capacity snowballed and provided space to Taliban to become a parallel authority with its own taxation and administrative structure today.
The world community has since the last couple of years focused its attention in finding reasons for decay of the state. It has led to the establishment of indicators, which can indicate state weakening. Carnegie Endowment and Foreign Policy have published a list of 12 indicators, which provide early warning of state failure. Out of the 12 indicators, Waziristan and parts of NWFP exhibit symptoms relating to the following indicators of state failure: mounting demographic pressure, legacy of group vengeance, economic decline, criminalization of the state, deterioration of public services, violation of human rights, a security apparatus which acts as a “state within a state, rise of fractured elites and intervention of other states”.
The move of the Pakistan army into Waziristan was aimed to arrest the remnants of the Taliban. As a result 80,000 troops were ultimately deployed here. Since 2001 when the military first moved in it has immobilized civil institutions used for administering Waziristan and FATA. The military commander superceded the Governor NWFP, who under the Constitution of Pakistan is the President’s agent for the tribes, in policy matters. It was doubly unfortunate. The authority of the political agent was compromised and at the same time the military did not understand the tribal dynamics, which can be used for finding a solution. The military would use guns rather than allow the diplomatic processes that a political agent normally uses to attain his objectives.
It may be noted that administration of tribes in FATA is based on an indirect method. The tribal elders act as middlemen for their tribes. Government policies are implemented through advocacy in face-to-face meetings, with the tribes. This advocacy becomes more ‘appealing’ when the message is sugar coated with patronage distributed by the political agent. A sizeable portion of the patronage was taken away from the political agents, when junior military functionaries either gave contracts for development works themselves or used army work teams for construction. The tribesmen simply stopped listening to the political agent. (Khan: 1)
Another step taken by the military was to use military intelligence services in handling negotiations and persuading the Taliban instead of the political agent. Reportedly, not only large sums of money remain unaccounted but more serious is the fact that the political agent of South Waziristan for instance, was not even aware of such parleys. Secondly, Pakistan’s military intelligence system is influenced by its past Jihadist networks, which have favorites amongst the Afghans and tribesman, and may have compromised advise.
When the military began operations in South Waziristan in March 2004, the understanding was that it would lead to the surrender or eviction of the about 500 foreign Uzbek, Chechens and Arabs, who were the left overs from the destruction of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. It was a poorly planned operation, which caused high military casualties in Angoor Adda, Azam Warsak, Kalusha and Shakai area; the Taliban executed government troops and staff of the political agent. Another, dimension was added, when some government soldiers who were non-Pukhtun, were executed. (ICG: 14) It brought to the fore the ethnic dimension of the rebellion. In Afghanistan, the Pukhtun majority has been side lined by the Northern Alliance government of President Karzai; although a Pukhtun himself but marginalized within his own set up.
In South Waziristan, the tribal sentiment was further inflamed by the return of detainees of Guantanomo, who narrated tales of torture and insult to the Quran. The Islamists of Waziristan were incensed and motivated. They not only fought furiously but also began proselytizing to add to their strength. In the process, the system of administration collapsed, casualties were high. The stories of violence from the ham handed and uncoordinated operation travelled to North Waziristan, where more tribes promised support to the Taliban. The previous military operations and the Taliban sympathizers from North Waziristan who frequently cross the Durand line to harass the Coalition troops in Afghanistan radicalized this region further.
Pakistan apparently had underestimated the size of difficulty facing it. The military realized that it did not have the capacity to suppress the Islamists. Military morale plummeted and Pakistani authorities who would previously meet the tribes in their villages were now confined to the forts; traveling by road became unsafe. For senior officers travel by helicopter remained the only mode of physical movement both in South and North Waziristan.
The militarization of Waziristan led to weakening of political administration. The maliks, who were the middlemen, were being executed at will by the Islamists and continue to die even today. The Islamists executed Malik Faridullah, a former senator from tribal areas and a leading Ahmedzai Wazir. Knowledgeable tribesmen say that his assassination is linked to a matter of money promised to some of the ringleaders of the South Waziristan conflagration, which never reached them; a sum of $540,000 is reported to be involved. As matters spiraled out of control in late 2003, the military commander Lt Gen Safdar Hussein pushed for peace parleys with Islamists heading the Mujahidin Shura of South Waziristan through the JUI (F) leader, Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
On 24/04/04 the Shakai agreement was reached between the military and the militants of South Waziristan. It legitimized the pro-Taliban militants and demolished the civilian political system of administration. Secondly, the agreement left only two forces in the area. A bruised and demoralized military and a buoyant radical force and a weak political agent who was the key institution for political management, was by passed. He ceased to matter. The agreement had said that foreigners would surrender and be registered, after which they would be allowed to stay as guests of the tribe. Unfortunately, none was arrested by the tribe or surrendered to the political agent. In November 2004 some militant commanders of the South Waziristan shura surrendered to the authorities after receiving hefty payments, discussed earlier.
The situation on the ground today is tenuous. On paper, some militants have promised good behavior and non-support to Talibans; on the ground, forays by tribesmen into Afghanistan continue. The US has used a number of Predator missile attack against Shura leaders. Nek Mohammad was killed in one such attack in June 2004.
The use of independent U.S initiative is another major weakness in the strategy of containment and interdiction followed in Waziristan. On many occasions U.S Predators have struck targets right at the time that Pakistani authorities were seeking to end hostilities through negotiated settlement. This happened in Bajaur and in North Waziristan. The message coming out of this lack of coordination is that Pakistan is not sovereign in its area of operation. Any agreement reached between Pakistani authority and the Islamist does not extend to the U.S authorities, which continue to react based on their own judgment. Tribesmen indicate that agreements with Pakistani military or political authorities do not carry much weight. In some instances the Taliban shuras of South and North Waziristan have told their supporters that battles with the Pakistan army should be avoided and that the real enemy was the foreign forces in Afghanistan.
Analysts have deduced from this that perhaps the Pakistan military has a secret understanding with the Taliban. My discussions and observations point to a different conclusion. Historically, Waziristan has remained the most complex tribal security issue even for Britain to solve, when she was the supreme power in India. The nature of Waziristan calls for political handling supported by rare use of military force. Waziristan is comparatively better managed through “loaves” interspersed with adroit manipulation of tribal fissures, rather than using the military steam roller; if Britain failed to subdue Waziristan, surely the Pakistan military is not more capable.
There is reason to believe that military fiascos will continue to abound in Waziristan unless Pakistani capacity for the political handling of the tribal areas is recognized as the only long-term solution. It is also noted that on many occasion the Pakistani military is prodded into hasty operations to deflect the constant encore of U.S and NATO complaints that Pakistan is not doing enough or that it should do more. This is evidently not the solution. There is a need to examine the total lay out of the institutional capacities of all the state actors involved in Waziristan and avoidance of hasty agreements with the tribes. It is though recognized that enforceable agreements are the best way forward. (Aziz: 4)
Waziristan was the faucet, which since 1947 has provided the military establishment with a steady dribble of Jihadists for achievement of its objectives in India and Afghanistan. The tribes of Waziristan amply met Pakistan’s security needs because they were natural fighters and had dealt with the military since the 1860s. The first time that the Britain entered the Mahsud country was in 1860 as punishment for their raid on Tank. Military expeditions and operations in Waziristan continued till Independence. Major operations took place in 1899-95, 1919-21, 1930, 1933 and 1937-40. An environmental historian will probably attribute the people’s toughness to the area’s isolation, lack of resources and strategic location between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which permits them to move from one jurisdiction to the other and thus difficult to control.
Both the countries have weak institutions and elites who are interested in short term returns leaving succeeding generations to rue their fate. The first time that the tribes of Waziristan were used by Pakistan was in 1947, during the Kashmir war with India. Pakistan did not have the military to deal with the crisis as has already been described. The Pakistan army contingents were withdrawn from Razmak and Wana to bolster the forces in Kashmir (Warren: 261). Incidentally, as soon as the army was withdrawn, violence disappeared from Waziristan.
Let us look at the policies followed in Waziristan. Henry Lawrence, the Lieut: Governor of Punjab in the middle of the 19th Country dealt indirectly with Waziristan through middlemen and a policy described as the “Closed Border Policy”. The Khan of Tank handled the Mahsuds of Waziristan. This was a period of Wazir and Mahsud raids on the border districts of British India. The British retaliated by counter raids called expeditions, in which the tribes were punished by demolition of habitations and imposition of fines. From 1857-81 there were 26 expeditions to punish the tribes, some of them were in Waziristan (Caroe: 348)
After the 2nd Afghan war in 1878, a strategic committee was formed to plan what strategy was necessary if Russia intervened in Afghanistan. This committee recommended that India should push its border as much forward towards Afghanistan as possible. This made the presence of forces inside tribal area inevitable. In 1889, the policy was implemented when the British moved to Zhob in Baluchistan, later they quickly occupied Kurram, Waziristan, Chitral, Black Mountains of Hazara, the Malakand pass, Samana range in Kohat and Buner. By 1897, the whole of the Pathan area rose in revolt against the British (Warren: 28). This revolt was due to the forward push by Britain. It was obvious that the forward movement and location of troops within Pathan areas was seen as a prelude to an attack on the Pathan identity. The same feelings prevail today.
Lord Curzon became viceroy in 1898, and began his policy of containment. The army was withdrawn from Waziristan and two Pathan militia corps introduced. The Mahsuds continued to raid and army columns had to be sent to punish them in 1902 (32). Curzon’s formula failed in Waziristan and regular army had to be redeployed (34). However, in 1919 Waziristan was engulfed in a conflagration of a serious nature, which continued as a minor war from1920-1930 (54-59)
After this policy of military pacification had been tried with mixed results, civil pacification was attempted and comparative peace was attained. The idea was to create income through road construction as well as to provide education and health cover in some parts. In the last years of the 1920’s, lashkars again cropped up, but were quickly suppressed by the military, which had been located at strategic points such as Razmak and Wana. It meant that the presence of military force was essential in Central Waziristan to interrupt the formation of hostile groups. To that extent the 1923 Waziristan policy was a limited success, though below the expectations of the NWFP Chief Commissioner, Ralph Griffith, who desired peaceful control up to the Durand Line (65). In 1936 another eruption leading to the revolt of the Faqir of Ipi against the British took place. The Faqir’s rebellion engulfed Waziristan and was a mixture of lashkar and guerilla activity. However, by April 1939 matters had stabilized and Waziristan reverted to civilian control.
Waziristan policy always absorbed the attention of top Indian officials. They wanted to find an answer to the intricate puzzle of tribal control. Lord Linlithgow’s Report of 1939 divided the tribal area into two groups. For controlling Waziristan his recommendation was to maintain forces within it, otherwise insurrectionary feelings led to attacks on districts. For the remaining tribal areas he approved their control from outside the agencies. However, his Waziristan proposal demanded the presence of two army divisions. In Feb 1940, Lord Zetland the Secretary of State for India approved this expensive recommendation to avoid the loss of control in Waziristan as had occurred in 1897, 1919, 1930 and 1936. A permanent activity of gang warfare is an accepted fact of life in Waziristan (Warren: 248-249), and a strong military component is needed which can be provided by the Scouts and some elements of the army mixed together.
World War II saw contradictory sentiments expressed when the Wazir and Mahsud contributed to the war effort of their enemy, the British against the Axis. The Mahsuds contributed enough for Britain to buy one fighter aircraft yet at the same time the Wazirs attacked Gurkhas for being non-Muslims! From Jan 1944, Britain maintained control over Waziristan and Faqir of IPI by the use of air force only (Warren: 257). There are obvious lessons in this for today’s administrators.
In 1945, another review of Frontier Policy was undertaken under the chairmanship of Maj. Gen Francis Tuker. The committee chair humorously remarked that the Axis had the cheapest concentration camp in Waziristan, where the allied service men were interned. The authorities both civil and military felt that they had the tribesmen in control, yet Tucker felt it was the tribes who had confined the forces within camps and forts (258). The Tucker committee recommended that the solution to the deadlock in Waziristan was a drastic reduction in the garrison by a counter balanced increase in the number of Scouts and improvement in their equipment.
In 1946, fever of independence also infected Waziristan. The rhetoric of the tribes began to take the colour of the dispute between Congress and the Muslim League. In Oct 1946, Nehru toured Waziristan. He was sniped in Razmak and his aircraft fired at, where ever he travelled. At Wana, the tribal spokesman demanded a Muslim state, Pakistan (259). In Sept. 1947, Pakistan withdrew its garrison from Waziristan, thus implementing the Tucker Committee recommendation by default, because Pakistan withdrew her troops to fill the shortage for soldiers created by the war in Kashmir, (261). Cunningham, who returned as Governor, NWFP on Jinnah’s request, had been a skeptic of pacifying Waziristan through the military. He concluded that occupation had been a failure. He was of the opinion that the occupation policy tied up too much manpower and also increased tribal aggression (261). He was so right in his assessment. But he did not give a solution how to prevent the formation of gangs in the Waziristan heartland.
Did the birth of a Muslim Pakistan influence positively the tribesmen of Waziristan? When the Tochi Scouts withdrew from Datta Khel in 1948, the Faqir of IPI sent a lashkar to occupy the site. Pakistan used its air force to disperse the tribes. The Faqir promptly joined the new ethnic movement for Pakhtunistan in 1950 and with Afghan assistance he became the first President of the Waziristan branch of the Pakhtunistan National Assembly. Matters since then have progressed with periodic hostilities involving the tribes and the government interspersed with periods of peace, which were much longer than in the British era, before 9/11.
Experience has shown that when a new generation of tribal youth attains maturity, which in Waziristan happens around the ages of 30-35, the tribal status quo is disturbed, and there is violence within the tribe. The reason for it lies in the age-bulge. When enough of these youth have collected, there is fierce competition to excel either in tribal “Jirgas” or to gain renown by confronting authority. When these episodic waves arise, the traditional leadership headed by the leading elder, like Malik Khandan, Madda Khel in North Waziristan in 1976 or of Malik Wali Khan, Kuki Khel in Khyber Agency in 1985, is forced to lead a youthful force against a myth creating opponent. The easiest way to create a myth (in Waziristan) is by attacking a superior and a more powerful enemy. In a honor based society, status is dependent upon bravery; a tribesman from Waziristan cannot achieve honor and respect unless he is thought brave or skillful in a recognised field. Influencing opinion in a Jirga is considered as a status symbol. If one becomes good in Jirga processes, it ensures honor and wealth for a person. So does bravery against an enemy.
There is a parallel here with the Red Indian tribes of North America who exhibit a similar need for acclaim in its youth. “Counting coup” was a system for grading special acts of bravery and war aggressiveness. It was an act, which consisted of a young Indian brave returning unharmed after touching an enemy with a “Counting coup” stick. The warrior who counted the most coups was in first place in an honor system and so on down the grading list. Each coup was narrated before the tribal council and eyewitnesses were interviewed to corroborate the deed. The warrior who had the most coups was considered to be the foremost man of his tribe and was given the most honor and the most lavish gifts. He also led the warriors. Through his prestige he could become rich and receive the hand of the fairest maiden. All this special treatment was meant to drive young warriors to greater aggressiveness in battle (Oracle: 2).
In Waziristan, the social customs relating to bravery and recognition are no different from the ‘Counting coup’ tradition of the Red Indians. Some videos released by the Taliban of Waziristan show fighting groups of 8-10 men going into battle against U.S forces. The videos have scenes of skirmishes fought by youth who are barely 16 years old. What is evident is the sheer fun, which the fighters exude. As if they were on a college picnic or an initiation ceremony of a high-school fraternity. The strategic location of Waziristan next door to Afghanistan and the presence of an “aggressing” foreign force have multiplied the opportunities for a youth to gain honor.
Overlay the honor system with the religious icing of “Jihad”, which means exerting in a righteous cause and you have a highly volatile mixture prompting many of the young men to go to the battlefield and hope to win honor and respect. Those who stay behind are considered cowards and ostracised by their age group. The number of contestants grows in geometric proportion by the rhetoric of religion super imposed on a youthful audience. There is no shortage of religious teachers who provide rigorous arguments of sacrifice leading in case of death to heaven. As if this was not by itself a formidable combination, further super impose an Islamist organizing principle and we have a recipe for a permanent resistance, which will last as long as there are youthful participants available, and there is an ‘enemy’ like the US or NATO troops nearby in Afghanistan. It is therefore very likely that there will be continuous bloodshed because the tribal customs and religious motivation generates the demand to confront the enemy.
Sir Denys Bray, the Indian Foreign Secretary was partly right, when he said in 1923, while speaking of civil pacification of Waziristan: “It is the inaccessibility of these mountains which breed more than they can feed, that lies at the root of the problem”, (Warren: 59). More than inaccessibility and high population are involved if Waziristan, if pacification has to succeed. It is a combination of social customs, Islamic tradition, lack of employment and an absence of well-rounded education, which makes the tribes of Waziristan such accomplished fighters and a fierce obstacle to anyone who wants to control them. The presence of an opportunity next door in Afghanistan in the form of foreign troops acts as a fuel for this fire.
The conclusion is that the introduction of the military into FATA in 2001 was a mistake. The need is for the normal system of control exercised by the political agents to be pursued for the control of the tribes. It is the only effective method. Use of force radicalizes the tribes more.
Additional support to political agents by providing reinforced scout units and better intelligence would have done the trick, leading to arrests of Al-Qaeda and maintenance of control through the tribes. Unfortunately, when the military moved into the political agent’s administrative space, two things happened. The political agent was disempowered, since the military commanders assumed the role of superior authority. Secondly no balanced advice was available to policy makers as the senior military commander occupied this space and excluded the political agent. The eclipse of the political agent was weakened the whole edifice of collective responsibility used for maintenance of control in tribal areas, when it was most needed. When the tribal system of control diminished, it created space for the religious right in FATA to coalesce into support for the Talibans. It was easy since, the ground was already fertile.
Taliban in Waziristan are on their way to primitive state formation. They have introduced a simple tax system, which is providing them resources to recruit a paid bureaucracy. They have also introduced a dispute resolution system based on Sharia and aspects of traditional (Riwaj).
Information available from North Waziristan indicates the following system in vogue. It has been indicated that a similar system is in operation in South Waziristan. According to the informants, taxes are collected from the following assets: houses, cars, buses, trucks, petrol pumps, shops, water mills, dispensaries etc. Anyone who has a dispute can deposit a fixed sum of money in the Taliban office. Notices are served, adjudicators are appointed as a Jirga; they give decisions, which are stamped by the local Taliban head and enforced. The Taliban have vehicles and paid security personnel to ensure law and order. They check the roads and ensure order. But things are not as rosy. Most of those who work for the Taliban receive a monthly salary ranging from Rs. 3000 to Rs. 15000 per month. It has been reported that the Taliban organization has also been penetrated by criminal elements. There have been reports of dacoities, kidnapping and murder in the Daur valley of North Waziristan. It may also be underlined that there is no uniformity of jurisdiction; respective religious or Jihadi strong men have created their own groups and jurisdictions. A warlordism pattern has come about in Waziristan.
