Pakistan warns Trump’s generals: ‘Sort out Afghanistan mess or Russia will intervene’

Published: March 6, 2017
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Pakistan’s military has warned Donald Trump’s new generals that they face a ‘total mess’ in Afghanistan unless the US and UK can halt the advance of IS and the Taliban.

In an interview with the Telegraph, a senior Pakistani army source said the collapse in security since the draw-down of Western troops from Afghanistan meant the West now faced ‘losing control’.

If IS and the Taliban continued to gain strength, he added, it could tempt Russia to stage a Syrian-style intervention, this time on the pretext of protecting its ‘backyard’ in Central Asia.

The source within the Pakistani army said that in recent weeks, high-level discussions had taken place with both Resolute Support Mission commander Gen John Nicholson and James Mattis, the retired US general appointed by Mr Trump as Secretary of Defence.

How Trump will shape Pakistan-US ties

Gen Nicholson himself admitted last month that Afghan forces were now in a stalemate against a resurgent Taliban. The Pakistani source said even that was an optimistic assessment.

“A stalemate is still a win for the Taliban,” he said. “We have told Gen Mattis that Afghanistan is slipping out of control, and that if things are not put right, America will have a huge crisis on its hands. “Da’ish is also developing there, and if they leave Syria and Iraq, the next place for them to gather in is Afghanistan.”

Pakistan has criticised the Kabul government for not doing enough to seal its side of the Afghan border, from where Islamabad says militants are now launching attacks on both Pakistani and Afghan soil.

However, Islamabad admits that Kabul is limited by the capabilities of the Afghan National Army.

“There are 350,000 troops in the Afghan army, but only about 20,000 are capable of combat missions,” said the Pakistani military source.

“They also have about 1,000 generals, most of whom are appointed because of their tribal affiliations rather than on merit. The problem is that you can’t teach a donkey to gallop.”

Trump’s Afghan options

The military source added that Russia feared the West was using IS as a “plot to destabilise its backyard”, and could use it as an excuse to extend military operations into Afghanistan.

Last month, Russia held a conference for regional powers on Afghanistan, signalling what could be the opening stages of such a strategy.

The summit, to which the US was not invited, called for dialogue with the Taliban, which Moscow has already started backchannel contacts with. The Kremlin says the Taliban can be used to battle IS.

Washington believes that Kremlin-Taliban contacts are simply to help Moscow build proxy assets in Afghanistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 6th, 2017.

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Reader Comments (30)

  • Javed Afghan
    Mar 6, 2017 - 10:07AM

    Pakistan seems very desperate and isolated by leaving such statements. Kabul is doing just OK lately. Nothing to worry about. Try to fix your problems within your country first.Recommend

  • kemosabe
    Mar 6, 2017 - 10:16AM

    Even if by some remote chance the Russians do engage in military operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan should welcome that yet keep its border sealed without intervening. The initial mistake of Zia-ul-Haq is once too many.Recommend

  • dubious
    Mar 6, 2017 - 10:35AM

    USA should make it clear that if Pakistan doesn’t stop assisting the Afghan Taliban that it will be labeled a supporter of terrorism and all trade with USA and it’s close allies will stop. USA will also withdraw support for IMF, ADB and other International loans, and deny Pakistan use of any USA bank. Recommend

  • asim
    Mar 6, 2017 - 11:06AM

    who is this Pakistani general? Recommend

  • Fasil
    Mar 6, 2017 - 11:20AM

    @dubious:
    And by doing that it will be end of Pakistan economy once and for all. Pakistan has no idea with whom they are dealing with. It’s mighty USA and NATO who are in Afghanistan which even Russians are afraid of. Sanctions will bring everyone in line no matter what.Recommend

  • Firoz
    Mar 6, 2017 - 11:20AM

    Pakistan warning US & Even speaking on behalf of Russia -now even Russia considered they will not help,good job ! Recommend

  • BrainBro
    Mar 6, 2017 - 11:57AM

    Trump’s generals must be trembling in fear, now that the GHQ, has shown them the light.Recommend

  • Milind
    Mar 6, 2017 - 12:24PM

    Nothing new.. Pakistan has developed this art of cynically playing one against another. In 1979, it lapped up to the Americans and fought against Russians, now in 2017 it will be the other way round. Light fires, jump into fires and then blame the world for your problems.Recommend

  • Tyggar
    Mar 6, 2017 - 12:50PM

    He could well have said “… or else Allah will sort you out”Recommend

  • Reader
    Mar 6, 2017 - 1:19PM

    Trump at the helm of affairs, I don’t think US will listen or even comprehendRecommend

