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    Posted: 02-Jul-2008 at 06:55
Originally posted by Afghanan

Originally posted by Sparten

Originally posted by Afghanan

If the NATO government is toppled, rest assured, Pakistan will be blamed as a key factor in it and you can kiss US's billions of dollars of aid goodbye.   Emboldening the Taliban will only lead to more rise in fundamentalism in the region as a whole, and other neighbors such as China and Russia (as well as your superior neighbor to the right) will not tolerate.
  
 
First of all. Those "billions of dollars of aid". 85% of them is fees for using Pakistani facilities, like ports and airbases etc.
 
Secondly, China has a different interest in Pakistan.
 
Thirdly, India is what you mean by "your superior neighbor to the right." What will they do exactly. They'll huff and they'll puff, and they'll live with it. Pakistan is a nuclear power with the capability to flatten every Indian city if they felt like it. Unless they want a nuclear war, they can do little.
 
 
 
You once claimed that US had no airbases in Pakistan, but the general understanding is that there are three.  There was military aid given to Pakistan in the range of $5 Billion dollars (worth 340,550,000,000.00 Pakistani rupees) that US claims Pakistan has squandered:
 
According to the NY Times:
 
"In interviews in Islamabad and Washington, Bush administration and military officials said they believed that much of the American money was not making its way to frontline Pakistani units. Money has been diverted to help finance weapons systems designed to counter India, not Al Qaeda or the Taliban, the officials said, adding that the United States has paid tens of millions of dollars in inflated Pakistani reimbursement claims for fuel, ammunition and other costs."
 
 
Furthermore, its not just to pay for using bases:
 
" The United States since 2001 has deposited more than $5 billion in reimbursements into the Pakistani government’s general budget account, the largest single portion of some $10 billion in aid to Islamabad in that time. Also included in that larger amount is $1.9 billion in security assistance, which Pakistan has used in part to buy new radios for troops, night-vision goggles and refurbished Cobra attack helicopters.

Pakistani officials say the Coalition Support Funds money goes into the national treasury to repay the government for money already spent on 100,000 troops deployed in the tribal areas. But American military officials say the funds do not reach the men who need it. That is especially the case for helicopter maintenance and poorly equipped Frontier Corps units.

During a recent visit to the border, an American official found members of the Frontier Corps “standing there in the snow in sandals,” according to the official. Several were wearing World War I-era pith helmets and carrying barely functional Kalashnikov rifles with just 10 rounds of ammunition apiece. "

If India was never a problem for Pakistan in the region, they would not have spent so much money in competing in the arms race against them.  Rest assured, India and Russia are great allies, and they have mutual strategic goals in the region.
 
1) This has been moved to the geopolictical institute.  Its a geopolitical question.
 
2) New York times is a great source (**sarcasm**). And it dose not contradict what I said in any case. The largest chunk has been to pay off the use of facilities. The "aid" to buy equipment has been used for FC.  The way it has been done is to transfer equipment from the regular army to FC, and then send the equipment to the regular army. Its faster that way.
 
As for "the guy in a world war 1 helmet and sandles" I don't know who the hell they saw. FC has the regular armys TOE for an infantry battalion  (excpet they don't have a dedicated support coy, IIRC). Most likely what they saw was a "Khasadar". Each of the tribes and clans are allowed to raise men as armed police auxillarys. That is what khasadars are, and since they have to be equipped by the tribes themselves, god only knows what they have. Its like seeing the minutemen on the western border in the states and saying "oh thats the border patrol".
 
In order to clear up any confusion, here
 
Frontier Force (FF): Is a Pakistan Army regiment.
 
Frontier Corps: Is the paramilitary organisation responsible for operations on the western borders.
 
Frontier Constanbulary: Is FATA's police force
 
Khasadars: A tribal police auxillary.
 
3) As for India. If India was able to do what you want it to do, then it would have done it ages ago. I know perfectly of Indo-Russian ties, a lot more than you thank you. India knows after the last deployment that any war will swiftly become nuclear.
 
4) As for the airbases issue, yes you are right, there were three air bases used by the USAF till early 2002 (my bad I said end 2001), which were Dalbandian, Jacobabad and Kohat. When the US made its base in Afghanistan, and we needed those bases back due to the threat of war in 2002, they left.
 
 
 
Frontier Corps:
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  Quote Mughal e Azam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jul-2008 at 05:05
I heard the Taliban were going to capture Peshawar. 
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jul-2008 at 00:32
Also why is this topic (which is Current Affairs) in a regional history board?  Are you really that afraid of other people reading these articles that you moved them in a section with total of 19 topics?
 
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jul-2008 at 00:30
Originally posted by Sparten

Originally posted by Afghanan

If the NATO government is toppled, rest assured, Pakistan will be blamed as a key factor in it and you can kiss US's billions of dollars of aid goodbye.   Emboldening the Taliban will only lead to more rise in fundamentalism in the region as a whole, and other neighbors such as China and Russia (as well as your superior neighbor to the right) will not tolerate.
  
 
First of all. Those "billions of dollars of aid". 85% of them is fees for using Pakistani facilities, like ports and airbases etc.
 
Secondly, China has a different interest in Pakistan.
 
Thirdly, India is what you mean by "your superior neighbor to the right." What will they do exactly. They'll huff and they'll puff, and they'll live with it. Pakistan is a nuclear power with the capability to flatten every Indian city if they felt like it. Unless they want a nuclear war, they can do little.
 
 
 
You once claimed that US had no airbases in Pakistan, but the general understanding is that there are three.  There was military aid given to Pakistan in the range of $5 Billion dollars (worth 340,550,000,000.00 Pakistani rupees) that US claims Pakistan has squandered:
 
According to the NY Times:
 
"In interviews in Islamabad and Washington, Bush administration and military officials said they believed that much of the American money was not making its way to frontline Pakistani units. Money has been diverted to help finance weapons systems designed to counter India, not Al Qaeda or the Taliban, the officials said, adding that the United States has paid tens of millions of dollars in inflated Pakistani reimbursement claims for fuel, ammunition and other costs."
 
