RAW collusion suspected: Probe faults Afghan serviceman for NATO air raid, says report

Published: December 19, 2011

The alleged Pakistan report concluded that US forces were not involved in the attack. PHOTO: REUTERS/ISPR

A Pakistani investigation into the November 26 Nato air raid on a border post appears to have exonerated the United States and faulted an Afghan military commander for the unprovoked attack, the BBC reported.

The airstrike sparked outrage across the country – forcing the government to review its ‘terms of engagement’ with the United States in the war against terrorism.

The probe report – parts of which have been shared with Nato forces in Kabul – states that no US soldier was involved in the airstrike on the Salala check post in the Mohmand Agency that left two dozen border guards dead.

Investigators are convinced that an Afghan National Army (ANA) officer conspired with India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security in prompting the Nato airstrike, an officer privy to the probe told the BBC.

Islamabad has shared the evidence of his involvement with Nato, saying that the evidence warrants action against him.

Islamabad has long suspected that archrival India is using Afghan soil to foment trouble in Pakistan’s border regions.

The investigators interviewed local military commanders and evaluated ground evidence for their report.

According to the report, troops deployed at the Salala border post spotted the suspected men in a seasonal stream which, according to US intelligence, was used by the Taliban insurgents for sneaking into the Malakand division and Swat.

As per standard operating procedure (SOP), the Pakistani military commanders ordered fire. Minutes later, Nato helicopter gunships attacked the Pakistani post. It turns out that Pakistani troops had fired at ANA personnel patrolling the area. Investigators cite two reasons for the fire. First, the area was not within the patrolling jurisdiction of the ANA. And if needed, they were required to inform the Pakistani officials 72 hours before entering the region.

Second, the ANA patrol didn’t use SOP after receiving the fire. Instead, they appealed for a Nato air raid — even though local ANA commanders were aware of the location of the Pakistani border post in the region.

The ANA patrol was deliberately sent to the area under a conspiracy and then ‘Link 16’ which is normally used for huge operations against militants and extremists.

Pakistani investigators also blame Nato for negligence. According to them, the officer on duty in the control room ordered the airstrike, after receiving ‘Link 16’ and did not bother to check the location on the map which clearly shows that the area is in Pakistan and a security post is also located in the region.

The version of events as gleaned by the BBC from the probe report is disputed by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media arm of the Pakistani military, which even called it ‘inaccurate.’

The ISPR also clarified a related report which gave the impression that border coordination centres were closed and that officers posted there had been recalled. According to the ISPR, few officers were called for consultations only and now they have gone back to the border coordination centres.

This came after a Nato official said in Kabul that Pakistan has restored liaison officers at coordination centres on the Afghanistan border. “We have seen liaison officers, Pakistani officers, return to border coordination centres, General Allen (the top Nato commander in Afghanistan) has spoken to (Pakistani army chief) General Parvez Kayani, so we are moving in the right direction,” Brigadier General Carsten Jacobsen, a spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force told reporters in Kabul.

with additional reporting from agencies

Published in The Express Tribune, December 20th, 2011.

Reader Comments (72)

  • Max
    Dec 19, 2011 - 9:53PM

    If this is true, the question is why the information was not cross-checked?

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  • Cautious
    Dec 19, 2011 - 9:54PM

    If this report is true then there should be a LONG LINE of people in Pakistan who should be providing abject apologies to the USA.

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  • Tariq Qureshi
    Dec 19, 2011 - 10:15PM

    Perhaps just a spin being put on the issue to make US come out clean.

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  • Tariq Qureshi
    Dec 19, 2011 - 10:17PM

    It is not that the Pakistani authorities need to apologize to the US. It is the attitude of the US, saying that they can not guarantee that this won’t happen again. It is the arrogant attitude of US that is ongoing, that is the problem.

