Pakistan – Beginning of the End Game?

The events in Pakistan-Afghanistan are taking center stage on the world scene again. The condition of Pakistan was a topic of heated discussion in the debate between Senator McCain and Senator Obama. A British diplomat was quoted as saying that NATO needs to find a suitable “Dictator” to take control of Afghanistan. The United Nations declared this week that Pakistan is too unsafe for the children of UN Staffers.

Two recent articles in the New York Times painted a grim picture of Pakistan:

  • Confronting Taliban, Pakistan Finds Itself at War – October 2, 2008

  • Battle of Bajaur: A Critical Test for Pakistan’s Daunted Military – September 22, 2008

The first article makes a point that the conflict against the Taliban has now become a civil war in Pakistan. Approximately, 250,000 people have fled the areas of conflict to take refuge in urban Pakistan leading to further breakdown of civil society.

The second article makes the point that the Taliban are now a well-organized, sophisticated military force. Specifically the article states “The militants are using everything they have to hold their ground, the officials said, adding that they have been surprised by the militants’ resistance and the sophistication of their tactics, weapons and communications systems.“They have good weaponry and a better communication system” than the Pakistani military, said one senior official.“Even the sniper rifles they use are better than some of ours,” the official said. “Their tactics are mind-boggling and they have defenses that would take us days to build. It does not look as though we are fighting a ragtag militia. They are fighting like an organized force.”

These articles are consistent with our analysis which was outlined in our article on August 9, 2008 titled “Afghanistan-Pakistan – Will the Sins of England be visited Upon America?”–will-the-sins-of-england-be-visited-on-america.aspx

It took America and the mainstream American Media almost 3 years to understand that the problems in Iraq stemmed from the war between the Shias & Sunis and that Islamism was a secondary factor in that war.

Unfortunately, even seven years after 9/11, the American Political and Media Establishment refuses to understand that the problem between Afghanistan and Pakistan is essentially an ethnic problem between Pashtuns and Panjabis; that this problem goes back to annexation of South Afghanistan (called NWFP – NorthWest Frontier Province by the British) by England in 1893. The current line of control between Afghanistan and Pakistan is still called the Durand Line, after Mortimer Durand, the then Foreign Secretary of the British-Indian Government.

             (Durand’s Partition of Afghanistan)

The Pashtuns of South Afghanistan or Pashtunistan are in revolt against the Panjabi dominated Pakistan. In this war, Islam provides a tactical cover, a brand to rally around and a philosophy to propagate. The Taliban, originally the creation of Pakistan’s Panjabi Army, have virtually declared independence from Panjabi Pakistan and now desire extend their control the entire territory of South Afghanistan. They believe that, soon, they will be strong enough to take control of Panjab as well.

Neither the ordinary Afghans nor the Taliban recognize the Durand Line as relevant. This is why they move across the Durand Line with impunity; after all to them, all of it is a part of traditional Afghanistan. The only force that CANNOT move across the Durand Line is NATO. Doing so would create a conflict between NATO and Pakistani Forces, who consider the area as their sovereign territory even though they cannot exercise any control over it.

Even today, the Panjabi Army of Pakistan continues to consider the Taliban as its vassal. The main body of the Pakistani Army still sits on the eastern frontier against India in pursuit of the dreams (of Westernized Generals like Musharaaf) of competing with India. By the time, they recognize the true danger from the Taliban and Taliban supporters in the Pashtun Regiments of the Pakistani Army, it might be too late. When Taliban takes control of the Pakistani Army, the first people they would execute are the secular, Westernized Generals and their staff.

We have heard talk of a joint Afghanistan-Pakistan-NATO force to control both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Border. This is consistent with our convictions but with one CRITICAL caveat. This needs to be an ALL-Pashtun force dedicated to the reunification of South Afghanistan with today’s Afghanistan. Any intrusion or inclusion of the Panjabi component of Pakistan in this force would be terribly counter-productive and lead to an actual civil war with a violent breakup of Pakistan.

The only rational solution is a Pashtun force, comprised of Pashtun Regiments of the Pakistani Army, the Afghan National Army with the advise, control and support of NATO. This force can restore control in South Afghanistan, destroy the Taliban/Al Qaeda segments, create peaceful conditions with the eventual goal of a stable reunited Afghanistan.

This may become the most critical objective of the next President of the United States.

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