On the 20th of January, as a result of missile strike on Baitullah Mahsud’s camp at Zamazolla a few days earlier, he descended into North Waziristan with about 30 men including Uzbeks. This created a crisis. Baitullah is a Mahsud of South Waziristan and his arrival in Mirali in North Waziristan was not tribally correct, when Baitullah announced that he wished to take revenge from the government by attacking its installations in that area. A Mirali, Turi Khel tribesman, Alim Khan warned Baitullah to refrain and that if he was such a strong man he should take his revenge in his own South Waziristan. The cold reception forced Baitullah to go back from Mirali. It may also be noted that an autonomous and un-orchestrated momentum is gathering force in South Waziristan not to take up hostilities with the government. As a result since late 2004 no large scale tribal attack has occurred against government outposts.
It has been stated by many informants that the killing of the Peshawar police chief along with fourteen other police officers a couple of weeks ago was the work of an Uzbek suicide bomber, who came from Baitullah’s group and had association with an Egyptian Arab known as Abu Nasir, who leads the Uzbeks in South Waziristan. In Mirali another foreigner is the Iraqi Abu Akash who has his own gang operating independently of tribal support, except his hosts in Mirali, who use this group to generate incomes from criminal activities.
Another worrying aspect is the lack of students in government schools. For example in government high school Datta Khel in North Waziristan the total number of students is 96 as compared with more than 200 students in the Datta Khel madrassa. Interestingly, another nearby madrassa in Datta Khel, which teaches English and computer science the number of students, is about 600. One reason for the poor attendance in government schools is the fee of Rs. 100 per month charged as compared with free education in madrassas and Rs. 50 per month in community schools.
Government’s propaganda and advocacy suffers because of poor radio coverage and low standard of programmes broadcast. In North Waziristan, the majority of people listen to the BBC, Khost Radio, VOA and All India Radio. Waziristan is a highly bigoted and closed society; so closed that human bombers before departing are given small chits of paper prescribed by the “Qalima” in Arabic as a recommendation from the learned mullah for entering heaven. Obviously, well planned religiously oriented programmes can go a long way in changing attitudes.
Some local FM stations have been installed in Miramshah, Razmak, Wana and other sites in Waziristan. Unfortunately, the locals who do the talk shows cannot speak against the Taliban. If powerful repeaters are placed in Waziristan and good programmes broadcast from Peshawar or Islamabad, there is a greater likelihood of success. Secondly, the extension of an efficient mobile phone network would really assist. It will increase security. Secondly steps need to be taken to provide broadband IT links to open up the minds and assist in ending isolation. Thirdly, the government for some reason avoids the extension of the Political Parties Act to tribal areas. It has created a political cartel for the JUI (F), which is the only party allowed to operate. It has won almost all the legislative seats from Waziristan. By permitting other political parties to operate will open the dynamics of tribal rivalry, which can only diffuse the strength of the Islamists. In case Pakistan fails to do so, this indifference will lend more credence to the charge that the MMA Islamic alliance is actually President Musharraf’s ‘B’ team.
Demographic trends from the 1998 household survey show that the size of an average household in Waziristan is 8.6 persons. International experience shows that youth require employment and status. Normally, employment normally creates status. However, the rate of unemployment in Waziristan will not be less than 40% of the employable labour force. The Pakistan Labour Force Survey defines employable labour as between the ages of 10 years and 60 years old who wish to work. Waziristan has a population growth rate of 2.3% per annum. Recent projections show that there are 80,000 males in the age bracket of 18-25 years who seek employment. International research in conflict ridden societies show, that one in every sixth household is radicalized in a conflict zone such as Sierra Leone or Uganda. If the same yardstick is applied, we need to provide 13,000 Jobs in Waziristan to turn the tide of jobless vying for employment in the ranks of Taliban for Rs. 15,000 a month (Kfir: 4). Job creation through skill development and vocational training is the immediate need for defeating the insurgency.
It is good to note that President Musharraf has also identified some of the problems faced by the people in his TV address of 3rd Feb 2007, (Musharraf) yet much remains to be done if the initiative has to be wrested from those who are turning Waziristan into desolation and thereby damaging Pakistan. If the present trend continues, can one be faulted for predicting the rise of a Hamas like organization in Waziristan? Dynamics of tribal society preclude such a formation but the possibility must not be ignored.
A test of sovereignty of a state is its monopoly over the use of legitimate coercion within its territory and also to be free of threats from other states in pursuing its strategy (Bobbitt: 336). Pakistan today fails in both these tests. Its monopoly over the use of coercion for the execution of its laws is tested in Waziristan, on the contrary the Talibans, are administering large swathes of territory. The army is challenged and the situation becomes worse with the support that is provided by local tribesmen to the Afghan Talibans fighting the U.S and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
This report has reviewed comprehensively the reasons for the rebellion in Waziristan. These reasons can be classified into four broad categories. Firstly, it is evident from this research that owing to weak capacity in security, reliance was placed on using proxy warriors from Waziristan. It trained persons who now possess the skill to confront the military. This has weakened the state. It was a wrong policy and should have been scuttled, when capacity had developed in the military. In this connection the state must stop the training and arming of all groups, irrespective of factors like Kashmir. What good is possession of Kashmir when in the process Pakistan is harmed irreparably?
Pakistani reliance on religiously motivated groups in Afghanistan from 1978-2001 was wrong; instead burden should have been placed on the traditional Afghan society to defeat the Soviets, exactly as it was done for the replacement of King Amanullah by Nadir Khan in 1929; of the 23 uprisings, which arose spontaneously on the arrival of the Soviets in Afghanistan in 1978, 18 were started by traditional leadership and only 5 were begun by Islamists. Hizb leadership, which became the spearhead of the ISI supported Jihad had preached Hijrat (emigration from an area controlled by unbelievers), instead of resistance, (Rubin B: 186-187). Had traditionalists been supported, we would have avoided the international radicalization of Islam; it would have prevented the rise of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, the Taliban and perhaps stopped 9/11; what a heavy price has been paid for this lapse in judgment.
Creon, the king of Thebes in Sophocles play Antigone, punishes his nephew, Polynices after the later’s death by prohibiting his burial according to Theban religion. The prohibition sets in motion events, which ultimately destroy King Creon. The play at one level shows how a lack of judgment can cause chaos and destruction. Pakistan and the world are now paying the price of that misjudgment by not creating a broad based government in Afghanistan after 1992, although there were many opportunities.
A connected conclusion that follows is that foreign assistance to the Pakistan military has made them autonomous from the national society. Instead, the security apparatus has become an adjunct of other countries. By doing so the military has lost autonomy in decision making in security matters. In the absence of true democracy it becomes difficult to keep sovereignty intact. This has made the process of achieving peace through tribal agreements in Waziristan an uphill task. Secondly, the extensive use of military in Waziristan has radicalized the tribes and provided space to the Islamists to dominate many southern districts. Their movement is gradually extending into Punjab. The use of suicide bombers will hurt development and foreign investment in Pakistan.
The US officials are projecting a spring offensive by a revived Taliban in Afghanistan. There are 150,000 U.S, Afghan, NATO and Pakistani troops confronting the Taliban. The stage is thus apparently set for a bloody fighting in the next few weeks. What is remarkable is the resilience and strength of the Talibans. They obviously have the peoples’ support to exist and grow under such conditions.
It is now pretty obvious that Pakistan after having failed to subdue the Taliban in Waziristan, after fighting them for more than two years, has now realized that the approach to contain them must change. The pressure for this shift to my mind has come from the dynamics unfolding within the military rather than the demands of strategy. Many have begun to question the wisdom of Pakistan’s security policy handling. More than five hundred soldiers have been killed and many others injured. A much larger number of tribesmen have perished under the euphemistic definition of “collateral” deaths. Serious problem of discipline have eroded the morale within the military. The Taliban of Waziristan has expanded their range of operation and is coordinating with other terrorist organizations. They have now begun their activities in Punjab. With all this violence can business confidence remain? Unfortunately the answer is no. It is now clear that the existing approach needs revision.
Another aspect of the presence of the military in Waziristan has been the weakening of the political agent. Because the military uses force, no space is left for the political agent to exercise tribal dynamics. The only language that is used is that of force. This can only lead to escalation of violence. In this context it may be noted that the use of intelligence services in tribal negotiations weaken the political agent and rebounds on government. It is thus clear that the military approach is not a solution. It is only a short-term measure; therefore the recommendations emerging from this set of issues are the following;
1. There should be no interaction of the administration and military with the Islamist. Only intelligence operations should be undertaken and through the political agent.
2. The Scouts should be strengthened and provided with heliborne capacity till this problem is controlled.
3.The army should be concentrated in Wana, Razmak and Mirali.
4.The administrative layers of assistant commissioner, deputy commissioner and commissioner need to be revived. They will have no dealings with local government, which will continue to remain with Nazims. Their role will be to coordinate against insurgency by mobilizing civil society. The administrative tier will coordinate with the police functionaries. It will shift the reliance from intelligence counter measures to policing. This will force the state to deal with the insurgency through law.
5.The Coalition should not take any unilateral action in Waziristan. Actions should be sourced through the political agent.
6. Waziristan tribes feel that their identity is at stake. It is crucial if peace is to return that the Afghan army takes over duties from Coalition forces opposite the Waziristan boundary. In the long run, foreign forces should not remain in Afghanistan, because the invite resistance.
7.Traditional forces of society destroyed by years of neglect need to be re-constructed for stability. It is an uphill task but must be undertaken.
8. Drugs and warlords are a de-stabilizing factor and must be eradicated, if Afghanistan is to stabilize.
9. Capacity building of district police and Frontier Constabulary must be accelerated to reverse the poor security situation in southern NWFP. All Frontier Constabulary platoons, which are in other provinces, must be returned to NWFP forthwith.
10. An informal council of religious elders should be instituted for guidance of the Governor and the political authorities. This used to be normal practice in the past.
The second broad category of proposals relate to dealing with unemployment. A massive programme of skill development, which will compete with Taliban generated employment, should be launched. It is projected that there are about 80,000 male unemployed youth in the age group 18-25 years old. Assuming that 1 in 6 households in Waziristan support the Taliban, then we would need to create 13,000 jobs immediately. A proposal in this behalf is on the table with the government (RIPORT), it should be implemented. It is a huge task but must be undertaken, if Pakistan is serious about finding solutions in Waziristan.
The third category of proposals, deal with the use of political dynamics to pry open the lid over electoral politics in Waziristan and FATA. In this connection the Political Parties Act should be amended and tribal areas opened to all political parties. This will generate internal tribal dynamics and bring into play balancing forces. Its effect can only be beneficial. Simultaneously, the local councilors be given greater powers. They are presently councilors on paper.
The fourth set of recommendations relate to development. It is proposed that isolation must be battled on many fronts. In addition to construction of roads and opening up tribal areas to more economic penetration through exploitation of its mineral and other resources, the government should spread broad band internet and cellular telephone network in FATA. It will defeat isolation far more rapidly and with lesser costs than road and security networks.
There is a comprehensive development strategy being planned for FATA, which includes Waziristan. Innovative steps like creating task forces and working groups should be undertaken to reduce incubation time for policy and programme formulation.
Waziristan suffers from weak capacity in official manpower. Plans need to be made to build capacity. The emasculation of the district service cadre through local bodies’ reform created this unintended consequence. It will be difficult to find good political officers in the future, after the old trained hands retire. However, in case it is decided to revive the assistant and deputy commissioners as proposed above, then this capacity draw down could be reversed.
It is proposed that a middle level tier of regional administrators supervising the political agent should be made available at the field level. Such a senior officer could also coordinate matters between districts and tribal areas. It will be the duty of the regional coordinator to curb the expansion of lawlessness in southern NWFP and a similar resurgence, which is beginning to take shape in Swat and Malakand.
It is clear that dealing with the population through a genuine democratic process has much greater chances of strengthening Pakistan. The time has come to monitor the indicators relating to state survival and discussed in this report. One of the justifications for a military government has always been its claim to provide law and order. Since this is no longer the case, the time has come to consider other options.
The Afghan army must be rebuilt quickly and the government in Kabul must make efforts for a meaningful engagement with its Pukhtun population. The force facing Waziristan should comprise only of the Afghan army.
There is a lot of truth in what the Fakir of IPI said in his twilight years, when asked whether his long Jihad against the British was fought for religion or freedom? After pondering for a moment he stated that his struggle was for freedom rather than religion (Warren: 264). This is a hopeful message for those, who wish to get their act of nation building and international peace together. There is yet hope.
Notes & References
 Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
 Rashid, Ahmed. “TALIBAN: Islam, oil and the New Great Game in Central Asia”, I.B. TAURIS, London, 2000.
 Creveld, Van Martin. “ON FUTURE WAR”, Brassey’s, London, 1991
 This doctrine states that those who live in areas controlled by government and assist non Muslims should be treated under the laws of “futhat”, (conquest), including execution of adult males who resist and enslavement of women and children. Islamists define the people of Pakistan in this category because of its support to the U.S
 Rubin, Elizabeth. “In the Land of the Taliban”, New York Times, Oct 22nd 2006.
 Grare, Frederic. “Pakistan: The Myth of an Islamic Peril”, Policy Brief no 45 Feb 2006, Carnegie Endowment, Washington.
 “Nato Secretary General’s warning to Pakistan to stop militants”, The News, Islamabad, 18th Jan, 2007, P.1.
 Sarila, Singh Narendra. “Creation of Pakistan”. The Times of India. New Delhi, 17th March 2000, P. 1,
 Ibid (12)
 Munir, Muhammad. “FROM JINNAH TO ZIA”, Vangaurd, Lahore, 1980
 Jalal, Ayesha. “THE STATE OF MARTIAL RULE”, Sang-e-Meel, Lahore, 1999,
 Burke and Ziring Lawrence. “Pakistan’s Foreign Policy: An Historical Analysis”. Oxford, Karachi, 1973.
 Ibid (17)
 Khattak, Mohammad Aslam. “A PATHAN ODYSSEY”, Oxford, Karachi, 2005
 Gauhar, Altaf. “Ayub Khan: Pakistan’s First Military Ruler”, Oxford, Karachi, 1996.
 Ibid (17)
 Ibid (16)
 Ibid (16)
 Ibid (17)
 Saleem, Farrukh Dr. “U.S aid and our GDP growth”, The News, Islamabad, 16th July, 2006, P. 4
 Rubin, Barnett. “The Fragmentation of Afghanistan”, Oxford, Karachi, 2003.
 Ibid (16)
 Bobbit, Philip. “The Shield of Achilles,” Penguin, London, 2002
 Naqvi, M.B. “Maulana Says it”, “The News”, Islamabad, 27th Dec, 2006, P.4
 Ibid (16)
 Coll, Steve; “Ghost Wars, the Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and bin Laden”, London, 2004.
 Ibid (2)
 Abbas, Ali: “Shias have become a victim of Pakistan’s foreign policy”, http://www.shianews.com/hi/reports/politics/0000108.php , 8thJuly 2001.
 Musharraf, Pervez. “IN THE LINE OF FIRE: A Memoir”, Simon & Schuster, London, 2006
 Baabar, Mariana. “Boucher fends off spy chief bouncer”, The News, Islamabad, 13th Jan, 2007, P.1
 “London’s embarrassment & Pakistan’s ISI,” Editorial. “Daily Times, Lahore, 30th Sept 2006, P.6”
 Personal knowledge gained while Commissioner in the 1980’s
 Ibid (2)
 Ibid (2)
 Ibid (26)
 Ibid (26)
 Ibid (2)
 Ibid (2)
 Ibid (31)
 Ibid (2)
 Ibid (6)
 Sattar, Abdul. “Pakistan’s Foreign Policy 1947-2005, A Concise History”, Oxford, Karachi, 2007.
 Ibid (50)
 Babar, Nasirullah, “Interview with Gen. Babar”, The News on Sunday, Islamabad, 18th Feb. 2007, P.IV
 Ibid (7)
 Mariana Baabar, “Boucher fends off spy chief bouncer”, The News, Islamabad, 13th Jan. 2007 P.1
 “Nato warning to Pakistan”, The News Islamabad, 18th Jan 2007, P.1
 Ibid (39)
 “US allegations of abetting Taliban preposterous: Musharraf”, The News, 25th Jan 2007.
 Warren, Alan. “Waziristan:The Faqir of Ipi and the Indian Army”, Oxford, Karachi, 2000.
 Caroe, Olaf. “The Pathans 550 B.C.-A.D. 1957” Oxford, Karachi, 1975.
 Ibid (59)
 Means revenge.
 “2006 Failed State Index” http://www.fundforpeace.org/prorams/fsi/fsindex206.php
 The principal civilian head of one of the tribal agency, within FATA.
 Khan, Aamer Ahmed, “Pakistan fights its own Taliban,” BBC News, http://www.news.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news.bbc.co.uk/l/hi/world/southasia/477947 6.stm, 6th March, 2006
 Ibid (7) (P.14)
 Aziz, Khalid. “Return of the Taliban”, The Friday Times 6th – 12th Oct, 2006, Lahore, P.4
 Ibid (58)
 Ibid (59)
 Ibid (58)
 Ibid (58)
 Ibid (58)
 Ibid (58)
 Ibid (58)
 A tribal warring party.
 Ibid (58)
 Ibid (58)
 Ibid (58)
 Ibid (58)
 Ibid (58)
 Ibid (58)
 A recognised forum for tribal problem resolution.
 Ibid (58)
 Means Pushtun customary law, which is separate from Sharia law of Islam in many respects.
 Kfir, Isaac. “THE PARADOX THAT IS PAKISTAN: BOTH ALLY AND ENEMY OF TERRORISM.” The Middle East Review of International Affairs, vol 10 no:1 report 6, Herzliya, March 2005.
 Musharraf. “Thus spake General Musharraf”, The Daily Times, 4th Feb, 2007 Lahore, P.6
 Ibid (28)
 Ibid (26)
 RIPORT. “Employment Generation in Waziristan through Skill Development”, Peshawar, Feb, 2007.
 Ibid (58)
Posted by Ed. Dickau at 12:52 PM
THE SOVIET EXPERIENCE IN AFGHANISTAN: RUSSIAN DOCUMENTS AND MEMOIRS
Edited by Svetlana Savranskaya
October 9, 2001
The Soviet Invasion and the Afghan Response, 1979-1982
M. Hassan Kakar
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS
Berkeley · Los Angeles · London
--11. Victory at Any Cost
The Role of Afghanistan in the fall of the USSR
Fall of the Soviet Union
The Fall Of The Soviet Union: Whys And Wherefores
“Those Who Can Win A War Well Rarely Make Good Peace And Those Who Could Make Good Peace Would Never Have Won The War.”
Jan 23, 2008 ... Throughout history, Waziristan has been invaded by empire after empire, and was never subjugated. With that history in mind, the Wazir and ..
The global spotlight is on Waziristan. Osama bin Laden is said to be there, as well as a new generation of Al Qaeda leaders. Worried about the destabilizing effect of Al Qaeda, the U.S. government wants the CIA to conduct more aggressive operations there. American University Professor Akbar Ahmed, a former civil service administrator once in charge of Waziristan, told The Globalist what the United States can expect.