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  • Mirza
    Dec 19, 2011 - 10:24PM

    The news says “A Pakistan-led inquiry into the November 26 NATO air strike on Salala military check post, alleged on Monday that a local Afghan army commander was responsible”.
    Looks like there is already a compromise. The military aid would start flowing and the fooled public would be left licking their wounds one more time. The story of the death of 24 soldiers has already subsided for coopertion again with NATO. Recommend

  • Qazi
    Dec 19, 2011 - 10:47PM

    how can the report be truthful when ISPR denies it. It another BBC propaganda to satisfy the western people about the heinous crime NATO committed. Recommend

  • non-cautious
    Dec 19, 2011 - 10:48PM

    @Cautious: How stupid are you ? LONG LINE of people to apologize for what ? They killed our soldiers in a pre-planned attack!! people died.Recommend

  • Ali
    Dec 19, 2011 - 10:50PM

    Well, even if the report is true, it only relieves NATO of ground assault. NATO is still responsible for aerial aggression. They knew well that area belonged to Pakistan and the assault was aggression.

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  • Iron hand
    Dec 19, 2011 - 10:53PM

    This is meaningless. If a report, from any source, finds fault with the US, it will be embraced by the Pakistanis who hate America (90%). If a report, from any source, exonerates the US, it will be dismissed by the same people as lies, a conspiracy, zionists, etc. These Pakistanis have their conclusions about the world firmly in place, and will pick and choose which “facts” they accept to support those conclusions, not to get to the real truth of any matter. No intellectual honesty, no critical thinking, no logic, no honest self assessment, just fantasies and propaganda to justify perpetual hatreds and excuse their own and their society’s failures.

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  • Adeel759
    Dec 19, 2011 - 10:55PM

    @T Qureshi. Sir ofcourse, Nato cant guarantee it if they have to pursue militants launching attacks in afghanistan and then retreating into pakistan. That particular pursuit can run into pakistani territory sometimes not realizing, its pakistanis if they are sincere they should rather join the incoming nato forces in pursuing and hunting down those terrorists.

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  • Syed
    Dec 19, 2011 - 10:56PM

    I don’t at all find the conclusion of this report surprising.The fact that there are elements in Afghanistan who are thirsty for Pakistani blood makes this report quite credible. Why would they not guide NATO or ISAF forces to targets where people they consider enemies can be slaughtered. Lesson to learn is that NATO and ISAF forces should rely on their own intelligence and not on elements who are out to settle their own scores.

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  • Adeel759
    Dec 19, 2011 - 10:58PM

    Just like pakistan will be scapegoated for overall afghan war failure, Afghan General will bear the brunt and wrath off pakistanis for salala incidensince pakistanis cant do nothing against nato, they can wreck havoc in poor afghanistan.

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  • gothmog
    Dec 19, 2011 - 11:15PM

    @Cautious If this report is true then there should be a LONG LINE of people in Pakistan who should be providing abject apologies to the USA.
    Apologize to NATO for killing Pakistani soldiers using NATO assets?! You have no idea how ridiculous you soundRecommend

  • Tariq Qureshi
    Dec 19, 2011 - 11:36PM

    @Adeel, they specifically say about the attack on Pakistani soldiers, that ‘they can’t guarantee that it won’t happen again’.

    Come ON man. I don’t care how big of a whatever one wants to be, let us at least learn to stand up and not be raped like the innocent women of Iraq, just so we could be subjugated?!

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  • NA
    Dec 19, 2011 - 11:51PM

    @Adeel759:
    US/ NATO they cannot see insurgents coming into Afghanistan, rather they always find these people running back to Pakistan after attack.Recommend

  • Adeel759
    Dec 19, 2011 - 11:58PM

    @T Qureshi. I understand yr feelings sir, but those who have the authority to stand up they are unwilling to do so, so what can people do in police state like pakistan. Its establishment my friend that sets the tone and tenor not the people in countries like N Korea and pakistan, it is sad, it hurts but its true.

