Pakistan News Service

Tuesday Jan 21, 2020, Jumada-al-awwal 25, 1441 Hijri

This Spring America's target is not Iran but Pakistan

07 March, 2007

By Abid Mustafa

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On February 27 2007, US Vice President Dick Cheney paid a surprised visit to Pakistan and held private talks with General Musharraf. After the meeting, Cheney refused to comment on the nature of his visit and left for Afghanistan. The New York Times stated that Cheney was sent to remind Musharraf that he must take stiffer action against the Taleban; otherwise US aid will be in jeopardy. The Pakistani government issued the following statement: Cheney expressed US apprehensions of regrouping of Al Qaeda in the tribal areas and called for concerted efforts in countering the threat, and also talked of serious US concerns on the intelligence being picked up of an impending Taliban spring offensive against allied forces in Afghanistan.  Cheney's trip coincided with Britain's Foreign Secretary, Margaret Becket's visit to Pakistan. Becket also pressed the Pakistani government to take more action against Al Qaeda and the Taleban, but struck more reconciliatory tone. Speaking at the Foreign Services Academy on a lecture entitled 'The UK and Pakistan: partners in diplomacy', she stated that the UK would not link its aid to Pakistan over its performance on counter-terrorism measures. So what was the purpose of Cheney's visit to Pakistan? Does the British stance suggest cracks in the Anglo-American alliance over Afghanistan?

Cheney's visit comes nearly two weeks after Bush gave his speech on Afghanistan at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he set out US goals to stabilise Afghanistan and warned about the Taleban spring offensive. Bush said, The snow is going to melt in the Hindu Kush Mountains, and when it does we can expect fierce fighting to continue. The Taliban and al Qaeda are preparing to launch new attacks. This spring there is going to be a new offensive in Afghanistan, and it's going to be a NATO offensive. Other US officials most notably US Secretary of Defence, Robert Gates and US Assistant Secretary of State, Richard Boucher have also visited Pakistan in the past month. Gates's visit focussed on how to secure greater freedom for US and NATO forces to launch strikes against Taleban sanctuaries and conduct military forays deep inside the Pakistani tribal areas, whilst Boucher reviewed Musharraf's progress on the peace deals signed with tribal elders.

The visits by senior officials of the Bush administration to Pakistan demonstrate that the carrot and stick policy adopted against the Pushtun resistance and their supporters, since 2003 has started to unravel. The carrot disguised as Afghan national reconciliation drive was meant to entice moderate elements of the Taleban, Al-Qaeda, Afghan Mujihideen and ordinary Pushtoons radicalised by the war together they constitute the Pushtun resistance into a political process to bolster Karzai's fledging government. The US is still encouraging Karzai's government to explore ways of accommodating moderate elements of the resistance. On January 27 2007, Karzai renewed the offer of peace talks. He said, While we are fighting for our honour, we still open the door for talks and negotiations with our enemy who is after our annihilation and is shedding our blood. Karzai's gestures of peace comes amid the passing of a bill on National Stability And Reconciliation by both the Meshrano Jirga (Council of Elders) and the Wolesi Jirga (People's Council). The bill offers blanket amnesty to all parties, and after demonstrations in Kabul demanding its implementation, awaits Karzai's signature. Nevertheless, the US has ruled out the inclusion of hardened Taliban fighters such as Daud Ullah.

To curb the tribal support enjoyed by the Pushtun resistance, peace-pacts were introduced by the Musharraf government. These were designed to achieve two objectives. Firstly to entice tribal elders in laying down their arms, dismantling the jihadi infrastructure and surrendering elements of the Pushtun resistance hostile to America in exchange for economic aid. Secondly, to use the lull in fighting to assemble a moderate faction of the Taleban, take helm of the Pushtun resistance and invest it in a political process.  The stick comprised of punitive measures to isolate and destroy hardcore Pushtun resistance leaders vehemently opposed to the NATO's occupation of Afghanistan, and Pakistan's collaboration with the US.

