Peter Bergen is a senior research fellow and Brian Fishman and Katherine Tiedemann are research fellows at the New America Foundation.
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2:13 PM ET
October 12, 2010
‘Local people’ feed what Western reporters want to hear
This is a highly misleading article that totally ignores the history. The reporters seem to be forgetting that local people know what the Western reporters want to hear and so will feed them the input accordingly.
Let us just look at last fifteen years or so:
While being forced to join US fight against Taliban in 2001 under the threat of dire consequences by Richard Armitage, General Musharraf played a duplicitous game of ‘running with the hares while hunting with the hounds‘.
Let us NOT forget that democratic government of Pakistan chose of its own free will, to facilitate relocation of Osama bin Laden from Sudan to Afghanistan in 1996.
Let us NOT forget that Pakistani Army and ISI created what ex-CIA official Bruce Reidel called 'this jihadist Frankenstein monster' on their own with full financing provided by Pakistan’s democratic governments during 1990s.
Al Qaeda, Taliban, LeT, JeM, JuD, HuJi and countless other terror outfits have been spawned in Pakistan, the official ’terror center’ of the world as per CIA with the help, support and sanctuary provided by the Pakistani State that is owned by Pakistani Army that uses ’terrorism’ as an official tool of state policy to further its own objectives.
Let us NOT forget that Osama bin Laden had publicly congratulated Pakistan in 1998 for exploding world’s first Islamic nuclear bomb.
Let us NOT forget that Pakistani Army used to provide military protection to Osama bin Laden during his umpteen visits to Pakistan. Let us NOT forget that Osama bin Laden has received many dialysis treatments at Pakistan’s military hospitals.
Let us NOT forget that Osama bin Laden had made huge campaign contributions to Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s election campaigns in 1990 and 1996. Let us NOT forget that ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif has personally met Osama bin Laden at least three times in Saudi Arabia at Nawaz Sharif’s own request.
Sandy Berger, Bill Clinton’s national security advisor told 9/11 Commission in March, 2004 that ’Pakistani Army was the midwife of Taliban’. UN report on Bhutto killing published in April, 2010 confirmed this fact when it stated that "The PAKISTANI MILITARY ORGANIZED AND SUPPORTED THE TALIBAN TO TAKE CONTROL OF AFGHANISTAN IN 1996“.
Declassified DIA Washington D.C., "IIR (intelligence Information Report) Pakistan Involvement in Afghanistan," dated November 7, 1996 states how "Pakistan's ISI is heavily involved in Afghanistan," and also details different roles various ISI officers play in Afghanistan. Stating that Pakistan uses sizable numbers of its Pashtun-based Frontier Corps in Taliban-run operations in Afghanistan, the document clarifies that, "these Frontier Corps elements are utilized in command and control; training; and when necessary combat“.
Declassified U.S. Department of State, Cable "Pakistan Support for Taliban" from Islamabad dated Sept. 26, 2000 states that "while Pakistani support for the Taliban has been long-standing, the magnitude of recent support is unprecedented." In response Washington orders the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad to immediately confront Pakistani officials on the issue and to advise Islamabad that the U.S. has "seen reports that Pakistan is providing the Taliban with materiel, fuel, funding, technical assistance and military advisors. [The Department] also understand[s] that large numbers of Pakistani nationals have recently moved into Afghanistan to fight for the Taliban, apparently with the tacit acquiescence of the Pakistani government." Additional reports indicate that direct Pakistani involvement in Taliban military operations has increased.
So Peter Bergen and company are hallucinating if they think that ‘local people can provide valuable intelligence’ against Taliban and Al Qaeda. They should investigate what has happened to informers in Talibanistan.
SAIF UR REHMAN
5:25 AM ET
October 13, 2010
@ Marty martel.......
you have Pakistan phobia, Please see some psychiatrist unless you run around the street and start crying.......pa....pa......pakistan. I saw every comment of yours in every page of this site and found nothing else than rubbish anti Pakistan commentary.
Be rest assure that Majority of Americans are well wishers of Pakistan. And Pakistan has been also a great friend, ally and strategic Partner of USA since 1950s.
Now, Since last a decade or two, The Neo Cons, zionists ans extremists like you have been around the white house. These war mongers and interventionists have not only created problems for the world but America it self.
you have same rhetoric in every comment........ cut....... paste ...... Pakistan supports Taliban! allegations , allegations, allegations!
People with some sense would think that why pakistan t support taliban who have carried more attacks in Pakistan than Afghanistan. Pakistani citizens have faced 200 suicide attacks of Taliban ...... numerous bomb blasts by TTP in cooperation with foreign agencies, many target killings in Pakistan including its former primeminister, .
Due to Taliban almost 200 drone strikes of Americans on pakistani soil, killing many innocent civilians.........Still, is there any reason for Pakistan to support Taliban?
So Mr no one will believe your non sense.........
