War on Terror: Raising the curtain

By Manzoor Chandio
Written on July 01, 2008

MANY people may not have taken Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s threat to send Afghan troops into Pakistan in hot pursuit of Al Qaeda and Taliban seriously if it had not been backed by President Bush.
The US president, while commenting on his statement said: “It is in no one’s interests that extremists have a safe haven from which to operate. Obviously, it’s a testy situation there.”
Nato’s position on Mr Karzai’s threat is that his statement should be seen as a reflection of frustration with ‘safe havens’ for militants but not as a sign that an attack is imminent. On the same day Mr Karzai threatened Pakistan; US helicopters violated the country’s air space and intruded into the Khyber Agency.
Recently US aircraft dropped bombs along the Afghan-Pakistan border, killing 11 Pakistani soldiers.
President Musharraf used to say that any foreign intervention against militants in the border region with Afghanistan would be regarded as an invasion of Pakistan. Now he is worried about his own fate and counting his days in the Army House.
Pakistan has chosen to remain a friend of America despite the knowledge that the US occupied Iraq and Afghanistan and annihilated an entire civilisation.
According to a foreign wire agency report, the US has spent more than $3bn over the past two years to train and equip the Afghan army. Now Mr Karzai’s comments raise the spectre that a US-trained Afghan military could be used to attack Pakistan.
Earlier, America talked about direct or indirect action against Al Qaeda and Taliban remnants in tribal areas.
It is believed that the Allied forces will not leave the Afghan battle halfway. A look at world conflicts shows that the powers that be always take regional conflicts to their logical end.
In 1939, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had to resign because he had simply ignored Adolf Hitler’s invasion of Czechoslovakia by describing the issue as “a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing”.
He was replaced by Winston Churchill and Britain was at war with Germany the following year. The Czechoslovakian occupation described by Mr Chamberlain as a quarrel eventually resulted in a war which is known in history as the Second World War.
In 1991, the United States left the first Gulf War only to return a decade later to end the monster of a dictator, Saddam Hussain. Much has been written on the US folly of leaving the war incomplete and then restarting it more than a decade later to correct the situation for good.
The rise of militancy in restive tribal areas and Swat shows the area is in a state of civil war and the Pakistan government has virtually lost its writ in the vast region bordering Afghanistan. Hence the latest action by the Pakistan army to gain control.
Now America thinks the Al Qaeda network is operating from its sanctuaries in Fata and Osama bin Laden is hiding somewhere in the region. Would the US repeat history — as Mr Chamberlain did and George Bush Senior did in the first Gulf War — and leave the region without destroying Al Qaeda and Taliban and capturing Osama bin Laden?
Like the talk about US attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan, a similar picture has emerged in the region adjoining Pakistan.
Those who say Pakistan is not a banana republic where America will intervene may be ignoring the neo-con strategy of pre-emption. Being the only nuclear-armed Muslim country, there are other concerns which the Western media often discusses as the ground for direct US intervention in Pakistan.
Al Qaeda and Taliban have “planning, training and financing” facilities in Fata as believed by Pentagon and the world’s largest drug trafficking corridor passes through Fata. Afghanistan’s flourishing drug trade provides as much as $4bn a year into the chaos that contributes to terrorism in the region.
According to some reports, some 80 madressahs out of 260 in the tribal region are still actively involved in terrorist activities.
According to the former army chief Jehangir Karamat “if you put together this whole picture that exists on the ground, US and Nato operating in southern Afghanistan and the centre of gravity of militancy being in southern Afghanistan, you can understand how it has spread into Pakistan’s tribal areas — all the conditions favoured this expansion into Pakistan.”
Mr Karzai’s statement against the backdrop of this scenario only raises the question about the future of this region.
No reminder is needed about the US goal in Afghanistan — namely to hunt the Al Qaeda and Taliban militants. And the last they fought with them was in Tora Bora, the Afghan region bordering Pakistan.
Since then Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts are not known. The US simply can’t ignore the virtual takeover of border agencies and districts with Afghanistan by militants.


Anonymous said...

I would like to thanks for raising this issue and appreciate about this.

Hyder Shar (Mr.) said...

a very worth full writting dear Manzoor! dear keep it up!

Hyder Shar
LEAD Pakistan

Autophile said...

The Bush-led United States of America has made this planet a dangerous place. The US public must wake up from comma and press for a peaceful world, if they want to a better, predictable future for their children.