Another stupid twist in the Afghan game

Published: August 14, 2012
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The writer is a senior journalist and has held several editorial positions including most recently at The Friday Times. He was a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution and is currently senior adviser, outreach, at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute

The writer is a senior journalist and has held several editorial positions including most recently at The Friday Times. He was a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution and is currently senior adviser, outreach, at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute

US President Barack Obama has signed the Haqqani Network Terrorist Designation Act of 2012 into law. The US Secretary of State now has 30 days to submit a report on whether the group meets the legal criteria for being designated as a foreign terrorist organisation (FTO).

They asked us if we had any objections. We shrugged our shoulders and said the Haqqanis are an Afghan group, your problem. Go ahead and do what you want.

Difficult to figure out who is more stupid, they or we, but one thing is sure: the negative fallout for us will be bigger than for them.

We are now also planning to go into North Waziristan. When I interviewed Commander ISAF, General John Allen, he told me that Nato-ISAF will pay “extra attention” to any spill-over that may occur because of the operation.

Encouraging words but the reality may be different. Regional Command East, headquartered in Bagram, doesn’t have enough deployments in the east. The bulk of the forces belong to the Afghan National Army (ANA). As for the ANA, the less said the better. So, unless the Nato-ISAF is either prepared to beef up deployment or keep its aerial platforms ready — limited effectiveness against an adversary that won’t give a concentrated target — much of the spill-over will spill over.

Should we go into the NWA? Tough question, this. There’s the moral-legal argument. It’s our territory and we should be in control of it. Agreed. An operation will also let off some of the heat that the American narrative has put on us. (NB: for the American narrative of “victory”, a very good read is Michael Hastings’ The Operators.)

But anything beyond the moral-legal? Not much, I am afraid. Physical dominance of territory in irregular war is always of limited value, more a matter of creating an illusion of victory than being victorious. American operations in Helmand are a case in point. There are other cases.

What will the groups in NWA do against a superior force? As I wrote in this space in June last year, “…rather than losing too many men in pitched battles, the groups will disperse while retaining some fighters to engage advancing columns in combination with the use of area denial weapons like anti-personnel mines, anti-tank mines, ‘victim-operated’ IEDs and booby traps. This means that while they will try to slow down the advance and extract a heavy toll of advancing troops, they would not need to employ the bulk of their forces that are likely to extricate as the operation undergoes.”

The Haqqani fighters will go into Afghanistan where they control large swathes of territory and where the bulk of their fighters are already based. Other groups will disperse inland: the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Punjabi Taliban and foreign fighters. The foreigners have nowhere to go and they will continue to operate against Pakistan until captured or killed.

At least in the short term this dispersal will result in heightened urban terrorism, though I am told by sources that the intelligence agencies have been more effective in busting urban terrorist cells and nabbing and killing their fighters. That may be so but all indicators tell us that our counterterrorism capacity — civilian law enforcement — falls short of what it will take to effectively neutralise urban attacks. The reprisals will take their toll.

Two other factors are important from an operational perspective: one, if the army plans the operation conventionally, as one very senior officer, now retired, told me, it will suffer huge casualties. The planning, therefore, must be innovative. Two, if the US drones programme is as effective as it is made out to be (see multiple claims to this end), which is presumably one reason it has been ramped up, then why have the Americans not been able to degrade the operational capacity of the Network, Pakistan’s objections to such strikes, notwithstanding?

On balance, say sources, it is important to go into NWA. Okay. But I am also told that Pakistan should do away with its cautious attitude and play a proactive role in facilitating the process of reconciliation in Afghanistan. To me, it seems, such facilitation is more important in terms of strategic utility than an operation that, like most such operations, will have a balloon effect.

Here’s why. If, in theory, Pakistan could get the facilitation process on track, which Kabul and Islamabad are relying on, then it should help lead to the Haqqanis restraining themselves and becoming a part of the process. That should then leave the Pakistan Army to deal with the TTP and its affiliates, Punjabi and foreign elements, in NWA, a relatively less daunting operation conducted in an enabling environment.

That is not to be, given the development with which I began this piece. If the State Department review establishes that there are indeed reasons to declare the Network an FTO, it will all but put paid to the negotiating process because the Taliban will not like to be seen as negotiating with the US, supposing that the US actually wants to negotiate in good faith, which doesn’t seem to be the case.

It is from this perspective that our approach to telling the Americans to go ahead and do what they want with the Haqqanis doesn’t make any sense, especially at a time when we have reopened the bilateral track with Kabul. The move also turns the environment, crucial for launching an operation in NWA, against us. Important to remember in this kind of warfare is the basic fact that use of force per se means nothing; it must translate into, what Rupert Smith, a former British general, calls, the utility of force.

