Myth of South Waziristan Broken: Gen. Kayani


ISLAMABAD: Sitting under a portrait of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, with a huge blazing red calligraphy on his left and an impressive piece of framed Chinese embroidery on his right, recalling the deaths at the Parade Lane of four young sons of his officers who were Hufaz-e-Quran, COAS General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani emerged as the first Army chief to resort to speak to the Americans and their Western allies in words and images that they cannot fail to understand.

One of the last few senior generals to have undertaken military training in the US until the Pressler Amendment was slapped on Pakistan, the US and its allies are now not only listening but also understanding as the COAS uses the symbols of American legendary golfer Tiger Woods on his power point display and comparing full bases at a baseball game to some of the war situations on the Pak-Afghan border.

In a meeting at the GHQ, with analysts and retired senior generals, some under whose command he had served, the COAS opened up his mind and heart to dwell on the dangers facing Pakistan militarily, and the region, and ways and means that the military leadership thinks are the solutions to ensure that at the end of the war, Pakistan does not find itself in the ‘wrong corner of the room’. The interaction continued for nearly three hours.

Speaking on and off therecord, the COAS shared with the participants the presentation that he had made at Nato headquarters in Brussels, where generals from 45 countries heard him, and which many Western military analysts told The News, was a “make and break” presentation, which got the Western military leadership not only ‘educated’, but confess amongst themselves “all” that they were doing “wrong” inside Afghanistan.

One of the direct results of this Brussels presentation, which even the Foreign Office agrees, resulted in the final push which made India coming reluctantly to the negotiating table. The COAS had convinced Nato and others why it was important for him to have his eastern border peaceful.

The proudest moment for any Pakistani was to hear and readily believe that the ‘myth’ of South Waziristan had been broken and the military operations before that in Swat and Malakand in the words of the Army chief, “We did it with no help from the United States. Daily I would receive calls if we needed any help and we replied we needed nothing”.

He was very clear about what was best for Pakistan in these days of turmoil. “Partnership (with the US) does not mean you desire and I start doing it,” said the COAS. He said with the US military aid still in the pipeline, “In many cases I have eaten into my reserves.” While acknowledging he said there has to be a balance for a military budget and one for development as well.

The fear was, said Kayani, even if his military had accepted 5%, it would have been blown up to 50%. The COAS earlier had met General Stanley A McChrystal, Commander International Security Assistance Force, Afghanistan, at a time when everyone in the region was still waiting for the US to explain in detail the policies that will take them up to the time that they are ready to leave the region.

“I told McChrystal that the acid test of a policy is that options should increase,” he said, adding that he believed that the only way to measure success inside Afghanistan was to gauge the public support and not the number of people you kill.

“Today, this is McCrystal’s policy inside Afghanistan, where they talk of a political process and reconciliation. Finally, there is realisation today,” added the chief. Looking at the US Afghan strategy, Kayani says he has clearly told the US that raising an Afghan Army in the stipulated time is not possible, and weaning away of the Taliban will only happen if the US is seen willing inside Afghanistan.

“This has not happened and the perception has not been formed. Only when you win over 70%, you are really winning,” he added. He also does not shy away from telling his US visitors that the bulk of Nato supplies are still going through Pakistan and they will continue to do so, and threats of looking for alternative routes do not impress him.

South Waziristan “We had a history of mismanaged operations in South Waziristan and there was a myth that no-one has ever come here and controlled the area. If we had turned back, we would have destroyed the credibility of the military”.

The victory in South Waziristan, the chief said, was because of motivation of the troops, changed tactics of engaging the adversaries from the dangerous ridges of mountains instead of the customary land routes which also resulted in fewer casualties.

Swat operation The COAS said there was no example in history of what the Pakistan military accomplished in the Swat operation and which successfully changed the public opinion. It was the largest heliborne operation.

“So when we send foreign defence chiefs to Swat, we have a story to tell. When I accompanied Admiral Mike Mullen and showed him how we had done the operation, including showing him the gorges there, his response was, “I will send General McChrystal to see this”.

The last visitor was US National Security Advisor James Jones, who heard for himself from educated locals how unpopular the Americans were.

India-centric

Kayani says he did not mince his words when he told Nato that he was India-centric and there was logic behind this. There was no way he could relax on his eastern border to concentrate fully on the west.

