Readers of this blog are familiar with Pakistani military historian Major Agha Humayun Amin. Major Amin has recorded a number of podcasts on the Anchor app and they are worth a listen if you are interested in military history, Indian history and related topics.
This podcast in particular is a good introduction to Major Amin’s own background (he has worked with the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, has been a Taliban prisoner, and then a contractor in post-American Afghanistan, with extensive experience in the region). He also mentions his mentor Edward Luttwak.
In this podcast he makes many interesting observations and has his usual blunt and sometimes harsh opinions. Some of his topics here include:
- His view is that there is no such thing as a “non-state actor”. All actors in Afghanistan are proxies of some state or the other. In the case of the Taliban, that means Pakistan.
- How the Americans were fooled into bombing (via drones) and paying for bombing (Pakistani armed forces) the FATA region, while Taliban were actually located in Balochistan.
- How Kiyani prolonged the FATA operations to milk American coalition support funds.
- FATA Pakhtoons as “Red Indians” , subject to endless operations, not just today but many years ago, regarded as “our firing range”. Regarded as such not just by non-Pakhtoons, but also by many “settled area” Pakhtoons.
- Some of the nuts and bolts of this endless war.
- Pakistan’s theory of nuclear brinkmanship, developed initially with American acquiescence (because they did not want India to attack Pakistan and disrupt their Afghanistan operation).
- Siachen, Kargil.
- The renewed Kashmir infiltration in the last few years.
- Pakistan army’s mindset and some of the more interesting nonsense that is promoted in its cause (such as Javed Hasan’s classic “India, a study in profile”).
- The security setups of both sides leak like a sieve. Nothing is really secret, yet most things are unknown to their own politicians and common people.
- No Indo-Pak war is likely, but proxy war will accelerate.
- Trump will abandon Afghanistan for electoral reasons, civil war will accelerate.
You don’t have to agree with Major Amin’s views. But his detailed knowledge of this murky world is worth a listen. At a minimum it should make you wary of all state propaganda narratives.