So, while we plan to go into NWA, we must accept three factors: the operational environment has been sullied by the American move to declare the Network an FTO; the degree of difficulty of the operation has increased manifold and its utility declined in direct proportion; finally, and most importantly, the bilateral track with Kabul for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan may have been set back before it could take off.

Any guess on who will lose out in NWA?

Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2012. 

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Reader Comments (70)

  • entropy
    Aug 14, 2012 - 11:00PM

    The consequences of an invasion of North Waziristan will be a tsunami of terrorism in Pakistani cities the likes of which has never been seen before. As long as American lives are safer this will be a perfectly acceptable outcome for America., They will go back home satisfied, but we will descend further into hell. I don’t think our army is insane enough to launch such an invasion. They’ve made strenuous denials today. Anyway, after a tip in form Ejaz sahib is back to his brilliant best.Recommend

  • thinktank
    Aug 14, 2012 - 11:13PM

    Ejaaz, Why do you guys see ‘strategic utility’ in every step you take? It is this very attitude that put you in a deep hole and instead of trying to come out, you guys are digging it more deeper.

    A foreign mercenary is on your land and he should be pushed out. Period. This will be a great sign of intolerance towards extremism and will go a long way in proving the world that you are serious… It will also instill confidence in the citizenry that pakistan has turned over a new leaf!!

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  • Babloo
    Aug 14, 2012 - 11:25PM

    What a confused piece ? Is the author talking on behalf of the Haqanni terrorist network ?

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  • Arifq
    Aug 15, 2012 - 12:07AM

    Dear Ejaz Sahib

    “Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive!”.

    We can only begin to solve our problems by recognizing our failures and addictions, sadly your realpolitik is another way of scaring people in maintaining status-qou, that is unacceptable for Pakistanis who wish to live as citizens of a free and democratic federation i.e., Jinnah’s vision of a state, not Mullah Omar or Ayman Zawahiri.

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  • Imran Con
    Aug 15, 2012 - 12:17AM

    Considering victory is almost unknown to Pakistan, your ability to judge workable tactics aren’t impressive. The fact you have failed in every clean up job you’ve ever performed also makes you hardly credible when it comes to solutions.
    Though, if I haven’t realized by now you enjoy topics you’re less informed about than half the comments on here I’d be well over the line of mental retardation.

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  • Mustafa Moiz
    Aug 15, 2012 - 12:17AM

    You’re right, and we should not go into North Waziristan. Let this pointless war end, let the US finally withdraw, and the masses breathe a collective sigh of relief, then we’ll see what to do about North Waziristan, if there’s still an actual situation there.

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  • Lala Gee
    Aug 15, 2012 - 12:27AM

    I have been saying this all along that for us it would be better to ask the Haqqanis to leave instead of waging a war against them. The question that requires our utmost attention is should we turn them against us by attacking them and let them lose upon ourselves. Do we have a backup plan, as USA seems to have a meticulous plan of his own. If any thing we can learn from history is that USA cannot be trusted at all and she only cares for her national interests even at the cost of her ally. USA always reneged on promises/assurance made to us and left us alone as in 1962, 1971, 1989, and now during Afghanistan invasion. We should not make decisions without plan A, B, and C.Recommend

  • True Muslim Paki
    Aug 15, 2012 - 12:46AM

    I thought you a true Muslim, ejaz. But you too, Brutus?

    Imran khan is the only hope!

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  • White Russian
    Aug 15, 2012 - 12:51AM

    @Babloo:
    Yes!

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  • Roflcopter
    Aug 15, 2012 - 1:01AM

    @Babloo, no he is talking on behalf of Pakistan. Don’t think an indian troll will understand though.

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  • White Russian
    Aug 15, 2012 - 1:38AM

    Defend the sovereignity against americans. Lay it open for the terrorists. I remembet, not very long ago this author was trying to convince us that pattern of attacks on americans in Kabul and surroundings do not map unto corridor from NWA, Khost, to Kabul (implying that Haqqanis are not that dangerous). Today we are listening about haqqani stronghold in nwa, khost, and spillovef in Pak urban areas? They are Pak friends! no? Then why would they attacj Pak urban centres?

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  • Khurram The Muhajir
    Aug 15, 2012 - 1:40AM

    To sum it up: Don’t kick out the Haqqanis from our territory who are denying the poor people of North Waziritstan polio vaccines.

    What else can you expect from a writer on the payroll of the establishment?

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  • sabi
    Aug 15, 2012 - 1:53AM

    Author
    If this army can not defeat a bunch of taliban how on earth it can teach a lesson to india.This great army has defeated a former super power and now almost close to put a last nail in the coffin of world’s lonely super power. If this is true as we are fed up with such naratives then we must accept by this logic taliban as the next super power..Come on sir,don’t make jokes we have enough of it.

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  • faraz
    Aug 15, 2012 - 1:55AM

    Actually I agree that operation would not annihilate the Haqqani group and other militant groups. But I think the moral argument is too powerful; it’s our territory and we must gain control of it.

