You are browsing the archive for General Kayani.

Pakistan: Diplomacy vs. Giving It All Away

3:01 pm in Uncategorized by Josh Mull

I am the Afghanistan Blogging Fellow for The Seminal and Brave New Foundation. You can read my work on The Seminal or at Rethink Afghanistan. The views expressed below are my own.

How are we going to deal with Pakistan when they’re openly flaunting their proxy war against the United States? How should we respond when they say stuff like "we know where the [Taliban] shadow government is"? Or this:

“We picked up Baradar and the others because they were trying to make a deal without us,” said a Pakistani security official, who, like numerous people interviewed about the operation, spoke anonymously because of the delicacy of relations between Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States. “We protect the Taliban. They are dependent on us. We are not going to allow them to make a deal with Karzai and the Indians.

Again, "we protect the Taliban." Pakistan protects the Taliban. That’s in addition to them training and equipping various Taliban militias and even funding suicide attacks and IEDs against American troops. We, as in you the American tax payer, give Pakistan billions of dollars in aid and weaponry, including directly reimbursing them for their army operations (down to paying for the bullets fired). And yet they’re killing our troops and protecting insurgents/terrorists.

Our relationship with Pakistan is deeply, deeply flawed. How do we fix this?  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Obama Can’t Control His Generals – Time for Congress to Step in

5:12 am in Uncategorized by Josh Mull

I am the Afghanistan Blogging Fellow for The Seminal and Brave New Foundation. You can read my work on The Seminal or at Rethink Afghanistan. The views expressed below are my own.

One of the best parts of learning about foreign countries and their cultures is the sudden realization that these places aren’t actually foreign at all. You’re not studying an opaque alien world, you’re only looking in the mirror. As Americans, it fills us with hope to look across at, say, our progressive allies in Pakistan and note that they’re working hard, just like us, to correct and reform their country’s policies. But are we also capable of seeing the negative parallels? It’s all well and good to lecture the Pakistanis about total military subservience to a strong civilian government, but what about our own weak President and our own anti-democratic generals?

American military officials are building a case to minimize the planned withdrawal of some troops from Afghanistan starting next summer, in an effort to counter growing pressure on President Obama from inside his own party to begin winding the war down quickly.

With the administration unable yet to point to much tangible evidence of progress, Gen. David H. Petraeus, who assumed command in Afghanistan last month from Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, is taking several steps to emphasize hopeful signs on the ground that, he will argue, would make a rapid withdrawal unwise. Meanwhile, a rising generation of young officers, who have become experts over the past nine years in the art of counterinsurgency, have begun quietly telling administration officials that they need time to get their work done.

When something like this happens in Pakistan, we completely lose our s**t and call them a failed state, a tyrannical dictatorship, a collapsing nuclear-armed time bomb full of apocalyptic religious fanatics and corrupt, out-of-touch plutocrats. When it happens here, it’s called a "media blitz." Oh you know, General Petraeus is just out there to "counter the growing pressure" by the American people, and hopefully force the Commander-in-Chief’s hand on war making policy. The young officer corps is simply pressuring your elected politicians to give them more time to occupy foreign lands and engage in aggressive wars. Totally normal, everything is fine.

It’s time for Congress to wake up. Petraeus needs to be reminded of exactly who he works for. The generals don’t tell us what to do, we tell them what to do. This is not Pakistan, this is the United States, and if President Obama is too weak to preserve our civilian-military order, then Congress is obligated to enforce its constitutional authority over the power – and the purse – of war. Read the rest of this entry →

Rethink Afghanistan: ISI and Pakistan Army Kill Americans

9:00 am in Uncategorized by Josh Mull

I am the Afghanistan Blogging Fellow for The Seminal and Brave New Foundation. You can read my work on The Seminal or at Rethink Afghanistan. The views expressed below are my own.

If you need further evidence of why our war in Afghanistan is so de-stabilizing for Pakistan, or how Pakistan’s "Strategic Depth" is a threat to the United States, or, of course, why General Kayani’s "silent coup" in Pakistan means we need to accelerate our withdrawal, then look no further than this New York Times article [emphasis mine]:

The documents, to be made available by an organization called WikiLeaks, suggest that Pakistan, an ostensible ally of the United States, allows representatives of its spy service to meet directly with the Taliban in secret strategy sessions to organize networks of militant groups that fight against American soldiers in Afghanistan, and even hatch plots to assassinate Afghan leaders.[...]