The peace deals struck by Pakistan had tacit approval from the Bush administration. However, the callous killing of civilians by NATO forces and Pakistani troops on both sides of the border combined with the endemic corruption and injustices of the Karzai government, have transformed the parochial Pushtoon resistance into a mass movement.  When the European Union (EU) took command of NATO they were shocked by the ferocity of the resistance and laboured hard to contain its growing influence in the Southern Afghanistan. The rising NATO causalities spurred the EU, especially Britain to expose Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan. This forced the Bush administration to gradually withdraw its support for the peace deals. By now Pakistan was also struggling to gain control of the Pushtoon resistance. British influence in the religious seminaries, amongst the scholars and in the tribal areas, foiled Pakistan's attempt to create a monolithic Taleban army that Pakistan could use effectively. Beyond Quetta and some parts of tribal areas the new Taliban failed to make impact.

It is not the first time the EU has been at odds with the US over Afghanistan. European countries have consistently refused to deploy a significant numbers of troops assist NATO efforts in Afghanistan. In his speech at the AEI, President Bush lamented at European countries for their failings. He said, For NATO to succeed, member nations must provide commanders on the ground with the troops and the equipment they need to do their jobs. As well, allies must lift restrictions on the forces they do provide so NATO commanders have the flexibility they need to defeat the enemy wherever the enemy may make a stand. The EU's reluctance to contribute to NATO's mission in war torn Afghanistan can only be explained by its desire to see America fail in Afghanistan. But at the same time the EU does not want to see Islam returning to Afghanistan a political conundrum it has been unable to solve.

The additional US and UK soldiers sent to be bolster NATO troops in Afghanistan fall way short of the numbers required to confront the Pushtoon resistance. The troop numbers have been further exacerbated by America's distrust of the Afghan army the army has been intentionally deprived of heavy weaponry rendering almost useless in any upcoming battle. All of this means that the US will have to bear the brunt of the

fighting. This comes as a huge blow US forces are over stretched in Iraq and there are not enough troops to send to Afghanistan. The situation is rapidly deteriorating in Afghanistan. The assassination attempt on Dick Cheney clearly highlights America's predicament.

To redress this situation America has again turned to Musharraf to prepare for a mini war in the tribal belt and Southern Afghanistan. Negroponte's remarks about Al Qaeda regrouping in Pakistan and the recent US intelligence assessments echoing similar findings are intended to prepare opinion both at home and abroad for this war. It is expected that Pakistan will provide the bulk of the troops for this offensive, while NATO will utilise the American build up in the Gulf to conduct air strikes and limited ground operations.

America knows full well that she will not be able to crush the Pushtun resistance and that Musharraf may not survive. But the US has no choice, it is make or break for the US in Afghanistan and the calculus of Musharraf survival is irrelevant. America's tactical goal is to degrade the resistance in Afghanistan and confine it to a small area until next spring. By then the Bush administration hopes that situation in Iraq would have stabilised and there would be more US troops to confront the Pushtun resistance in Afghanistan 2008. But the reality may turn out to be entirely different instead of the Pushtun resistance the Caliphate could be waiting for America.

Reader Comments:

You reap what you sow

As the events are going on, one thing is for sure, sooner than later, the US is going to lock horns with Pakistan & the Pakistani government, under the flip-flop leadership of Gen. Pervez Musharraf will be hard-pressed for its own survival. Musharraf is increasingly getting stuck between the devil & the deep sea. It was the US, which, during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, impregnated the Pakistani state with this Frankenstein monster called terrorism. Now the Pak military establishment can neither continue nor abandon their policy of using Terrorism as a strategic bargaining chip. There is an old saying : Those who live by the Gun, die by the Gun. This maxim, when applied to Pakistan's precarious situation would be : Those who sire Terrorism, are consumed by it.

Karan Thapar, United Kingdom - 07 March, 2007

Khilafat, Mullahs, and educated Pakistanis' pipe dream

Khilafat was a golden period that is gone. No crying, weeping, terrorizing, or frothing will bring it back. Khilafat was a product of unique circumstances in the history. Since then a lot of water has flown under the bridge and circumstances have changed.