 
Furthermore, its not just to pay for using bases:
 
" The United States since 2001 has deposited more than $5 billion in reimbursements into the Pakistani government’s general budget account, the largest single portion of some $10 billion in aid to Islamabad in that time. Also included in that larger amount is $1.9 billion in security assistance, which Pakistan has used in part to buy new radios for troops, night-vision goggles and refurbished Cobra attack helicopters.

Pakistani officials say the Coalition Support Funds money goes into the national treasury to repay the government for money already spent on 100,000 troops deployed in the tribal areas. But American military officials say the funds do not reach the men who need it. That is especially the case for helicopter maintenance and poorly equipped Frontier Corps units.

During a recent visit to the border, an American official found members of the Frontier Corps “standing there in the snow in sandals,” according to the official. Several were wearing World War I-era pith helmets and carrying barely functional Kalashnikov rifles with just 10 rounds of ammunition apiece. "

If India was never a problem for Pakistan in the region, they would not have spent so much money in competing in the arms race against them.  Rest assured, India and Russia are great allies, and they have mutual strategic goals in the region.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jul-2008 at 18:44
Originally posted by Afghanan

If the NATO government is toppled, rest assured, Pakistan will be blamed as a key factor in it and you can kiss US's billions of dollars of aid goodbye.   Emboldening the Taliban will only lead to more rise in fundamentalism in the region as a whole, and other neighbors such as China and Russia (as well as your superior neighbor to the right) will not tolerate.
  
 
First of all. Those "billions of dollars of aid". 85% of them is fees for using Pakistani facilities, like ports and airbases etc.
 
Secondly, China has a different interest in Pakistan.
 
Thirdly, India is what you mean by "your superior neighbor to the right." What will they do exactly. They'll huff and they'll puff, and they'll live with it. Pakistan is a nuclear power with the capability to flatten every Indian city if they felt like it. Unless they want a nuclear war, they can do little.
 
 
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jul-2008 at 18:39

There is'nt an Afghani alive who dose not support the claim to Frontier, hell the normal claim as put forward by Daud and the rest was for a border at Jehlum, meaning half of Punjab as well, as well as Karachi (its west of Indus).

 
Pakistan is strong enough to withstand any effort to enforce the said claim. If a time comes that Pakistan is too weak to withstand the Afghani efforts, then it means that we would have become too weak to survive anyway.
 
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jul-2008 at 17:54
The problem with the Taliban Sparten is that they dont have any allegiance towards any government.  They will use any side for aide (Arab or Pak), but they will not succumb to one government because they have their own agenda, which Pakistan 'thinks' will align with Pakistan.
 
As you know, the Taliban are 99% Pashtun and out of those 99%, most likely 90% support Afghanistan's claim to NWFP (hell even the Northern Alliance supported it), or at least that the border is false (as they continue to show everyday with cross border raids and cross border support).
 
If Pakistan thinks it can control the Taliban after they defeat NATO supported Karzai, they will be engulfed in a war that they will never win.  NATO will not support an authoritarian government, let alone a fundamentalist and racist government in Afghanistan.
 
If the NATO government is toppled, rest assured, Pakistan will be blamed as a key factor in it and you can kiss US's billions of dollars of aid goodbye.   Emboldening the Taliban will only lead to more rise in fundamentalism in the region as a whole, and other neighbors such as China and Russia (as well as your superior neighbor to the right) will not tolerate.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jul-2008 at 06:10

Pakistan will continue this "game" as long as it is in her interests to do so. It has been Pakistans policy since at least Ayub Khan's era, if not before, and is a pillar of her strategy, that there can not be a hostile or even strong and friendly; government on the western flank. It is a sound policy and I hope we continue to follow it.

 
About hurting Pakistan, well please advise me as to how it could "hurt Pakistan" any more than the alternative which is to have a hostile and strong neighbour on both flanks.
 
Moving this to Strategic Issues forum.
 
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jun-2008 at 21:18
Pakistan can not continue this game of deception forever.  This double dealing will hurt Pakistan in the long run.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jun-2008 at 20:04
Good. Pakistan has her interests. And if they don't coinside with other countries interests, then here one word; tough!
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jun-2008 at 18:07

Smoke and mirrors in the Khyber Valley

By Syed Saleem Shahzad

KARACHI - After a 10-hour operation at the weekend, Pakistan said that paramilitary forces had reclaimed the strategic Khyber Agency from Taliban militants, at the same time implying to Washington that the country is serious about going after the Taliban.

The Khyber Agency borders Afghanistan and is a vital transit point for North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) supplies going into Nangarhar province of that country.

But while pockets of Taliban were chased from some of their hideouts, the operation was directed against the wrong area and the wrong people, underscoring the government's reluctance for direct confrontation with the Pakistani Taliban.

Intrigue and deception

Riding with the paramilitary convoys was Haji Namdar, the chief of the self-proclaimed pro-Taliban organization Amal Bil Maroof Nahi Anil Munkir that is based in Khyber Agency. His presence was meant to be a secret as his organization was supposed to be one of the targets of the operation.

He was taken along to ensure that encounters with militants were kept to a minimum, as was the case - only four people were arrested and none killed.

 
Haji Namdar is a highly controversial character. As a believer in the Salafi strain of Islam he was tapped up by the Taliban and al-Qaeda to be their point man to help them establish a foothold in the Khyber Agency so that they could attack NATO supply lines. Haji Namdar agreed, then in April he betrayed the Taliban to US intelligence for a reward of US$150,000. (See Taliban bitten by a snake in the grass Asia Times Online, April 26, 2008.)