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  • numbersnumbers
    Aug 15, 2012 - 1:58AM

    Enough of this pontificating on what “might be,could,etc, etc”!
    The Army has to move into North Waziristan AND STAY THERE, permanently bringing the writ of the state to the FATA region. Any “Militant/terrorists” who flee into Afghanistan will find no safe haven there, since the Americans and the Afghan army will have free reign to hunt them down “with extreme prejudice” given the chance!

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  • Arindom
    Aug 15, 2012 - 2:01AM

    why be scared of reprisals in the city now? you weren’t thinking of this when you were rearing these ‘freedom fighters’? You reap what you sow.

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  • Prius
    Aug 15, 2012 - 2:31AM

    Pakistan needs to end all support for US war and withdraw from FATA.

    It is fatal to make Pashtuns your enemies

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  • kaalchakra
    Aug 15, 2012 - 2:32AM

    For all intents and purposes, American declaration of the Haqqanis as terorists will be as blatant a betrayal of their supposed ‘friendship’ with Pakistan as Saudi Arabia’s handing over of Abu Jundal to India. You can’t be friends and destroy or undermine a nation’s important assets at the same time. If that is somehow not made clear to Americans at this time, it will be hard to make Pakistan’s case later on.

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  • Haris Chaudhry
    Aug 15, 2012 - 2:34AM

    When I interviewed Commander ISAF,
    General John Allen, he told me that
    Nato-ISAF will pay “extra attention”
    to any spill-over that …….

    cough .. cough… gist of the article !!! :)

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  • Prius
    Aug 15, 2012 - 2:35AM

    Pashtun nationalism will increase, and Pashtuns will break away from Pakistan

    Pakistan needs to withdraw completely

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  • Confused Babloo
    Aug 15, 2012 - 2:48AM

    @Babloo: In retro-respect one can ask the same question that perhaps its you who is confused and been unable to understand author’s attempt to highlight dangereous consequences if army goes into NWA? May be you were watching couple of you tube videos and messaging your friends on faceboob in parallel while scrolling though this article. No wonder such a reader will himself is the author confused (implicitly assuming lack of self reflection ofcourse)

    Things and events are not isloated. As some one else said in an earlier comment, there is s real risk that all the militiants gangs disperse else where in the country making it harder to deal with and worst form of urban terrorism may arise again the one we say back in 2008-2009.

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  • American
    Aug 15, 2012 - 3:08AM

    He is talking from both sides of his face — Janus like.. and that has been the problem of Pakistani strategists decision makers all along.
    They have to make up their mind, and live with consequences. Instead, they want to be ally of US and also of Haqqanis. They want peace in Afghanistan, but not if that peace is not subservient to them. They want democracy, but not tolerance of diversity. They want the world to appreciate their ‘sacrifices’, but they will not appreciate the havoc brought by Pakistani trained people in Kashmir, Mumbai, New York, London, and every where else. They want financial support from World Bank, IMF, ADB, and US Government as if it is an entitlement (There was an article in the Nation about how loans are given generously to ‘non-muslim’ nations of Europe, but Pakistan is ignored!)
    You cannot have it both ways. Make your choice guys, and stand up and be counted, one way or other.

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  • sidjeen
    Aug 15, 2012 - 3:25AM

    so what you are suggesting is that we should do nothing. well in case you slept for the last ten years we have been doing nothing or not enough anyway and guess what it did not solve the problem. these terrorists no matter what their fancy names are a cancer and the procedure to remove them is going to be painful but it is necessary.

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  • Sunil
    Aug 15, 2012 - 4:59AM

    @Imran Con – ha ha … dude you are something …

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  • Caramelized_Onion
    Aug 15, 2012 - 6:34AM

    @Lala Gee: The most sensible comment here.

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  • Feroz
    Aug 15, 2012 - 7:09AM

    Pakistan is in a very vulnerable position largely due to its own actions and has very few cards that can be played, no more trumps or jokers only low denomination duds. Facing the prospects of isolation and sanctions there is no choice but to take on the monsters that have been created.
    The country needs friendly neighbors but there is no appetite in Afghanistan or elsewhere for a Taliban led regime in the region. Such a regime that guarantees exclusion rather than inclusion will also cause more harm than good to Pakistan, in the long run. We do know that far sighted thinking has never been the forte of policy makers but now the perils of following dual policy has become clearer. The Taliban and their supporters represent a mindset that infringes on the fundamental rights and freedom of civil soceity, guaranteed by the Constitution. They want to use the Gun and Pulpit to terrorize and must be eliminated if the country has to be saved. Recommend

  • It Is (still) Economy Stupid
    Aug 15, 2012 - 7:16AM

    Tell this to the family of 24 soldiers that they died in a stupid Afghan game. For you it is life of loved one but for us elite its just a number game. moreover”As for the ANA, the less said the better “Because we have contempt for Afghanistan and India. This is why we do not care for their sovereignty and plan strategic depth. Our sovereignty is more important that is why we beat the drum to protest against drones. Yes fall out for us is more because they are our non state actor and are an extension of our policy. If they go we may have to come up with new policies. That is lot of work and it will distract us from our defense colony plot deals. Ejaz should reevaluate who his audience is reader of ET or Foreign Policy magazine of Washington Post?