11:28 PM ET
Nice big picture stuff, but ultimately meaningless
This is the kind of things Americans and generals lie to see, because it portrays that we understand the complexity of the situation, but I think can give the false impression of too much hierarchy and independence between the movements. Although the motivation of the different factions are important (and have long been so, as the Mujihadden in the 1980s was comprised of at least 50 distinct factions even though we narrow them down to the seven major ones), the militias at the tactical level show little allegiance to any individual movement (outside, probably, of Haqqani who is closer to a large militia than a political insurgent movement), switch allegiance frequently (or, more often, ally with multiple movements for various forms of support) but are driven to fight by more local motivation - tribal friction, badals, local grievances with the government or the coalition, or imply to establish a local power base in the old mujihadeen warlord tradition (plus, if war is the only business you know, might as well go where business is good...).
The strategic differences are interesting and show both the complexity of the insurgency at the macro level and the long-term challenges we face, but I think have little bearing on the short term tactical fight. Mehsud was associated in the 1980s as being affiliated with Jamiat, and was a protégé of Rabbani dating to his days in Kabul university, but his milita functioned independent of the political movements in Peshawar and could not truly be characterized as a Jamiat milita. The Taliban of Afghanistan today must be seen in the same way – even if they all claim allegiance to Mullah Omar’s Afghan Taliban, they receive little from them other than strategic vision and have both their agendas and tactics driven from local concerns tailored by the regional sub-commanders/shadow governors, and the people who follow them are motivated by a variety of factors largely completely unrelated to the political objectives of the movment, be it money, revenge/badal, rejection by the local political establishment which is run by a rival tanzim, or genuine belief that their homeland has been invaded. The average villager doesn't care much about the political philosophies of Sufi Muhammad versus Gulbadeen Hikmatyr versus Burhanuddin Rabbani; they care about justice, law, and order and who can provide it- the government, the tribal shuras, or the militias. Until we really address it at that level, this is just political fluff.
12:25 AM ET
Pakistan is useful
Pakistan is an useful country - they keep the region on the boil for China so that we can later build our influence there.
You guys need to know how to manage them. Throw them some peanuts and keep telling them about the greatness of the Pakistani people and they will dance like monkeys for you. Chinese are quite clever people and know how to manage these people.
Oh and one more thing about talking to Pakistanis, keep your distance when you talk to them - their beards are full of lice.
1:59 PM ET
October 14, 2010
China not helpful.
I get the drift in where you're coming from.
But, China's support of Pak's nuclear program is hardly a bag of peanuts.
Btw, one hears there are more Chinese dancing girls in Pak than the other way round.
I wouldn't be so cock-sure about who's 'being had'.
7:54 PM ET
Pakistan's Army is the only small hurdle
It never ceases to amaze me what a beautiful country Afghanistan is and, of course the NW region of Pakistan.
So this makes for a very pretty slide show. What's missing there is the real troublemaker-professional terrorist organisation in the region, the Pak Army, as they would say, the mother of all terrorists.
Why else would a million-man army not be able to crush this rag-tag collection of musketeers? Especially AQ which you suggest has barely a few hundred personnel?
Clearly Pakistan's Army is a fundamental part of the problem. And so yes, clearly, the Pak Army simply *cannot* be part of the solution. Other than, it follows, it needs to be cast aside, dismantled in some shape or form.
To the Pakistani people i would say, your army has never won a decent battle in its life. And as for its other *illegitimate* roles, it hasn't delivered to you, the ordinary people, a fig. So its time to let go.
Question is of what all? The bulk of your army, together with all their business interests from real estate to cornflakes? Let go of your nuclear arsenal? Let go of Baluchistan? Indeed let go of the nation, the 1947 model itself, and reset boundaries, recognising the present realities that Pakistan is very insecure, not working and not sustainable.
Peace might come from the pieces of Pakistan.
12:07 PM ET
October 18, 2010
Okay - so you've given us a
Okay - so you've given us a "who's who" of the many opposing forces in AfPak. So what?
You have pointed out the fact is that the US is fighting a war in a region where the opposition is composed of not just one, but eight or nine different groups, all of whom want us to just leave. Some of these groups want to make Afghanistan a neutral, or pro-Pakistani state, others want to establish their own version of an Islamic state there, others want to overthrow the current government of Pakistan, while there are still others that want to make sure India and its Hindu majority are driven out of Kashmir. Then there is al Qaeda, which needs a place from which to launch attacks on Islamic governments it does not like as well as the US, which they regard as an enabler of such governments.
We also know that our 'friend', Karzai is trying desperately to negotiate a deal with one or more of these groups, and he may be willing to share power with their leaders in order to solidify a role for himself and his corrupt family. Does anyone see any legitimate role for the US in all this mess?
We are - apparently - committed to try for another 9 or ten months to demonstrate some results for all we have spent in Afghanistan. The long-awaited surge into Kandahar to drive out the 'Taliban' from its base is still stalled at the gate, and by the time it gets started, the likelihood of success will be minimal. We are not likely to have much success fighting an insurgency in the mountains once the winter kicks in. The opposition forces are surely going to retreat into the FATA to wait us out. Then what?
Is there a point at which we realize that we have no legitimate ally in Afghanistan, that we are pouring lots of good money down the rathole in Pakistan, that the ISI is laughing its asses of at us for being such easy marks, that Afghanistan is beyond any redemption we may offer them, and that we have been played the fool by these guys since 2002?
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