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  • ZUBAIR
    Dec 20, 2011 - 12:18AM

    BBC is famous for reporting baseless news and promoting their agenda. The whole world has seen ugly face of BBC in the issue of reporting of WMDs of Iraq. So BBC is not a reliable and trustworthy source.

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  • Sabrina Khan
    Dec 20, 2011 - 12:23AM

    Dear Cautious, this Report (though denied by Pak Army) is also accusing that Indian Agency was involved along with the Afghan Commander, it was on Express Urdu Channel; I am sure you will not find that very pleasing?

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  • Azim
    Dec 20, 2011 - 12:28AM

    The gunships had d US pilots, they flew from an american base in Afghanistan, the Afghan forces are under US command and control….so how can our report separate US from a decision that came from their command and control. This report very clearly means to detach what US lead forces did in Sala. and for afghan commander behind it, we all know they like to make money like our generals, still feel they are much better as he has not chosen his own people!

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  • ayesha
    Dec 20, 2011 - 12:36AM

    @non-cautious: “Cautious: How stupid are you ? LONG LINE of people to apologize for what ? They killed our soldiers in a pre-planned attack!! people died.”

    Aplogize for falsely accusing US. For running weeks of anti-US tirades on media when US was not involved in any way.Please read Quran and see what it says about making a false accusation.

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  • Javed
    Dec 20, 2011 - 12:37AM

    @Adeel759:
    We have been wrecking havoc in Afghanistan for almost 2 decades. So what’s new.

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  • SalSal
    Dec 20, 2011 - 12:46AM

    @Iron Hand
    Dude you just don’t have anything else to do other than poke your nose and say negative things about Pakistan. Mind your own business. Rarely a Pakistani keeps jumping around in Indian forums and ridicule them about their oppressive policies in Kashmir.
    Get a life.

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  • khalis
    Dec 20, 2011 - 1:02AM

    2 things are possible:

    either us wants pak and afghan to come into fight and live like enemy with both alway s at guard

    or put the blame on lame duck and get started with supply line

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  • Hyper Ali
    Dec 20, 2011 - 1:16AM

    Haha. So the USA blocking it’s 700 million fund did work in changing the facts. Bravo!! ICan people really not see the constant pattern where Pakistani’s thump their chest and finally when they find they cannot do much they find a fairy tale story for public that Afghan intelligence and army was behind the Nov 26 attack. While you are at it why not also blame India spy agency had a hand too. Infact how about Indians, disguised as Afghans attacked the border. How about being more specific that baniya Hindu faction of RAW were the people behind the attack ? The commission found it too hard to sell ? Pity!

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  • Haris
    Dec 20, 2011 - 1:24AM

    Yes because the bbc is sooo reliable isn’t it?!

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  • Tariq Qureshi
    Dec 20, 2011 - 2:03AM

    @Adeel759 … now I am suspecting that you are not even a Pakistani. Perhaps just an imposter who is here to ‘enjoy’. No sane person would compare North Korea to Pakistan. Ridiculous.

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  • MarkH
    Dec 20, 2011 - 2:08AM

    ISPR’s motto: “deny everything until it’s proven without a doubt, after that, ah screw it, keep denying it and add on something about sovereignty and an us-against-the-world conspiracy if applicable.” Yes, that’s the exact official professional wording.

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  • Harry Stone
    Dec 20, 2011 - 2:51AM

    Wait a minute, I was given the impression that the PAK’s were not going to a party to any investigation……….and now they have the answer………amazing stuff.

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  • Bill
    Dec 20, 2011 - 3:11AM

    @Cautious:
    With respect What do you gain from bashing anti Pakistan comments in all your posts?

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  • Hu Jintao
    Dec 20, 2011 - 3:21AM

    @Cautious:
    Your opinions on our issues aren’t required.