Some of the reports describe Pakistani intelligence working alongside Al Qaeda to plan attacks. Experts cautioned that although Pakistan’s militant groups and Al Qaeda work together, directly linking the Pakistani spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, with Al Qaeda is difficult. [...]

The man the United States has depended on for cooperation in fighting the militants and who holds most power in Pakistan, the head of the army, Gen. Parvez Ashfaq Kayani, ran the ISI from 2004 to 2007, a period from which many of the reports are drawn. American officials have frequently praised General Kayani for what they say are his efforts to purge the military of officers with ties to militants.

Get it? Not only are we fighting a civil war in Afghanistan, which has nothing to do with Al-Qa’eda, but we are also fighting a proxy war against Pakistan. They don’t care about our US interests, they care about their own country’s interests, and it is in their interest to kill Americans in Afghanistan, as well as aiding Al-Qa’eda. All so that Pakistan can control Afghanistan and battle against India. Read the rest of this entry →

General Kayani’s “Silent Coup” in Pakistan: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

7:00 pm in Uncategorized by Josh Mull

I am the Afghanistan Blogging Fellow for The Seminal and Brave New Foundation. You can read my work on The Seminal or at Rethink Afghanistan. The views expressed below are my own.

Pakistan’s General Kayani, the man our leaders in Washington fawn over and who sits atop the intensely destabilizing "Strategic Depth" networks in Afghanistan, has just been handed a three year extension of his term as Chief of Army Staff by Prime Minister Gilani:

The Pakistani government on Thursday gave the country’s top military official, army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, another three years in his post, a move that analysts said would bolster Pakistan’s anti-terrorism fight and cement its role in neighboring Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced the extension in a late-night televised address to the nation. "To ensure the success of these [counter-terrorism] operations, it is the need of the hour that the continuity of military leadership should be maintained," he said.

The impact on our war in Afghanistan is obvious, as both McClatchy and I included it in the lede; Call it "strategic depth" or "cementing its role," it all adds up to influence on Afghan President Karzai’s government, the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, Al-Qa’eda, and the future of all of these players in Afghanistan.

The short of it is that Kayani’s extension is bad news for us, due to his cozy relationship with militants and terrorist organizations, as well as his undermining of the democratically elected civilian government. But the details are important, especially as they could mean the difference between uncontrolled escalation and our planned military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

For the complete picture, we’ll take a look at what a few experts (read: bloggers) are saying to determine the good, the bad, and the ugly ramifications Kayani’s extension has on the US war in Afghanistan. Read the rest of this entry →

Individual Acts and the Collapse of Pakistan

3:00 pm in Uncategorized by Josh Mull

I am the Afghanistan Blogging Fellow for The Seminal and Brave New Foundation. You can read my work on The Seminal or at Rethink Afghanistan. The views expressed below are my own.

Earlier this week, I wrote about an impending civil war in Pakistan, projecting a possible "complete collapse of Pakistan as a recognizable entity," referring not to its geography (it has survived breakaway provinces before, with national identities still intact) but rather to its structure as a modern, democratic society.  Some readers were understandably skeptical.

Beyond the violence and anti-Americanism we see in western press, Pakistan is actually very recognizable to us as foreigners. They have powerful military and civil society institutions much like the West, but it’s also Pakistan’s fervent patriotic pride, their struggles with women’s and minority rights, and their constant battle between secular progressives and conservative fundamentalists that will be instantly familiar to any American. Far from the alien, failed state portrayed on television, Pakistan is a vibrant cosmopolitan society dealing with the same grand cultural questions as the United States, or most other countries for that matter.

So how then do you get from that to the complete collapse? How could their painstakingly constructed democracy just disintegrate away, and how could their powerful, western-backed military fail so miserably to protect the nation in the face of what seems only to be illiterate, fascist hill people and their sickeningly backward superstitions? Read the rest of this entry →

Pakistan’s “Strategic Depth” and endless war in Afghanistan

5:00 pm in Uncategorized by Josh Mull

I am the Afghanistan Blogging Fellow for The Seminal and Brave New Foundation. You can read my work on The Seminal or at Rethink Afghanistan. The views expressed below are my own.