Even if we want to keep the concept of Khilafat alive as romantic notion, we must see the pre-requisites of Khilafat. Khilafat was started by people who were the most truthful, tolerant, and trustworthy. No one would trust Pashtun tribals with $20 bill, and you all expect they will bring back Khilafat? Even in relatively peaceful times, a non-tribal fears for his life during every second of stay in the tribal areas. That kind of behavior surely brings about a golden image of Islam.

I hope Mr. Mustafa is joking when he says "Caliphate could be waiting for America".

If Mr. Mustafa means bunch of bearded criminals are waiting for America, well that may be true. America simply wants Pakistan to control its territory. 200 years of lawless FATA does not mean, Waziris should remain lawless criminals for the next 1000 years. Even chimps figure out the value of peace and order in that time.

America may or may not be there to support the mayor of Kabul. However Pakistan should wake up and take care of its own territory. Countries are made with a lot of hard work, and not by sitting in a drawingroom drinking gahwa. The loss of 700 Pak soldiers mean that Para Chinar and Kohat are still standing. Otherwise they could have easily become the shining examples of civilization that exists in bombed out Kabul, Kandhar, and Jalalabad.

Look! Afghan army failed and the result was so terrible for their country. You Mr. Abid Mustafa are secretly hoping that Pakistani army fails too. Well dream on. Pak army will thwart anarchists like Mr. Mustafa and others.

If Mr. Mustafa considers uncouth uncivilized cave dwellers to bring civilization to the world, he must be smoking something really strong.

Khilafat came about thanks to hard work by the Muslim intellectuals. They stood for peace, modernism, and innovation.

These days Muslim intellectuals are content with smoking pipes filled with orthodoxy, anarchy, and terrorism.

The result is obvious! Terrorists have taken over the leadership of Muslim agenda. Then we all sit around, and cry like babies that the world attaches the dreaded term of terrorism strictly with Islam.

Unless the intellectuals like Mr. Mustafa get out of the hell hole of orthodoxy and anarchy, we all will continue suffering at the hands of petty tribals and uncivilized Mullahs.

Dr. Qazi, United Kingdom - 07 March, 2007

There are many a slip 'ween the cup and the lips.

Fear of repercussions from China would prevent America from targeting Pakistan.

Sher Mohammad, Pakistan - 07 March, 2007

This Spring America's target

In politics the policial alliances are not changed overnight and what is between US and Pakistan got nothing to do with the visit of Dick to Pakistan. What they discussed is not made public and Meida got something to write and have written with assumptions. The need of Pakistan US relations is the need of the time and it will carrry on by both for mutual benefits and two are fighting against terrorism and Taliban though the entire responisbility lies on the shoulders of US and its NATO ALLIES. Pakistan is providing a bit of help and not bound under any circumstances, the sitution if changes the aid is not a big issue for Pakistan. If Pakistan could do away with aid from US and others and blasted its Nuclear Devices that shows how much dependancy is there.Pakistan is still carrying out testing of Ballistic and cruise missiles without interference of either US or others.There seems to be no crack in US -Pakistan relations. USSR was dismantled by Pakistani forces not by Taliban though they did play their part in that war. Pakistan is not a weak country as one might think and Gen. Musharraf is too smart for Americans or any other. He is there to look after the interests of his own country first and then if possible will provide some kind of support to others. Cold War and similar words are used to keep forces busy around the world as it generates wealth and business. US is not in Afghanistan to win any war but to keep presence in that region by overlooking the Chinese who are coming up as a Super Power of tomorrow. India is also coming up no doubt about that and US is more concered about the progress of two large countries of South Asia.A unity between Pakistan and India is also a concern for west as its going to affect their trade.

mohammad, United Arab Emirates - 07 March, 2007

Well written

The tragedy of Pakistan and nation is that it has been ruled by greedy generals who always put their interest above that of the army and armys interest above that of country or nation.The bunch of ruling generals have
their brains in thier rectum and the stools in their heads and on chest are all kind of medals.If these people were sincere with Pakistan they would have let the civilians rule and stayed on borders and barracks and pressured them to work towards self sutenance and sufficency but instead they put all their eggs in basket called USA.