Within weeks, Haji Namdar was targeted in a suicide attack, but escaped unhurt. And on Monday, he once again avoided injury when one of his offices on the outskirts of Peshawar in North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) bordering Khyber Agency was fired on by missiles. Seven other people were killed.

The weekend's military operations were directed primarily against two organizations - Lashkar-i-Islam led by a bus cleaner turned commander, Mangal Bagh, and a Sufi organization, Ansar ul-Islam, besides Haji Namdar's group.

The rationale for the operation was said to be that these organizations were Taliban franchises and were trying to Talibanize Khyber Agency and the adjacent city of Peshawar.

More pertinent were US concerns over NATO's supply lines. The decision to go ahead with the operation was a pledge by US President George W Bush to President Pervez Musharraf to ensure the delivery of four F-16 aircraft to Pakistan. The issue was also on top of the agenda when the head of the NATO force in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, met former Pakistani ambassador to Washington and present advisor to the government in Islamabad on national security, retired Major General Mehmood Ali Durrani, last Friday.

The groups targeted, though, are mainly sectarian with no affiliation to the Taliban - they are sympathetic at most. This has led to speculation that the military is simply trying to buy time from Washington while avoiding direct confrontation with the "real Taliban".

The fact is, after the Taliban were betrayed by Haji Namdar in April their central power now lies in the South Waziristan tribal area, the Swat Valley and Darra Adam Khail in NWFP.

Nevertheless, the military excursion into Khyber Agency did provide the Pakistani Taliban with a golden opportunity. One of its key leaders, Baitullah Mehsud, who is said to be behind the first attack against Haji Namdar, used the occasion to appeal to non-Taliban militants in Khyber Agency for their support.

Mehsud also said he would break all peace agreements with the government and that he would send attackers into other provinces as a response to any real moves by the government to target the Taliban.

Islamabad is under intense pressure from Washington to destroy the Taliban bases inside Pakistan that supply the insurgency in Afghanistan and to stem the easy flow of Taliban fighters across the border.

The coalition government, only in office for a matter of months, is already on the brink of collapse and the last thing it wants now is the added problem of full-out operations against militants - these have in the past proved highly unpopular and seldom achieved their goals.

Similarly, the Taliban are heavily engaged in Afghanistan and they do not want the distraction of having to fight battles in Pakistan.

The result is charades such as the weekend's Khyber Agency incident in which all sides, including Washington, appear to be satisfied.

 
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  Quote TeldeInduz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2007 at 07:59
Bump up the sandpit in Afghanan's absence ! LOL
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  Quote maqsad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Mar-2007 at 17:30
Originally posted by Afghanan

It should be deadly obvious at this point.  There are obviously a few different variables in the equation today.


No it is not deadly obvious. There is nothing logical about a govt or an intelligence agency knowingly supporting terrorists that destabalize their own grip on power.

Originally posted by Afghanan


What we do know:
 
1.  ISI is supporting and/or protecting the Taliban and  Al Qaeda

You make no sense. You are implying that "the taliban" and "Al Qaida" are two organizations with a pyramidal control structure. If that were indeed true and there were no breakaway factions then it would be ridiculously easy for the ISI to request "Al Qaida" or "The Taliban" to leave Pakistani targets out of the equation.
Originally posted by Afghanan


2.  The border is uncontrollable

Yeah so people from BOTH countries can cross easily into the other.
Originally posted by Afghanan


3.  US Pressure on Pakistan is much higher than before

Irrelevent. How would that influence the ISI to support militants that like to blow things up in Pakistan when they can avoid that and support militants who DO NOT like to blow things up in pakistan so much?
Originally posted by Afghanan


4.  The Pakistani government pressures the ISI to give up a few Taliban lackies to appease the west.

Uhmm...the pakistani govt  is the ISI. Musharraff is a top general. The top dogs in the ISI have always been military guys, thats a fact.
Originally posted by Afghanan


5.  The Pakistani government has allowed (or is unable to stop) NATO from pursuing militants across the border and even dropping bombs into Pakistan.

You mean the hot pursuit policy. I fail to see what this has to do with the ISI[according to you] supporting terrorists who like to blow things up in Pakistan.
Originally posted by Afghanan


6.  Musharraf is isolating himself more and more

The white house still cheers him on.
Originally posted by Afghanan


7.  The Fundamentalists and Jihadis are gaining ground


Oh and who is behind the fundementalists that blow things up in Pakistan? Is it the ISI you are saying? Instead of hunting them down and killing them[like they did Bugti] you are saying the ISI is actually coddling these people?

Originally posted by Afghanan


This chaotic picture shows full well that there are different ideologies being pushed around in Pakistan today.  There is probably disunity among Musharraf and his ISI cronies as to how to protect Pakistan interests in the region.  Musharraf wanting to have the militants controlled, and the ISI unable to control them, but able to monitor a few of them.


The ISI has very strong capability even in Afghanistan. I would expect them to know what is going on in Pakistan and to be easily able to identify and control any large, organized insurrection.

Originally posted by Afghanan


Mullah Dadullah, ISI's biggest benifactor claimed that no other country in the world has given the Taliban as big as a problem as Pakistani government and that they will 'deal' with them.


What? do you have an article that supports this statement of yours?

Originally posted by Afghanan


What we're seeing today is perfect example of that.  Taliban and Al Qaeda reaking havoc, dozens of suicide bombings in February and trying more ways than one to destabilize Pakistan in response to Mushy's back stabbing of the Taliban by handing over its spokesperson, bombing a Taliban madrassa, and one of its Commanders. 
 