“…North and South Waziristan are controlled by al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The last time Americans wandered in there, in a couple of helicopters that dropped special forces in South Waziristan, they were repulsed after a firefight. The last time an unmanned American Predator drone went in there, in September 2008 near Angoor Adda in South Waziristan, the same day that Bush was flattering Zardariface to face about "Pakistan's sovereign right and sovereign duty to protect your country," the Pakistani military shot it down. The next day, Pakistani troops fired at two U.S. helicopters violating Pakistani air space…”
By BILL ROGGIO June 8, 2008 10:17 AM
With the flurry of negotiations under way in Northwest Frontier Province and the tribal areas, details are finally leaking about the North Waziristan peace agreement that was signed in February.
The Daily Times, a Pakistani news organization, has obtained a copy of the peace agreement. The agreement lets al Qaeda leaders and operatives remain in North Waziristan "as long as they pledge to remain peaceful."
While the agreement was signed in mid-February, the details of the North Waziristan accord have remained a secret. The Pakistani government has purposefully kept the deal secret, and built in language to prevent the Taliban from disclosing details. Based on information released by the Northwest Frontier Province’s Governor’s office and the Daily Times, the terms of the agreement are as follows:
• "Foreigners' must leave North Waziristan.
• Al Qaeda operatives can live in North Waziristan "as long as they pledge to remain peaceful."
• The Taliban may not establish a parallel government.
• The Taliban must halt attacks on government and security forces personnel.
• The Taliban "agreed to jointly struggle against extremism and terrorism throughout the agency."
• Disclosing the contents of the peace agreement is prohibited.
• A fine of about $740,000 will be assessed for anyone violating the terms of the agreement.
• The government will withdraw the Army and turn over security to the paramilitary Frontier Corps.
• The government will release captured Taliban leaders and fighters.
The agreement does not mention existing al Qaeda and Taliban terror training camps or the ending of cross-border attacks into Pakistan. The Taliban established a shadow Taliban government after the 2006 peace agreement, and by all accounts it remains in place. The Taliban runs recruiting offices, courts, and jails, taxes the population, and maintains security forces. The Taliban and al Qaeda are known to run 29 training camps in North and South Waziristan.
The powerful Haqqani family is based in North Waziristan. The Haqqani family runs several mosques and madrassa, or religious schools, near Miramshah. The Pakistani government closed down the radical Haqqani-run Manba Ulom madrassa after the US commenced Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, but the school was reopened in 2004. The Manba Ulom madrassa has been described as a center of jihadi activities, where top Taliban and al Qaeda commanders meet.
Siraj Haqqani, the son of renowned Taliban leader Jalaluddin Haqqani, is one of the senior Taliban leaders in North Waziristan. He has close ties to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. He has embraced al Qaeda's tactics and ideology, and has recruited foreign terrorists to act as suicide bombers and operatives inside Afghanistan. Siraj is believed to be running the Haqqani Network in eastern Afghanistan and has become a focal point of Coalition operations. The US military has put out a $200,000 bounty for Siraj's arrest. Taliban commanders Hafiz Gul Bahadar and Sadiq Noor also operate in North Waziristan.
For more information on the terms of the peace agreements in Swat, Bajaur, North Waziristan, and Mohmand, and the proposed terms for the agreements in South Waziristan, Mardan, and Kohat, see:
Pakistan is negotiating a new peace agreement with Baitullah Mehsud (South Waziristan)
Pakistan releases Taliban leader, signs peace deal with outlawed Taliban group (Bajaur, Malakand Division)
See The Fall of Northwestern Pakistan: An Online History for more information on the rise of al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan and the history of peace agreements signed between the government and the Taliban.
By BILL ROGGIO January 23, 2009 11:42 AM
The US launched two airstrikes inside of Pakistan's tribal areas on Friday, ending a three-week lull in attacks against Taliban and al Qaeda networks inside Pakistan. Twenty people, including "foreigners," have been reported killed in the Predator strikes in the Taliban-controlled tribal agencies of North and South Waziristan.
The first attack took place in the town of Zera just outside of Mir Ali in North Waziristan. Three Hellfire missiles are reported to have struck a compound run by a local named Khalil, killing 10 people.
The second strike took place in the town of Gangi Khel near Wana in Sourth Waziristan. Two Hellfire missiles were launched at a compound, killing 10 more people.
No senior al Qaeda or Taliban leaders have been reported killed at this time, and it is not yet known who the targets of the attacks were.
The town of Gangi Khel in South Waziristan is located in the tribal areas commanded by Mullah Nazir, a Taliban chieftain and rival of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud. The US targeted Nazir and Tahir Yuldashev, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, in a strike near Wana on Nov. 7. Nazir was wounded in the attack. Yuldashev's status is still unknown.
The town of Mir Ali is a known stronghold of al Qaeda leader Abu Kasha. He has close links to both al Qaeda and the Taliban, a senior US intelligence official told The Long War Journal in January 2007. Kasha is an Iraqi national who operates in the Mir Ali region. He serves as the key link between al Qaeda's Shura Majlis, or executive council, and the Taliban.
His responsibilities have expanded to assisting in facilitating al Qaeda external operations against the West, a senior US military intelligence official told The Long War Journal in October 2008.
Kasha commands two local Pakistani commanders, Imanullah and Haq Nawaz Dawar. These men administer al Qaeda's network in Mir Ali. Kasha has a working relationship and close communication with the Uzbek terror groups, including the Islamic Jihad Group run by Najimuddin al Uzbeki, who also operates out of North Waziristan.
A PAUSE IN STRIKES
Today's attacks in North and South Waziristan mark the first cross-border strikes inside Pakistan since President Barack Obama took office. The strikes mark the third and fourth cross-border attacks inside Pakistan this year. The last attack took place on Jan. 2 in the tribal areas of South Waziristan that are run by Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud.
The previous day, a strike in Nazir's tribal areas killed senior al Qaeda leaders Osama al Kini and his senior aide, Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan. Kini was al Qaeda operations chief in Pakistan. Both men were behind the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya, which killed 224 civilians and wounded more than 5,000 others.
US intelligence believes al Qaeda has reconstituted its external operations network in Pakistan's lawless, Taliban-controlled tribal areas. The US has struck at these external cells using unmanned Predator aircraft and other means in an effort to disrupt al Qaeda's external network and decapitate the leadership.
As of last summer, al Qaeda operated 157 known training camps. Al Qaeda has been training terrorists holding Western passports to conduct attacks, US intelligence officials have told The Long War Journal. Some of the camps are devoted to training the Taliban's military arm, some train suicide bombers for attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan, some focus on training the various Kashmiri terror groups, some train al Qaeda operatives for attacks in the West, and one serves as a training ground for the Black Guard, the elite bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri, and other senior al qaeda leaders.
There were 36 recorded cross-border attacks and attempts in Pakistan during 2008, according to numbers compiled by The Long War Journal. Twenty-nine of these attacks took place after Aug. 31. There were only 10 recorded strikes in 2006 and 2007 combined.
During 2008, the US strikes inside Pakistan's tribal areas killed five senior al Qaeda leaders. All of the leaders were involved in supporting al Qaeda's external operations directed at the West.
Abu Laith al Libi, a senior military commander in Afghanistan, was killed in a strike in North Waziristan in January 2008.
Abu Sulayman Jazairi, al Qaeda’s external operations chief, was killed in a strike in Bajaur in March 2008.
Abu Khabab al Masri, al Qaeda's weapons of mass destruction chief, and several senior members of his staff were killed in a strike in South Waziristan in July 2008.
Khalid Habib, the leader of al Qaeda's paramilitary forces in the tribal areas, was killed in North Waziristan in October 2008.
Abu Jihad al Masri, the leader of the Egyptian Islamic Group and member of al Qaeda's top council, was also killed in North Waziristan in October 2008.
US ATTACKS INSIDE PAKISTAN DURING 2009:
• US strikes al Qaeda in North and South Waziristan
Jan. 23, 2009
• US hits South Waziristan in second strike
Jan. 2, 2009
For a summary of US strikes inside Pakistan in 2008, see US strikes in two villages in South Waziristan.
U.S. Forces Kill Couple In Raid on Iraqi House | Military Says Man Led Assassin Cell
BAGHDAD, Jan. 24 -- U.S. troops stormed the house of a former army officer Saturday in northern Iraq, killing the man and his wife, wounding their 8-year-old daughter and unleashing anger among residents at tactics they deemed excessive, police said.
The pre-dawn raid occurred near the village of Hawija, a restive area about 130 miles north of Baghdad and west of the contested city of Kirkuk. Police identified the man as Dhiya Hussein, a former colonel under Saddam Hussein who U.S. authorities said was wanted for running an assassination cell for insurgents in the region.
In the angry aftermath, 40 cars carrying hundreds of people converged on the family's funeral later in the day, said Fadhil Najm, a neighbor. He said the mourners shouted, "Death to America! Death to killers of women!" as they buried the bodies.
Gen. Jamal Tahir Bakir, head of the provincial police, said U.S. forces acted on their own in the raid. The U.S. military denied that. It confirmed the deaths of the couple and their daughter's injury but said the raid was conducted in cooperation with Iraqi forces. Under a new agreement between the United States and Iraq, which went into effect Jan. 1, all operations must be coordinated with Iraqi authorities.
Two missile attacks from suspected US drones have killed 14 people in north-western Pakistan, officials say.
At least one missile hit a house in a village near the town of Mirali in North Waziristan, a stronghold of al-Qaeda and Taleban militants.
A second suspected drone attack has been reported in South Waziristan, killing five people.
Pakistan has long argued that such strikes are counter-productive and are a violation of its sovereignty.
These are the first drone attacks since Barack Obama was inaugurated as US president on Tuesday.
Pakistani leaders had expressed hope that the new US administration would halt the controversial air strikes, saying they fuelled public anger and complicated Pakistan's own counter-insurgency efforts.
Meanwhile, two security personnel were killed when a suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into a military checkpoint in the Fizzagat area of the Swat Valley in north-western Pakistan.
Swat plays host to frequent battles between the Pakistani army and Islamic militants trying to enforce a strict form of Islamic law set down by Mullah Fazlullah, a radical cleric.
The first drone attack struck a house owned by a man called Khalil Khan in the village of Zeerakai at 1700 local time.
Four Arab militants were killed in the strikes, officials said. Their identities were not immediately clear but officials said one was a senior al-Qaeda operative.
The second attack was aimed at the house of a Taleban commander about 10km (six miles) from the town of Wanna, local reports said.
But officials told the BBC that the drone actually hit the house of a pro-government tribal leader, killing him and four members of his family, including a five-year-old child.
More than 20 attacks have been carried out from drones on targets in north-western Pakistan in recent months, sparking protests from Pakistan's government.
On Thursday, President Obama appointed Richard Holbrooke as special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, having promised that his administration would continue to tackle the threats posed by extremists in both countries.
Earlier on Friday, a roadside bomb exploded on the outskirts of Mingora town as a security patrol was passing.
Eyewitnesses said the security forces opened fire and killed three passers-by, but the security forces denied being responsible for the deaths.
by A. H. Amin
(Friday, February 13, 2004)
"Beware of despising the tribals. They brought both Muslim and non Muslim Emperors to grief whether it was Jahangir, Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb, Ranjit Singh or the British king."
Those who know the Pathans and their history will know exactly what is happening in Waziristan today and which Lashkar is doing what and for what reason. The tribal Pathans have traditionally been supreme fighters who defied the Mughal occupiers, the Sikh occupiers, the British occupiers and now the latest occupiers, i.e. the US coalition chasing the Pathans and Muslims of various castes and creeds motivated by sheer ideology.
By BILL ROGGIO September 13, 2006 10:16 AM
Documenting the Taliban's rise to power in Waziristan and beyond over the course of 2006 and 2007
The fall of North and South Waziristan and the rise of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan was an event telegraphed by al Qaeda and the Taliban. During the winter of 2006,Osama bin Laden announced his strategy to establish bases and pockets of territory along the Afghan-Pakistani border. The Taliban and al Qaeda (virtually indistinguishable in this region at this point in time) had been fighting a long term insurgency against the Pakistani Army after President Musharraf put troops in the region shortly after 9-11.
But two developments accelerated al Qaeda's plans to conquer the agencies of North and South Waziristan: the airstrike against Ayman al-Zawahiri in Damadola, and the attack on the Danda Saidgai training camp in North Waziristan. In both instances, al Qaeda's senior leadership was targeted, and in Danda Saidgai, Osama bin Laden and his praetorian 'Black Guard,' or personal bodyguard, were the subject of the attack.
While bin Laden and Zawahiri escaped, senior commanders such as Abu Khabab al-Masri (WMD chief) and Imam Asad (chief trainer of the Black Guard), among others were killed. Al-Qaeda could no longer countenance a Pakistani presence in the region. The time had come to force the Pakistani Army to withdraw and force the government to accept terms of surrender. Al-Qaeda retaliated for the airstrikes by murdering a U.S. official at the Consulate in Karachi.
South Waziristan fell some time in the spring of 2006 (I suspect sometime in late March). On March 6, I referred to South Waziristan as 'Talibanistan.' Shariah Law was declared in South Waziristan at this time and the Taliban began to rule openly. A single political party was established in South Waziristan, a party loyal to the Taliban. It is said a secret accord was signed between the Pakistani government and the Taliban around this time. All along the fighting in North Waziristan increased over the course of 2006.
Pro-Pakistani government tribal leaders and informants were murdered and made an example of. The Pakistani Army paid a devastating price for their operations in Waziristan. The official government reports claim around 200 soldiers killed, however the unofficial numbers put the casualties somewhere around 3,000 killed in combat.
On June 25, I sounded the alarm that a truce would be in the offing in North Waziristan. The Pakistan Army was taking a pounding, and President Musharraf lacked the will to fight in the region became apparent. All along, Musharraf and the Pakistani elite attempted to draw distinctions between the Taliban and “miscreants” and “foreigners” - which is merely code for al Qaeda. The failure to realize the Taliban and al Qaeda worked towards the same end, and have integrated political and command structures, led the Pakistani government to cut deals with the 'local Taliban' and the eventual establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan. The Taliban and al Qaeda are by no means finished with their goals of carving out safe havens along the Afghan-Pakistani border. In March of 2007, the Pakitani government signed over the tribal agency of Bajaur to the Taliban.
The series of posts below document the history of the fall of North and South Waziristan and the rise of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan, and the rise of Talibanistan in the Northwest Frontier Province from 2006 onward.
“…There is a civil war going on in Afghanistan. There may soon be a civil war in northern Pakistan. The Taliban is involved in both, and the United States has every interest in staying out of both.
In Afghanistan, Taliban members are not foreign invaders. They ruled the country before the United States sent B-52s to annihilate (if Hillary Clinton will permit me) their peasant army in 2001, as it resisted invasion by the rival Northern Force, backed by the United States.
They now want to rule Afghanistan once again. They are a radical religio-political sect, which arose in recent decades among largely uneducated tribesmen living in the historically ungovernable “tribal areas” on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
They Believe In A Deeply Obscurantist Mixture Of Fundamentalist Islam And Traditional Tribal Practice. They Belong To The Pathan (Or Pashtun) People, Which Means That They Are Kinsmen To More Than 40 Million Other Pathans In Pakistan, Afghanistan And Elsewhere In Central Asia, Whom No One Has Conquered Since Alexander The Great.
At various times the Taliban has been supported or manipulated by Pakistan military intelligence in connection with purely Pakistani or regional matters. The vast majority of Taliban members, other than those currently being bombed by the U.S. in Afghanistan or Pakistan, undoubtedly are totally ignorant even of the existence of the United States of America.
At one point in their tangled history, they afforded hospitality to their fellow-traditionalist Muslim, the Saudi Arabian Osama bin Laden. That was their big mistake. The Bush administration made the bigger mistake of becoming entangled with them, for which the United States will eventually be sorry. Barack Obama should think again…”
WASHINGTON: There is a lake near Webster, Massachusetts called Chargoggaggoggmanchaugagoggchaubunagungamaug.
Translated from the original Nipmuck, it lays down this thoughtful code for keeping the peace: "You fish on your side, I fish on my side, nobody fishes in the middle."
Halfway around the globe, there is a place called the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan, seven so-called tribal "agencies" along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan where about six million of the most independent humans on the planet live on 27,000 square kilometers of rugged and inhospitable terrain.
They are the Pashtuns, and they have lived on their lands without interruption or major migration for about 20,000 years. They know their neighborhood very well, and their men have been armed to the teeth since the first bow was strung. Their ancient code involves a commitment to hospitality, revenge and the honor of the tribe. They are invariably described as your "best friend or worst enemy." The Pashtuns' sense of territoriality bears some resemblance to the Nipmuck tribe of Massachusetts; when outsiders venture into the middle of their lands on fishing expeditions or to exert authority, very bad things happen.
In the 4th century B.C., Alexander the Great fell afoul of Pashtun tribesmen in today's Malakand Agency, where he took an arrow in the leg and almost lost his life. Two millennia later the founder of the Mogul empire, Babur, described the tribesmen of the area now known as Waziristan as unmanageable; his main complaint seemed to center on his inability to get them to pay their taxes by handing over their sheep, let alone stop to attacking his armies. A couple of hundred years later, in the middle of the 19th century, the British experienced disaster after disaster as they tried to bring the same Pashtun tribes to heel, particularly in the agencies of North and South Waziristan. In 1893, after half a century of jockeying for position with Imperial Russia in the "Great Game," the British administrator of the northwest of Queen Victoria's Indian Empire, Sir Mortimer Durand, demarcated the border between India — now Pakistan — and Afghanistan. The Durand line, as it is still known to foreigners — the Pashtuns call it "zero line" and completely ignore it — separated the tribes on both sides of the line into 26 agencies, each with its own laws and tribal councils. It was this area that became the buffer between the British and Russian Empires, an agreed-upon "middle of the lake." The tribes were then left mostly to themselves for about 80 years.
The Soviet adventure in Afghanistan began on a snowy Christmas Eve in 1979, and took a decade to cycle through, ending in exactly the same fashion as all the other foreign enterprises in that land — with failure. It was in the territories to the west of zero line, in the lands of the Wazirs, the Mahsuds, and the Ahmadzais, that the Soviets repeatedly failed in their attempts to establish their authority. They took some of their heaviest casualties not many kilometers to the west of South Waziristan and Wana Fort where the current drama now seems to be winding down after two confused weeks.
This time it is the Pakistani Army and its local levies, the paramilitary Frontier Corps, who have ventured into South Waziristan. To the west of zero line, American forces lie in wait for the quarry to be driven into their gun sights. The Pakistani operation has been described as an attempt to route an enemy alternately depicted as Islamic militants, foreign terrorists, or "high value" Al Qaeda fighters. Early in the operation it was suggested that Al Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was cornered near Wana Fort. Now the word in Pakistan is that Tahir Yaldashev, leader of the radical Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, "may" have been there at the time of the Pakistani assault, but later escaped, possibly wounded.