“We have unresolved issues, a history of conflict and now the Cold Start doctrine. Help us resolve these issues. We want peaceful co-existence with India. India has the capability and intentions can change overnight,” Kayani had told his audience in Brussels.

Nato is also realising why it is important for Pakistan to help train the Afghan Army because Pakistan could strategically simply not tolerate an Afghan Army trained by the Indians and having an Indian mindset.

Pak-Nato ratio

It is not easy for any commander to count his dead when the killing fields are still alive. But Kayani told Nato how Pakistan in 2009, lost 2,273 soldiers with another 6,512 being wounded.

“Pakistan as one nation lost 2,273 soldiers while US/Nato in the same period lost 1,582. We have 10,000 troops on UN missions,” recalled the COAS. Pakistan has contributed 147,000 troops to its “silent surge” while 43 nations in Afghanistan have sent a mere 100,000.

Pakistan mans 82 posts at the Pak-Afghan border while the coalition and Afghan Army have only 112. “Pakistan’s operations have decreased cross border movements, there is control of areas, squeezing of spaces, and continuous flow of logistic flow,” pointed the COAS. For a man of “few words” when he was DG ISI, today Kayani is saying a lot more. All of which has to be heard loud and clear by the people of Pakistan.

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WARNING To India: Dont Tempt Us


By: Faisal Awan
The writer is a member of editorial team of pakistanfirst.com

With too many Bollywood characters punctuating tiers of Lok Saba it seems like Bollywood action movie theme and mind set has inculcated in the hierarchy of the Indian Army to hilarious limits as well. The precedence of such mindset was exhibited by none other than its Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor, when he claimed “Indian army is ready to battle Pakistan and China at the same time”. This statement was further bolstered by Lt-General A S Lamba that “India within 48 hours of the start of assault can enter Pakistan”. The Indian Think Tanks and Indian Army are missing the cue that thrusting a war on Pakistan and entering Pakistan is by no means a Hindi Bollywood version of Adolf Hitler taking over Austria and Czechoslovakia or a Bollywood Remix version of “The Guns of Navarone”.

Indian government and army needs to understand that their unyielding greed for bloodshed and hegemony will back fire just like it did in September 1965, when General Joyanto Nath Chaudhri confidently and boastfully told his officers that he would like to have his evening drink at Lahore Gymkhana. What history witnessed then in the next 2-3 weeks was none other than a consummate squashing of their army chief’s wishful dream.

The drunken leadership of the Indian Army is trampling the tolerance of Pakistani people and is coquetting with fire. Indian government and its army’s multifaceted exploitation of Pakistan’s desire to peace must not be considered its weakness. The warmongers are forgetting that nothing is too big to cross for the resolute, tenacious and unyielding nation which the world calls The Pakistanis. But if these buffoons are under the impression that they will enter Pakistan in 48 hours, ironically giving themselves 24 hours more than General Joyanto Nath Chaudhri, then this will be the last mistake they will be making. The fate of General Joyanto Nath Chaudhri and his yes men should not be forgotten. If we can teach a lesson in 1965, then make no mistake about it that we are now a Nuclear Power and our enemies will be hung in the streets of their own country by Pakistani Army Jawans without any concession of their ranks in Indian Army.

The Indian authorities should strive to refrain themselves from such assertions which has historically caused nothing but utter embarrassment and disgrace to its country. The Pakistan army, Pakistani youth and the Pakistani nation has the resilience and audacity to slap a response to any aggression towards ideological and geographical boundaries of its Pak Sarzameen.

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Aman ke Asha – A Cornerstone of the new Indian Cold Start Strategy?


Ahmed Shahid

Just one day after the Indian army chief, Deepak Kapoor, gave out a statement promoting going to war with Pakistan and China at the same time (with him painting a picture of New Delhi annihilating Pakistan within few hours of war), the Indian media in collaboration with Pakistani media hit off the new year, with a campaign tagged “Aman ke Asha”. The last time we engaged Indians on such an Asha was in ending up having Indian Jets in our skies for possible strikes and war – and all without evidence. We remember the “Das Kadam Pakistan Khatam” styled pathetic videos shown on the same Indian media singing Aman Kay Geet now. So, we wonder what the “Asha” is all about this time. The plan apparently as always, is to move towards another round of Confidence Building Measures – CBMs, with Pakistan. The question however is, is it really worth it? We shall leave the answer to the reader after reading on.