There are two spheres of influence in Pakistan right now.  Those that want unconditional support for the Talbian, and those trying to stabilize Pakistan and control the damage reaked by them.  Musharraf better think quick because this problem is looking like it is spiraling out of control.  Western think tanks are already thinking of ousting Musharraf in favor of a more resolute general.


You aren't making any sense. If Musharaff wants to control the militants why is there a need for a more resolute general?
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Mar-2007 at 14:45

Pakistan's 'isolated' president

By Ahmed Rashid
BBC News / Wednesday, 14 March 2007

To many Pakistanis it seems that President Pervez Musharraf is becoming increasingly isolated.

The latest headache comes in the shape of who have been staging rallies across the country in protest of what they see as his politically-motivated suspension of the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

The sight of black-jacketed lawyers smattered in blood after clashes in Lahore with police does little for the image of Pakistan.

But before this, there have been signs of Islamic extremism gaining strength. Ordinary citizens are complaining of worsening law and order.

And Pakistan's relations with the United States, Europe and neighbouring countries are becoming more strained.

Kalashnikov-wielding women

This is an election year for President Musharraf. But two issues are threatening him.

The first is the military's failure to assert the government's writ over large areas of the country and its refusal to tackle Islamic extremists head-on.

The second development is the assertion of some extremists that they no longer recognise the legitimacy of the state and will only do so when an Islamic revolution takes place.

Judges, soldiers, policemen, lawyers and ordinary women and children were the victims of a dozen suicide bombings by extremists in February. The authorities have made few arrests.

In Islamabad, foreign diplomats were shocked when the government gave in to some 3,000 Kalashnikov-wielding militant women, who refused to evacuate a religious school that had been set for demolition because it had been built illegally.

In the heart of the nation's capital the women refused to recognise any orders from the state.

The cabinet was divided with some ministers, including the pro-Islamist right-wing Minister of Religious Affairs Ijaz ul Haq openly siding with the militant women.

Meanwhile extremists are threatening female politicians.

Law and order is breaking down in the major cities.

Up to 200 crimes and robberies are being committed every a day in major cities - in Karachi the figures are double that.

Much of the prevalent crime is committed by unemployed youth, who form gangs to steal cars, motor bikes and mobile phones.

Public criticism

Another blow to Pakistan's self-image came when most of the planes of the state-owned Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) were banned from landing in European Union capitals because of safety concerns. PIA officials and government ministers denied there was any problem.

On the international front, Gen Musharraf's credibility is at stake as his commitment to deal with terrorism is being questioned by the US and leading Nato countries.

On a five-hour visit to Islamabad on 26 February, US Vice President Dick Cheney warned the president about Pakistan's lack of action against Taleban and al-Qaeda leaders operating from its soil.

In several packed hearings in the US Congress, retired US military officers and other American experts testified that Pakistan was deliberately harbouring the Taleban to use as a political card in Afghanistan.

Nato countries not normally known for their public criticism of allies have been openly questioning Pakistan's continued commitment to the "war on terrorism".

Meanwhile, Iran has become the latest country, after India and Afghanistan, to accuse it of interference in its internal affairs.

In early March, Iranian leaders accused Pakistan of becoming a sanctuary for terrorists, after several Iranians were killed by militants who then fled across the border to Pakistan.

Iran is also suspicious that Pakistan is supporting the US agenda of trying to create a Sunni alliance of Arab countries aimed at Shia Iran. Pakistan counters that Iran is helping the insurgency by rebels in Pakistani Balochistan.

Pakistan is now the most fenced in nation in the world. Iran is now following India's example and erecting a fence on its border with Pakistan, while Islamabad wants to erect a fence on its border with Afghanistan.

All these problems come ahead of polls in which Gen Musharraf wants to be re-elected for another five years by the current parliament, while continuing to remain army chief.

Expectations of a free and fair elections are lowered daily as Gen Musharraf insists in public statements that people vote for his nominees, while newspapers report that the ubiquitous intelligence services are already interviewing prospective parliamentary candidates to ascertain their loyalty to the president.

Pakistanis are used to military rulers prolonging their innings indefinitely and also to rigged elections.

But what they are not used to is the growing rise of extremism around the country from the rugged mountains of Waziristan to the pristine avenues of Islamabad.

For a country armed with nuclear weapons, ordinary people are getting scared of the future.

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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Mar-2007 at 13:02

The Taliban's brothers in alms

By Syed Saleem Shahzad
Asia Times Online / March 14, 2007

ISLAMABAD - The initial shots in the Taliban's spring offensive have already been fired in southwestern Afghanistan, and the chances of the insurgents winning against some of the best-equipped soldiers in the world are being keenly assessed.

At the same time, across the border in the heart of Pakistan's capital Islamabad and beyond, the Taliban's seedlings are growing into trees.

The spread of Taliban-style radical Islam, which has already taken control of large areas of the tribal regions of North and South

Waziristan and North West Frontier Province, poses a renewed threat to the military-led government of President General Pervez Musharraf. And it is a battle that could also have far-reaching consequences for the Taliban in Afghanistan, who draw much of their support from within Pakistan.

Recent protests by female students from a seminary in Islamabad, which resulted in the government having to back down, illustrate the power and support of radical clerics in the country.

Not your ordinary mosque

Since last month, female students from the Jamia Hafsa madrassa (seminary) in Islamabad have occupied a nearby public children's library over the government's demolition of what it claimed were two illegally built mosques. (The government also says that Jamia Hafsa is illegally built on public land.)

Jamia Hafsa is adjacent to Lal Masjid (Red Mosque), which lies in the heart of the city, very close to the headquarters of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Whenever there is a major terror attack in the world, such as in Madrid or London, attention immediately turns to Lal Masjid as a possible breeding ground of the perpetrators.