As the CIA officer overseeing the final years of the war against the Soviet occupiers of Afghanistan, I served as a 20th century American version of the British East India Company political agent and quartermaster to these same Waziri Ahmadzai tribesmen as they stymied all Soviet efforts to "exert a little authority." Their leader then was Jalaluddin Haqqani, a man of uncommon personal courage, and a deeply nuanced understanding of guerilla tactics. Though his current whereabouts are unknown — some say he died of wounds from a U.S. air attack — Haqqani has transitioned from America's best friend during the anti-Soviet war to its worst enemy in the current undertaking in Afghanistan. He is at the top of the list of America's most wanted, and it is his spirit and the Pashtun code of honor that continue to drive the Ahmadzai tribesmen against whom both the Pakistani Army and American forces are lined up.
t will be a tough and unrewarding slog. Like most of the great confrontations launched by outsiders in Waziristan over the last 2,000 years, this one will probably end in ambiguity. There have already been claims of "mission accomplished" by the Pakistani army and the Frontier Corps — after all, they lost up to 60 dead — but there will likely be nothing concrete to point to, aside from claims of having destroyed a militant sanctuary. The much ballyhooed "high value targets" we and our Pakistani allies expected to kill or capture will probably remain unknown and unresolved, and the American Operation "Mountain Storm" across zero line in Afghanistan will probably wind down with an equal lack of clarity. Already there seems to be a sense of relief that everyone will quietly go back to fishing on their sides of the lake.
That's the way it's always been in those rugged hills.
Milt Bearden was CIA chief in Pakistan from 1986 until the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989. He is the co-author with James Risen of "The Main Enemy: The Inside Story of the CIA's Final Showdown with the KGB."
Increased militancy and violence in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan has brought FATA into sharper focus, as U.S., Afghan, and Pakistani leaders attempt to find solutions to the problems underlying the situation there. This most dangerous spot on the map may well be the source of another 9/11 type of at tack on the Western world or its surrogates in the region. Should such an attack occur, it likely will be spawned in the militancy that grips FATA and contiguous areas in Afghanistan and Pakistan today.
The principal actors are the Taliban, in both countries; their alliesformer Soviet-era
mu jahideen commanders including Gulbadin Hekmatyar of the Hezbe Islami and the Haqqani group (headed by Jalaluddin and his son Siraj); Sunni militants from Central and Southern Punjab; and al Qaeda, which benefits from links to most of these insurgents….
The United States went into Afghanistan without a comprehensive plan for winning the war beyond the military ouster of the Taliban (evidenced by its shift of focus to Iraq), or for the socioeconomic rehabilitation of the country after decades of war.
The United States failed to see the proactive need to help Pakistan transform its own army and Frontier Corps into a counterinsurgency force or help equip and train them for that purpose; It has been in reactive mode ever since 2001. Afghanistan has shown no willingness to address the grievances of the Taliban against the excesses of the Northern Alliance forces in the wake of the U.S. invasion. This keeps the anger
of the Taliban and their Pashtun supporters alive.
The United States cannot win the war in Afghanistan without the full and willing participation and support of Pakistan, its army, and the general population, especially with a new civilian administration in place. It certainly cannot win by aligning itself to any one Pakistani leader, political or military, as evident in the past reliance on President and General Pervez Musharraf.
The United States depends for more than 80 percent of cargo and 40 percent of its fuel in Afghanistan on transit shipments via Pakistan; Uzbekistan has expelled the United States; and Russia has the ability to block over flights to reach Turkmenistan or Tajikistan and then into Afghanistan. The only other relatively shorter land route is via Iran from Chahbahar on the Arabian Sea. But U.S. hostility toward Iran makes that an impossible alternative. This severely limits the United States options in taking military action inside Pakistan that could provoke a backlash, including the closure of this supply route into Afghanistan.
Pakistan, its army, and the ISI have maintained an ambivalent position regarding the Afghan Taliban, based on the twin supposition that the United States would exit the region yet again, perhaps after capturing or killing some key al Qaeda leaders, and that the Pashtun Taliban would return to power in Kabul. They would rather have a neutral or friendly Pashtun government in power, even if it is the Taliban.
On its part, Afghanistan fears a Pakistani desire to maintain control over Afghanistan becauseof its land-locked status and as a client state.
Another powerful and persistent perception inside Pakistan is that rival India has chosen todevelop civil and military ties with Afghanistan and even to fuel militancy inside Pakistan in retaliation for past (and perhaps current) Pakistani support for militants in Indian-held Kash mir. Many Pakistanis see a conspiracy to encircle and weaken Pakistan in the region.
Yet neither confrontation nor capitulation by Pakistan to U.S. interests in Afghanistan and FATA is the right approach. Rather, engagement and a joint effort to eliminate the militancies inside Afghanistan and Pakistan is the best approach.
The Pakistan Army is seen as an alien force inside FATA. The Frontier Corps has lost its efficacy over the years. Both the army and the FC are ill-equipped and ill-trained for counterinsur gency (COIN) warfare. Compounding their difficulty is the fact that they are operating inside their own borders against their own people…
Worried that Al Qaeda may be trying to destabilize the province of Waziristan, the U.S. government is proposing to expand the authority of the CIA to conduct more aggressive operations in the region. In part three of this Globalist Interview, American University Professor Akbar Ahmed explains why U.S. policies in the Muslim world have failed, and what the United States should do in the future.
The Globalist: Why Does The U.S. Government Rely So Heavily On The Military Option?
AA: Bernard Lewis, who under the current administration is viewed as the authority on Islam, believes Muslims need to be treated with force. But that policy has been a failure, an unmitigated disaster.
This policy has been a disaster in Iraq, a disaster in Afghanistan — and now the U.S. government is thinking of implementing the same disaster in Waziristan. Waziristan is not Iraq.
It was not ruled by a cruel dictator for 30 years.
Not only that, Waziristan has never been ruled in history.
What’s the logic there? Implementing a failed policy in Waziristan will simply confirm the bankruptcy of vision and wisdom.
Successful foreign policy is based on sophistication, intelligence and diplomacy. The current U.S. foreign policy in the examples above is based on the twin pillars of arrogance and ignorance. One is bad enough, but you really can’t have both. If it were based on arrogance, but with a lot of knowledge, it would have still worked. But you cannot combine arrogance and ignorance — and then hope to succeed.
No foreign invaders, from Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan to the British, had ever been able to control Waziristan. It was not only ideological bonds ...
During the Soviet-Afghan war in the 1980s, the Afghan guerrillas had the great advantage of being able to retreat to safe bases in neighbouring Pakistan if Russian military pressure became too great. With the USA supporting Pakistan, there was never any chance the Soviet Union would attack those bases and risk a major crisis between the superpowers.
Today the Taliban militants operating against Western forces in Afghanistan run their operations from bases in the regions of Pakistan along the Afghan border. These safe havens are chiefly in northern Balochistan and the so-called Federally Administered Tribal Areas, especially North and South Waziristan. Other than occasional airstrikes, chiefly by Predator UAVs, the Americans have been reluctant to take direct military action against these Taliban and al-Qaeda bases in Pakistan. Instead the USA has encouraged the Pakistani government to suppress them.
So far such Pakistani military efforts have met with only limited success, and there have been increasing calls in some quarters for the USA and its Western allies to undertake direct military action against terrorist bases in the border areas of Pakistan, above all in Waziristan. Such calls must be resisted since for the West to invade a Muslim nation for the third time since 2001 (the other invasions being Afghanistan and Iraq) would only further inflame hatred of the USA and its Western allies in the Islamic world.
The tribesmen of Waziristan have successfully resisted foreign invaders for centuries. Even the British Raj had to recognize their semi-independent status in 1893. However, this did not stop clashes between the two sides. For example, after the short-lived Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919, a considerable revolt broke out in Waziristan. British and Indian forces suffered more than two thousand casualties before they forced the tribesmen to make peace in March 1920. Nevertheless further clashes, large and small, continued in Waziristan up until 1947 when Britain could hand the problem area over to newly independent Pakistan.
The Pakistanis avoided serious trouble in Waziristan largely by leaving the local people to run their own affairs. However, after 9/11 and the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, Taliban and al-Qaeda remnants, including leaders such as Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden, fled across the border into Waziristan and adjacent areas. Under American pressure, the ruler of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, was compelled to send large numbers of troops into North and South Waziristan for the first time in decades. These forces had comparatively little success in rounding up Taliban and al-Qaeda militants, but their presence did anger local tribesmen, leading to increasing clashes between the two sides.
In March 2004 these clashes escalated into an open war between the Pakistani forces on one side and local tribesmen, Taliban guerrillas, and al-Qaeda fighters (mostly foreign) on the other. By the time a peace accord was finally negotiated between the contesting parties in September 2006, an estimated 700 Pakistani troops had been killed, as well as 1,000 militants and 1,000 civilians.
Although fragile, the peace accord did give the Pakistani authorities a chance to exploit divisions among their opponents. Relations between local people and foreign Islamist fighters had not always been good, and in the spring of 2007 violence broke out between local tribesmen and Uzbek fighters linked to al-Qaeda. By mid-April the Uzbeks had been largely driven out of South Waziristan, with Pakistani artillery assisting local tribesmen in some of their attacks.
These favorable developments might have led to further attacks on foreign Islamist fighters in the area, but in July 2007 Musharraf's government enraged radical Islamists all over Pakistan by its clumsy and bloody suppression of militant activity at the Red Mosque in the capital Islamabad. The Waziristan peace accord collapsed and between July and November 2007 there was intense fighting in the region, with suicide bombers taking a new prominence in attacks on Pakistani forces. By early 2008 the estimated casualties after barely six months of fighting exceeded those for the whole 2004-06 war: 850 troops killed, as well as 1,900 militants and 1,800 civilians.
Recently the tempo of the fighting has decreased and the new civilian government of Pakistan is promising to negotiate a peaceful settlement in Waziristan and adjacent areas rather than using further military force. The US government has expressed concern about this approach and some commentators have now suggested the Americans and their allies may have to intervene directly in Waziristan to destroy terrorist bases, with or without the approval of the Pakistani government in Islamabad. Such Western intervention, even if only in the form of increased airstrikes and raids by Special Forces, can only further inflame the situation in the region.
The only way to root out the Taliban and al-Qaeda from Waziristan and adjacent areas is for the Pakistani government to take action. As shown by the successful efforts against Uzbek fighters in South Waziristan in 2007, the Pakistanis can get local tribesmen to drive out foreign Islamist militants. This is the only way to go. It may not be swift, but it is likely to be effective in the long run. If impatience leads to clumsy Western military intervention in Waziristan, such action is more likely to spread war across Pakistan than to end it in Afghanistan.
IN OTHER NEWS
On January 21, the United States deposited its instruments of ratification for Protocols III, IV, and V of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (“CCW”) and for an amendment to that Convention. Protocol III covers incendiary weapons, Protocol IV covers blinding laser weapons, and Protocol V deals with explosive remnants of war. The Amendment expands the scope of the Convention to non-international armed conflicts.
And What Is Going On In The Mind Of The Right!
Narcotics trade, corruption are impeding efforts, he told Senate committee
By David Wood | firstname.lastname@example.org
12:11 PM EST, January 27, 2009
WASHINGTON - After more than seven years of combat, the United States still does not have a unified strategic plan for winning the war against radical Islamic insurgents in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged today.
"This will undoubtedly be a long and difficult fight,'' said Gates, adding that the narcotics trade and official corruption "at the high levels'' of the Afghan government are impeding the fight.
"Our greatest military challenge right now is Afghanistan,'' he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
With the fighting in Iraq largely subsided, Gates said, "the extremists have largely returned their attention to that region.''
He acknowledged that the coordination of military and political efforts against the Taliban "has been less than stellar.''
The search for a new Afghanistan strategy has been under way in Washington for months, with a thorough White House review completed in the final weeks of the Bush administration and parallel studies by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, by Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander in the region, and by the incoming Obama administration.
President Obama has vowed to send additional troops, and the top commander in Afghanistan, U.S. Army Gen. David McKiernan, has asked for about 30,000 more troops, almost double the number currently deployed there.
But with no overall guiding strategy, top military commanders and civilian officials are in disagreement over what missions the additional troops should be assigned, and how those missions should be coordinated into an overall strategy, officials said.
Among those uncomfortable with sending more troops without a clear strategy was Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who lost his campaign for president last year to Obama.
"We need to develop and articulate a clear strategy with measurable performance goals'' in Afghanistan, McCain said at today's hearing.
"More troops are just a piece of what is required. And we need to address the corruption and narcotics problems much more forthrightly than we have so far,'' McCain said.
Explaining the lack of a strategy, Gates argued that Afghanistan is more complex than Iraq, where Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker forged a unified campaign plan that coordinated military action with political pressure and civilian development work. That effort is widely credited with helping quell the violence in Iraq.
But in Afghanistan, Gates said, the United States is partnering with some 40 countries along with the United Nations, NATO, the European Union and hundreds of private development agencies.
"Figuring out how to coordinate all that, and then how to coordinate that work with military operations, is a very complex business," he said.
Under sharp questioning, Gates also acknowledged that the narcotics trade, which provides some $400 million a year to finance the Taliban, must be brought under control before the war can be won.
In recent weeks, he has changed the combat engagement rules to enable U.S. forces to attack drug lords and drug labs if there is evidence they are financing the Taliban. He asked for patience to see whether this has an effect.
Previously, U.S. combat forces were directed not to engage the drug trade. Instead, NATO and the Afghan government were supposed to handle the narcotics trade, but senior U.S. officials say that approach has not worked.
Last week Gen. James T. Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps, said that the U.S. military role is to support Afghan forces in counter-drug operations and not to take the lead in such attacks. The Afghan government's weak military and police forces, and its own corruption with drug profits, raised some skepticism about whether it would begin now to act aggressively against drug lords.
Gates, asked today if he thought the Afghan government would move against the drug trade in the near future, replied: "Probably not.''
The Pentagon chief, who was appointed in late 2006 by then- President Bush and retained by President Obama, also acknowledged that U.S. air strikes that have killed hundreds of Afghan civilians each year are "doing us enormous harm.
"We have got to do better in terms of avoiding casualties -- and I say that knowing full well the Taliban mingle among the people, use them as barriers," Gates told the committee. "But when we go ahead and attack, we play right into their hands.
"My worry is that the Afghans come to see us as part of the problem rather than as part of their solution -- and then we are lost," Gates said.
* House speaker says more Afghanistan troops a tough sell
* US military may seek more US troops for Afghanistan war
* No Obama decision yet on increasing US Afghanistan force
(Updates with Sen. Carl Levin's comments)
By Andy Sullivan
WASHINGTON, Sept 10 (Reuters) - There is little support in Congress for sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, the top Democrat in the House of Representatives said on Thursday, indicating possible trouble ahead for President Barack Obama.
Obama may decide in the coming weeks whether to expand the size of the U.S. military force in Afghanistan to counter insurgent violence that has reached its highest level since the Taliban was ousted from power in late 2001.
But U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said deploying more U.S. troops could be a tough sell.
"I don't think there's a great deal of support for sending more troops to Afghanistan, in the country or in the Congress," Pelosi said at a news conference.
The chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, Michigan Democrat Carl Levin, said in a New York Times interview he was not ruling out sending more troops eventually, but insisted that the United States first expand and accelerate the training of Afghan forces.
"I just think we should hold off on a commitment to send more combat troops until these additional steps to strengthen the Afghan security forces are put in motion," Levin said.
Levin raised concerns about the U.S. counterinsurgency efforts in meetings this week with the secretaries of Defense and State and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Times said. Levin intends to propose improvements in a speech in the Senate on Friday.
A troop increase could make U.S. congressional Democrats nervous at a time when many of them already face tough prospects in next year's midterm elections.
The U.S. Congress has a full plate of difficult legislative business even before possible decisions on U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan, including legislation aimed at overhauling the U.S. healthcare system and a complicated climate-change bill.
A formal assessment of the war from U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, is widely expected to set the stage for a request by the military for more troops.
Pelosi said she had not yet seen this assessment, which was sent to the Pentagon last week.
"I hope that we will be briefed on the McChrystal (report) when the president receives it," she said. "Perhaps next week we will see that."
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama had not yet made a decision on whether to commit additional U.S. troops.
"The president will make a decision based on what he thinks is in the best national security interests of this country," Gibbs said.
The United States is on track nearly to double its troop presence in Afghanistan to 68,000 by the end of this year. Other nations, mainly NATO allies, have another 38,000 troops in Afghanistan and have been reluctant to send more.
Some analysts believe the Afghan war effort requires a further boost of up to 45,000 military forces along with additional diplomats and other resources.
But with U.S. casualties mounting, unease about the war is growing in Obama's Democratic Party. (Additional reporting by Steve Holland and JoAnne Allen)
Bloomberg - Indira A.R. Lakshmanan - Sep 9, 2009
... this week to discuss “the need for these elections to be seen as credible and legitimate in the eyes of the Afghan people and in the eyes of the world. ...
LONDON - A storm of controversy in Britain over a deadly rescue mission in Afghanistan is coinciding with a new poll that shows plummeting support for the war – something that could strain US ties with its closest NATO allies and present more obstacles to President Obama's push for the alliance to send more troops.
Britain is the second-largest contributor of troops to the NATO mission. But doubts about conflict's direction have turned Britons hostile towards an increased military commitment there.
Widespread allegations of election fraud are undermining international support for Afghan President Hamid Karzai. And the rescue of kidnapped journalist Stephen Farrell, which resulted in the deaths of one commando and Mr. Farrell's interpreter, Sultan Munadi, has only underscored concerns about a rising military death toll.
The new poll, conducted by the German Marshall Fund, asked voters if they would support a request from President Obama to increase troop levels. Huge majorities across Europe were opposed, with 75 percent of Britons and 86 percent of Germans saying Obama's request should be turned down.
The poll also found that 41 percent of Britons want their troops withdrawn entirely and a further 19 percent want the troop level reduced. The poll found 41 percent of Germans want a full withdrawal and 16 percent want a troop reduction.
Majorities in all countries surveyed indicated increasing support for economic reconstruction, except in Britain, where 49 percent approved.
Polling was carried out in late June, before both the daring commando raid to free Mr. Farrell on Wednesday and a German airstrike last Friday that killed 70 people, some of them civilians, in the previously quiescent Afghan province of Kunduz.
Both events, at least for now, have increased opposition to the war.
In pacifist-leaning Germany, the deadliest combat strike by German troops since World War II has become a hot campaign issue, with the country headed for elections at the end of the month.
In Britain, the operation to free Farrell might have been widely greeted with somber pride in another climate, but instead, questions are being raised about the wisdom of going ahead with the raid.
Stanley A. McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, for more American combat troops. “I don't think there is a great deal of support for sending more ...
Afghanistan: Doubt Grows Over Another Distant War The Associated Press
Editorial: Remembering Afghanistan's 9/11 Roots Dallas Morning News
9/11 And The 'Good War' Wall Street Journal
Reporting from London - Accused of acting hastily, the British government Thursday defended its decision to mount a raid in Afghanistan that freed a kidnapped New York Times reporter but left dead his Afghan assistant, a British commando and, possibly, Afghan civilians.
The operation in northern Afghanistan, carried out early Wednesday, was authorized by the British defense and foreign secretaries, who had kept close tabs on the effort to locate journalist Stephen Farrell and his interpreter, Sultan Munadi. Farrell, a British-Irish national, and Munadi were kidnapped last week by the Taliban in Kunduz province.
British officials said the "difficult decision" to send in commandos was taken only "after extensive consideration and planning."
"Given the considerable risk to Stephen's and Sultan's lives, the operation represented our best chance of protecting their lives," said a spokesman for the British Foreign Office, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.
But some critics are questioning whether the two men's freedom might not have been won in a less costly fashion through negotiations, including the possible payment of a ransom.