Let’s see how India aka Bharat is really doing to fulfill this time its Aman Ki Asha. As far as the world is concerned, an intention for peace must be supported by some steps. Even when Obama chose to promote peace, mostly with Russia, he took some decisions in refraining from installing missile shields in the world and announced cutting down of US nuclear arsenal. This is not exactly the standard, yet however, can churn some example for Bharat. With its colossal plans of spending a hundred billion dollars on acquiring state of the art weaponry from all over the world in the next two to five years, we really doubt the Indian plans for peace. What’s interesting to us is not really what the Indian masses think about peace, it’s what the Indian leaders are saying on record and what the Indian media is propagating to constantly keep the hype of war alive with Pakistan. We have not forgotten what Indian analysts such as Bharat Verma write about Pakistan and the solutions he gives for peace. Nor have we forgotten what Indian leaders said after the fall of Dhaka: We have taken revenge of a thousand years with Pakistan. Have we forgotten what Narsima Rao said about breaking and destroying Pakistan, only promoting it as its enemy? Or have we forgotten what happened with Babri Masjid and the tribunal verdict on that? Looking at the events now, the world doesn’t seem any different place. We still have the Indian army chief giving out occasional statements promoting war with Pakistan, threatening it and destroying it. Is this how Aman ke Asha will see its logical end? We don’t know what Bharat really means this time, but what we do know is that you cannot convince the world with singing songs of peace and happiness at one side, and taking up arms and threats on the other hand. If anything, it reminds us of the infamous Chankya and his teachings.

We are not sure under what delusional these people are. But what happens on the ground tells a very different tale. Pakistan is fighting a war at fronts it doesn’t even know. We have American mercenary blackwaters going in Pakistan unchecked with weapons. We have American B-52s flying on FATA under the big hand of friendship. We have India doing exercises with Israel and we know where this all is headed eventually. Bharat has never accepted the state of Pakistan deep down and we know it more every time Indian leaders say it out loud. We know what Bharat is up to with Americans, Israelis and the team. The message is clear and loud: The media may be writing so and there may be some conceding but the masses of Pakistan and its youth is aware and well aware of protecting Pakistan, the stronghold of Islam, the bastion of Islam. We will not bow down to aggression or be taken for a fool or deceived. Very closely, we watch you and your designs and we shall know when you are sincere and when you are not, and you are not. Where you do gather few under the name of peace, we watch at guard of our nation and our country.

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Whither India?


By S. Qadri

India’s de facto ruler, Sonia Gandhi, has warned Pakistan against “taking India’s wish for peace as a sign of weakness” (Dec 22).

Every country in South Asia knows that India is upto scores of times bigger in size and military strength. They have also learned from experience how the giant neighbour throws its weight around. Thus, even the landlocked Nepal was subjected to an economic blockade and Sri Lanka was so worried in the 80’s that it had reportedly asked Britain, China and Pakistan tohelp it in case of an Indian invasion.

Pakistan, too, knows this and much more, having lost its eastern wing primarily due to Indian military might/intervention. So, Mrs Gandhi, everybody around here knows India’s superficial strength. But, what is real power, do you ever try to understand?

True power is what China has been exhibiting in its relations with its South Asian neighbours. When, during the 1962 war with India, it had pushed the Indian army out of the disputed territory, it declared a ceasefire and returned the Indian weapons it had captured, after duly polishing and servicing them! That is what is known as strength.

Standing up fearlessly to a 7 times bigger adversary, as the Pakistanis have been doing for 61 years, is also toughness.

It is not the bullying of weaker countries by holding a gun to their heads, as India does, won’t do. Nor is it the occupation of territories, as New Delhi did in case of Kashmir, Hyderabad, Junagadh, Goa, Sikkum and Siachen Glacier. And by no means is it the stoppage of river waters to Pakistan or Bangladesh either.

The Indian Sufi Hazrat Inayat Khan had explained this in his own wisdom:

“A person in the intoxication of outer power that he possesses overloks the cultivation or the developmnt of inner power, and, depending upon the power that does not belong to him, one day becomes the victim of the very power that he holds… So it is that the heroes, the kings, the emperors, the persons with great power of arms… have become the victim of the very power upon which they always depended.”

Thus, slitting pen the bellies of pregnant Muslim women or burning to death Christian missionaries is not power, any more than holding Kashmiris or Nagas or Naxalite farmers captive at gunpoint your strength. That is why violent protestors or their sympathisers now besiege India.