The mosque and the women's seminary are run by two prominent religious personalities, Ghazi Abdul Rasheed and Maulana Abdul Aziz, the sons of slain religious leader Maulana Abdullah. Abdullah was close to the late dictator General Zia ul-Haq. His Friday sermons were popular among the military and the civilian bureaucracy, and he often preached the cause of jihad.

Abdullah's sons have continued his legacy, both his calls for jihad and his mysticism, and they were the driving force behind a religious decree insisting that Pakistani army personnel killed while fighting against tribals in South Waziristan be denied a Muslim burial. The decree was signed by 500 clerics and scholars and led to open defiance within the Pakistani armed forces, which in turn contributed to their withdrawal.

Under Western pressure, Pakistan's Ministry of Interior has officially declared the brothers "wanted", but several efforts to have them arrested have petered out. Every bid to nab them only adds to their popularity, and they have emerged as the real leaders of the religious hard core of the country.

The girls' occupation - the support of the brothers - prompted the government to lay siege to Lal Masjid, but after several weeks the siege was lifted. The students (although much fewer than the original hundreds) still control the library, saying they will only leave once the two mosques are rebuilt, which the government has agreed to do.

Brothers in arms

Long-bearded youths watched suspiciously as I approached Lal Masjid. Two men with their faces covered with cloth stopped and searched me, demanding an identity document.

Once they were satisfied, another young man escorted me to the residence of the brothers. A black-hooded figure watching me from a small window in an outside gate let me into a courtyard, even though Rasheed was in the middle of a television interview.

Rasheed is far more accessible to the media than his elder brother Aziz. Both are portrayed as ideologues of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, charges they never deny, along with their open support of all of the struggles in which mujahideen are engaged, from Afghanistan to Iraq.

It was the media-shy Aziz, however, who had agreed to meet with me. Photographs were out of the question - he will not have his taken. Aziz's fiery speeches at the mosque routinely electrify the youth, and compact discs and cassettes of his sermons are widely distributed across the country.

"The situation of the country is really one of a quagmire," Aziz said.  "Baloch separatists, Sindhi and Urdu-speaking sub-nationalists and tribal [people] in North West Frontier Province are seriously disgruntled over the federalization of Pakistan. Our enemies, like India and the West, are exploiting the situation, and it seems that both forces will prey on us like hungry wolves as our disintegration does not allow us any effective defense.

"The question then is, what cohesive force will gather all the disgruntled elements together and make them an effective defense against our enemies? There is only one answer: the Islamization of Pakistan," Aziz said with conviction.

Our conversation was interrupted by Aziz arranging to give sermons over the telephone to madrassas in Punjab and Sindh provinces.

"Maulana, is this not a Taliban movement you are preparing in Pakistan?" I asked Aziz.

"Indeed, somebody needs to give a wake-up call and prepare the people for the Islamization of society," Aziz responded with a smile.

In the meantime, Rasheed had finished his interview and I spoke with him.

"Did you see how our determination and the help of God defeated the government's commitment to arrest us?" Rasheed asked me, referring to the siege of the mosque over the girls' occupation of the library. "Actually, it was the collective determination of all of us [circle of admirers] which terrified the government, and it just had to keep its hands off us," Rasheed said.

Security sources have confirmed to Asia Times Online that when the trouble at the library began, Musharraf ordered that the brothers be arrested. But his security forces refused, saying such a move would create havoc in Islamabad and beyond.

Musharraf apparently even floated the idea of having the Lal Masjid bombed, but his air force would have none of it. As a result, the government had little alternative but to back off, lift the siege and agree to dialogue.

"I want to make it clear that protest on any issue is the right of any citizen, whether he or she is religious or not," said Rasheed. "The students of the universities and the colleges carry out processions and rampage on the streets. They set public and private vehicles on fire, but are they ever called terrorists?

"The girls of my seminary did protest and they occupied a children's library, but peacefully. They did not break anything, not even television sets or CD players, which they believe are evil, yet they were declared terrorists, and stern action was promised against us two brothers and against the girls," Rasheed said.

Rasheed took his mobile phone from his pocket and showed me messages sent by a former ISI official who was once a close friend of Osama bin Laden - retired squadron leader Khalid Khawaja. The messages warned the brothers that the government was plotting to kill them.

"Our friend Khalid Khawaja kept informing us of threats around us, and as a result of such messages he was picked up by the ISI and booked on a fictitious charge," Rasheed said.

"The government does indeed have bad designs against us. Commandos were posted all around for target killings. An environment of terror was created, so much so that the Board of Religious Schools pulled its support of us. They were terrified that if we fell, they would be next in line. The federal minister for religious affairs, Ejaz ul-Haq [former president Zia's son], came to see us," Rasheed said.

"It was a strange environment. Ejaz was aware of the whole situation and he candidly held the feet of Maulana Abdul Aziz and said, 'I beg you, for God's sake, please retreat from this issue, otherwise there are strict instructions from Musharraf against you people.'

"Maulana Abdul Aziz then held the feet of Ejazul Haq and said, 'I beg you, too, for God's sake, enforce Islam in this country. Until then we will not retreat,'" Rasheed recalled.

"Most of our girls [more than 6,000] come from North and South Waziristan. When their relations learned about the situation [protest] they came all the way from the two Waziristans and gathered in the mosque. That was a real litmus test against the government. In a way, Waziristan, which the government has failed to pacify with military operations, entered the federal capital. The establishment had the shivers and it could see [what], if any operations were taken [against us], would happen to Islamabad," Rasheed said.

"The government had every intention to crush us, but then it had to request us to remove Waziristan's militants from the mosque. We responded that first the government had to lift the siege on the mosque. Only then would we ask them to leave. Musharraf took a strict stand, but all the agencies, including the Pakistan Rangers, were not ready to clash with Waziristani militants.

