The following exchange is from our email group, but it seemed worth sharing:
Actually some middle class Pakistanis are already questioning the deep state version of this “theory” and its associated “strategic imperatives” and MANY find the Zaid Hamid level BS a total joke.
I am not saying these jokers are the Nazi party. They are not. But my point is that EVEN if we imagine them being successful (very unlikely, but lets imagine) then that success will be even worse than the current mess..The best course is to dump the theory and the strategy based on that theory and become a more normal nation.
From: TI doubt very much this would happen, the demolition of the two-nation theory with India as the arch enemy, tho I wish it does….for one thing, the ‘deep state’ has too much at stake in the perpetuation of this myth, indeed its “roti” depends on the continuation of this theory…the only way it would happen would be either through application of external force (war from outside) or through a people’s uprising to demolish the system or through a coup that is bloody enough to overthrow the ‘deep state’ — both very distant, remote possibilities…
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Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2011 07:22:27 -0700
Subject: [CRDP] Fw: Fwd: Comments of Agha H Amin on –endgame in Afghanistan
Pakistan’s “deep state” will have to drastically reorient its thinking, abandon the fantasies and dangerous delusions of the “two-nation theory extremists” (whose mouthpieces include Ahmed Qureshi and Shireen Mazari..and speaking to the moronic section of the punjabi middle class, that first class maskhara Zaid Zaman Hamid) and THEN look at its interests. Once those delusions are shed, the region looks very different. Suddenly, India is not an “existential threat” but a somewhat irritating and condescending but generally incompetent local power with whom we will trade and compete in the usual things that neighbors do but about whom we are not obsessing to death and trying to create some imaginary new civilization that somehow escapes our own indian-ness…..its a tall order, but until the establishment does that, all these things are just going to get worse….Omar
— On Thu, 8/25/11, Kamran Shafi <firstname.lastname@example.org>wrote:
From: Kamran Shafi <email@example.com>
Subject: Fw: Fwd: Comments of Agha H Amin on –Fahad Hussein Article
To: “Mohammad Taqi” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Omar” <email@example.com>
Date: Thursday, August 25, 2011, 10:03 PM—– Forwarded Message —–
From: pavocavalry <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, 26 August 2011, 7:53
Subject: Fwd: Comments of Agha H Amin on –Fahad Hussein Article
News Analysis: New report attempts to make sense of Pakistan’s Afghan policy —By Fahd HusainISLAMABAD: The endgame in Afghanistan is upon us, but a well-considered and coherent policy based on projected national interests remains a mirage. We know what we wanted out of Afghanistan in the ‘80s, ‘90s and then the post-9/11 era. But what now? And what after 2014 when the Americans start to pack their bags?Pakistani Afghan policy remains the sole preserve of Pakistans military with the ISI manning the controls in the captains cockpit.The Foreign Ministry and Pakistani president and prime ministers role in this particular case is that of glorified show case characters in pilots uniform with powers of air stewards !
This is a question which should be troubling our policymakers, lest they stay behind the curve as per habit. Today ask any policymaker – uniformed or otherwise – about what exactly our policy goals are for Afghanistan, and you are likely to get a cliché-ridden sermon, laced with fanciful aims and a concentrated dose of wishful thinking.This is a fact.The answer you get is (1) We must counter Indian influence (2) The Northern Alliance is anti Pakistan (3) We have to support the Taliban as they are our long term clients
Wishes however, are normally not a good substitute for policy.
Now comes a report – fresh off the printing press – which attempts to draw a broad parameter of what exactly Pakistan should want in Afghanistan. The report is a joint effort between the Jinnah Institute and the United States Institute of Peace, and goes by the long-winded title “Pakistan, the United States and the End Game in Afghanistan: Perceptions of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy Elite.” It is being formally launched today in Islamabad.What is Pakistans foreign policy elite ! This is misleading because there is no Afghan policy and the Afghan policy is entirely controlled by the Pakistani military.
Luckily, the content is crisper that the report’s title. It is based on inputs from Pakistani experts, academics, journalists and former officials, all of whom have one way or the other, one time or the other, dipped their hands in the Afghan cookie-jar. Some have burnt fingers to show for their efforts, while others actually did get to nibble on the cookie. Now they have shared their thoughts with the authors Moeed Yusuf, Huma Yusuf and Salman Zaidi. Sherry Rehman, head of the Jinnah Institute, is the project director for the report.None of the experts mentioned above are Afghan experts.They have hardly ever gone to any Afghan insurgency area outside Kabul.