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  • Ashvinn
    Aug 15, 2012 - 7:55AM

    An interesting piece.but some thoughts though.

    How would you deal with the haqqani network, would you allow them to run parallel governance in NWA?

    If you do allow them the freedom to operate what is the grauntee they would not act aganist the state

    For sake for argument if we assume the haqqanis are some sort of a bragaing chip for Pakistan in Afghanistan setup why don’t you so declare your policy and bring these groups to the table? Why taken on USA and give them a chance to expolit your policy paralysis?

    Most Pakistani intellectuals seem confused as to what they want or maybe they are confused about how to achive it. I guess the oped also conveys this confusion.

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  • gp65
    Aug 15, 2012 - 8:43AM

    “So, while we plan to go into NWA, we must accept three factors: the operational environment has been sullied by the American move to declare the Network an FTO; the degree of difficulty of the operation has increased manifold and its utility declined in direct proportion”

    So what stopped you while
    – the operational environment had not been sullied by the American move to declare the Network an FTO
    – the degree of difficulty of the operation was much lower
    – utility was much more

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  • sabi
    Aug 15, 2012 - 9:25AM

    Lala Gee.
    ” USA always reneged on promises/assurance made to us and left us alone as in 1962, 1971, 1989, and now during Afghanistan invasion”
    The ruling elites of this country has made agreement with usa on different occasions.Every time,it seems, agreements were signed in haste without reading the contents properly.None of the agreements was made public in order to fool the masses.For example SEATO and SENTO agreements with America were made against communist ussr.Pakistan voilated the agreement and used american deliverd weapons against non communist India.To make matter worst Pakistani elite lied to the nation by blaming America for stoping arms supply to Pakistan in war against india.The story continues till today with reference to Afghanistan.Our ruling elite voilating every agreement for vested intrests and blame is once again put on America.I’m not praising America’s role in world politics but on the hypocracy of pakistani ruling elites.
    Regards.

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  • ParvezM
    Aug 15, 2012 - 9:34AM

    Positioning of various parties goes like this:

    Americans- do more
    Liberals- do as Americans say
    Conservatives- This is my land
    Indian- Send your army to mountains and never come back
    Afghans- where is the beef
    Pak Army- who will foot the bill
    Zardari – I want what Afghans want and more
    Iranian – Keep NATO engaged and uncertain
    Arabs- Keep the fighters healthy, we might need their services
    Euros- Don’t let them shoot our boys.

    Did I leave anybody out?

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  • Mirza
    Aug 15, 2012 - 9:40AM

    Pakistan should stop doing half-baked jobs. How many more years would they take to understand that the cancer must be taken out and all of it. There might be some analysis to scare the people but there are no choices but to go against the terrorists instead of classifying them into good and not so good. Been there done that and did not work at all.

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  • John B
    Aug 15, 2012 - 9:40AM

    US asked for the NWA operation almost two years ago, even before abbottabad and drones. Sec. Clinton already told a year ago in PAK soil that haqqani network is a viper brood. Designating Haqqani group officially as a terrorist organization is the last nail in the coffin.

    PAK army operation is inevitable. If it is not a full hearted operation, then reenactment of Abbottabad will be likely and that will be a perilous situation for PAK.

    The stupidity is not going after Haqqani two years ago when PAK was in good books with US. PAK will be in cross lines in the upcoming US political campaign, and the only saving grace for PAK will be handing over Haqqani in a golden plate. Yes, a stupid twist in Afghan game for PAK and PAK is caught in her own web.

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  • Murad
    Aug 15, 2012 - 10:41AM

    Good work Ejaz. And people who are urging our Army to simply go into NWA cowboy style, sorry it does not work like that. The area dynamics, the difference of Haqqani Network in NWA and that off baitullah Mehsud in SWA, i totally agree if we take this step, we are going to have an unprecedented terrorism in our cities. These operations should be certainly avoided and moer emphasis should be given on finding a solution to this infamous end game of Afghanistan.

    Rest totally agree with you Ejaz, “About the Afghan National Army, the less said the better”.Recommend

  • PK Kiddo
    Aug 15, 2012 - 11:36AM

    The solution is simple get out of this American war right now. This is the best time once Haqqani are declared FTO (which they will surely) only US will suffer and there will because right now US at one end wants negotiations and on the other end it wants one of the main players to be blacklisted and are dragging us on both corners. We should opt out to avoid any harm from either side.
    Plus looking at the political turmoil in the country along with judicial crisis, we cannot afford another crisis.