"Then Haji Omar [commander of the Taliban in Waziristan] said in an interview that if the government tried to attack Lal Masjid, they would take revenge. That was the last thing the government wanted and it lifted the siege and we asked the militants to leave. But the Waziris are still in Islamabad with their relatives, so if the government makes any advances again, they will immediately come to the rescue," Rasheed said.

During the siege, Islamabad witnessed an unusually high number of suicide attacks, which obviously spooked the government. Indeed, the government reaffirmed its deals with the Pakistani Taliban in the Waziristans whereby they have de facto rule in the tribal belt along the border with Afghanistan.

The brothers at Lal Masjid remain as defiant as ever after their brush with the government so close to the ISI's headquarters. There is no doubt that their influence is spreading across the country and that their hardline teachings are filling a void left by the absence of any real political opposition in the country to Musharraf's rule.

This plays into the Taliban's hands too, for when the going starts to get tough in Afghanistan, they will know where to look among their swelling ranks of supporters in Pakistan.

Syed Saleem Shahzad is Asia Times Online's Pakistan Bureau Chief.



Edited by Afghanan - 14-Mar-2007 at 13:12
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Mar-2007 at 13:01
It should be deadly obvious at this point.  There are obviously a few different variables in the equation today.
 
What we do know:
 
1.  ISI is supporting and/or protecting the Taliban and  Al Qaeda
2.  The border is uncontrollable
3.  US Pressure on Pakistan is much higher than before
4.  The Pakistani government pressures the ISI to give up a few Taliban lackies to appease the west.
5.  The Pakistani government has allowed (or is unable to stop) NATO from pursuing militants across the border and even dropping bombs into Pakistan.
6.  Musharraf is isolating himself more and more
7.  The Fundamentalists and Jihadis are gaining ground
 
This chaotic picture shows full well that there are different ideologies being pushed around in Pakistan today.  There is probably disunity among Musharraf and his ISI cronies as to how to protect Pakistan interests in the region.  Musharraf wanting to have the militants controlled, and the ISI unable to control them, but able to monitor a few of them.
 
Mullah Dadullah, ISI's biggest benifactor claimed that no other country in the world has given the Taliban as big as a problem as Pakistani government and that they will 'deal' with them.
 
What we're seeing today is perfect example of that.  Taliban and Al Qaeda reaking havoc, dozens of suicide bombings in February and trying more ways than one to destabilize Pakistan in response to Mushy's back stabbing of the Taliban by handing over its spokesperson, bombing a Taliban madrassa, and one of its Commanders. 
 
There are two spheres of influence in Pakistan right now.  Those that want unconditional support for the Talbian, and those trying to stabilize Pakistan and control the damage reaked by them.  Musharraf better think quick because this problem is looking like it is spiraling out of control.  Western think tanks are already thinking of ousting Musharraf in favor of a more resolute general.
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  Quote maqsad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Mar-2007 at 11:10
Originally posted by Afghanan


"The spillover of militancy from tribal areas to settled parts of the NWFP is understandable, because the establishment [Pakistan] is supporting the Taliban and al-Qaeda," asserted Peshawar-based Afrasiab Khattak, a lawyer and human-rights activist who is an expert on Afghanistan.


This does not make sense. Tribal areas have always had the same people living in them but how does this so called support for militant taliban extend to allowing them to move to settled, urbanized and liberal areas of NWFP. Why on earth would the paki govt sign its own death warrant by encouraging such a thing? This never happened before when the ISI was using pakhtoons in proxy wars.
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Mar-2007 at 12:49
 
Beards - and polio - in Taliban country
 
By Ashfaq Yusufzai

PESHAWAR - "Shaving beard isn't done here. Contact only for hair cut," reads a sign pasted outside the entrance of a barber's shop in Upper Dir, a rugged and mountainous district in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP) that borders Afghanistan.

All the barber shops in Timergarah, the district headquarters, and Munda have stopped providing shaving services since leaflets advising them that it was Islamic to grow a beard were distributed by an unnamed group last Tuesday.

On March 4, there were explosions inside two saloons, a music shop and four other shops in the adjoining Bajaur Agency, part of the Federally Administered Tribal Agencies along the restive Afghan border. The Taliban have banned music in the tribal areas, and have started fining taxi drivers found listening to music.

According to news reports, a video shop in front of a police station in Bannu, the home town of NWFP Chief Minister Akram Durrani, was attacked by armed men suspected to be Taliban on February 27, who destroyed compact-disc players and CDs of Urdu, English and Indian films.

The district of Tank, on the border with South Waziristan, has slipped into the control of the Taliban. There is a total collapse of civil administration. Police stations remain closed after sundown and Taliban fighters patrol the streets and the bazaars riding on their favorite Datsun pickups.

Most Taliban groups and their al-Qaeda friends crossed over to Pakistan's tribal region after US-led forces toppled their government in Afghanistan in late 2001. Since then, thousands of people, including Taliban fighters and locals, have died in military attacks conducted by either the US or the Pakistan Army.

"The spillover of militancy from tribal areas to settled parts of the NWFP is understandable, because the establishment [Pakistan] is supporting the Taliban and al-Qaeda," asserted Peshawar-based Afrasiab Khattak, a lawyer and human-rights activist who is an expert on Afghanistan.

According to Khattak, missile and air attacks by the US on alleged "terrorist" targets inside Pakistan's tribal areas have worked to the advantage of the Taliban, who have increased their support base in these border regions. There are persistent reports that sympathetic tribesmen are providing shelter and support to Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda fugitives. 

Last September, President General Pervez Musharraf signed a controversial peace deal with the Pakistan-based Taliban groups, which has resulted in a new assertiveness displayed by the Islamic radicals in these Pashtun-dominated, semi-autonomous border areas.