If India had existed in Euope, would Italy, France, Germany or Britain have allowed it to gobble up slices of their territories? This is something that Mrs Gandhi and the European supporters of India should ponder about. How can China, Pakistan or other regional countries let New Delhi usurp their lands or riverine resources?

Former Indian President Radhakrishnan had said many decades ago: “Our opportunities are great but let me warn you that when power outstrips ability, we will fall on evil ways”.

More poignantly, John Milton had observed: “What is strength without a double share of wisdom? Vast, unwieldy, burdensome, proudly secure, yet liable to fail by weakest subtleties, strength’s not mad to rule, but to subserve, where wisdom bears command”.

Both of them could have been speaking of present-day India.

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Indian Military ready for war against China, Pakistan


Finally The cat is out of bag:

India Army ready for war against China, Pakistan.

Shimla-based Indian Army Training Command, headed by Lt-General A S Lamba is getting ready for something Indian Military never was ready before. Indian Air Force, Navy, and Army is ready to face Pakistan and China at the same time.

India’s 1.13-million strong Military is now panning to handle two major war fronts at the same time. India considers Pakistan and China as part of the same camp. India knows the next war will be between India and Pakistan+China. India will get indirect support from America and Russia, but Indian Military will have to fight the two war at the same time.

Indian Military has been training for the mini giant war against two nuclear powered nations at the same time. China has used Pakistan for a long time to keep India busy. Now time has come for India to recognize a massive threat from China and Pakistan at the same time.

Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor emphasizes that India is ready for the successful firming-up of the cold start strategy (to be able to go to war promptly) in the multiple fronts against multiple different militias at the same time.

The plan is a full thrust assault into multiple anomies at the same time with massive Air Force superiority. If attacked by Pakistan and china at the same time, India will launch self-contained and highly-mobile `battle groups”, with Russian-origin T-90S tanks and upgraded T-72 M1 tanks at their core, adequately backed by far superior air cover and artillery fire assaults, for rapid thrusts into enemy territory within 96 hours.

India plans to end the war decisively within the first 96 hours forcing the other sides into a fast submission of ceasefire.

People’s Liberation Army is aware of the capacities of Indian Army and Air Force. It will be exactly opposite of 1962 war. That is why they are busy building massive infrastructure in the Indian border areas especially in Aksai Chin and Tibet.

The real war in that scenario will be between India and China while Pakistan will be used by China to create adequate disturbance for Indian Military. That is the reason why Lt-General A S Lamba of Indian Army is so keen a massive thrust into Rawalpindi to quiet Pakistanis within 48 hours of the start of assault.

India’s biggest advantage is the its software capabilities in integrating signal intelligence with ground intelligence. India will use algorithmic seek and scan technology to counter the Chinese threats in the North and possible Pakistani nuclear threat in the West.

India is focused on integrating its Navy, Army and Air Force into an integrated command and Control system completely controlled and dominated by the superior software algorithms that can prove deadly in the war front. (India Daily)

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US behind attacks on Pakistani civilians: Ex-ISI chief


Former ISI chief Asad Durrani says private US contractors such as Xe (formerly known as Blackwater) and other intelligence agents may be behind the assassination of civilians across Pakistan.

In an exclusive interview with Press TV, Durrani said on Friday that the local militants led by Hakimullah Mehsud primarily target the government and military instillations.

Arguing against the local militants involvements in civilian assassinations, Durrani added that the militants consider Islamabad as a close ally of the US in the so-called ‘war on terror’ and that they have been launching retaliatory attacks against the government targets, particularly since the Pakistani army launched a major offensive against their stronghold in South Waziristan.

Durrani said that he doubted the notorious militants groups were behind a recent surge in attacks on civilian targets across the country.

The former head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) claimed that certain theories were circulating among Pakistani intellectuals suggesting that the foreign agents or private US contractors could have been orchestrating assassinations on the civilian targets in the nuclear-armed country.

According to Durrani, these attacks were being carried out to encourage Islamabad to be more involved in war against the militants.

Pakistan has experienced a wave of violence over the past two years. Nearly 3,000 people have been killed in bomb attacks and other terrorist operations across the country.

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The US military is exhausted


Sarah Lazare

The call for over 30,000 more troops to be sent to Afghanistan is a travesty for the people of that country who have already suffered eight brutal years of occupation.