Others accuse Farrell of acting recklessly and endangering not just himself but his colleague by going into an area known to be perilous. The two men were abducted Saturday while reporting on the deadly NATO airstrike a day earlier in Kunduz that blew up two hijacked fuel tankers and killed scores of people, at least some of them civilians.
Before dawn Wednesday, British commandos and Afghan troops made their assault on the house where Farrell and Munadi were being held. Farrell has said the pandemonium that ensued made it virtually impossible to distinguish friend from foe.
After he and Munadi crept outside, the interpreter took the lead, holding up his arms and shouting, "Journalist! Journalist!" but then crumpling to the ground in a hail of gunfire. Farrell managed to escape harm and turned himself over to British troops.
The raid was reportedly judged necessary because of fears that the Taliban might move their hostages over the border into Pakistan.
But the Times of London on Thursday quoted unnamed sources in Kabul, the Afghan capital, as saying that "there was no immediate urgency" that the men would be harmed or moved, and that the kidnappers mostly wanted ransom.
After the raid, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that Britain "does not make substantive concessions, including paying ransoms," to kidnappers. "Whenever British nationals are kidnapped, we and our allies will do everything in our power to free them," he said.
The raid and the death of a British commando will probably add to the Afghanistan conflict's deepening unpopularity in Britain, which aside from the U.S. has committed the most troops, about 9,000, to the war. A poll released Thursday showed that slightly more than half of Britons think their nation's troops should never have been sent to Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan, local journalists mourned the loss of their colleague, paying their respects to Munadi's grief-stricken family and laying flowers on his grave in Kabul.
A group called the Media Club of Afghanistan condemned the Taliban for abducting journalists, but also directed anger at Western forces, whom it accused of a double standard in their treatment of foreigners and Afghans.
The organization "holds the international forces responsible for the death of Mr. Munadi because they resorted [to] military action before exhausting other nonviolent means," a statement from the group said. "There is no justification for the international forces to rescue their own national, and retrieve the dead body of their own soldier killed in action, but leave behind the dead body of Sultan Munadi in the area. The Media Club of Afghanistan deems this action as inhumane."
The leaders of France, Britain and Germany have called for a high-level international conference on Afghanistan, saying it is time to "take ...
Louisianans to include all Americans who have friends or family that are currently serving in Afghanistan, please take note of this article.
To begin fully understanding why our American armed forces are fighting inAfghanistan it is imperative that Americans first begin by intelligently asking“why are we there?” and “why do we sacrifice blood and treasure for such an ambiguous cause?” In other words, what’s in it for us?
The long and winding road that leads us to understanding “what’s in it for us” begins with Americans first having a rudimentary comprehension of Afghani terrain and Afghani history. In general, Afghanis are a very complicated people. Their history is as diverse and colorful as are the patterns that are woven on tapestries sold by merchants throughout Middle Eastern bazaars.
Geographically, Afghanistan is a country about the size of the state of Texasand is located in a southwestern Asia, situated on a landlocked plateau that borders Iran, Pakistan, China, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
In regard to its climate, the country is generally arid to semi arid, with summers that are extremely hot and winters that are extremely cold. Mostly mountainous, with the exception of plains that are located in the North and Southwest, Afghan living is rugged and harsh at its best. Dari Persian and Pashtu are the official languages of the country although there are a multitude of minor languages spoken throughout the country by the many tribes that make up the country’s population of approximately 33 million. The average life span of an Afghani is less than 45 years and death at the hands of foreigners and internal rival tribesmen is nothing new to Afghanis. Generally speaking, Afghanis are descendants of Aryans and Mongols. They are a people who have been invaded by Greeks, Persians, Arabs, Mongols, Brits, Russians and now Americans. Nearly 100 percent of Afghanis are Muslims. In fairness, to the Muslim faith, nearly 80 percent of Afghanis are Sunni and the other 20 percent are Shi’a. Islam took root in the country sometime around 642 AD and has ever since been the standard used in determining social and religious behavior.
The situation that America now finds itself in as we continue to send our military to fight the Taliban can be traced back to the 1980s when CIA agents by order of President Ronald Reagan, were dispatched to Afghanistan to aid Afghani Guerrilla forces, better known as mujahedeen as they fought against the Soviet Army which had invaded their country in 1979. President Ronald Reagan, along with his foreign advisors believed that aiding the mujahedeen against the Soviets would prevent the spreading of Communism in a region that was already politically unstable and additionally, once the Soviets were eventually kicked out of country, an American presence in Afghanistan would be welcomed by a thankful Afghani government which in turn would enable an unrestricted CIA to spy on Iranian Islamic radicals that were threatening America and American interests. What is noteworthy is that a young and wealthy Saudi by the name of Osama Bin Laden was one of many mujahedeen who received weapons and weapons training from CIA operatives. It’s strange, but knowing this fact conjures memories of Malcolm X and his statement about “Chickens coming home to roost”. One cannot deny the irony of “friends having gone bad” without examining why and how this occurred.
Direct links that soured the relationship between the victorious Taliban and the “Super Power” that helped bring the once mighty Soviet Army to its knees are as follows: (1) The growth of radical Islam in Iran, (2) The United States necessity to spy on Iran, (3) An attempt to spy on Iranian Muslims from Afghanistan, which lest we forget is, a Muslim Country and (4) Not fully articulating Osama Bin Laden’s personal conviction that Afghanistan under the rule of Mullah Omar's Taliban was "the only pure Islamic country" in the Muslim world.
It was after US military bases were established in Saudi Arabia, in response to Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, that Muslim extremists “went over the edge” with anger that Christian nations had set up “military camp” near Islam’s most revered Holy site, which is, Mecca. Thus, we have the genesis of Osama Bin Laden’s Fatah (Holy War) against America and Western Civilization. In retrospect, a monster or star (depending on one’s perspective) is born.
Officially, American fighting forces are currently in Afghanistan to fight for the rights of Afghani women, to stop the flow of heroin in the world and for the perseverance of Afghani democracy. Counter arguments to that propaganda are: (a) Afghani women have the ability to stop abuse by refusing to bear anymore Afghani children, (b) the exportation of heroin is too big of a business worldwide for America to completely stop the trade and (c) Hamid Karzai who is the democratic elected President of Afghanistan is no better (in my opinion) than Tony Soprano, the fictional gangster from the former HBO series, “The Sopranos”. This statement is made with the common knowledge that President Karzai’s brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, who is also the head of the provincial council in Kandahar, routinely manipulates judicial and police officials to facilitate shipments of opium and heroin. Drug Dealing at the highest levels of Afghani government. What's more, Afghani officials' involvement in the drug trade suggests that American tax dollars are supporting the corrupt officials who protect the Taliban's efforts to raise money from the drug trade, money the militants use to buy weapons that kill U.S. soldiers.
So why are our armed forces really in Afghanistan? We are in Afghanistan to prevent the Taliban from obtaining nuclear weapons from Pakistan. It’s just that simple and just that complicated. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan began focusing on nuclear development in January 1972 under the leadership of Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and given the ruthlessness and ingenuity of Osama Bin Laden and the network of followers that he supports (and supports him) in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, it’s understandable that President Obama is focused with the eradication of the Taliban. In the vernacular of today’s politicians, “We get it”. However, due to the spread of radical Islam in Afghanistan and Pakistan, we cannot fully trust the Afghani and Pakistani governments to provide us with adequate military intelligence and troop support because of Muslim perception that cooperation with the United States is a threat to Islam and Muslim existence. Neither leader of Afghanistan or Pakistan is eager to be labeled in the Muslim world as accomplices to a Christian government that kill Muslims.
It is difficult for the Western mind to comprehend the religious teachings and social philosophy of the Taliban. The Taliban is a pro-Wahhabi Suuni Islamist fundamentalist religious and political movement that governed Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001. Northern Alliance and NATO forces were successful in removing the Taliban from power in 2001, allowing Hamid Karzai to step in as “the current face of democracy” in a country that has absolutely no concept of the meaning of democracy. The Taliban were and are infamously known for publicly executing violators of their Wahhabi Sunni Islamist fundamentalist brand of Islam that is taught by Mullahs. Women are not allowed an education and are not allowed to be uncovered in public from head to toe. Since 2004, the Taliban has strongly regrouped as a military insurgency that again, threatens the stability of a very shaky semipro-Western Afghani and Pakistani government.
The United States government since 1991 has spent over 500 billion dollars fighting Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and several other radical Islamic groups. Military intelligence reports that Osama Bin Laden is hiding out in the Chitral district of northern Pakistan, a region that has some of the highest mountain ranges in the world. What makes it even more difficult for the United States is that the Muslims that live in this region are people who are fiercely loyal to Bin Laden. Even if we were to locate Bin Laden and kill him, the question is how many new disciples are ready to take his place? For every radical Muslim that we kill, there is another one ready to take his place. What is the end game of this “hide and seek” and what is the cost of this manhunt?
Nuclear weapons in Pakistan have empowered religious radicals in Pakistan and bordering countries to constantly keep the United States on edge, our government fearing that a total withdrawal of troops would open the door for nuclear holocaust from an enemy that presently doesn’t represent a country. As a soldier I believed to be victorious on the battlefield an enemy has to be crushed, killed and destroyed. It may sound inhumane, but war is not humane. Soldiers, Marines and Navy / Air Force Special Operations are not trained or programmed to rebuild hospitals, schools and soccer fields that are destroyed in combat. Leave that to civilian engineers. I once knew a Sergeant Major who stated in order to save the world, one would have to (1) unleash the military, (2) subdue the press and (3) kill all the lawyers. Sounds cruel, but think about it, if the press would have known about the US invasion of Normandy in WWII, would the invasion still have remained a secret to the Germans? Either we’re “in it to win it” in Afghanistan or let’s bring the troops home and let the Air Forces’ unmanned drones kill the bad guys. Too much is at stake and we cannot allow nuclear weapons in the hands of a people who beat their women who wear shoes that make noise when walking on dusty trails. So, the question still remains, “What’s in it for us”. I really don’t know, but I hope and pray that a fictional character like Ian Fleming’s James Bond who is capable of single handedly saving the world really exists.
The United States cannot win the war in Afghanistan in the next three months -- any form of even limited victory will take years of further effort. It can, however, easily lose the war. I did not see any simple paths to victory while serving on the assessment group that advised the new U.S. commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, on strategy, but I did see all too clearly why the war is being lost.
The most critical reason has been resources. Between 2002 and 2008 the United States never provided the forces, money or leadership necessary to win, effectively wasting more than half a decade. Our country left a power vacuum in most of Afghanistan that the Taliban and other jihadist insurgents could exploit and occupy, and Washington did not respond when the U.S. Embassy team in Kabul requested more resources.
The Bush administration gave priority to sending forces to Iraq, it blustered about the successes of civilian aid efforts in Afghanistan that were grossly undermanned and underresourced, and it did not react to the growing corruption of Hamid Karzai's government or the major problems created by national caveats and restrictions on the use of allied forces and aid. It treated Pakistan as an ally when it was clear to U.S. experts on the scene that the Pakistani military and intelligence service did (and do) tolerate al-Qaeda and Afghan sanctuaries and still try to manipulate Afghan Pashtuns to Pakistan's advantage.
Further, it never developed an integrated civil-military plan or operational effort even within the U.S. team in Afghanistan; left far too much of the aid effort focused on failed development programs; and denied the reality of insurgent successes in ways that gave insurgents the initiative well into 2009.
The appointments this summer of Karl Eikenberry as ambassador to Afghanistan and McChrystal as commander of U.S. and allied forces have created a team that can reverse this situation. In fact, given the rising unpopularity of the war and Taliban successes, they are our last hope of victory. Yet they can win only if they are allowed to manage both the civil and military sides of the conflict without constant micromanagement from Washington or traveling envoys. They must be given both the time to act and the resources and authority they feel they need. No other path offers a chance of a secure and stable Afghanistan free of terrorist and jihadist control and sanctuaries.
I do not know what resources Eikenberry or McChrystal would seek if given the chance. Eikenberry has indicated that funding of the civil side of the U.S. Embassy effort in Afghanistan is about half of what is necessary: Some $2.1 billion more may be sought to meet a $4.8 billion total need. He will almost certainly need far more civilians than the token "surge" that is planned (and that will not produce its full results until the spring or summer of 2010).
McChrystal has not announced a need for more U.S. troops, but almost every expert on the scene has talked about figures equivalent to three to eight more brigade combat teams -- with nominal manning levels that could range from 2,300 to 5,000 personnel each -- although much of that manpower will go to developing Afghan forces that must nearly double in size, become full partners rather than tools, and slowly take over from U.S. and NATO forces. Similarly, a significant number of such U.S. reinforcements will have to assist in providing a mix of capabilities in security, governance, rule of law and aid. U.S. forces need to "hold" and keep the Afghan population secure, and "build" enough secure local governance and economic activity to give Afghans reason to trust their government and allied forces. They must build the provincial, district and local government capabilities that the Kabul government cannot and will not build for them. No outcome of the recent presidential election can make up for the critical flaws in a grossly overcentralized government that is corrupt, is often a tool of power brokers and narco-traffickers, and lacks basic capacity in virtually every ministry.
Unfortunately, strong elements in the White House, State Department and other agencies seem determined to ignore these realities. They are pressuring the president to direct Eikenberry and McChrystal to come to Washington to present a broad set of strategic concepts rather than specific requests for troops, more civilians, money and an integrated civil-military plan for action. They are pushing to prevent a fully integrated civil-military effort, and to avoid giving Eikenberry and McChrystal all the authority they need to try to force more unity of effort from allied forces and the U.N.-led aid effort.
If these elements succeed, President Obama will be as much a failed wartime president as George W. Bush. He may succeed in lowering the political, military and financial profile of the war for up to a year, but in the process he will squander our last hope of winning. This would only trade one set of political problems for a far worse set in the future and leave us with an enduring regional mess and sanctuary for extremism. We have a reasonable chance of victory if we properly outfit and empower our new team in Afghanistan; we face certain defeat if we do not.
The Obama administration has embarked on an Afghan war strategy that will fail because it has not defined the enemy or decided to fight it in a manner calculated to win decisively.
Rather, the administration is asking how can the U.S. defeat al-Qaeda, the Taliban and other terrorist organizations within the four corners of the mountainous nation. This is the wrong initial question because it focuses on the military tactics to defeat specific organizations that are actually but dangerous manifestations of the real enemy.
Let’s remember the base facts about the Afghan war. We went to Afghanistan in 2001 to destroy al-Qaeda which attacked America and killed 3,000 of our citizens. For years the Bush administration “under resourced” the war, focused on killing the Taliban and allowed al-Qaeda to flee to sanctuaries in Pakistan. Now Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warns the situation in Afghanistan is “serious and deteriorating” which prompted President Obama to change strategy.
But Obama’s new counterinsurgency and nation building strategy -- copying President Bush’ Iraq strategy and applying a miniaturized version of it to a nation 50% bigger than Iraq -- is attempting to transform a warlord dominated tribal region into a fully functional and unified democratic country. The Obama strategy ignores the root problem in the broader war: radical Islam.
President Bush made the same mistake, deciding on nation-building in Iraq. Now President Obama has a chance to develop a grand strategy that targets our real enemy, the ideology of Islamism, a terrorist version of Islam with totalitarian and anti-Western roots. It does not appear that he will.
Granted, we must deal for some time with the Afghanistan crisis because failing to do so would have serious consequences such as the return of al-Qaeda to its historical operating areas and perhaps the overthrow of the government of nuclear-armed Pakistan. That’s why the risks of a U.S. withdrawal far exceed those of continuing to fight the war.
But the Afghan battlefield is only part of the larger Islamist problem, and anything we do there will, like Iraq, amount to only a holding action. We will never win the war with Islamism by playing whack-the-Islamist mole in places like Afghanistan until we have an overall strategy that effectively targets the enemy.
Having defined the enemy then we must ask the all important question, “What national strategy will defeat the enemy [Islamism]?” That strategy should provide clear direction to win the ideological war otherwise we will inevitably lose after having spilt every ounce of our soldiers’ blood and spent every penny in our treasury on little wars across the globe.
The problem we face is that we cannot defeat Islamism without forcing -- by military or other means -- the nations that sponsor terrorism to cease doing so.
Military action should be taken when other means fail. Retired General Dick Myers, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, “Those countries that support terrorism must stop. Compelling states to stop supporting terrorists will often require military activity, which will be inherently controversial.”
We can defeat Islamism by targeting it much like our forefathers fought Communism and Nazism. World War II was an all-out war to oust the fascist leaders in Germany, Italy and Japan and replace them with leaders with whom we could coexist. We also mustered our resources to defeat the “evil empire,” President Reagan’s label for the communist Soviet Union, in the Cold War. Victory in the Islamist war will require a similar effort and will only come when the enemy and their state supporters are replaced with moderate leaders.
Victory requires a multi-prong effort, some military but mostly non-military action.
Non-military recommendations to defeat Islamism are found in the 9/11 Commission report. That body recommended defending our ideals vigorously versus allowing Islamists to define us.
The Bush administration failed in this area. Bush’s under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs Karen Hughes embraced the very people who foment and foster anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world. She met with individuals and groups that held pro-Islamist stances.
Obama’s strategy must be radically different. He must directly support moderate Muslims who share our ideals to stand-up against the Islamists and promote accountability and democracy. The moderates need to reinterpret basic issues such as jihad and women’s rights and denounce groups that are apologists for Islamists. The U.S. must use a strong and clear voice that defines our irrevocable ideals to the Muslim world and follow up with immediate and strong actions -- positive and negative -- based on reactions.
The Commission suggested we openly confront the problem of the U.S.-Saudi relationship. Oil rich Saudi Arabia is the institutional home to Wahhabi, the austere and harsh form of Islam, the Islamist ideology of al-Qaeda. That nation funds madrasses -- Islamist schools -- that spread Wahhabi radicalism across the globe. It is also the source of Taliban funding in Afghanistan.
The Commission recommends we define a message that can be used to counter Islamist ideology. This is important in the Islamic world where a 2009 World Public Opinion poll found America’s popularity at rock bottom while support for Islamist goals such as removing the U.S. military from Islamic countries, requiring strict application of Shari’a law and keeping Western values out of Islamic countries was highly popular.
The 9/11 Commission outlines many domestic recommendations but doesn’t specifically address the sensitive issue of Islamism’s threat at home.
Islamism floods into American mosques, Muslim organizations, schools and jails via Saudi-financed publications backed by the Wahhabi point of view and a cadre that proselytize radicalism openly. These efforts have been operative for many years and with significant results.
It’s a sobering fact that most Muslim organizations in the U.S. were founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the oldest worldwide organized expression of Islamism. It formed in Egypt in the 1920s to install a fundamentalist government and works across the world to place nations under Shari’a law. Dennis Ross, a special Obama assistant and member of the National Security Council, said the Brotherhood supports violence to achieve its political objectives but it is not associated with violence in the U.S. as yet.
The Brotherhood’s American strategy was exposed during the Texas trial of the now-defunct charity known as the Holy Land Foundation. A 1991 Brotherhood document states, “The process of settlement of [Islam in the United States] is a ‘civilization-jihadist’ process … [the brothers] must understand that all their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization….”
President Obama should ask: Who is our enemy? Our enemy is Islamism which manifests itself in terrorism worldwide and seeks to destroy us and our way of life. Mr. President, we need a grand strategy to defeat this scourge much like we defeated Nazism and Soviet communism.