That said, here’s a newsflash for those Rip Van Winkles who’ve woken up after decades: Pakistan has a mess on its hands in Afghanistan. The grandiose notions of ‘strategic depth’ lie buried in the Tora Bora rubble. The road to Kabul – supposedly paved with good intentions – is actually littered with the debris of Pakistan’s shattered dreams. Where we wanted an Afghan government doing our bidding, we now have an Afghan Establishment – and a sizeable population – baying for our blood. And here’s the final insult: instead of our boys in khaki using Afghan territory as strategic depth against an Indian enemy, the Afghan Taliban boys are using Pakistani territory against the American enemy, and occasionally against us too.
So far so bad. Now comes the new transition in Afghanistan, and possibly the dawn of new realities. The Yankee will finally be going home (at least most of them), and the Afghan chessboard will see the knights and the bishops move again. Will our policymakers pick up where they left off in the ‘90s, or has the institutional thought process – God forbid – evolved?Since 1998 a strategic consensus was evolved in Russia , Iran and India that the Taliban were an existential threat to the region and must be contained.Iran was leading this effort and a senior Northern Alliance figure confessed to this scribe that without Iranian support the Northern Alliance would have been destroyed in 1999.When the US attacked in November 2001 the Northern Alliance although confined to Takhar and Badakhshan and Panjsher was re-organising and the Taliban advance had been contained and battle lines stabilized.The bottom line now is as following :–1-The Northern Alliance is well re-organised with its cadres constituting 60 to 70 % of the Afghan National Army and 60 to 80 % of the Afghan National Police.2-The Russians have earmarked three divisions for countering any Taliban ingress north of Hindu Kush.3-The Iranians have similar military contingency plans.4-The Northern Alliance will get aerial support from Russian and Central Asian Republics and primarily from Kulyab air base.In addition the Northern Alliance constitutes some 60 % of the Afghan air force components of the Afghan Air Force.5.The Indian Air Force with a presence at Aini Air Base in Tajikistan should not be ruled out.
This new report makes some interesting assessments. Take this, for instance: “Pakistani foreign policy elite are generally critical of their country’s security-centric approach to Afghanistan. The security establishment, which has dominated the country’s policy throughout, is seen as being overly concerned about an antagonistic Afghanistan. This fear has led it to interfere in sovereign Afghan affairs over the years. Its policy has therefore focused virtually entirely on the Pushtun political factions in Afghanistan.”This is a fact but this was the deal under which the PPP came to power as it earlier had in 1988 , 1993 and in this case.That is leave the Afghan and India policy to the Pakistani Army.This was the key part of the benefit that the PPP got in shape of NRO from the army !
Whoa! Radical stuff. But there’s more. “Rather than seeking influence in Kabul through groups such as the Taliban alone, Pakistan ought to have pursued enhanced trade ties and joint venture investments for leverage…It was largely agreed among project participants that achieving the above-recommended course would require no less than a wholesale transformation of Pakistan’s traditional thinking vis-vis Afghanistan.”
Now if only our officials were saying this. That they’re not perhaps suggests two things: a) they’re not ready to make policy statements at a time when the situation is still in a flux and the goalposts are constantly being shifted by the Americans, or b) or they’re actually still fixated on goals which have already evaporated and turned into toxic moisture. Either way, the messy entanglement of interests in the wastelands of Afghanistan is not allowing a clear Pakistani perspective to emerge as yet.Where the officials are economising with words, non-officials are not. The authors of the report make it clear that the opinions contained in these pages are not unanimous in nature. But they do provide a certain direction and a basic framework for Pakistani policy in the coming years. Short on specifics they might be, but the broad guidelines do betray a tinge of much-needed realism. The two overriding objectives of what a Pakistani policy should be are stated as follows:
a. The “settlement” in Afghanistan should not lead to a negative spillover such that it contributes to further instability in Pakistan or causes resentment among Pakistani Pushtuns; andAny Afghan settlement will be negative for Pakistan because the non Pashtuns and moderate Pashtuns who are some 50 % of Afghanistans population regard Pakistan as an existential threat.This is so because the Afghan Taliban regard Afghanistans non Pashtuns with slightly liberal life scripts , Afghanistans Shias and Ismailis and Afghanistans liberal or moderate Pashtuns as heretics.In this scenario following chain of events is likely:–1-The US starts withdrawal in 2012.2-Talibans re-assert in occupy the south and step up attacks.3-Public opinion in North demands international security guarantees.4-A process is initiated by the UN to partition Afghanistan.Partition would certainly have a negative impact on Pakistan.5-If serial.4 above does not happen Afghan Civil War would re-commence with Taliban occupying the area line Wardak Shindand with possible northern extension to line Jabal Siraj Bamian Daikundi Shindand.6-The above events may direct the blow back towards Pakistan.The good Taliban now 80 % of Taliban who are pro Pakistani state and the bad Taliban some 20 % of Taliban who are anti Pakistani state may combine against the Pakistani State.Pakistani strategy needs to be as following :–1-Provide a sovereign guarantee to Afghanistans anti Taliban population that it will restrain the Taliban.2-Make a drastic and effective counter insurgency strategy.3-Involve all regional actors like Iran ,Russia and India as well as the CARs republics in the peace process.4-Spearhead the placing of an international peace keeping force on line Wardak Shindand to ensure that civil war does not break out.5-Create new provinces so that Pakistans centrifugal forces are checked.6-Introduce a massive economic package for FATA and Balochistan and the KP.
b. The government in Kabul should not be antagonistic to Pakistan and should not allow its territory to be used against Pakistani state interests.