It is also a harsh blow to the US soldiers facing imminent deployment.

As Barack Obama, the US president, gears up for a further escalation that will bring the total number of troops in Afghanistan to over 100,000, he faces a military force that has been exhausted and overextended by fighting two wars.

Many from within the ranks are openly declaring that they have had enough, allying with anti-war veterans and activists in calling for an end to the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with some active duty soldiers publicly refusing to deploy.

This growing movement of military refusers is a voice of sanity in a country slipping deeper into unending war.

The architects of this war would be well-advised to listen to the concerns of the soldiers and veterans tasked with carrying out their war policies on the ground.

Many of those being deployed have already faced multiple deployments to combat zones: the 101st Airborne Division, which will be deployed to Afghanistan in early 2010, faces its fifth combat tour since 2002.

“They are just going to start moving the soldiers who already served in Iraq to Afghanistan, just like they shifted me from one war to the next,” said Eddie Falcon, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Soldiers are going to start coming back with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), missing limbs, problems with alcohol, and depression.”

Many of these troops are still suffering the mental and physical fallout from previous deployments.

Rates of PTSD and traumatic brain injury among troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan have been disproportionately high, with a third of returning troops reporting mental problems and 18.5 per cent of all returning service members battling either PTSD or depression, according to a study by the Rand Corporation.

Marine suicides doubled between 2006 and 2007, and army suicides are at the highest rate since records were kept in 1980.

Resistance in the ranks

US army soldiers are refusing to serve at the highest rate since 1980, with an 80 per cent increase in desertions since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, according to the Associated Press.

These troops refuse deployment for a variety of reasons: some because they ethically oppose the wars, some because they have had a negative experience with the military, and some because they cannot psychologically survive another deployment, having fallen victim to what has been termed “Broken Joe” syndrome.

Over 150 GIs have publicly refused service and spoken out against the wars, all risking prison and some serving long sentences, and an estimated 250 US war resisters are currently taking refuge in Canada.

This resistance includes two Fort Hood, Texas, soldiers, Victor Agosto and Travis Bishop, who publicly resisted deployment to Afghanistan this year, facing prison sentences as a result, with Bishop still currently detained.

“There is no way I will deploy to Afghanistan,” wrote Agosto, upon refusing his service last May. “The occupation is immoral and unjust.”

Within the US military, GI resisters and anti-war veterans have organised through broad networks of veteran and civilian alliances, as well as through IVAW, comprised of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

This organisation, which is over 1,700 strong, with members across the world, including active-duty members on military bases, is opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and openly supports GI resistance.

“Iraq Veterans Against the War calls on Obama to end the war in Afghanistan (and Iraq) by withdrawing troops immediately and unconditionally,” wrote Jose Vasquez, the executive director of IVAW, in a December 2 open letter.

“It’s not time for our brothers and sisters in arms to go to Afghanistan. It’s time for them to come home.”

No clear progress

GI coffee houses have sprung up at several military bases around the country. In the tradition of the GI coffee houses of the Vietnam war era, these cafes provide a space where active duty troops can speak freely and access resources about military refusal, PTSD, and veteran and GI movements against the war.

“Here at Fort Lewis, we’ve lost 20 soldiers from the most recent round of deployments,” said Seth Menzel, an Iraq combat veteran and founding organiser of Coffee Strong, a GI coffee house at the sprawling Washington army base.

“We’ve seen resistance to deployment, mainly based on the fact that soldiers have been deployed so many times they don’t have the patience to do it again.”

As the occupation of Afghanistan passes its eighth year, with no clear progress, goals that remain elusive, and a high civilian death count, this war is coming to resemble the Iraq war that has been roundly condemned by world and US public opinion.

The never-ending nature of this conflict belies the real project of establishing US dominance in the Middle East and control of the region’s resources, at the expense of the Afghan civilians and US soldiers being placed in harm’s way.

The voices of refusal coming from within the US military send a powerful message that soldiers will not be fodder for an unjust and unnecessary war. By withdrawing their labour from a war that depends on their consent, these soldiers have the power to help bring this war to an end, as did their predecessors in the GI resistance movement against the Vietnam war.

And the longer the war in Afghanistan drags on – the more lives that are lost and destroyed – the more resistance we will see coming from within the ranks.

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