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  • MK
    Dec 20, 2011 - 3:51AM

    @Cautious:
    Pakistan never attacked US on its soil.Recommend

  • Faisal
    Dec 20, 2011 - 4:07AM

    I miss the good old days of the 90′s and early 2000′s when the western border was our most peaceful border and there was not a single threat to Pakistan from our western border. Now U.S., India, Israel are all near our western border plotting against Pakistan and creating an anti-pakistan atmosphere in Afghanistan. U.S. wants Pakistan to forget about India and fight Afghanistan like how U.S. made Iraqis and Iranians fight for 10 years. Pakistan will not get any support from its people if it fights fellow Muslims. I urge Pakistanis and Afghans to not fall into America’s trap. Remember if there is a war between Pakistan and Afghanistan, then mostly Pashtuns on both sides will suffer.

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  • Bilal
    Dec 20, 2011 - 4:52AM

    Guys,
    Just watch ndtv dec 16th show on dhaaka fall, they way they are talking about opportunities to increase drift between Pakistan and NATO, one can easily say that this report can be true. one should investigate into it.

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  • Iron hand
    Dec 20, 2011 - 5:00AM

    @SalSal: Nice rebuttal. I think you made my point.

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  • Nas
    Dec 20, 2011 - 5:21AM

    Both US and Afghan army is one and the same thing.. Does not matter who did it, the point is it was deliberate..

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  • guest
    Dec 20, 2011 - 6:05AM

    I rest My case @Azim:

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  • Mullah
    Dec 20, 2011 - 7:22AM

    all ball talks..n too late too..

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  • Malatesh
    Dec 20, 2011 - 9:17AM

    I’m proud if it is true that RAW was involved in this operation.

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  • Hu Jintao
    Dec 20, 2011 - 9:36AM

    Indian state terrorism in Pakistan is not new thing. They dont let go any minutest of minute opportunity to hurt Pakistan.

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  • Observer
    Dec 20, 2011 - 10:25AM

    @Mirza:

    “Looks like there is already a compromise. The military aid would start flowing and the fooled public would be left licking their wounds one more time. The story of the death of 24 soldiers has already subsided for coopertion again with NATO.”

    Exactly right! It is no secret that Pakistani establishment can’t do long without American money.

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  • Tony Singh
    Dec 20, 2011 - 10:46AM

    Did not know Pak Army had such a great sense of humour.

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  • Karan
    Dec 20, 2011 - 10:56AM

    @Karan: Serously man me too.. i have never seen any other agency doing this type of thing even the CIA.. yeahhh RAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW:

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  • Bilal
    Dec 20, 2011 - 11:08AM

    @Malatesh

    can’t blame your mentality, all I can say that you Indian prove year after year that Jinnah decision was right!

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  • Dec 20, 2011 - 11:27AM

    LOL!

    The irony is, as much as RAW’s
    credibility is undermined in India,
    its just the opposite across the
    border.

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  • JA
    Dec 20, 2011 - 12:39PM

    Bravo America, well done, money is the real power, you won again, indeed we are “beghairat”

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  • Vishal agnihotri
    Dec 20, 2011 - 2:09PM

    I don’t know why so much hatred is filled in the minds of Pakistanis against India
    So many suicide bombings are taking place in Pakistan & Indians actually feel bad to know that
    Just cos some jerk above said India is proud doesn’t mean all are like thatRecommend

  • Dec 20, 2011 - 2:27PM

    Indians seems to be becoming smarter! Dont believe it.

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  • Hold Your Horses
    Dec 20, 2011 - 5:22PM

    Dear Tariq Qureshi,

    you are right..no sane person would compare pakistan with north korea …. sane people would compare pakistan with somalia..

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  • antanu
    Dec 20, 2011 - 6:40PM

    @Max:
    thats what they are dong.