The report then goes to on explain that when translated into actionable policy, these objectives lead Pakistan to pursue three outcomes:
1. A degree of stability in Afghanistan.
2. An inclusive government in Kabul.
3. Limiting Indian presence to development activities.
The devil though loves to reside in the details. These are noble objectives, but attaining them through pursuit of very specific, and extremely well-debated and well-thought out series of steps is easier than it sounds. Traditionally Pakistani policymakers have floundered when it came to thinking things through. Remember Operation Grand slam in 1965? Or Kargil for that matter? Post-2014 we want a government in Kabul which, for the lack of a better term, doesn’t hate our guts.That pretty much rules out a Northern Alliance-dominated setup. But we don’t want all our eggs in the Taliban basket either, because who knows better than us what happened to those eggs last time around. So, who do we back? Do we push for an inclusive setup with Taliban dominant? Tempting though it is to say yes, but it is such temptations which book us a seat on the flight of fancy.The Northern Aliance and the Taliban are like fire and water.They cannot work together.The solution is to have a confederal north south structure in Afghanistan with an international peace keeping force from Islamic countries in the centre which may called a buffer zone.The Northern Alliance is as long term a player as the Taliban.
Then of course, there’s the US. In case you didn’t notice, they don’t like us much anymore. They think we’re playing them. They just stopped paying us for services already rendered. And they’ve got an election coming where they need a whipping boy. Guess who’s the prime candidate?
Well, we don’t like them either. So call it quits? Not that simple. The Pentagon is clearly driving US policy in Afghanistan, and the State Department is being treated like, well, like our GHQ treats the Foreign Office. The Pentagon and GHQ are sulking like jilted lovers, with Admiral Mike Mullen refusing to make a stopover in Pakistan on his farewell tour of the region. Pakistan says the relationship with the US will not even be “transactional” any more, but rather “formal and need-based.”The Pakistani military cannot survive with both the US and China so the real alternative is to have peace with India or face the following threats:–1-Fight extremism in Pakistan alone which will isolate Pakistan.This Pakistan cannot afford.2-Fight insurgencies in Pakistan which will get foreign support.3-Remain in an unstable situation in which a nuclear stand off with India cannot be ruled out.4-Face the threat of de-nuclearisation under UN umbrella.5-All the above may require a change of guardians in Pakistan on the pattern of post 17 August 1988 with an entirely new civilian and military set up.This may require some engineering solutions.
The foreign policy elite quoted in the report recognise these bitter realities, and see difficult times ahead for Pak-US ties. The US, they foresee, will pile pressure on Pakistan to do more, “with an eye on reducing reliance on Pakistan’s security establishment in the political reconciliation process.” In other words, the Americans want Pakistan to help bring Taliban to the negotiating table, but at that same time not remain the sole “handlers” for them.
In this respect, the report steps dangerously close to Pakistan’s official thinking. In itself, this is not a demerit, but what it does suggest is that in the short-term, Pakistan does not have too much space to manoeuvre in its Afghan policy. In the near term, Pakistan needs to extricate itself from the hole that it dug for itself the last two decades, preferably without loss of too much leverage – and loss of face. This means facing up to some realities: a) India is up to monkey business in Afghanistan, and Pakistan can ignore it at its peril b) the Durand Line is more porous than ever before, and the “reverse strategic depth” phenomenon is turning into a major security nightmare for Pakistan, c) Haqqani Network is entrenched in North Waziristan and assaulting it does not make sense at this stage d) TTP is drawing strength from the Afghan Taliban as well as geographic proximity of its base to Afghanistan, and e) closing our eyes to Afghanistan won’t make it go away.While the Haqqani network is pro Pakistani military there is little evidence that the TTP is close to Afghan Taliban who are pro Pakistani military.However the two may combine at some later stage.
The report tackles some of these realities and attempts to come up with realistic options. In many ways, it does succeed. But the actual Pakistani success in the Afghan endgame will depend on the thinking of those people whose names do not appear on the pages of this report.The Afghan war requires a change of guard in both Pakistan and Afghanistan .Only God or the USA can do it !__._,_.___