"Both the Pakistan and Afghanistan governments are accusing one another of supporting the Taliban and al-Qaeda, but practically both have failed to stem the tide of militancy," commented Ashraf Ali, a scholar at Peshawar University who is researching the Taliban.

Administrative control in North and South Waziristan and Swat district has slowly slipped into the hands of radicals. A demoralized police force, which has been the target of suicide attacks - most recently in January - is unable to provide protection to businesses banned by the Taliban. Some music-shop owners have moved to Peshawar.

"The Taliban frequently visited our shop and asked us to close down. One day, they delivered an ultimatum: either you close it or we will do it for you," said Hamza Khan, whose family owned a chain of music shops in Tank for 20 years, and has now relocated to Peshawar.

The local Taliban burned TV sets even in Charsadda district, which is adjacent to Peshawar. "The government has lost its writ due to which the Taliban are thriving," observed Ali, who is doing his doctorate.

Even girls' schools in upscale Peshawar are receiving anonymous threats of suicide bombing. Several schools were recently forced to close after the administration received threatening letters. The Taliban are against providing education for girls and letting women work
.

Last month, two government-run girls' schools in Mardan, the second-biggest district in NWFP, were shut down as a precaution after warnings from Taliban groups. Another letter warned that female students must be veiled from head to toe or the schools would be blown up.

Religious extremists in the district of Swat have derailed the government's anti-polio campaign. At the forefront is a charismatic local cleric, Maulana Fazlullah. "Anyone getting crippled by polio or killed by an epidemic is a martyr," he announced at a sermon during Friday prayers.

The cleric, who likes to ride on a horse followed by his supporters in the bazaars, said: "Vaccination of children against polio is a conspiracy by the US to make the coming generation sterile."

In February 2006, in neighboring Darra Adamkhel, religious extremists killed a senior doctor and health workers involved in the polio campaign.

Anti-US sentiments are growing even in Peshawar city, rued researcher Ali. "Some barbers are refusing to shave off beards - a sign of their hatred for the US," he said.

(Inter Press Service)
Provided by Asia Times


Edited by Afghanan - 13-Mar-2007 at 12:49
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Mar-2007 at 12:08

Taliban fire off spring warning

By Syed Saleem Shahzad
Asia Times Online / March 6, 2007

KARACHI - Recent Taliban operations in southwestern Afghanistan's Helmand province and Pakistan's anti-Taliban swoop in its southwestern province of Balochistan mark a broadening of the struggle into Pakistani territory.

The Taliban claim to have overrun the Kabul-installed administration in Nawzad district headquarters in Helmand and all surrounding villages.

This only confirms the belief among North Atlantic Treaty Organization officials that until a broader strategy is devised that

takes in the whole region - including the Pakistani border areas - there can be no level playing field between NATO and the insurgency, and NATO will be the loser.

"The Taliban besieged NATO bases and offices of the Afghan administration [in Nawzad] during [the] whole winter season. We did not attack them because of the difficulties of a winter mobilization of men, and the sustainability of battle remains a problem," Taliban commander Abdul Khaliq Akhund told Asia Times Online by satellite phone from Nawzad district. "Nevertheless, we just curtailed the mobility of the Afghan administration and NATO forces throughout the winter and it was a real blow to their morale.

"As soon as the summer started, we announced the end of the ceasefire with the [Hamid]-Karzai backed administration of Nawzad district and the Taliban and moved into district headquarters. I gladly inform you that the Taliban are now fully in control of Nawzad district headquarters and all villages around it."

A NATO spokesperson in Kabul did not respond to an Asia Times Online request for comment on the Taliban's claim to have taken control of Nawzad.

During a visit to Helmand province last November, this correspondent observed the ceasefire between the Taliban and NATO forces in Nawzad district (see Time out from a siege, Asia Times Online, December 9, 2006). NATO saw the ceasefire as a chance slowly and peacefully to extend the influence of NATO forces as well as the writ of the Afghan government. However, the scheme seems to have come to nothing.

"The fall of Nawzad is the start of the Taliban-led uprising in southwestern Afghanistan, and soon the entire province of Helmand will be in the hands of the mujahideen," Abdul Khaliq claimed.

As events in Nawzad illustrate, the Taliban are unlikely to receive much opposition from Kabul-backed administrations across the province.

To stop the rot, as it were, NATO wants to take the fight into Pakistani territory - from where the Taliban receive logistical support - as its "ceasefire" tactics seem to have failed.

A new focus on Balochistan

Recent clashes between NATO forces and the Taliban in Gramser, Helmand, left dozens of Taliban wounded. Some of them retreated to Naushki, Kuchlak and Quetta in Balochistan, where they were admitted to various hospitals. Their colleagues stayed with the Afghan diaspora in the area.

NATO followed the movement of these people in Pakistan and eventually passed on information to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation's proxies, which have deep influence in the Pakistani police. As a result, under the direct surveillance of the FBI, Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence led an operation to capture dozens of Taliban.

A Pakistani newspaper claimed one of the arrested was Mullah Obaidullah, one of Taliban leader Mullah Omar's top aides. Pakistani state authorities denied the claim, including the Ministry of Interior. Nevertheless, sources in the security agencies did say that during a raid in Quetta some "very important persons were sorted out" and that Mullah Obaidullah might indeed be in the area.

These developments reinforce the Afghan government and NATO view that Quetta is an important command and control post for the Taliban and that they have to be rooted out from there. The areas of Naushki and Gardi Jungle in Balochistan have also been identified by the British Task Force in Helmand as the main supply lines of logistics and manpower into Helmand province.

"Local Baloch youths are very active supporters of the Taliban in the region of Naushki and it is the main supply line of weapons and manpower to the Taliban," commented a British military official based in Helmand province, speaking on condition of anonymity.