Afghan Alcohol Ban After Nato Staff Were 'Too Hungover' To Give Explanation For Airstrike That Killed 70 Civilians
By MAIL FOREIGN SERVICE
Last updated at 8:00 AM on 09th September 2009
Alcohol has been banned from Nato's headquarters in Afghanistan in the wake of an airstrike that killed up to 70 civilians.
US General Stanley McChrystal, head of the International Forces in Afghanistan (Isaf), decided to bar boozing after launching an investigation into the bombing in northern Afghanistan.
Staff at the Kabul headquarters were 'either drunk or too hungover' to answer his questions.
He slammed forces for 'partying it up' as German Chancellor Angela Merkel also found herself under attack for the strike.
The command to drop two 500lb bombs on two fuel tankers hijacked by the Taliban came from Germany, while American pilots carried it out.
A preliminary investigation found that the bombs were dropped in breach of Nato guidelines, on intelligence from a single source who claimed all present were members of the Taliban.
Today Merkel has told the German parliament that the government will not accept 'premature judgments' on the airstrike.
'I say this very clearly after what I have experienced in the last few days: I will not tolerate that from whoever it may be, at home as well as abroad.'
She told lawmakers that every death of or injury to an innocent person in Afghanistan is 'one too many', adding that Germany's mission in Afghanistan remains necessary.
She spoke as General McChrystal noted in his daily Commander's Update that too many Nato staff had been 'partying it up' and did not have 'their heads in the right place' following the tanker attack.
The General found he 'couldn't get hold of the people he needed to get hold of and he blamed it on all-night partying', according to The Times.
'General McChrystal is extremely focused on the mission and he feels that the folk who are here at the headquarters level need to be at the top of their game in terms of supporting the folks out in the field,' an Isaf spokesman said.
The Kunduz incident provided an opportunity for him to articulate his concerns in this regard, but it was not the cause of the order nor is there any indication at this point that alcohol consumption was somehow a factor in the incident.'
American forces already ban all alcohol for their troops in Afghanistan, while British troops are only allowed to drink at special functions with explicit permission.
The rest of the 42 nations in Afghanistan, however, have varying rules on drinking.
There are seven bars on half-square mile Isaf compound. One insider told the Times: 'Thursday nights are the big party nights, because Friday’s a ‘low-ops’ day. They even open a bar in the garden at headquarters.
'There’s a ‘two can’ rule but people ignore it and hit it pretty hard.'
The airstrike occurred at 2.30am on Friday morning.
German Deputy Defence Minister Christian Schmidt yesterday defended his country's commander on the ground for calling-in the war planes and demanded critics waited for the outcome of an investigation before apportioning blame.
It had been feared the tankers would be used in suicide bombings against German troops who are stationed in Kunduz province, north of the Afghan capital.
Civilian deaths and intrusive searches have bred resentment among the Afghan population nearly eight years after the U.S.-led coalition ousted the Taliban. There are fears the latest incidents will merely fuel the increasingly bitter feelings towards foreign troops.
In addition to criticism over the attack, America is also facing allegations that it stormed a hospital in Afghanistan.
In the latest allegations, the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan said the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division entered the charity's hospital without permission to look for insurgents in Wardak province, southwest of Kabul, last Wednesday.
Anders Fange, country director of the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, speaks in Kabul today
Anders Fange, the charity's country director, said soldiers kicked in doors, tied up four hospital employees and two family members of patients, and forced patients out of beds during their search.
When they left two hours later, the unit ordered hospital staff to inform coalition forces if any wounded militants were admitted, and the military would decide if they could be treated, Mr Fange said.
The staff refused, he said. 'That would put our staff at risk and make the hospital a target.
'This is simply not acceptable,' Mr Fange added.
The charity said on its website that the troops' actions were not only a violation of humanitarian principles but also went against an agreement between Nato forces and charities working in the area.
'We demand guarantees ... that such violations will not be repeated and that this is made clear to commanders in the field,' a statement said.
U.S. military spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Christine Sidenstricker confirmed that the hospital was searched last week but had no other details. She said the military was looking into the incident.
'We are investigating and we take allegations like this seriously,' she said. 'Complaints like this are rare.'
Last week's airstrike came despite new rules for foreign forces limiting use of airpower to avoid civilian casualties.
The provincial government said most of the dead were militants, but the Afghan Rights Monitor said interviews with 15 villagers indicate that only a dozen gunmen died and 60-70 villagers were killed. The group called for further investigations.
A United Nations report in July said the number of civilians killed in conflict in Afghanistan has jumped 24 per cent this year, with bombings by insurgents and airstrikes by international forces the biggest killers.
The report said 1,013 civilians were killed in the first half of 2009, 59 per cent in insurgent attacks and 30.5 perc ent by foreign and Afghan government forces. The rest were undetermined.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
"Yesterday," reads the e-mail from Allen, a Marine in Afghanistan, "I gave blood because a Marine, while out on patrol, stepped on a [mine's] pressure plate and lost both legs." Then "another Marine with a bullet wound to the head was brought in. Both Marines died this morning."
"I'm sorry about the drama," writes Allen, an enthusiastic infantryman willing to die "so that each of you may grow old." He says: "I put everything in God's hands." And: "Semper Fi!"
Allen and others of America's finest are also in Washington's hands. This city should keep faith with them by rapidly reversing the trajectory of America's involvement in Afghanistan, where, says the Dutch commander of coalition forces in a southern province, walking through the region is "like walking through the Old Testament."
U.S. strategy -- protecting the population -- is increasingly troop-intensive while Americans are increasingly impatient about "deteriorating" (says Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) conditions. The war already is nearly 50 percent longer than the combined U.S. involvements in two world wars, and NATO assistance is reluctant and often risible.
The U.S. strategy is "clear, hold and build." Clear? Taliban forces can evaporate and then return, confident that U.S. forces will forever be too few to hold gains. Hence nation-building would be impossible even if we knew how, and even if Afghanistan were not the second-worst place to try: The Brookings Institution ranks Somalia as the only nation with a weaker state.
Military historian Max Hastings says Kabul controls only about a third of the country -- "control" is an elastic concept -- and " 'our' Afghans may prove no more viable than were 'our' Vietnamese, the Saigon regime." Just 4,000 Marines are contesting control of Helmand province, which is the size of West Virginia. The New York Times reports a Helmand official saying he has only "police officers who steal and a small group of Afghan soldiers who say they are here for 'vacation.' " Afghanistan's $23 billion gross domestic product is the size of Boise's. Counterinsurgency doctrine teaches, not very helpfully, that development depends on security, and that security depends on development. Three-quarters of Afghanistan's poppy production for opium comes from Helmand. In what should be called Operation Sisyphus, U.S. officials are urging farmers to grow other crops. Endive, perhaps?
Even though violence exploded across Iraq after, and partly because of, three elections, Afghanistan's recent elections were called "crucial." To what? They came, they went, they altered no fundamentals, all of which militate against American "success," whatever that might mean. Creation of an effective central government? Afghanistan has never had one. U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry hopes for a "renewal of trust" of the Afghan people in the government, but the Economist describes President Hamid Karzai's government -- his vice presidential running mate is a drug trafficker -- as so "inept, corrupt and predatory" that people sometimes yearn for restoration of the warlords, "who were less venal and less brutal than Mr. Karzai's lot."
Mullen speaks of combating Afghanistan's "culture of poverty." But that took decades in just a few square miles of the South Bronx. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, thinks jobs programs and local government services might entice many "accidental guerrillas" to leave the Taliban. But before launching New Deal 2.0 in Afghanistan, the Obama administration should ask itself: If U.S. forces are there to preventreestablishment of al-Qaeda bases -- evidently there are none now -- must there be nation-building invasions of Somalia, Yemen and other sovereignty vacuums?
U.S. forces are being increased by 21,000, to 68,000, bringing the coalition total to 110,000. About 9,000 are from Britain, where support for the war is waning. Counterinsurgency theory concerning the time and the ratio of forces required to protect the population indicates that, nationwide, Afghanistan would need hundreds of thousands of coalition troops, perhaps for a decade or more. That is inconceivable.
So, instead, forces should be substantially reduced to serve a comprehensively revised policy: America should do only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent Special Forces units, concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters.
Genius, said de Gaulle, recalling Bismarck's decision to halt German forces short of Paris in 1870, sometimes consists of knowing when to stop. Genius is not required to recognize that in Afghanistan, when means now, before more American valor, such as Allen's, is squandered.
There Are Certain Things That Have Become Obvious!
We do not have enough troops, aid or international will to make Afghanistan much different from what it has been for the last 1,000 years - a society built around guns, drugs and tribalism. And even if we had all of these in sufficient quantities we would not have them for sufficient time - around 25 years or so - to make the aim of fundamentally altering the nature of Afghanistan achievable.
Guns will, especially in the south, probably still be a greater factor in the exercise of power than the ballot box.
There will still be tension, especially in the south, between governance through tribal democracy and government through formal Western-style democratic structures, with the former being more influential than the latter, unless we can find a way to synergise the two.
War lords especially in the south will still be a feature of Afghan governance and government.
Drugs, especially in the south, will still be a feature of Afghan life and the Afghan economy.
Corruption will still be deeply embedded in government
The Taliban will still exist as an armed force, especially in the south. Because here the insurgency is actually not about Al Qaeda but about deeply conservative Islamic Pashtun nationalism, with most locals preferring the Taliban, even if they do nasty things to them, to foreign troops, even if they do nice things for them.
We may, if we are really successful, be able to diminish the effects of the above, but we will not be able to eradicate them.
We have to abandon the notion that we can make Afghanistan into a well-governed state, with gender-aware citizens and European-standard human rights. It raises expectations we cannot fulfill and wastes resources better deployed elsewhere. A better governed state is the limit of the achievable.
On the military side we also need to understand that we probably cannot defeat the Taliban - probably only the Afghan people can do this. And at present, especially in the south, they do not seem ready to do so. Nor can we force them. They change their mind on this in their time, not ours. The best we can do is to give them space, help where we can and hope for the best.
The realistic aim in Afghanistan, with current resources, is not victory but containment. Our success will be measured not in making things different but making them better, not in final defeat of the jihardists, but in preventing them from using Afghanistan as a space for their activity.
It is a sobering assessment. The question is do the governments who continue to send troops to the region understand this as well or are their expectations unrealistically higher?
THIS is the just war, the “war of necessity”, as Barack Obama likes to put it, in contrast to the bad war, the war of misguided choices in Iraq. But as a deeply flawed election went ahead in Afghanistan this week, there were echoes, in the mission by America and its allies, of the darkest days of the Iraq campaign: muddled aims, mounting casualties and the gnawing fear of strategic defeat. Gloomy commentators evoke the spectre of the humiliations inflicted by Afghanistan on Britain in the 19th century and the Soviet Union in the 20th.
Americans, relieved to be getting out of Iraq, and caught up in a national row about health care, are paying little attention to the place. But if things there continue to slide, Afghanistan could turn out to be the biggest blot on the Obama presidency.
The war is going badly. Much of the south of the country is out of government control. A scattered, disparate insurgency has gained strength and risks turning into a widespread insurrection against Western forces and the elected government they are backing (see article). In Britain, a sceptical public wonders what its soldiers are dying for. And as the costs and casualties continue to mount, Americans too will ask that question increasingly loudly (see article).
Western governments use a lazy shorthand to justify this war. Its purpose, they say, is to deny terrorists the base and haven that Afghanistan under the Taliban provided to al-Qaeda. But al-Qaeda’s surviving leaders are reckoned to have decamped across the border to the tribal areas of Pakistan, where Western forces do not tread. The other reasons that Western governments keep their soldiers in Afghanistan are harder to sell to voters: first, because a precipitate departure would damage the West’s global clout, and, second, to stop the country becoming the theatre for a war which could destabilise Pakistan and draw in other powers, such as Iran, India and Russia.
As the West struggles to maintain its weak hold on Afghanistan, so its ambitions there are narrowing. Early aspirations to bring peace, prosperity and decent government to the country have been replaced by the hope of establishing a functioning state and of improving security. By that measure, success in the short term will look much like stalemate. But the chance of achieving even these modest aims is being jeopardised by too few troops and a flawed strategy.
The shortage of soldiers has hampered the generals’ ability to hold territory and forced them to use air power to make up for the lack of numbers. The civilian casualties that are the inevitable consequence of conducting a war from the air are, in turn, damaging the war effort. The generals need more troops both to regain territory from the Taliban and to fight the war in a way that does not breed hostility to the West.
Yet swamping Afghanistan with foreign soldiers will never bring outright military victory. The surge that helped secure Baghdad was carried out in a smallish, densely populated area. Such tactics cannot be contemplated in a country as mountainous and rural as Afghanistan. If the West is to stop the place slipping further out of control, it needs not just to direct more resources to the place, but also to use them better. That means different approaches to three elements: the opposition, the government and aid.
The opposition, casually described as “the Taliban”, is far from a unified force in a country of great ethnic complexity. It includes not just religious zealots but all manner of tribal warlords and local strongmen. Many have alarming ideas and repellent social attitudes. But if Afghanistan is to be stabilised, the West will have to hold its nose and encourage its allies in government to do deals with them.
On the campaign trail, President Hamid Karzai has appealed to his enemies to make peace. But his government—inept, corrupt and predatory—does not look like a trustworthy partner. In parts of Afghanistan where insurgents have been driven out and the writ of the government has been restored, residents have sometimes hankered for the warlords, who were less venal and less brutal than Mr Karzai’s lot.
Cleaning up government is not just an end in itself but also a means to building a functioning state, for Afghans will not support an administration as corrupt as the current one. The West should therefore use its leverage over the government to insist that the next cabinet is dominated by competent technocrats, rather than thugs owed a favour.
The West is spending a fortune in aid to Afghanistan. As the new head of Britain’s army recently pointed out, it is likely to have to go on supporting the country for decades. Yet the roads that are foreign development’s proudest boasts also serve to meet the insurgents’ and drug-dealers’ logistical needs.
That is inevitable: infrastructure serves the wicked as well as the righteous. But the West has not spent its money as well as it could have. By giving too many contracts to foreigners, it has created grudges instead of buying goodwill. To most Afghan eyes, watching heavily guarded foreign aid-workers glide by in their Landcruisers, it is obvious that much of the money is going straight back out of the country. To a degree, this is forgivable: in such a poor country it is difficult to build the capacity to manage huge volumes of aid, and channelling more of the cash through the government may mean that more of it gets stolen. But that is a risk that needs to be taken to build support for the West and the government.
Taking even the rosiest view, the war in Afghanistan is likely to get more expensive, and worse, before it gets better. The mini-surge this year to enable the election to take place in most of the country will probably be followed by another to try to contain the growing insurgency. For the moment, Mr Obama is better off than George Bush was when Iraq went bad, because he enjoys broad political and popular support for this commitment. But as casualties mount, political pressure in America to announce a timetable for military withdrawal will intensify. To resist it, Mr Obama will need more men, a better strategy and a great deal of luck.
sending more American troops into ethnic Pashtun areas in the Afghan south may only galvanize local people to back the Taliban in repelling the infidels.
“Our policy makers do not understand that the very presence of our forces in the Pashtun areas is the problem,” the group said in a statement to me. “The more troops we put in, the greater the opposition. We do not mitigate the opposition by increasing troop levels, but rather we increase the opposition and prove to the Pashtuns that the Taliban are correct.
“The basic ignorance by our leadership is going to cause the deaths of many fine American troops with no positive outcome,” the statement said.
The group includes Howard Hart, a former Central Intelligence Agency station chief in Pakistan; David Miller, a former ambassador and National Security Council official; William J. Olson, a counterinsurgency scholar at the National Defense University; and another C.I.A. veteran who does not want his name published but who spent 12 years in the region, was station chief in Kabul at the time the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979, and later headed the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorism Center.
“We share a concern that the country is driving over a cliff,” Mr. Miller said.
Mr. Hart, who helped organize the anti-Soviet insurgency in the 1980s, cautions that Americans just don’t understand the toughness, determination and fighting skills of the Pashtun tribes. He adds that if the U.S. escalates the war, the result will be radicalization of Pashtuns in Pakistan and further instability there — possibly even the collapse of Pakistan.
These experts are not people who crave publicity; I had to persuade them to go public with their concerns. And their views are widely shared among others who also know Afghanistan well.
“We’ve bitten off more than we can chew; we’re setting ourselves up for failure,” said Rory Stewart, a former British diplomat who teaches at Harvard when he is not running a large aid program in Afghanistan. Mr. Stewart describes the American military strategy in Afghanistan as “nonsense.”
I’m writing about these concerns because I share them. I’m also troubled because officials in Washington seem to make decisions based on a simplistic caricature of the Taliban that doesn’t match what I’ve found in my reporting trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Among the Pashtuns, the population is not neatly divisible into “Taliban” or “non-Taliban.” Rather, the Pashtuns are torn by complex aspirations and fears.
Many Pashtuns I’ve interviewed are appalled by the Taliban’s periodic brutality and think they are too extreme; they think they’re a little nuts. But these Pashtuns also admire the Taliban’s personal honesty and religious piety, a contrast to the corruption of so many officials around President Hamid Karzai.
Some Taliban are hard-core ideologues, but many join the fight because friends or elders suggest it, because they are avenging the deaths of relatives in previous fighting, because it’s a way to earn money, or because they want to expel the infidels from their land — particularly because the foreigners haven’t brought the roads, bridges and irrigation projects that had been anticipated.
Frankly, if a bunch of foreign Muslim troops in turbans showed up in my hometown in rural Oregon, searching our homes without bringing any obvious benefit, then we might all take to the hills with our deer rifles as well.
In fairness, the American military has hugely improved its sensitivity, and some commanders in the field have been superb in building trust with Afghans. That works. But all commanders can’t be superb, and over all, our increased presence makes Pashtuns more likely to see us as alien occupiers.
That may be why the troop increase this year hasn’t calmed things. Instead, 2009 is already the bloodiest year for American troops in Afghanistan — with four months left to go.
The solution is neither to pull out of Afghanistan nor to double down. Rather, we need to continue our presence with a lighter military footprint, limited to training the Afghan forces and helping them hold major cities, and ensuring that Al Qaeda does not regroup. We must also invest more in education and agriculture development, for that is a way over time to peel Pashtuns away from the Taliban.
This would be a muddled, imperfect strategy with frustratingly modest goals, but it would be sustainable politically and militarily. And it does not require heavy investments of American and Afghan blood.
While no war is a “good” war, we went into Afghanistan because the dastardly 9/11 attacks were indeed planned, organized, funded, directed and perpetrated by Al Qaeda in and from Afghanistan—not Iraq. It wasn’t a war of choice, as was the Iraq war. The hostilities were thrust upon us and the real terrorism threat was and continues to be in Afghanistan.
Perhaps Richard N. Haass, a former Bush administration official said it best in a recent New York Times Op-Ed: “In the wake of 9/11, invading Afghanistan was a war of necessity. The United States needed to act in self-defense to oust the Taliban. There was no viable alternative.” I could question that!
General Stanley McChrystal has finally come out and said what the rest of us have known for years: there needs to be some fundamentally new thinking in Afghanistan. While the various news stories talk about McChrystal’s desire for a new strategy, all they seem to focus on is the (informed) assumption that he will request new troops in a separate, perhaps followup assessment.
