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Wednesday, 16 December 2009

America looking for excuses to attack Pakistan

Like the myth of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda headquartered in FATA, another absurd claim has been made that Mullah Omar along with his Shura is based in Quetta, Pakistan.
This story woven by spin doctors has caught the imagination of policy makers in Washington and they are playing it impishly. Pakistani leaders already harassed by never-ending allegations are at a loss how to respond to the latest assault since denials make no impression on the accusers.
After repeating the story several times, US officials laid bare their actual motive by mentioning their flaming desire to employ the horrible drones in Balochistan including its capital as well.
Let us carry out a dispassionate appraisal of this claim. It is now a well-known reality that Afghan Taliban hold control of nearly 80% Afghan territory and wield complete sway in southern, eastern and to some extent western Afghanistan.
These regions provide them a secure base to operate into western, central and northern Afghanistan and return back. Had their hold over southern and eastern Afghanistan been weak, it was logical to assume that they might have made FATA or Pashtun belt of Balochistan adjacent to Helmand Province as their bases of operation.
Now that over 30,000 troops of Pakistan Army have taken full control of South Waziristan and division plus force is in North Waziristan, part of which is in Makeen area, any possibility of Afghan Taliban operating from these regions is ruled out.
The same scenario is applicable to al-Qaeda. The only possible space which still requires further scanning is the countryside west of Ladha and Makeen in South Waziristan towards Afghanistan border. Using boots on ground strategy, our troops are gradually clearing these areas as well.
Within Afghanistan, morale of US Nato forces has sunk low and bunker mentality has crept in due to sudden increase in casualty rate. Karzai regime has no control over state affairs and his credibility after August fraudulent election has eroded further.
The Afghan National Army and Police are in bad shape and operationally unfit to confront Taliban challenge, even after years of training and billions of US dollars spent.
Afghan Pashtuns hate Americans and are supportive of Taliban. Gulbadin Hikmatyar, and Jalaluddin Haqqani are also anti-American and anti-Karzai.

Given the favourable operational environment in Afghanistan for the Taliban, it will be utterly foolish on part of Mullah Omar and his Shura to abandon the fully secure bases in Afghanistan and opt for insecure base in Quetta where CIA, FBI, US Marines, Blackwater, MI-6, RAW, and shady Baloch separatist groups command strong influence.
Target killings by Baloch terrorist groups in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan have become a norm. Jacobabad and Pasni air bases in this region of Pakistan are still under the operational control of US troops. Shamsi base near Kharan has also been in use for launching drones where reportedly Blackwater elements are employed.
Quetta being a capital city is too open and conspicuous for Mullah Omar to hide particularly with a large bounty on his head. He is conscious of his critical role in keeping Taliban resistance movement in Afghanistan alive. Realising that his personal survival is vital for the success of Taliban movement, he has opted to go underground and remain out of sight. Since December 2001, none has seen him.
Except for his hardcore loyalists, Omar cannot trust anyone, least of all Pakistan that had betrayed him and joined hands with USA to topple his regime in Kabul. How can he trust Pakistan which had arrested dozens of Taliban leaders and handed them to USA for internment in horrific Guantanamo Bay prison and continues to provide logistics to US NATO troops?
Pashtun areas in Balochistan have kept themselves dissociated from RAW-backed Baloch insurgency, Afghan and Pakistani Taliban. Under such insalubrious environments, it is preposterous for the US to keep insisting that Afghan Shura is in Quetta.
If for discussion’s sake we accept the claims of presence of Afghan Shura in Quetta and that of Osama-led al-Qaeda in FATA theoretically; it implies that as far as US is concerned battle for Afghanistan is almost over.
The news should have logically instilled Gen McChrystal and his team with joy. Learning that the entire Taliban leadership and al-Qaeda had fled to Pakistan, making it much easier for them to get hold of few thousand rag tag Taliban fighters and not more than 100 al Qaeda fighters devoid of leadership, especially considering the military situation in the region, would mean the war was won.
Some of the precautionary measures required to be taken were to prevent re entry of Afghan Shura and al Qaeda leadership into Afghanistan by enhancing number of border check posts from 100 to 1000, improving surveillance means coupled with fencing and mining of entire 2500 km long Afghan-Pakistan border as frequently requested by Pakistan but refused by Karzai and USA for reasons best known to them. These measures would have broken the nexus between leaders and the led and rendered the two entities like fish out of water.
No such thing has happened since McChrystal is depressed because of Osama phobia. He considers Osama an invisible phantom residing in FATA who can walk across Durand Line unobserved and unless he is killed war cannot be won. Within Pakistan, once US intelligence agencies acquired credible intelligence, should they not have carried out joint raids on suspected locations without wasting a minute?
CIA, FBI and US diplomats should not have encountered any bottlenecks since they move about in Pakistan unchecked and enjoy full cooperation of all law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Was it wise on part of US leadership to broadcast the locations of Omar and Osama prematurely thereby giving them full chance to runaway?
Knowing well that the Pakistan Army is deeply committed in fighting foreign agencies sponsored terrorists in various parts of NWFP and FATA and achieving fruitful results, the US instead of feeling mighty pleased and cheering up its ally, is it morally correct to criticise and complain?
Areas in Waziristan which are presently quiet and neutral are being provoked through drone attacks. The US is pressing Pakistan to shift more troops from its eastern border and to start operations in Wazir inhabited SW and in NW where it fantasises that most Taliban insurgents have fled.
It is trying to create conditions wherein Pakistan Army is compelled to fight the combined force of Maulvi Nazir, Hakimullah Mehsud and Gul Bahadur, opponents who would never normally be aligned.
Having fully committed the army in fighting a futile US war on terror, RAW sponsored terrorists duly aided by Blackwater elements are playing havoc into major cities of Pakistan through almost daily bomb blasts and suicide attacks. Focus is on such targets which hurts the military the most.
ISI’s regional offices have been repeatedly struck since it is frustrating the designs of enemies of Pakistan. Focus is now towards destabilisation of Punjab, after which emphasis will shift to Sindh to upturn main economic base of Pakistan.
While CIA and FBI along with its shady private mercenary outfits are fully involved in the destabilisation game, the US leaders are hypocritically singing tunes that Pakistan is a key ally and the US seeks its stability and prosperity.
Our leaders having been provided with clinching evidence of involvement of India’s RAW in terrorism have still not picked up courage to expose India and to forcefully ask USA to bridle its strategic ally.
Fact of the matter is that Omar, Osama and nuclear cards are being played with devious intentions. The real purpose behind it is to cast aspersion on Pakistan that Pakistan Army and the ISI are aligned with Afghan Taliban and al-Qaeda and sheltering them.
It implies that there is a nexus between Pakistan-Afghan Taliban and al-Qaeda and Pakistan is fully supporting Taliban and al Qaeda in their war against US Nato forces in Afghanistan. With leadership of the two deadly organisations based inside Pakistan, it becomes a fit case for USA to mount an offensive against Pakistan to root out safe sanctuaries and turn the corner. (A preferred place for this incursion would be oil and gas rich Balochistan, directly in the path of the proposed American ‘surge’ into Helmand.
The writer is a defence and security analyst. Email: asifharoon7751@yahoo.com

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