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  • Lala Gee
    Aug 15, 2012 - 12:08PM

    @thinktank:

    What do you say about the intolerance of Bhagat Singh, your national hero. Didn’t he use the same methods like throwing bombs (Central Legislative Assembly of India) and killing the British occupiers as the Haqqanis do. What is the difference between him and the Haqqanis fighting to repeal American/NATO/Russian occupiers.

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  • David Smith
    Aug 15, 2012 - 12:39PM

    Since you have not mentioned India anywhere, I was a little reluctant to comment. So just a couple of questions?: are you in your last para suggesting that the US not declare the Haqqani network a FTO, since the Americans see it as an ally of the al-Qaida? What do you suggest in the present circumstances? From reports in the Pqakistani press, it appears the Pak security forces would go after the TTP and let the Americans take care of the HT. By the way, did you write your piece before or after Gen Kayani’s Independence day message?

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  • Anoni
    Aug 15, 2012 - 12:53PM

    At the end of days . Let just not make More enemies than we can handle. Give Peace a chance. Put in education .. development. and if this all fails then i agree that these people should be routed out but not before you have given them the option. So think about it

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  • vasan
    Aug 15, 2012 - 12:59PM

    British Prime minister was right after all, Pakistan and its elites are looking both ways instead of straight. What I mean is they look for what is bad for India and bad for Afganistan. They dont look for what is good for pakistan, in the short and long run.

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  • Lala Gee
    Aug 15, 2012 - 1:03PM

    @American:

    “He is talking from both sides of his face —”

    Look who is lecturing us from moral high grounds. An American whose head should have been permanently bowed down with shame for humongous crimes committed by his nation against humanity. Time will come when the rest of the world would treat them like Al-Qaida for massacring millions of people in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan and elsewhere. Please keep your dollars and leave us alone, as Pakistani nation has nothing to do with your money except to pay it back with interest while the actual amount is laundered back in you banks by your installed puppet rulers.

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  • ashvinn
    Aug 15, 2012 - 1:48PM

    @ParvezM:
    Indian- Send your army to mountains and never come back —> good one dude , that would be nice thank you.

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  • Lala Gee
    Aug 15, 2012 - 2:29PM

    @vasan:

    “They dont look for what is good for pakistan, in the short and long run.”

    Amazing. Indians would tell us what’s good for Pakistan. Let me tell you what’s good for India in the short and long run. Apologize to the Kashmiri people for the dishonorable conduct of your past and present leaders for deceiving and depriving them from their right of self determination as repeatedly promised by them in the UNSC. Also apologize for the massacres and atrocities inflicted upon the Kashmiri people by your security forces and immediately demilitarize the state as required by the UNSC resolutions. Cooperate with UNSC and Pakistan for conducting the plebiscite in the state and honorably accept the outcome. Another good thing India can do is to apologize from her Sikhs and Muslim minorities for their state backed pogroms and protection of the perpetrators of their massacres, gang rapes, and arson of homes and properties. This will be the good beginning for India and the peace of the region.

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  • unbeliever
    Aug 15, 2012 - 2:57PM

    @Lala Gee:

    What do you say about the intolerance of Bhagat Singh, your national hero. Didn’t he use the same methods like throwing bombs (Central Legislative Assembly of India) and killing the British occupiers as the Haqqanis do. What is the difference between him and the Haqqanis fighting to repeal American/NATO/Russian occupiers.

    though our views never converge, yet i had respect to your views, as you were thorough in your analysis.

    however, throwing bomb in an empty area of assembly where nobody was hurt, is still and even back then was regarded as a sign of protest, not outright killing of innocents.infact, google JINNAH’S defence of bhagat singh in the case.

    with regard to the british officer he killed, there was a mistake regarding the identity of the officer, however, the officer he planned and plotted to kill was no saint. he was involved in lathi-charge which led to untimely demise of lala lajpat rai.

    so, comparing him with haqqanis is grossly misplaced.

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  • Aug 15, 2012 - 3:19PM

    Shouldn’t go into NWA. Else we will face urban terrorism of the scale not seen before anywhere.

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  • Mahakaalchakra
    Aug 15, 2012 - 4:07PM

    @Lala Gee:

    Lala Bhagat Singh was neither hiding in a neighboring country nor any neighboring country’s million strong army gave him shelter or arms. He never bombed Markets, Churches, Temples or Mosque to terrorize and kill innocents. He was not a puppet of any neighboring country.

    Shame on you if you compare Bhagat Singh with Aany terrorist outfit sheltered and protected by Pakistan army for its own strategic consideration.

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  • vasan
    Aug 15, 2012 - 4:09PM

    Lala Gee : It is equally amazing that you didnt write what is good for Pakistan, though I must admit that all your ranting about India and Kashmir will please the pakistani psyche. Let us start from the beginning. Pak should apologize for sending the tribes who did so much of looting and raping the kashmiris that the king had no option but to sign the accession. Shall we start there as that is the starting poing of Pak poking its nose into Kashmir,.