It seems, then, that Gen. McChrystal is taking his cues from Anthony Cordesman, who is out in the Washington Post saying that what we really need is more troops. Like many commentators on McChrystal’s review team, Cordesman comes from a deep background in military studies but knows comparatively little about the vital civil side of the equation—therefore, all the problems he sees are problems of security and not necessarily other things.
What is needed, however, is not necessarily more troops. As I wrote back in January, adding more troops to the mix would only make sense if they were going to serve a new strategy, one fundamentally different from the current, failing, strategy in the country. The biggest sin Gen. McChrystal has committed so far, at least in my view, is that there is actually very little “new” about his command so far, fawning media coverage notwithstanding.
So if the reports of General McChrystal’s report are right, then he is making the right decision to craft a new strategy for the country. The trouble is, to really know how to move forward, simply having an intimate understanding of the Army and military operations will only get you so far. You also have to have an intimate understanding of Afghanistan as well, and that kind of understanding simply wasn’t on the McChrystal review team (nor is it on the many think tank panels that purport to discuss Afghanistan but just rehash vague generalities).
Until the Washington Establishment—McChrystal’s intimacy with it was amajor reason he got the job—wakes up and chooses to consult its Afghanistan experts when seeking new ways forward, the war effort will languish. The last thing Afghanistan needs right now is the same tired old generalists making strategy… again.
1- Why are we in Afghanistan right now? What possible national security interest do we have in setting up a transparent local government or economic opportunity in Herat (Western Afghanistan)? We went to Afghanistan at first to make sure Al-Qaida couldn't attack us from there again and that the Taliban couldn't offer Al-Qaida sanctuary. Seems we've met those goals.
2- In terms of labels- you could say that we are the "insurgents" and the Taliban are the "counterinsurgents"- -since we are fighting for radical cultural change and they are fighting for the cultural status-quo. In other words, we are the revolutionaries in this instance (those wanting radical change).
3- Afghanistan is not a nation-state. The borders were drawn by European powers. Our soldiers are defending an Imperial European legacy.
4- Our measure of success of "when the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) earns the support of the people" is arguably an impossible task. There has never existed a viable centralized government that ruled from Kabul. This is an American-centric idea of success that doesn't take into account what the regional historical power brokers in Afghanistan want. "Arguable" in the sense that it might be possible in a hundred years and with trillions of dollars and lots of American lives lost. Goes back to the "is this in our national interest" question- and/or is it worth the cost even if it is?
5- The problem with US Counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine is that it cherry picks examples to prove its theory from relatively recent history and from examples that have nothing in common with the reality that is Afghanistan. A deeper understanding of successful COIN examples recognizes a few things that are not found in US COIN doctrine: 1) usually lots of people are killed and terrible abuses of humans are visited upon the populace in order to break the will of the insurgents, supporters, and fence sitters; and 2) limited objectives that usually involve leaving in place semi-authoritarian regimes with questionable human-rights records that allow for a quicker exit strategy.
6- We should be more worried about groups and countries who pay Moslem families living in "The West" to send their kids to madrassas in order to keep them segregated from assimilating into these other cultures and thus becoming more "secularized" and breaking the international network of radical religious terrorists financing, especially tied to narco-trafficking.
Again, I reiterate that these were comments overheard in an unattributable situation and I am only posting them here to stir thought and debate. Some may have merit and may cause us to re-look some of the issues surrounding what we are doing overseas.
There may be valid reasons- even beyond our narrow national self-interest- to support economic development and do other "stability operations" in Afghanistan (and elsewhere for that matter). The theory, as I understand it, being that ungoverned areas could support Al-Qaida training and support areas. The theory would also state that a Western-style democracy builds local and international legitimacy and thus is a valid objective to shoot for. This theory, again, as I understand it, assumes that "the will of the people" and "protecting the people" are paramount concepts.
The other argument, as I understand it, is that one must be more pragmatic and limited in one's expectations of change when dealing with other cultures. We can't, as the thought goes, expect to have human rights, democracy, economic development, AND a cheap, short, bloodless go of it. If we are unable, it continues, to stomach the alternative- then maybe we should be content with a more limited measure of success- like no Al-Qaida capability to mount another 9/11. Either we do that or we support drastic measures that seem to violate our Western "civilized" sensitivities.
Each theory has its own implications. I think it is valid for us to think through these implications and try to decide what we are prepared to undertake as a nation. It's probably too late to start asking these questions 15 years, billions of dollars, and tens of thousands of lives later.
The top U.S. military commander inAfghanistan says many Taliban insurgents, particularly in the violence-plagued south, could be persuaded to stop fighting if they could find jobs in a stabilized country.
In an interview with USA TODAY, Gen. Stanley McChrystal said his No. 1 unmet need is to have functioning local governments in Afghanistan and officials who can provide basic services.
DEATH TOLL DATABASE: A look at U.S. lives lost in combat
Many of the Taliban fight because they are paid to do so, McChrystal said, and they are the ones who might be persuaded to stop.
"What we see are indications that mid- and low-level commanders and fighters have a tremendous interest in trying to reintegrate into Afghan society, working with the government of Afghanistan so that they can go back to normal lives," McChrystal said in a phone interview from Kabul.
"At the end of the day, what the Afghan people are really looking for is that very basic level of governance provided, obviously, with security," McChrystal said.
Michael O'Hanlon, a military analyst at the Brookings Institution, said getting insurgents to switch their allegiance is critical to improving security in Afghanistan.
"Flipping 'accidental guerrillas' should be a priority," he said in an e-mail. "I doubt many Taliban true believers will change sides, but they aren't the majority."
Trying to persuade Taliban insurgents to stop fighting would differ from the effort used in Iraq, called the Sons of Iraq or Awakening Councils, which helped curb violence after roughly 90,000 mostly Sunni volunteers acted as local security guards in exchange for cash.
McChrystal warned that strategy has a potential downside in Afghanistan because the country "has a history of having armed groups … evolve into bands of warlords."
"There's a lot of concerns on the part of the population that we not create that unintentionally," he said.
His formula is a scaled-down version of what helped in Iraq, combined with "intensive vetting and training."
McChrystal, who in June took charge of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, will make recommendations by late August or early September on how to fight the war and how many troops will be needed to reverse the Taliban's momentum. He said the Afghan army, which has about 92,000 soldiers and is scheduled to grow to 134,000 by 2012, will have to expand significantly beyond that. He would not say how many.
About 62,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan — twice as many as last year — and the number will increase to 68,000 this year. July was the deadliest month for U.S. and Western troops since the war began in 2001, when U.S. forces ousted the ruling Taliban regime. August is already on track to possibly surpass July's record for Western military deaths.
"I wouldn't say we are winning or losing or stalemated," McChrystal said about the current fighting. "What I would say at this particular point is that the insurgency has a certain amount of initiative and momentum that we are working to stop and, in fact, reverse."
By Ralph Lopez
August 17, 2009
ON A RECENT TRIP to Kabul for our nonprofit organization, Jobs for Afghans, Najim Dost and I made a startling discovery: There is no true Taliban insurgency.
Yes, there is a Taliban leadership, many of whom are “foreigners,’’ meaning, non-Afghans. Yes, there are many fighting-age men who fight because they are paid to do so, by the small cadre of Taliban and Al Qaeda commanders who have plenty of opium money. They fork out the excellent wage in these parts of $8 per day for “insurgent work.’’
But a die-hard, dedicated army of fighters who pledge allegiance to the Taliban ideology and cause? It’s not there. Even Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged last March, “Roughly 70 percent are involved because of the money.’’ And General Karl Eikenberry, former commander of US forces in Afghanistan, said to Congress in 2007: “Much of the enemy force is drawn from the ranks of unemployed men looking for wages to support their families.’’
The dirty little secret is that the renewed insurgency could have been avoided. The vast majority of Afghans still hate the Taliban. They remember the days of heads and hands getting lopped off in the National Stadium, and men flogged because their beards were not long enough. No one is eager to see them return. But in a nation with 40 percent unemployment, working for the Taliban is the only job in town. As the saying goes, you might not like the work, but that’s who’s hiring.
How did we get to this pass? Fighting a renewed insurgency eight years after the Taliban government was soundly trounced, to the cheers of 90 percent of the population? The first thing that happened was that, out of the relatively small amount of nonmilitary assistance that was sent to rebuild this bombed-out place, almost half wound up as profits for big contractors like Dyncorp, Louis Berger Group, and KBR. They were building substandard schools, roads, and clinics (with no doctors) when what the country needed was jobs, jobs, jobs. Not fancy jobs. Jobs paid in cash by the day or by the week, at less than $10 a day, clearing canals still clogged with debris, digging drainage ditches with shovels along miles of roads, and the countless ways men can be employed to keep their families from semi-starvation.
The UN says 35 percent of Afghans are malnourished. You can’t have business development if you don’t have stability. And you can’t have stability when you have nearly half the work force unemployed. Add to this the Taliban’s willingness to pay $8 a day to those who will pick up a gun, and the renewed insurgency becomes less of a mystery.
There are countless instances of Taliban fighters saying they will trade their guns for a job. What makes this war even more senseless is how little it would cost to provide such jobs, say, for a year, to stabilize the country and allow the free market to flourish. It would cost less than one-tenth of what we are spending now on military operations each year, which is running close to $50 billion. Why is this approach not being talked about in Congress? Call me cynical, but war is profitable. The beauty of cost-plus, no-bid contracting is hard to find in the normal business world.
A widespread, stability-enhancing cash-for-work jobs program, which would save the American taxpayer the hideous cost of war, both human and financial, can work in Afghanistan. We saw such projects on a small scale. Perhaps most telling are stories like Mahmud’s, who told a reporter in Helmand that joining the Taliban gave him a chance to save up enough money to start his own small business, buying goods in Lashkar Gah and selling them in the district “mila’’ or markets. Mahmud said, “Now that I have work, I am not with the Taliban anymore.’’
This situation is the true definition of insanity. Top commander General Stanley McChrystal just said jobs could induce many Taliban to drop their weapons. How many more of our soldiers must die before sense takes hold in the Obama administration?
Ralph Lopez is co-founder of Jobs for Afghans.
What if the entire US strategy in Afghanistan is based on a flawed premise? A counterinsurgency campaign is waged to defeat insurgents who are trying to supplant a central government with some version of their own. In Afghanistan, the US military has been trying to defeat a largely Pashtun insurgency that doesn’t care much for our man in Kabul, President Hamid Karzai.
That goal never appeared easy; the Pashtun are an extremely war like bunch and they don’t like foreign armies on their soil either. Now things have gotten even worse as the insurgency has spread far beyond the Pashtun community, driven in large measure by the illegitimacy of the Karzai regime. It was hoped that national elections would serve to unify the country. Widespread accusations of voter fraud have dashed those hopes.
Last month, speaking at the US Institute of Peace, Tuft University’s Andrew Wilder, who has spent a great deal of time in Afghanistan, said the “fundamental flaw” in the US counterinsurgency strategy there was trying to extend the reach of the central government when the local people view the central government as the number one cause of insecurity...
Ralph Peters is a retired United States Army Lieutenant Colonel, novelist and essayist.
Below is his most recent editorial opinion quoted from the NY Post:
"The classified status report from Afghanistan by Gen. Stanley McChrystal was censored by the White House before its submission. As a result, it's all bun and no burger.
According to multiple (angry) sources, McChrystal -- our top soldier on the ground -- intended to ask for 28,000 more US troops. A presidential hatchet man directed the general not to make the request: Troop increases would be "addressed separately."
Worried about his poll numbers, our president's making a bad situation worse. He's given McChrystal the impossible mission of turning Afghan Flintstones into Jetsons, while starving him of means.
This violates a fundamental principle of the American way of war: Once the president assigns the mission, the commander must receive due consideration when he asks for the necessary resources.
Obama's message to McChrystal was "Just don't ask."
I don't believe the general's correct, but he has a right to be heard. Any decision about troop levels should be made based upon the facts on the ground, not politics. By playing along with White House censorship, McChrystal's allowing himself to be used as a political tool. That's not a proper role for any general.
When the military fails to speak the truth in wartime, the republic suffers. And the republic is more important than any floundering presidential administration.
As Post readers know, I believe that our present approach to Afghanistan is wrongheaded. And more troops aren't the answer -- we should maintain a smaller, ruthless force on the ground that concentrates strictly on killing our enemies.
Instead, we're squandering blood and treasure to prop up a fantastically corrupt government in Kabul that's despised by the population. We've allowed the Taliban to dominate the information war by bowing to their exaggerated or fabricated claims -- seconded by the unscrupulous Karzai government -- about civilian casualties from our air attacks.
The Taliban wants to deny us the use of our airpower -- and we fell for it. Unable to think beyond the last century's counterinsurgency theories, McChrystal severely restricted air and indirect fire support to our troops.
But the "no rounds on civilian compounds" rule has been a vain attempt to win hearts and minds: We're still not liked by the locals, but restrictions on supporting fires squander American lives.
We've let the Taliban set the terms of the fight, throwing away our military advantages. And it hasn't helped our image one damned bit. We can't save Afghanistan -- because Afghans don't want to be saved.
So I'm with the White House on its reluctance to commit more troops (if for different reasons) -- but I'm with the general on his right to ask for the resources he believes he needs. Don't "finesse" the problem -- have the debate. We owe it to our troops.
There's a crucial principle in play: The commander on the ground has to be able to voice his views honestly, without political restrictions.
The administration preferred a politically expedient blah-blah "report" that grants the White House a time-out. But there's no time-out for our soldiers and Marines (our enemies won't listen to the ref). Guess who pays the price while Obama plays Hamlet?
The result? We've got a general who's been gagged, a president trapped by his campaign promises, a muddled mission, crippling restrictions on our troops, a resurgent enemy, a worthless Afghan government -- and an AWOL establishment media that, after hammering the Bush administration, gives Obama a pass on American casualties.
Meanwhile, Iraq -- which genuinely matters -- goes ignored. Make no mistake: Obama's made Afghanistan the real "war of choice."
Yet Afghanistan is worthless. Worthless. Repairing Afghan irrigation ditches has zero effect on al Qaeda's will to win. Killing terrorists is the only thing that works. And there isn't a single al Qaeda terrorist left in Afghanistan.
As for all those dire warnings that we mustn't allow Afghanistan to become a terrorist haven again, that's why we should maintain a compact, lethal force on the ground that backs our national interests -- not a predatory Afghan government that's turned out to be the Taliban's best friend.
But American lives are cheap to American ideologues (on both political extremes). So we've got a president terrified of taking a stand, a muzzled general, a muddled policy, and our magnificent troops employed as political pawns. In comparison, Vietnam was a model of clarity and purpose.
Cooking the political books doesn't win wars. It didn't work for the Bush administration, and it won't work for Obama. We shouldn't waste another American life without a clear strategy our president will back with his full authority.
When the White House silences the generals in the field, it condemns our troops to the silence of the grave."
Ralph Peters' new novel, "The War After Armageddon," will be published Sept. 15.
The review is also available on our book section: War After Armageddon Book Review
Many NGOs campaign for instruments like a Global Arms Trade Treaty. But when we see the spectrum of industries and political actors which benefit from militarized capitalism, and the way in which the US, Israel, and other leading producers and users of cluster munitions refused to attend the May 2008 Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions which adopted an international treaty banning cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians, it should be clear that we must go beyond these strategies to confront the system that underpins obscene profits for a few, at the expense of the many, through military contracting and war profiteering. That system is capitalism. Those of us who research must continue to expose and oppose militarization and the violence of capitalism in all its forms, in our communities, nationally and internationally. In doing so we need to support, build and sustain mass movements that understand the interconnectedness of war, neoliberal globalization, corporate profits, the repression of dissent, "peacekeeping", "reconstruction", the criminalization and militarization of immigration, violence against women, and colonialism. - Aziz Choudry
Written by Aziz Choudry
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
The Military and the Monetary,
they get together whenever they think its necessary,
they've turned our brothers and sisters into mercenaries,
they are turning the planet, into a cemetery
(Gil Scott-Heron) 
In the late 1990s, well before Bush's 'war on terror', New Zealand TV screened a particularly awful US action drama called 'Soldier of Fortune Inc.', about an elite team (composed of former US Marines, Delta Force, CIA, British SAS personnel) who performed 'unofficial' covert missions for the US Government. They would get a briefcase full of money from a shadowy military liaison and head to the Middle East, Latin America, Haiti, or the Balkans, or smoke out foreign agents and assorted enemies within the USA, missions for which Washington could claim plausible deniability because none were active duty soldiers. It was a dirty job, but someone had to do it to keep 'US democracy' safe, for a price. Sounds familiar? In the late 1990s, well before Bush's 'war on terror', New Zealand TV screened a particularly awful US action drama called 'Soldier of Fortune Inc.', about an elite team (composed of former US Marines, Delta Force, CIA, British SAS personnel) who performed 'unofficial' covert missions for the US Government. They would get a briefcase full of money from a shadowy military liaison and head to the Middle East, Latin America, Haiti, or the Balkans, or smoke out foreign agents and assorted enemies within the USA, missions for which Washington could claim plausible deniability because none were active duty soldiers. It was a dirty job, but someone had to do it to keep 'US democracy' safe, for a price. Sounds familiar? Truth is indeed sometimes stranger than fiction, and the onscreen adventures of this squad of special operations and intelligence experts pale into insignificance when held up against reality.
We live and struggle in an era of blatantly militarized capitalism and the violence of capital. War, occupation, national security ideologies and repression of dissent -at home and abroad - make for booming business opportunities the world over. As pro-free market US journalist Thomas Friedman succinctly put it: "The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist - McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the builder of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies is called the United States Army, Air Force and Marine Corps."
Militarized capitalism: The military-industrial complex in 2008
What is the military-industrial complex in 2008? Where is it? What does it look like? I am not even sure if the phrase, used so famously by former US president Dwight Eisenhower in 1961 is the best descriptor to encompass the many tentacles and facets of the war and security industry and the links and connections between capital and its political allies. Do terms like 'defence industry' and 'arms trade' adequately encompass the face of today's war profiteers, whose devastating impacts can equally be found in the high-tech apartheid wall being built by Israel to seal off the West Bank and Gaza, and its Western Hemispheric counterpart on the US-Mexico border, in the computer flight simulation programs provided to US and British military by Canada's CAE, in private corporate mercenary armies like Blackwater, DynCorp and Aegis in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, in the outsourced intelligence, IT, interrogation and translation services of L-3/Titan, in the massive military aid budgets which the US gives to the governments of Israel, Pakistan, Egypt and Colombia, among others, and in the 'hearts and minds' operations of US Special Operations Forces based in the Philippines doing 'humanitarian work' - medical, dental and other social services, including infrastructure projects in many remote communities in Mindanao- services which should be the function of a government, as much as it is in weapons production and arms exports.