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  • Hopeless for peace
    Dec 20, 2011 - 10:51PM

    Sooooo!!!!! The Pakistani politicians exonerated USA and put the blame in the door of poor Afghans and eternal enemy India who don’t have any money muscles to contribute into ever growing coffers of politicians and military men . Now fund will start flowing again and these people start making money, public forgive US and start India bashing again which is easier and also more comfortable to Army and politicians. Poor will remain poor, India will always be enemy and Pakistan will always be ruled by feudal/Army tango. Long live Indo-Pak animosity…….

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  • Street View
    Dec 21, 2011 - 12:17AM

    Bash India. Aim India. Cannot cris cross with US. Who we can target – sweet potato India India India Jihad Jihad Jihad. At least I can sleep peacefully for tonight after India bashing.

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  • Cosmo
    Dec 21, 2011 - 1:32AM

    I did not read anything asubstantial about RAW in the analysis presented in the report. Why is the title of the article mentions it then. Pakistanis are running our of TV drams and so ET is filling up the space. Can a country get any more funnier.

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  • Ram
    Dec 21, 2011 - 2:04AM

    RAW? RAW? Hahahaaa, seriously man, aren’t you giving the bumbling fools more credit than they are capable of? If RAW was a tenth as good as you think they are, there would be fewer problems for both India and Pakistan, not to speak of Kashmir. I’m not saying “as good” in the context of just “mischief-making” but also for a higher level of intellectual productivity, strategic visioning, and timely advice to the Indian state. If it were really good, there wouldn’t be so much of a play for *holes like JuL, LeT…. If they were good, there wouldn’t have been the Mumbai infiltration of terrorists in that fateful July. If they were a fraction as good as you insinuate, and intellectually capable, there would be a certain amount of intelligence sharing (under the table of course, unbeknownst to pols on either side) with other agencies (including ISI) that would prevent some show-stoppers form going off. The idiot pols would still be talking with each other….

    This curse of fools pointing to the “hidden hand” on both sides of the border reflects a lack of education and general awareness. Go ahead and call me a snob but if you look hard at people who say this, you will notice that they haven’t thought it through. They are incapable of it. And of course, for decades, people have also used CIA and Mossad as the other “hidden hands”. Oh, where is Veena when we need her? RAW’s got her?

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  • Maulana Diesel
    Dec 21, 2011 - 5:04AM

    Afghans as always are the best soldiers money can buy.

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  • venky
    Dec 21, 2011 - 6:18AM

    Many comments here prove that there is a change in people thinking. Even though India name is mentioned as involved, no body is willing to take it.

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  • Bilal
    Dec 21, 2011 - 8:39AM

    Guys do watch dhaka fall programmes on Indian TVs, simply youtube them, Must watch…NDTV programmes on “dhaka fall”, and you will get to know REAL Indian mentality.

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  • Say what
    Dec 21, 2011 - 11:07AM

    Indian agents and RAW using all means such as: Using Afghan soil, involving other countries with deceptive lies against Pakistan and planting and funding terrorist to cause major damage to Pakistn. USA needs to wake and not consider India as its friend as India is only interested in exploiting the resources of USA for its own selfish end. India will try all evil means to break up realtionship between Pakistan and the USA and the evil Indian game goes on . . . Only smart leadership will see this.Recommend

  • Varun
    Dec 21, 2011 - 11:32AM

    @Bilal: learn to read “Sarcasm” that @Malatesh used .

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  • Bilal
    Dec 21, 2011 - 12:34PM

    @Varun
    so killing of 1 million muslims in 1947 and muktibahani training was also some sort of sarcasm as well?

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  • Sundeep
    Dec 21, 2011 - 1:32PM

    Now the scapegoat comes out and it is “RAW, INDIA”. Congratulations to us and Pakistanis.

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  • Sadhu
    Dec 21, 2011 - 1:50PM

    Yes USA will be exonerated because lure for dollars is stronger than the so called sovereignty which was on display immediateltely after the attack. All the noise was not for sovty but for few dollars more.