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  • Lala Gee
    Aug 15, 2012 - 5:35PM

    @unbeliever:

    “however, throwing bomb in an empty area of assembly where nobody was hurt, is still and even back then was regarded as a sign of protest, not outright killing of innocents.infact, google JINNAH’S defence of bhagat singh in the case.”

    While we are well aware of how the Indians like to portray Jinnah, your seeking of support from Jinnah’s actions is surprising. I am also surprised by your argument that throwing bombs is only regarded as a sign of protest as long as nobody gets hurt. Now the Kashmiris, Sikhs, and Maoists will feel comfortable throwing bombs to lodge their protest for their miseries in the empty halls of Indian National Assembly.

    “with regard to the british officer he killed, there was a mistake regarding the identity of the officer,”

    So killing someone unintentionally is not a crime in India, rather entitles you for the highest civilian award and earns you a high place in the list of national heroes.

    “however, the officer he planned and plotted to kill was no saint. he was involved in lathi-charge which led to untimely demise of lala lajpat rai. so, comparing him with haqqanis is grossly misplaced.”

    Perhaps comparing ‘lathi charge’ and death of one person with the areal bombardment of ‘daisy cutter bombs’ and the resulting indiscriminate deaths of several (dozens) innocent children and women is also grossly misplaced. Isn’t it.

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  • Thinktank
    Aug 15, 2012 - 5:50PM

    @Lala Gee:
    Please don’t compare pure soul of Bharat Singh to that of Haqqani. Haqqani wouldn’t think twice even before killing you, me or anybody…haqqani has not brought you freedom but just hatred and resentment from all over the world. Please create inspirational models like imran khan…haqqanis cannot be a inspiration to your future generation.

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  • Sid
    Aug 15, 2012 - 6:06PM

    @lala gee, @unbeliever:
    while lala gee is completely wrong in his study, Mr unbeliever has also not quite got the content right.

    The bombs were not thrown in an empty house. No one was killed because the bombs used were only meant to cause noise, i.e they were nothing more than fire crackers. the main idea was to create noise and distribute pamplets.

    Another difference between bhagat singh and the haqqanis: (i dont know why am doin this, its stupid to compare them): the haqqanis are also killing the locals, not just the oppresor, in this case according to them; the Americans.

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  • Cautious
    Aug 15, 2012 - 6:23PM

    “Physical dominance of territory in irregular war is always of limited value”

    Never heard of anyone applying that to territory inside their own country — or is the author admitting that the tribal territories are really not part of Pakistan and the entire sovereignty argument is nonsense?

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  • Zalmai
    Aug 15, 2012 - 6:31PM

    “If the State Department review establishes that there are indeed reasons to declare the Network an FTO, it will all but put paid to the negotiating process because the Taliban will not like to be seen as negotiating with the US, supposing that the US actually wants to negotiate in good faith, which doesn’t seem to be the case”.

    The only party that does not negotiate in good faith is Pakistan. Do you want us to believe that the Taliban are an organization whose leadership acts independently of their own volition? Do you want us to believe that Mullah Omar and Jalal al Din Haqqani are going to sit down with Hamid Karzai and iron out their differences and all will be peachy thereafter.

    We will never ever see Mullah Omar or any of the Haqqanis at the negotiating table because they are puppets that cannot even go to the bathroom without their puppet masters’ permission. These two criminals are never going to be allowed to have anything to do with government ever again.

    You can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all the people all the time.These are phantom movements with phantom leaders with no agenda or platform because they are mercenaries that are manipulated by their patrons to play the role of spoilers, nothing more nothing less.

    It is time for Pakistan to come clean and play a positive role in bringing a lasting peace and stability in the region by eliminating terror organizations employed as strategic assets.

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  • GRU
    Aug 15, 2012 - 8:04PM

    I am not at all surprised that Mr. Ejaz Haider’s detractors in this thread are all using nothing more than an a bunch of meaningless ideological rhetoric instead of addressing the practicalities of an operation in NWA. They obviously haven’t read the article and totally disregard the fact that the United States has repeatedly demonstrated her untrustworthiness; if Washington wants the Haqqanis quashed it better first launch operations on them in the vast swathes of Afghan territory they control before making any demands of Pakistan.

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  • Truth Bites
    Aug 15, 2012 - 9:51PM

    Army will go in to NWA and clean up the TTP mess as they have done in Swat very successfully. They are not like US or Afghan forces who after decades still limited to Kabul! As Haqqanis are not threat to Pakistan, they will either leave to Afghanistan safe havens or disperse. Yes TTP will try to avenge in urban centres, but to finish this mess we have to hit on the head and kill it compeletely, should also persue them to Afghanistan if they try to flee to safe havens in Afghanistan supporteg by Afghan and other forces.