Dr.Khan, United Kingdom - 07 March, 2007

Jihad warfare has been prescribed to defend women children

Spring War and War Time Brothels Opening is coming to cater foreign
Soldiers who are merciless killers .The sign of Nudity clubs model girls
opening is on the card .In their own Islamic term they Call themselves
collectors of spoils of War i.e. Muslim OIC OPEC Oil LNG Iron Ores
Minerals virgin girls Baby for adoptation.

NATO Ground Army is everywhere who have designed Sectarian killing
Human rights Emotional disturbance and abuse of Live Ruuh (soul)
Strategy against Muslim Professionals.

Muslims do not have 26000 nukes and cannot fight conventional war. To prevent
Family going to brothel after no resistance after Umma male having been
exterminated . The best is to fight A none Conventional Sharpen Islamic
knife War.

Kids and women of Islam be given sharp knives rather than bikini or lap top dancing lesson .Ask them to attack all foreign soldiers in every OIC location .Divided And Scattered NATO soldiers can be slaughtered everywhere by Muslim women and
Children .Muslim Men and Youth who have become self Grazing slaughtering kind sheep flockThey like to be slaughtered but let women and kids have honourable death.

Z M B, Hungary - 07 March, 2007

Carrot stick policy backfires

The trip of Chenny is for the preparation of the war on Iran for sure,persuading the countries related into doing what US want them to do.But War only creat indignation.The situation in Iraq right now is a good instance.Dialogue among the contries involved is the best way of solving the issue.If A country is destroyed,How can the human rights be protected?

Gao Weixing, China - 08 March, 2007

War on Pakistan

US and Pakistan are allies and in politics this very understanding is never changed overnight and there is no possiblity of breaking this agreement. Moreover Pakistan is very strong country and its armed forces are one of the best in the world. You can't just have the arms and equipment you do need a will to fight and Pakistani got it as proved against USSR. US would never make a mistake to lose Pakistan knowing that Republic of China is going to be next World Power soon. US is just keeping a presence in that region which is just fruitless. Going back sometime there was a news article in TASS a Russian news agency which quoted that Republic of China and Pakistan entered in defense agreement and together they are another world power. No one should under estimate Pakistan's capability and if attacked by any country will find Pakistani teeth very hard. Let us hope that US does not make a mistake to attack Iran which is not on the card yet. There is too much in the plate while in Iraq and Afghanistan and not easy for US to swallow.

mohammad, United Arab Emirates - 08 March, 2007

We shall survive and rise again-INSHALLAH

This article deserves admiration for thoughtfulness about what could be in store for us.

Islamic world has started to show signs that the re-rise of muslim world is just initiating now for future safeguard.

Few ill wishers may be there like amongst other people as well. But, soon Inshallah, there will be propagation to make Islam a mighty nation to defend itself against all odds no matter where they come from.

If the jehadis could make America sole super power through Afghan war, Islamic countries can do more for themselves through other different modes of struggle.


Anwar Mahmood, Canada - 08 March, 2007

Well said

Very well said. Musharraf has been making statements all around the globe that, he did everything in Pakistan's favor...,this war on terrorism is also in favor of Pakistan...!!
I wonder how long will he be deceiving himself that Pakistan is nothing but a mere puppet for Bush administration. The sooner Pakistan realizes this the better it will be for them.

Salim, Ukraine - 09 March, 2007

Pay the price

Musharraf is in jeopardy, as 95% of Pakistanis do have sympathy with Taleban and he can't eliminate and instant pressure from United States. Pakistan now realizes that playing with fire can burn fingers too.

Sunil Sinha, United Kingdom - 09 March, 2007

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