If everything works out perfectly in our counterinsurgency strategy, or if congress forces a binding timetable in line with popular support, the United States will begin slowly drawing down its forces in Afghanistan in July 2011. It’s only the start, it will be tremendously slow, and the military leadership will likely fight it every step of the way (if Iraq is any indication, that is).

July 2011. That’s one year from now – 12 months. If June’s casualty numbers remain constant, that’s over a thousand Americans who’ll die before then, at minimum another 80 billion dollars down the toilet, and then we just start leaving. After that there’s no clear evidence of exactly how long it will take before the US has completely removed its military presence from Afghanistan, and possibly Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, etc, although there’s no evidence we’re planning on leaving those places either.

As I’ve said many times before, this is a good thing. It’s good that congress is starting to listen to its constituents, and is taking action to hold President Obama to his timetable for withdrawal. Afghanistan is America’s longest war, and with such ethereal objectives as "stability" and "preventing safe havens for extremism," the war can seem endlessly un-winnable, stretching on for decades as long as we’re content to let it happen. That we have a goal in sight, July 2011, is absolutely a victory.

Unfortunately, it’s not good enough. Pakistan’s national security policy of supporting terrorist groups and militias as proxies against India, known as "strategic depth," is accelerating out of control, and they are either deliberately or inadvertently engineering a globalized religious war, a Clash of Civilizations. Both terrorist and insurgent elements are evolving, with the Taliban co-opting Al-Qa’eda’s idea of religious war to legitimize its fight against the Pakistani state, and Al-Qa’eda in turn co-opting the Taliban’s objective of confronting India to legitimize the sub-continent as the premier theater of global jihad. Hawkish India, for one, will not take these developments lightly.

If pressure on congress is not increased, if the US remains on the slow, ambiguous timetable it is on now, it will be caught right in the middle of this clash. The bloodbath of Iraq in 2006 was only a preview of what will happen if there is a civil war in Pakistan, or a (nuclear?) war between Pakistan and India. Or both. If the US does not expedite its withdrawal, as well as dramatically reform its policies toward the region as a whole, we will very quickly be sucked into that conflagration. Read the rest of this entry →

Afghanistan: Has Hamid Karzai Already Joined the Taliban?

5:00 pm in Uncategorized by Josh Mull

I am the Afghanistan Blogging Fellow for The Seminal and Brave New Foundation. You can read my work on The Seminal or at Rethink Afghanistan. The views expressed below are my own.

The war in Afghanistan is disintegrating before our very eyes. Our counterinsurgency strategy is broken, and the Pentagon knows it. The so-called "emergency" funding requested months ago by the Obama administration now seems destined to die a slow, bureaucratic death in congress due to overwhelming pressure by citizens. Our allies in NATO have either reached their peak of military involvement, as with the UK, or have already begun to dismantle their troop presence, as with Canada and so many others. Other countries in the region are already vying for power after the US leaves, even as the Pentagon insists its July 2011 withdrawal date will only be the "beginning of a process."

But what about Afghanistan itself? What about President Hamid Karzai, our ally and head of the "Host Nation" government? The theory put forward by the pundit class is usually some variation of the "bloodbath" theme. That is, our allies in Kabul like Karzai would be overrun and annihilated by the Taliban. This appears to be more media myth-making, however, as we see from Karzai’s political maneuvering that not only is he threatening to join the Taliban, but he may have already done just that.

Karzai is already negotiating with the Taliban and even received formal terms of a peace treaty from Taliban-aligned Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that Karzai joined them. After all, negotiations are merely the first step in any peace process, no matter the circumstances. Instead we have to look deeper inside this peace process to see the real endgame Karzai is working toward, that of a nominal, Pashtun-nationalist government in Kabul overlaying a Taliban-dominated countryside. Together they function not only as a crime family capable of exploiting Afghanistan’s resources (minerals, opium, timber, etc) but also as a highly effective proxy for Pakistan’s interminable battle against Indian influence. Read the rest of this entry →