Like all transnational corporations, these companies enjoy both patronage and revolving door relationships with the highest echelons of governments and their armed forces, tax breaks, support for exports, and all kinds of other incentives which help them to focus firmly on their bottom line - profit. US administrations, regardless of their party allegiance, brim with politicians with investments and business interests in the defence industry and war profiteers, perhaps most vividly symbolized by Dick Cheney's ties to Halliburton and its multi-billion-dollar contracts to provide construction, hospitality, and other services to the US military after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. But it is business as usual for US militarized capitalism. An April 2008 Centre for Responsive Politics report states that US Congress members invested US $196 million of their own money in companies that receive hundreds of millions of dollars a day from Pentagon contracts to provide goods and services to US armed forces, ranging from aircraft and weapons manufacturers to producers of medical supplies and soft drinks. To cite a couple of typical revolving door examples, the General Dynamics board of directors includes an ex-Vice Chief of US Army staff, a former US Air Force General, a former Chief of Naval Operations in the US Navy, and a former Chief of Defence Procurement at the British Ministry of Defence, while Canada's CAE's current and former executives include a former Canadian deputy minister for international trade and foreign affairs, and former PM Brian Mulroney's head of staff.
Hired Guns, Big Bucks, No Rules
Private armies hired by governments and companies are not new. The British East India company hired private mercenaries to fight proxy wars and gain control over India. But the exponential growth, sophistication and globalization of private security industry contractors like Blackwater and DynCorp, both of which derive well over 90% of their business from US government contracts, is striking. If regular soldiers often literally get away with murder, how much more so for private mercenaries given the lack of any oversight of their activities, under no effective regulatory regimes, although they are contracted by governments and paid out of public funds? They operate with impunity and immunity. They recruit and deploy former military and police from around the world, some of them veterans of the most repressive military forces in the world. On their website, Blackwater, whose contract with the US State Department was recently renewed despite outrage at one of many incidents in which their guards shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square, Baghdad, last September, claim: "We treat others with the highest degree of dignity, equal opportunity and trust. We respect the cultures and beliefs of people around the world". On the ground, "Blackwater has no respect for the Iraqi people," an Iraqi Interior Ministry official told a Washington Post reporter in 2007. "They consider Iraqis like animals, although actually I think they may have more respect for animals. We have seen what they do in the streets. When they're not shooting, they're throwing water bottles at people and calling them names. If you are terrifying a child or an elderly woman, or you are killing an innocent civilian who is riding in his car, isn't that terrorism?"
All dollars, no sense
A February 2008 Center for Arms Control and Non-proliferation report notes that, adjusted for inflation, the Pentagon budget for fiscal year (FY) 2009 is the largest since World War II - US $ 515.4 billion: more even than during the Vietnam and Korean wars, or the peak of Reagan's Cold War spending. The US spends more than the next 45 highest spending countries in the world combined, accounts for 48% of the world's total military spending, 5.8 times more than China, 10.2 times more than Russia, and 98.6 times more than Iran. The same report cites US Office of Management and Budget estimates that total annual funding for the Defense Department alone will grow to $546 billion by FY 2013 - a conservative estimate. Total Pentagon spending, not including funding for the Department of Energy or for actual combat operations for the period FY'09 through FY'13 will reach $2.6 trillion. Last year, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimated that world military expenditure in 2006 reached US $1204 billion - a 3.5 % increase in real terms since 2005, and a 37% increase over the 10-year period since 1997. In 2006, the 15 countries with the highest spending accounted for 83% of the world total.
While the US military-industrial complex and military spending dwarfs the rest of the world, it has had a multiplier effect on other countries, coupled with its military aid packages and global 'security' hysteria. Japan's government recently announced major military upgrades while South Korea, China, and Russia have all increased military spending. 2008 is a record year for Israeli defence spending. By 2006, four of the world's 100 top arms production firms were Israeli: Israel Aircraft Industries, Israel Military Industries, Elbit Systems and Rafael. An October 2007 CBC report, based on customs data only on exports specifically for military use, found that between 2000 and 2006, Canada's arms exports rose 3.5 times, during which time Canada, the world's sixth-biggest supplier, exported CDN $3.6 billion in military goods. But there is little transparency on arms control, and the true picture of Canadian military exports is hard to track since the federal government has not released annual reports providing detailed information covering the years since 2002 to Parliament. A former subsidiary of Montreal-based SNC Lavalin, SNC Tec, for example, manufactures small arms ammunition for US military (SNC Tec was sold in 2006 to General Dynamics, after antiwar activists highlighted the Canadian corporate connection to bullets fired from US guns in Iraq).
A license to kill: The façade of arms control.
Identifying and tracking the many tentacles of the weapons and agents of mass destruction is frustratingly difficult. For all of the criticisms of Third World governments' secrecy and lack of transparency in terms of defence spending and military operations, so many loopholes exist in so-called First World countries with regard to arms control. For example, most military shipments from Canada to the US go untracked, since they do not require government permits because of a defence agreement signed between Ottawa and Washington in the 1940s. Some critics have noted that the export licencing requirements are so minimal that it is possible that some of that equipment moves to third parties.
Some EU governments have undermined, bypassed or ignored national export criteria and the EU code of conduct on arms exports. Spain and other countries (including Britain, and of course the US) have authorized transfers of equipment and other assistance to Colombia into the hands of state security forces and paramilitaries who have committed major human rights abuses. Italian-made small arms have also been shipped to countries in conflict or where violations of human rights occur, including Algeria, Colombia, Eritrea, Indonesia, India, Israel, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Pakistan and Sierra Leone. British activist and writer Mark Thomas illustrates how British high-tech company Radstone does not require a licence to export supplies the computer components comprising the "brains" of the Predator drone, an unmanned Aerial vehicle produced by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, which was used by the CIA to fire missile strikes at Yemen against Al-Qaeda suspects in 2002, in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan in 2006, in an attack killing possibly up to 25 people including 5 women and 5 children, and more recently in the same region of Pakistan. British researcher Anna Stavrianakis argues that "[r]ather than acting to restrict arms exports, the guidelines against which arms export licence applications are assessed are vague and interpreted in such a way as to facilitate exports". She continues, "the pro-export stance of successive UK governments, the close relationship they have with the arms industry, and the emphasis on military power as an indicator of prestige on the world stage, must all be challenged, as they form the parameters within which licensing occurs".
According to a 2006 Amnesty International report, over 200 Chinese military trucks - normally running on US Cummins diesel engines - were shipped to Sudan in August 2005, despite a US arms embargo on both countries and the involvement of similar vehicles in killing and abducting civilians in Darfur. Chinese military hardware is shipped regularly to Burma, including the 2005 supply of 400 military trucks to Myanmar's army. Chinese military exports went to Nepal in 2005 and early 2006, including a supply of Chinese-made rifles and grenades to Nepalese security forces, who were brutally repressing people's movements. China is also implicated in the growing illicit trade in Chinese-made Norinco pistols in Australia, Malaysia, Thailand and particularly South Africa, often used for crimes like robbery and rape.
Militarized repression of dissent and imperialist globalization
Many governments, from the Philippines to India to Colombia, are waging overt or covert wars against resistance movements and government opponents, fostering a climate of fear in which arms and equipment are used for containing domestic dissent and security crackdowns against 'enemies within' - resistance movements of the poor, mobilizations of women, Indigenous Peoples, the landless, peasants, and workers, movements against free trade agreements and neoliberal reforms. Conflicts over land and inequitable access to resources are fuelled and exacerbated by the militarization of corporate activities such as mining, oil, gas, industrial farming and forestry industries. For example, a US District court judge has agreed that there is evidence showing that Chevron paid and equipped Nigerian military and police to shoot and torture protesters opposing the oil company's activities in the Niger Delta region. Freeport McMoran paid Indonesian military, police and private security forces who attacked local communities around its Grasberg gold and copper mine in West Papua. And let's not forget how the founder and chief executive of Aegis, former British Army Lt. Col. Tim Spicer was also founder of Sandline, another mercenary company contracted by the Papua New Guinea government over a decade ago for US $36 million for an ill-fated attempt to put down an indigenous independence movement in Bougainville, which had shut down the huge copper mine at Panguna, owned by a subsidiary of Rio Tinto. The military and the monetary, indeed.
As Uruguayan analyst/journalist Raul Zibechi notes, urban peripheries in Third World countries have also become war zones where states attempt to maintain order based on the establishment of a sort of 'sanitary cordon' to keep the poor isolated from 'normal' society. Such militarized containment of the poor reflects political and economic elites' fear of challenges to state power from poor urban movements. The systematic undermining of states' capacities to provide for the welfare of their populations, coupled with the disproportionate percentage of national budgets spent on the military militarization has fuelled poverty and conflict.
Kollsman, Inc. a New Hampshire-based subsidiary of Elbit, an Israeli firm involved with building the apartheid wall in occupied Palestine, was contracted by the Department of Homeland Security as part of a consortium that also includes Boeing subsidiary Boeing Integrated Defense Systems Unit to develop SBInet, a high-tech security system for the U.S.-Mexico (and US-Canada) borders, part of the Secure Border Initiative. As New York-based activist groups Ad Hoc Coalition for Justice in the Middle East and Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM) put it, "Elbit will import Israeli military technology, tested on Palestinians, for use against poor immigrants here."
Militarization and enforceable free-market disciplines are tools to make countries 'safe' for foreign investors, at the expense of local communities' rights to determine their own futures. World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements undermine social and environmental policies, but protect the war industry through a 'security exception' in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) (Article XXI). The security exception states that a country cannot be stopped from taking any action it considers necessary to protect its essential security interests; actions 'relating to the traffic in arms, ammunition and implements of war and such traffic in other goods and materials as is carried on directly for the purpose of supplying a military establishment (or) taken in time of war or other emergency in international relations'. While structural adjustment and trade and investment liberalization are being imposed throughout the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, health, education, and social budgets slashed, and support for most local industries or agriculture dismantled, corporate welfare and subsidies to the defence industry, and high levels of military spending remains alive and well.
Capitalist killing machines get gender-sensitive makeover: Women resist
The burden of war, conflict, violence and militarized capitalism falls disproportionately on women. The impacts of women can be seen not only in conflict zones but through the proliferation of small arms and the creeping militarization of communities and societies at large, leading to more violence against women in domestic and community contexts, rapes, sexual violence, displacement and the exaltation of warrior masculinities. Women are more likely to become war refugees. Unsurprisingly then, it has also been women who have led resistance against militarization, war and violence, US military bases and the accompanying masculinization of broader society and social behaviour. It is usually women who pick up the pieces in communities ripped apart by war, violence and state repression. Cynthia Enloe notes that social workers who address issues of domestic violence "agree that military service is probably more conducive to violence at home than at any other occupation". Meanwhile, we are subjected to constant claims that a primary goal of the US-led invasion and occupation of Afghanistan is to liberate Afghani women. Commenting on this, Sunera Thobani notes, "one battle in the ideological war was to be waged on the terrain of gender relations, ... rallying western populations around fantasies of saving Muslim women would be more effective than rallying them around the overtly imperialist policies of securing US control over oil and natural gas supplies."
Just as purported humanitarian concerns are wheeled out as justifications for thinly-veiled imperialist wars over resources, military contractors and war profiteering corporations portray themselves as inclusive, socially progressive and gender-sensitive. On their corporate websites, these corporations' core business is painted over with a cosmetic veneer that could cause us to forget that it is for war and killing people. For example, Pentagon contractors like Northrop Grumman boast of their "workforce diversity" and showcase their women executives. The Canadian and US defence industries have set up organizations like Women in Defence and Security (WiDS), signed memorandums of understanding with Canada's Department of National Defence, and are affiliated with the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI), an industry-led association of more than 550 member firms in the defence and security industries in Canada to "promote the advancement of women leaders in defence and security professions across Canada". Raytheon, the maker of "Bunker Buster" bombs, Tomahawk and Patriot missiles, lobbed at Afghanistan and Iraq, causing many deaths, proclaims: "Diversity at Raytheon is about inclusiveness -- providing an atmosphere where everyone feels valued and empowered to perform at a peak level, regardless of the many ways people are different". Virginia-based Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the biggest suppliers of technology and personnel to US government spy agencies like the CIA, NSA, Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), as well as the US Department of Defence and Department of Homeland Security (former CIA director R. James Woolsey is now a senior vice president of Booz Allen), also boasts how it is committed to diversity in the workforce "because we believe that diversity of backgrounds contributes to different ideas, which in turn drives better results for clients. To us, diversity means all the ways individuals differ from one another--race, gender, ethnicity, physical abilities, educational background, country of origin, age, sexual orientation, skills, income, marital status, parental status, religion, work experience, and military service". Then there is Aegis Defence Services whose employees were caught on video randomly shooting automatic weapons at civilian cars in Baghdad's airport road, which claims "Our equal-opportunity policy emphasizes our aim to create a work environment that is inclusive and non-discriminatory, where all employees are empowered by their individuality and encouraged to use it in order to achieve success". Greenwashing environmentally destructive corporations is despicable enough. Yet there is something particularly obscene about the ways in which these corporations hide behind such mission and values statements and commitments to "diversity", complementing the claims of the militaries in Afghanistan to be liberating Afghani women.
Many NGOs campaign for instruments like a Global Arms Trade Treaty. But when we see the spectrum of industries and political actors which benefit from militarized capitalism, and the way in which the US, Israel, and other leading producers and users of cluster munitions refused to attend the May 2008 Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions which adopted an international treaty banning cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians, it should be clear that we must go beyond these strategies to confront the system that underpins obscene profits for a few, at the expense of the many, through military contracting and war profiteering. That system is capitalism. Those of us who research must continue to expose and oppose militarization and the violence of capitalism in all its forms, in our communities, nationally and internationally. In doing so we need to support, build and sustain mass movements that understand the interconnectedness of war, neoliberal globalization, corporate profits, the repression of dissent, "peacekeeping", "reconstruction", the criminalization and militarization of immigration, violence against women, and colonialism.
1 Gil Scott-Heron. Work For Peace. Taken from the album Spirits, TVT Records, 1994.
2 Thomas Friedman, 28 March 1999, New York Times Magazine, Manifesto for the fast world
4 See http://stopthewall.org
5 BBC News. US-Mexico 'virtual fence' ready. 23 February 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7260179.stm
7 Jackie Northam. U.K. Firm awarded largest Iraq security contract. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14586525
8 For example, DynCorp's employees in Colombia contracting to the US State Department in its so-called War on Drugs, have engaged as combatants in counterinsurgency operations against rebels (see http://www.colombiajournal.org/colombia19.htm. A number of DynCorp employees and supervisors contracted to UN peacekeeping operations in the Balkans were involved with forced prostitution rings, including children. (see Kelly Patricia O'Meara. US: DynCorp Disgrace. Insight Magazine. 14 January 2002, http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=11119
9 Pratap Chatterjee. Outsourcing Intelligence in Iraq: A report on L-3/Titan. CorpWatch. 29 April 2008. http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=15017 ; Titan, one of the civilian contractors employed by the Pentagon and whose employees were involved in the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. See, for example, Peter Beaumont, Abu Ghraib abuse firms are rewarded. The Observer, 16 January 2005. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/jan/16/usa.iraq
10 Center for Public Integrity. http://www.publicintegrity.org/militaryaid
11 Roland Simbulan. U.S. Military Forces: Negotiated Subservience by an Illegitimate Government. Bulatlat. Vol. VIII, No. 5, March 2-8, 2008. http://www.bulatlat.com/2008/03/u-s-military-forces-negotiated-subservience-illegitimate-government
15 Richard Sanders. We Didn't Really Say "No" to Missile Defence.
16 Tim Spicer, Founder and CEO of Aegis, (which holds the largest single security contract in Iraq), who prefers the term 'private military company' to 'mercenary', approvingly cites this as historical model as a precedent for soldiers of fortune today. See Tim Spicer. (1999). An Unorthodox Soldier: Peace and War and the Sandline Affair. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing.
17 These include former Chilean, South African, Bosnian, Filipino, Salvadoran and Colombian soldiers and police. Bill Berkowitz. Mercenaries 'R' Us. AlterNet. 24 March 2004.http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/18193/; Danna Harman. Firms tap Latin Americans for Iraq. Christian Science Monitor, 3 March 2005.http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0303/p06s02-woam.html
18 James Risen. Iraq Contractor in Shooting Case makes comeback. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/10/world/middleeast/10blackwater.html?ref=middleeast
19 CNN. Blackwater incident witness: "It was hell". http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/10/02/blackwater.witness/index.html
20 Blackwater Worldwide. Company Core Values. http://www.blackwaterusa.com/company_profile/core_values.html
21 Steve Fainaru. Where Military Rules Don't Apply. Washington Post. 20 September 2007. http://www.pulitzer.org/year/2008/international-reporting/works/fainaru05.html
22 Christopher Hellman and Travis Sharp. Center for Arms Control and Non-proliferation. Fiscal Year 2009 Pentagon Spending Request Briefing Book
24 John Feffer. Asia's Hidden Arms Race. 16 February 2008. http://www.alternet.org/story/77225
25 Another record year for defence spending in 2008. Haaretz, 28 December 2007. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/939217.html
27 SNC Unloads its ammunition unit. Montreal Gazette. 24 February 2006. http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/business/story.html?id=b1770c43-b9f8-4c6e-bef4-386f75347dd0
28 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). News In Depth: Arming The World. http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/arming-the-world
29 Helen Hughes. Europe's Deadly Business. Le Monde Diplomatique, 11 June 2006. http://mondediplo.com/2006/06/11armscontrol
30 Mark Thomas (2006). As used on the famous Nelson Mandela. Reading: Ebury Press.
31 Anna Stavrianakis (2008).The façade of arms control http://www.caat.org.uk/publications/government/facade-2008-02.php
32 Amnesty International. China: Sustaining conflict and human rights abuses. June 2006.
33 Constance Ikokwu. Chevron to Face Trial in U.S. Over Nigeria Killings. This Day (Lagos). 16 August 2007. http://allafrica.com/stories/200708160007.html
34 Down To Earth. (May 2003). Military protection funds exposed. http://dte.gn.apc.org/57Frp.htm
36 Roger Moody. The Mercenary Miner. Multinational Monitor. June 1997 http://www.multinationalmonitor.org/hyper/mm0697.09.html
37 The Militarization of the World's Urban Peripheries, Americas Policy Program Special Report (Washington, DC: Center for International Policy, http://americas.irc-online.org/am/4954
38 Kollsman, Inc. Kollsman to Participate in Homeland Security's SBInet Program Boeing Team Member to Show Technologies at Border Management Summit, Oct. 23-25. Press release, 31 October 2006
41 Aziz Choudry. (2003). War, Globalization and the WTO: Forever New Frontiers. Third World Network. http://www.twnside.org.sg/title/twr151n.htm
42 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, art. XXI, Oct. 30, 1947, 61 Stat. A-ll, 55 U.N.T.S. 194
43 Cynthia Enloe. (1983). Does Khaki Become You? London: Pluto, p.87.
44 Sunera Thobani. (2007). Exalted subjects: Studies in the making of race and nation in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, p.218.
45 See, for example, Jean Bricmont. (2006). Humanitarian Imperialism: Using human rights to sell war. New York: Monthly Review Press, and Sherene Razack (2004). Dark Threats and White Knights: The Somalia Affair, peacekeeping and the new imperialism. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
53 War On Want. Corporate mercenaries. http://www.waronwant.org/Corporate+Mercenaries+13275.twl
54 Christian Science Monitor, 30 May 2008. Global cluster-bomb ban draws moral line in the sand. http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0530/p04s06-woeu.html