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  • Sadhu
    Dec 21, 2011 - 1:52PM

    @Tariq Qureshi:
    Yes! what can you do to your lord and master except bear and grin.

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  • Sadhu
    Dec 21, 2011 - 1:54PM

    @non-cautious:
    Were they your soldiers or terrorist. Since when you are so sensitive about your solds. More than 1000 were killed in Kargil whose bodies were not claimed by you!

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  • Sadhu
    Dec 21, 2011 - 1:56PM

    @Syed:
    Afghan have led to correct target. The right enemies were killed.

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  • Sadhu
    Dec 21, 2011 - 1:57PM

    @Qazi:
    If ISPR denies it be sure it is true. You will realise in few days.

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  • SLDUA
    Dec 21, 2011 - 2:22PM

    What to speak of proof, the story writer could not even relate the story to the event.

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  • rehmat
    Dec 21, 2011 - 7:58PM

    @Bilal: “@Varun
    so killing of 1 million muslims in 1947 and muktibahani training was also some sort of sarcasm as well?”

    During partition Muslims killed Hindus and Sikhs and vceversa. Those were revenge kiling. If you have been taught that only Muslims were killed while they themselves did nt kill you are just flat out wrong.

    As for Mukti Bahini – you probably are not aware of how poorly Bangladesh was treated particularly by the Gen Tikka Khan. India got close to 10 million refugees, so it had to intervene and it did – very successfully. It was not anti-Pakistan step it was pro India and pro Bengalis step. Recommend

  • Cynical
    Dec 21, 2011 - 9:07PM

    @Bilal
    During the partition days of 1947 both sides killed,raped and plundered.It’s pointless to argue about the numbers since no one knows for sure.But you have been economical with truth when you mentioned only about killing of Muslims.
    However, there exists enough material in public domain containing graphic detail from the people who lived and experienced those days, that each side also saved many lives and properties belonging to the other community, at times risking their own life in the process
    Unfortunately this particular narative does not find much audience mainly because the opinion makers whether in Govt. or in media do not find it profitable (yes profitable).And why do they do that?
    Because message of hatred far out sells message of compassion.
    They have found our insatiable urge and infinite capacity to hate anything and everything that is not ‘us’.

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  • Arjun
    Dec 21, 2011 - 10:53PM

    So the Indians got the Afghans to call in a NATO airstrike?

    Seriously…?

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  • Bilal
    Dec 22, 2011 - 1:00AM

    @
    if internal turmoil or deprivation of local people in Bangladesh was the basis…….so any one who has power should or could cross international borders and try to use the geo political situation in its favour ….so then Pakistan has right to intervene in Kashmir…precedence has already been set by India..

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  • Yash
    Dec 22, 2011 - 6:00AM

    @Bilal:

    Pakistan has been trying to do so since its birth…n btw….i dont think indian army is directly doing so….the way pak army did…

    nor does pakistan get 10 million refugees from kashmir…the way india got from Bangladesh…

    nor did the indian army attack first…of course mukti bahini was trained and equipped…

    Pakistan has been doing the same things that india did…

    bt the problem is…Pak insurgents are trying to instigate unnecessary violence…propaganda, terrorism etc…most of the attacks in kashmir are directed towards innocent civilians…pakistan has been doing all of this for personal gains and not in support of kashmir…if this is wat u call intervention and precedence being set by india….then m sorry…bt u need education…or maybe a lil more information

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  • Bilal
    Dec 22, 2011 - 5:44PM

    yash@

    FYI: Kashmir is disputed territory where as East Pakistan was not.
    is there any proof of this figure refugees from Bangladesh?
    you cant justify this with these lame excuses..
    and also FYI Kashmir population is far less than that of Bangladesh…
    and most of the people living in Pakistani part of Kashmir are migrant from occupied Kashmir.

    How do you justify attack on Indian Hyderabad by Indian Army if you call Pakistan Army operation of 1947 in Kashmir an intervention?

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