  • onlooker
    Mar 6, 2017 - 1:40PM

    Ok, now Pakistan want to milk Russia on account of Afghanistan! Recommend

  • Pea Brain
    Mar 6, 2017 - 1:43PM

    @dubious:
    This and other news were delivered to you personally in your morning briefings from the White House…!?Recommend

  • junglee
    Mar 6, 2017 - 2:10PM

    Always good to see so much Hindustan trolling around here. At least PAK hasn’t lost its relevance to the so-called regional super power.Recommend

  • Dictator
    Mar 6, 2017 - 2:34PM

    Wow !!
    Pakistan warns Trump and his generals ?!!Recommend

  • Irfan
    Mar 6, 2017 - 2:37PM

    @Javed Afghan: I was searching for a joke , finally found one Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Mar 6, 2017 - 3:05PM

    Pakistan’s military has warned Donald Trump’s new generals that they face a ‘total mess’ in Afghanistan unless the US and UK can halt the advance of IS and the Taliban.

    The colonial army is still living in the twenty century not realising that we are in the 21st century multi polar world where the anglo American police man is no longer required. Besides the Trumpers have enough to handle on their door steps

    Rex Minor Recommend

  • AD
    Mar 6, 2017 - 3:11PM

    In 80s,Pakistan colluded with US to prevent Russia in Afghanistan ,Now if Russia is coming into the region it means everything back to square one and only Losers are Afghanistan and Pakistan after all these years.
    cold war reboot.Recommend

  • Omar Sadiq
    Mar 6, 2017 - 4:44PM

    @Milind: And why not?? Isn’t that exactly what you Indians are doing?? Switching from the USSR to the USA??Recommend

  • Farrukh Bhalli
    Mar 6, 2017 - 7:55PM

    Turkey,Iran,Syria already aligned to Russia if Afghanistan also joins the alliance ,and Pakistan also speaks their language then US may feel importance of Pakistan in the regionRecommend

  • Mekal Faruki
    Mar 6, 2017 - 8:48PM

    Pakistan should not wait for Russians. Pakistan can invade Afghanistan and subdue terrorists on its own.Recommend

  • Shah
    Mar 6, 2017 - 9:33PM

    @Javed Afghan: ; Sure… and good that afghanistan is developing into a mess; Good for afghans, as then they will migrate to their new father’s country and become refugees inRapistan Hindus-tan; Great going; Recommend

  • hamza khan
    Mar 7, 2017 - 12:17AM

    @dubious:
    they wish they could do that…hahahaRecommend

  • hamza khan
    Mar 7, 2017 - 12:18AM

    @Fasil:

    you indians wish that could happen. are you not seeing the geostrategic alignment in that region? pakistan has allies in china, iran, and now much warmer ties with russia and the former soviet republics. india and its proxy afghanistan have no power in that region. china, russia, pakistan, iran. good luck messing with that. Recommend

  • hamza khan
    Mar 7, 2017 - 12:20AM

    @Milind:

    you indians seem to be suffering from years of inferiority complex so unrecognizable that i wonder what sort of psychonalysis it will take for you to accept that a majority was conquered by a minority for 1000 years. hahahahaRecommend

  • Deal Fairly and Uniformly
    Mar 7, 2017 - 2:00AM

    Pakistan has learnt now from Iran on how to draw a line and make sure, the responsibilties are clear so a blame game is not started and keeping all parties true to their stated claims. Russia is not the USSR and the Christian Orthodox did not have a voice in the USSR so those trying to create enmity based on the past are not the friends either of Russia or Pakistan. Russia cannot hold anything against Pakistan. Yuri Bezmenov’s lectures from Canada are on the internet.Recommend

  • Vitthal Mankar
    Mar 7, 2017 - 2:37AM

    OK Go aheadRecommend

  • KJ
    Mar 7, 2017 - 5:45AM

    Afghanistan has been a mess for centuries, with no centralized government, feudal lords controlling over much of the countryside. Any outsider trying to insert its interests only needs to take care of some of these feudal lords, that’s how most of the invaders came to India through this passage.Recommend

  • Trollslayer
    Mar 7, 2017 - 10:16AM

    Gloom and doom fake news about Afghanistan from the most dubious source, ISPR. Russia lost 50,000 lives in Afghanistan, they still have nightmares and suffer from PTSD. Recommend

  • Trollslayer
    Mar 7, 2017 - 10:48AM

    Public Enemy said, “Don’t believe the hype.”Recommend

  • Trollslayer
    Mar 7, 2017 - 12:51PM

    Fake news from dubious sources. Russians don’t want to tango with Afghans again, they are still reeling and suffering from PTSD. Russians are not stupid to let themselves get entangled again.Recommend

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