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Blame Game and Pakistan

27 August, 2010

By Alam Rind


Wikileaks has provided another opportunity to propagandists those who want to create a wedge in Pakistan-US relations. It is a known fact that the creation of Taliban was through joint efforts of USA and Pakistan. The crop of religious zealots was trained, armed and made operational through US covert assistance to beat back Soviet offensive in Afghanistan.

After Soviet exit, the Americans dumped Taliban but Pakistan had to maintain relations due to geographical compulsions. These relations continued to exist till President Musharraf took a U-turn in the aftermath of 9/11 terrorist attacks. That resulted into fragmentation of Taliban groups and most of them got reduced to the level of mercenaries operating for the masters funding them. The recent Wikileak comprising about 92,000 documents, these besides exposing inadequacies of the US military operations in Afghanistan also makes an effort to establish contact between Pakistan’s intelligence agencies and Taliban. The whole move seems to be an effort to malign Pakistan’s intelligence agencies and to downplay the role Pakistan has played in combating terrorism. More so, the leaks are based on single source comments and rumors, which don’t reflect present ground realities. Implicating Pakistan’s intelligence of supporting Taliban in Afghanistan presumably against US/NATO forces, once cities and defense establishments of Pakistan are being targeted by them is simply absurd.

The situation on ground in Afghanistan is that, recently NATO has lost district Barge Matal of Nuristan Province to Taliban forces. Taliban have gone so strong that reportedly they want to trade body of a US soldier in exchange of their prisoners. Marjah has become a bleeding wound for NATO forces. They have suffered an ever highest figure of casualties in a single month i.e. over hundred dead in June 2010. General Petraeus has scraped General McCrystals Kandahar plan and is in the process of reviewing US strategy in Afghanistan.

The major shift which is being contemplated is creating local militias through bribed defections from the ranks of Taliban. The troops are expected to work with these local militias to form strong local governments in places like Kandahar. Reportedly, NATO has decided not to destroy poppy crop this year to prevent farmers from joining the ranks of Taliban. One can only wonder how these strategies are going to be implemented. Chairman US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen has predicted that they are “likely to see further tough causalities and level of violence” in Afghanistan. In a recent visit to Afghanistan he confessed that “we don’t have a lot of time, the clocks are working against us”.

US certainly is confronted with a difficult situation in Afghanistan. They apparently seem to be under pressure to leave the country due to economic compulsions, increasing causalities and growing public disapproval for war. To wriggle out of the situation Pakistan is considered as an important ally. US officials have repeatedly said that war in Afghanistan can’t be won with out the support of Pakistan. Although Pakistan is a non-NATO ally and a front line state in war against terror yet it appears that support from Pakistan is being accrued through coercion. It is evident from the statements of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen during their recent visits to Pakistan asserting that Osama Bin Ledden and Mullah Omer are in Pakistan.

Wikileaks have further implicated Pakistani authorities of supporting Taliban. British Prime Minister David Cameron`s remarks in Bangalore to an Indian audience that Pakistan is exporting terror and  Afghan President Hamid Karzai,s assertion that sanctuaries, funding centers and training places of terrorism are outside Afghanistan indirectly referring to Pakistan, that needs to be destroyed. He said, “Our international allies have this ability, but the question is why they are not doing it?” All these statements seem to have been made to force Pakistan to initiate operations in North Waziristan.

Although government of Pakistan has repeatedly said that Pakistan Armed Forces will initiate operations in North Waziristan at the time of its choosing than why so much of fuss. And if, this operation is so important, than why US administration is not providing attack / transport helicopters, night vision sights and other military equipment need for operations.

Neither US administration seems to be willing to stabilize Pakistan’s economy, which according to an estimate has suffered a loss of over $43 billion in war against terror. Even India is not being influenced to close training camps which they are operating in Afghanistan to perpetrate terrorist activities in Pakistan. All these developments cast serious doubts on American sincerity towards Pakistan. War on terror is important and Pakistan is willing to combat this menace for its own sack and for the sack of global peace and safety but at the same time Pakistan deserves to be supported and helped to overcome the problems it is confronted with.

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