In return for the heat being turned on them, the Taliban will target the US proxy intelligence network in Balochistan. These include Police Intelligence Unit and FBI collaborators among Muslim clerics and other anti-Taliban elements.

It's all very well, though, for NATO to recognize the necessity of becoming more proactive across the border. There is an obstacle - and a big one. As reported by Asia Times Online (Pakistan makes a deal with the Taliban, March 1), the Pakistani establishment has struck an accord with the Taliban through a leading Taliban commander that will extend Islamabad's influence into southwestern Afghanistan and significantly strengthen the resistance in its push to capture Kabul.

As the Taliban begin the first phases of their spring offensive, the battlefield is getting bigger, as is the number of contestants.

Syed Saleem Shahzad is Asia Times Online's Pakistan Bureau Chief.

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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Mar-2007 at 11:52
Originally posted by maqsad

Dunno about Irani influence in 2001. Was there any? I was under the impression the Taliban were giving them a very hard time and had conquered 90% of Afghanistan.
 
Oh ofcourse there was influence.  Iran was sending their agents in Afghanistan after 9/11 to ensure a Pro-Iranian govt in Kabul and that their proxy groups were well represented - ie. Shiite Hazaras and Ismaelis and Northern Alliance.  They also made deals with Ismael Khan, the ex "King" of Herat to keep him in control of Herat so Iran could more easily influence it. 

Whats the timeline of events here in relation to the 2001 invasion?  You mean KHAD? Or who? Weren't all of Karzais hits done by the US marines and CIA?
 
 
This was 2004 when Ismael Khan was removed from Herat by the Pashtun warlord Amanullah Khan.  Ismael Khan's son, who was Aviation Minister of the time, was killed, and Karzai was pressuring him to leave Herat.  Ironically Amanullah was later assasinated as well and Herat is now under the control of Karzai's government.  This was all Karzais manipulations, probably with help from the CIA and his contacts with Pashtun commanders.

Pakistan complained? Where did you hear this do you have any links? Why would pakistan complain of anything other than negative Indian influence such as financing and support of terrorists. I don't get it.
 
It was on the Afghan news wires for a while actually.  It was something on the lines of Pakistan being 'bullied' by India on reconstruction deals and that Northern Alliance was shunning Pakistan from reconstruction projects and urged Karzai to investigate, which never happenned ofcourse.  There was also an incident when a few Pakistani workers were arrested and sent back to Pakistan looking for jobs in Kabul..


Active in fueling which taliban? How about some names of leaders here, what their goals are and ideologies and who their targets are.
 
Well its interesting you ask because after these constant complaints and threat of removing aid to Musharrafs government, Pakistan recently handed one of the top 3 Taliban commanders on a silver platter to the US -> Mullah Obaidullah.  This sparked Mullah Dadullah to say that their relationship to Pakistan is a shady and elusive one and that they will deal with Pakistan once they take over Afghanistan.  On a similar note, local tribal elders crossed the Durand last recently and pleaded with other Pakhtuns in Afghanistan that the ISI is training and arming militants in Pakistan and that there own tribes have nothing to do with them. 


When was this? And why would this aleged spokesperson suddenly turn on his ISI masters?
 
This was a few weeks ago.  The article is on the 1st or 2nd page of this topic.   And the question is not why did this Talib turn on ISI, but why did the ISI turn on this Talib?  It was because America and Afghan government was complaining that militants are in Pakistan and that Pakistan is not doing enough.  So, conveniently, they gave a low-level Taliban agent, the spokesperson who was making interviews on Geo TV and other Pakistani media stations, over to NATO forces.  The Taliban and the ex-spokesperson also acted angrily and revealed ISI connection to the Taliban.

I dunno if the 1 billion a year american chump change helped the pakistani economy. Even the expatriate army of paki laborors, servants, toilet cleaners etc send back 3 billion plus a year in foreign currency. Also after 911 a huge influx of capital from the paki diaspora boosted the paki economy. Scrooge Bush and his chump change had very little to do with that. And I don't know of any sort of special economic aid that came pakistan's way after 911 either. Much of Cheney's aid goes to purchase overpriced cruddy F16s and other junk which pakistan would be better off manufacturing indigenously no matter what the cost in domestic resources. How much aid was Cheney threatening to cut off? Less than a billion a year? You don't make sense...there had to be some other threat Cheney made or something else the pakis could offer.
 
Maybe threats to bomb them back to the stone age like they did pre- 9/11 had something to do with it?  Pakistans economy has benefited greatly post 9/11, lots of loans writen off, military aid, and some brief economic success.


No I doubt it.  Pakhtuns want to dominate both West pakistan and all of Afghanistan. Thats what the more hard core amongst them feel is their "right" so I doubt concensus could be reached. Look at how Karzai talks about the durand line for one..thats a hostile act in of itself. Pretty much a declaration of war.
 
You over estimate the Pakhtun factor.  Pakhtuns for one , have no leader, have no organization, more than half of them are illiterate and their Khans and Maliks are too corrupt or full of money to care about them.  Ghaffar Khan's plans have yet to meet fruition in Afghanistan or Pakistan.  If Both Afghanistan and Pakistan are stable countries, a whole of of change can occur on both sides of the border that could be mutually beneficial for both parties.


Lol ok, then IMO Afghanistan needs to stop supporting the taliban and militants in NWFP and Balochistan and drop the durand line issues and get on with life...yeah fat chance.
 
So do you think this road of perpetual chaos and threats of destabilization of both Afghanistan and Pakistan (where it is today) is a good policy?


And Pakhtuns will never drop the issue. That much can also be guaranteed, no?
 
I really believe Pakhtuns could drop this issue if there was a better policy setup in both countries to deal with the rampant militarization, talibanization and actual faith in good leaders in both sides.  They need good leaders who respect the rule of law, something that they dont have right now. 
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