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  • unbeliever
    Aug 15, 2012 - 9:58PM

    @Lala Gee:
    actually i was expecting the same kind of reply that you gave.

    even regarding jinnah, i will not change my view, and it really doesn’t matter what he did in bhagat singh’s case. it was just to help you, not me.

    regarding somebody protesting by throwing a bomb at empty place so that no one is hurt, would be a welcome change. and most of indians would certainly welcome this, over senseless killing of innocents.

    So killing someone unintentionally is not a crime in India, rather entitles you for the highest civilian award and earns you a high place in the list of national heroes.

    now, you are delusional.

    that he is a national hero, no doubt regarding this, but he hasn’t got any civilian award from any government of india, so you are factually wrong here.

    also, look who’s talking. have you seen your heros: jinnah, liyaqat and suhrawardy….i would not write much about them, for they may not pass tribunes comment policy, but you know how much innocent blood they have at their hands.

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  • unbeliever
    Aug 15, 2012 - 10:00PM

    @Lala Gee:
    also, do you know about a man named who is very much honoured in pakistan called llm-ud-din.

    why is he honoured, in your country, inspite of being a cold-blooded murderer?

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  • observer
    Aug 15, 2012 - 10:23PM

    @GRU

    if Washington wants the Haqqanis quashed it better first launch operations on them in the vast swathes of Afghan territory they control before making any demands of Pakistan.

    Sir Ji,

    This is precisely what they had done, when the Haqqanis and many others were provided sanctuary outside Afghan territory.

    Or were you under the illusion that the Haqqanis and the Quetta Shura are native to Pakistan?

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  • Enlightened
    Aug 15, 2012 - 10:47PM

    Go Pakistan go, get rid of this cancer before it is too late and country becomes a failed state.

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  • Lala Gee
    Aug 15, 2012 - 11:00PM

    @vasan:

    “Let us start from the beginning. Pak should apologize for sending the tribes who did so much of looting and raping the kashmiris that the king had no option but to sign the accession. Shall we start there as that is the starting poing of Pak poking its nose into Kashmir”

    I always wonder if the Indians are really that innocent and ignorant or it is in their nature not to admit to the facts and reality. You must know that just after partition 237,000 Muslims were massacred in the Jammu district with the collusion and active support of Dogra army and police (amazingly the very same pattern existed during anti-Sikh riots of 1984 and anti-Muslim riots of 1992 in Ayodhya, 1993 in Bombay, and 2002 in Gujrat where police either colluded with the rioters or just stood-by passively). Many people in the besieged Muslim population of Jammu had relationships with the tribal people and they called them for help to save their lives. Let’s start from here and apologize for not protecting the life and property of the citizens of the state in the first place.

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  • imran
    Aug 15, 2012 - 11:03PM

    Pity on the Nation which is so helpless and miserably caught in the middle of war that is product pf her own foolishness, A.nation still calling terrorist Good Taliban those who are ready to blow off her children, army personals and innocent civilians in retaliation of destroying their safe heaven on earth. Pity on the nation which have Politician like Sheikh Rasheed those who calling evaded terrorist their “Amirul Momineen” and still we have dream that we can defeat the terrorists: No Chance.Recommend

  • MSS
    Aug 15, 2012 - 11:15PM

    Ejaz Sahib, you are usually spot on. This article seems like an after thought. Confusion reigns.

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  • Vigilant
    Aug 16, 2012 - 12:06AM

    Full blown war or Operation will add to already existing bad situation. Cautions move or calculated elimination of top bross of terrorists can be used as a leverage to push them for take part in political process

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  • Lala Gee
    Aug 16, 2012 - 12:33AM

    @unbeliever:

    “now, you are delusional.
    that he is a national hero, no doubt regarding this, but he hasn’t got any civilian award from any government of india, so you are factually wrong here.”

    You are correct, no civilian medal was conferred upon him by GOI, my mistake. However, this fact is a glaring reflection of the intellectual deficit of the Indian nation. The question is, why he wasn’t? Being your national hero, was he not worthy of any such recognition posthumous. Indians look a very confused nation. At one hand Gandhi, your father of the nation, preaches non-violence with endless fervor, and on the other hand you pick someone your national hero who believed not only in violence but also killing of human beings and practiced his believes with full force and conviction. What a brainwashed confused Indian lot.

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  • Waseem janjua
    Aug 16, 2012 - 1:55AM

    how about this Pakistan (read ISI) allows Americans to go ahead and do what they please (ie to declare Haqqanis FTO). Since both US and Pakistan do have behind the curtain relations with Haqqanis, Pakistan puts entire blame on US so the spill over converts into more of “green over blue” killings………

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  • realist
    Aug 16, 2012 - 8:50AM

    @ParvezM:
    You left out the Chinese and Russians. As far as Afghanistan is concerned, Americans, Russians, Iranians, EU, Chinese, Indians all want the same which is stopping the spread os islamic fundamentalism to their territories. The last two are especially after the mineral resources of Afghanistan.

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  • Harkol
    Aug 16, 2012 - 8:59AM

    @Lala Gee:
    check history.

    Bhagat Singh Didn’t kill innocent civilians. Check the transcripts and evidence in Bhagat Singh trial. Sergeant terry, who arrested Bhagat Singh in assembly with a pistol in his hand, testified that Bhagat sings intention didn’t seem to be to harm or kill, as neither bomb or pistol was used to kill anyone. He courted arrest without any resistance though he could have easily shot Mr. Terry. They just wanted to make a statement, without harming anyone.

    The only murder that Bhagat was ever involved in was in killing of two police officers who were part of a lathi charge that killed Lala Lajpat Rai, who was leading a peaceful protest.

    No way comparable to the mass murderers, who use suicide bombs and automatic weapons on innocents to kill in hundreds.

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  • Indian Wisdom
    Aug 16, 2012 - 11:10AM

    @Lala Gee:
    Though your comparison between Bhagat singh and Haqqanis has been answered by several friends I will like to add that after committing the act he stayed there , took the prosecution and trial so that he can spread/propagate the message of freedom from colonial powers. Haqqanis and other terrorists on the other hand are killing the innocent people in Pakistan or Afghanistan or are being used as strategic assets to protect the interests or one party in the conflict. If they would have been dedicated towards the interests of Pakistani citizens (not military establishment) we would have taken the comparison. Second I doubt any Haqqani member will stand and not run away from Pakistani/ ISAF forces after committing the act.
    Further I think Bhagat Singh could be your hero as well as he fought for entire undivided India and not for Hindus or Muslims.

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  • Lala Gee
    Aug 16, 2012 - 5:28PM

    @unbeliever:
    @Indian Wisdom:
    @Harkol:

    Although I am a big fan of the intelligence of Indian commentators, but you guys are missing the main points. The first point is, do the violent means, as opposed to Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence, are justified to achieve one’s objective as is the case with Baghat Singh. You guys claim that the persons killed by him were bad, ask the British if they also think the same. Similarly, Haqqanis also think that the people they kill are bad, as those were involved, directly or indirectly, in indiscriminate mass killings of innocent Afghans including children and women. Further, they are also foreigners occupying their country and needs to expelled from their lands. Well I am not saying that I agree with their methods or use of violence, but to a certain extent, they are justified to fight those who kill their innocent children and call them ‘collateral’. Perhaps you would also agree with them on this point. The second point is, Gandhi is greatly admired in the West for his non-violence approach and India leaves no stone unturned to en-cash that good will and pretend to be the true follower of Gandhi’s philosophy of ‘ahensa’ (non-violence). But practically, in contrast to that, they admire the violence and pick a person as their national hero who is best known for his violent means and indiscriminate human killings to achieve his goals. The violent nature of Indians can be verified in the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, and anti-Muslim riots of 1992-2002. It is that duality of Indians that I was talking about. This duality is beautifully depicted in this sub-continental adage “haati kay daant khanay kay aur, dikhanay kay aur” or by another even better maxim “baghal main churri, moonh pay raam raam”. I hope this may let you decide if you want to be a true follower of Gandhi or Baghat Singh. Your pick.

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  • harkol
    Aug 16, 2012 - 7:19PM

    Lala Gee:

    It is my firm opinion that violence-begets-violence. Gandhi had said that ‘eye of an eye makes the whole world blind’. I am not justifying Bhagat Singh’s ideology. I was just saying it is insane to compare Bhagat Singh with Haqqani network.

    Bhagat Singh made his point without indiscriminately killing people. He also faced up to his actions – surrendered his pistol to the policeman and asked to be arrested. It is for his bravery that he is a hero, but his methods were never condoned by Gandhi, Congress or Indian state.

    Contrast with Haqqani or Hafiz Saeed. They send young, brain washed suicide bombers (Ajmal Kasab type) to indiscriminately kill innocent civilians, while they themselves hide like cowards.

    Comparing such cowardly terrorists with a brave revolutionary like Bhagat Singh can only be done by a confused person, purely for the purpose of throwing straw-man arguments.

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  • Dr Azhar mukhtar sindhu
    Aug 17, 2012 - 4:51AM

    There should be across the board terror cleanliness.
    Those who dont follow the universal rules of humanity should be dealt with force without exception

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  • khurram
    Aug 17, 2012 - 9:49PM

    @Arifq:
    Dear ,
    if every time we go to be a puppet of america ,collateral damage will be upon us , political system is not worth of any thing now ,we have to go for ISLAMIC system ,and any how if you people like americans and other enemies of islam you will be stand with them on judgement day ,,end is near brothers prepare your selves, as you see in syria also the annarchy is start..

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