From Dr Hamid Hussain. As usual, he gives sensible advice, but it is not going to be heeded. On this issue, I think Major Amin is right, there will be a civil war, Pakistan will take sides, PTM will not be reconciled and will instead be further demonized, things will not get better. I also hope I am wrong. (Omar Ali)
Dr Hamid Hussain’s post follows:
One can only highlight signposts of a complex issue. Following is one such exercise.
Pakistan’s Afghan Conundrum
“On earth, it’s hard and heaven is far away”. Afghan proverb.
Afghanistan is going through another transition with many uncertainties causing hope and fear. Pakistan has a long history of involvement in Afghan affairs. President Donald Trump tweeted on 08 October 2020 that all American troops will be home from Afghanistan by Christmas. This surprised everyone in Washington and Pentagon, State Department and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officials were scratching their heads and contemplating how one single tweet has undermined the bargaining position of United States. This also sent shock waves in General Head Quarters (GHQ) of Pakistan army. Prime Minister Imran Khan government is not even pretending to have any role in Afghan affairs and has handed the Afghan file to the army. Imran Khan wrote an op-ed piece for Washington Post pleading Americans not to leave Afghanistan in haste for Pakistan fears it will face all the negative fallout.
There will be review of Afghan policy with the arrival of new administration in Washington in January 2021. However, domestic issues will suck all the oxygen and it is not likely that new administration will be able to spend significant economic, military and political capital on a side show in Afghanistan. President Trump is now the wild card before President elect Joe Biden takes oath on 20 January 2021. He can order complete withdrawal of American troops by the end of the year that can make any course correction for new administration very difficult. Pakistan’s hope is that new administration keeps current level of forces and economic lifeline to Afghan government until meaningful progress is made on intra-negotiations front. Continue reading “Afghan Conundrum II”
“A real friend is one who takes the hand of his friend in times of distress and helplessness’. Afghan proverb
In September 2020, Afghan government and Taliban representatives met for the first time publicly in Qatar to start intra-Afghan dialogue. There were lot of hurdles between the first step of signing of agreement between United States and Taliban in February 2020 and start of intra-Afghan dialogue in September 2020.
All parties are asking Taliban for a ceasefire during intra-Afghan dialogue. Taliban are not agreeing to this condition and violence has escalated in the last few months. Taliban leadership is concerned that if it agrees to a ceasefire then foot soldiers and local commanders will head back to their homes. This will weaken Taliban negotiation position and it will require some effort to re-mobilize foot soldiers. In addition, there is also fear that hardline Taliban may break away. The price that Taliban are paying is negative public opinion inside Afghanistan. Large number of Afghans are angry that Taliban have signed a truce with foreign troops; the very rai-son d’etre of Taliban fight while shedding the blood of fellow Afghans with impunity. Continue reading “Afghan Conundrum”
Would like to propose expanding CAA to include the following groups of muslims to:
get everyone’s feedback on what can practically pass the Indian Lokh Sabha quickly
see if several major Indian leaders will publicly endorse this
The following text will be continually edited based on feedback.
Proposing to expand CAA to include the following “AND ONLY THE FOLLOWING” groups of muslims IF AND ONLY IF they can prove persecution inside Bangladesh, Pakistan or Afghanistan:
13 classes AND ONLY 13 CLASSES of Muraqabah Sufi muslims:
3 classes of Muraqabah Irfan Sufi Shia muslims
Sixer Ishmaeli Muraqabah Irfan Sufi Shia muslims
Dawoodi Bohra Sixer Ishmaeli Muraqabah Irfan Sufi Shia muslims
Twelver Jafari Muraqabah Irfan Sufi Shia muslims
10 other classes of Muraqabah Sufi muslims
Chisti Muraqabah Sufi muslims
Qadiri Muraqabah Sufi muslims
Pir Nund Rishi Muraqabah Sufi muslims
Pir Shirdi Sai Nath Muraqabah Sufi muslims
Pir Kabir Muraqabah Sufi muslims
Pir Janardhan Swami Muraqabah Sufi muslims
Pir Hazrat Babajan Muraqabah Sufi muslims
Pir Syed Mohammed Baba Tajuddin Muraqabah Sufi muslims
Pir Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar Muraqabah Sufi muslims
Pir Baba Budan Muraqabah Sufi muslims
Agnostic, Atheist and Ex muslims
LBGTQ plus muslims
Female femnist muslims
Any and all Muraqabah Sufi muslims admitted under CAA need to be certified and verified as Muraqabah Sufi muslims by a council of Muraqabah Sufi muslims chaired by Pir Diwan Sahib Syed Zainul Abedin. Pir Diwan Sahib Syed Zainul Abedin will appoint a committee of Muraqabah Sufi muslims at his own discretion to assist him in this task.
Any and all Agnostic, Atheist and Ex muslims, LBGTQ plus muslims and female femnist muslims admitted under CAA need to be certified and verified by a council of muslims chaired by Tarek Fatah . Tarek Fatah will appoint a committee of muslims at his own discretion to assist him in this task.
In addition to approval by above councils of muslims, any and all muslim CAA applicants are subject to extensive deep background security checks and can be vetoed by the Indian government for any reason.
NO OTHER MUSLIMS will be permitted to apply for CAA. No other aspect of CAA will be affected.
Please provide your suggestions about how to improve the above draft.
Some questions and then more questions came my way about recent events in Afghanistan. My two cents put together in the piece.
Afghanistan – Next Round Afghan Style
“However tall the mountain is, there is a road to the top of it”. Afghan Proverb
United States and Taliban signed an agreement in February 2020. The agreement was to pave the way for withdrawal of US troops and integration of Taliban in Afghan political system. The next step was exchange of 5000 Taliban and 1000 Afghan government prisoners. This also proved to be the first hurdle. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani insisted on linking prisoner release with cease fire. Taliban rejected it and under US pressure, Ghani released few hundred Taliban prisoners.
In the deal with US, Taliban agreed not to threaten “security of US and its allies’. Taliban defined only Europeans as ‘US allies. Off course they don’t consider Afghan government as US ally therefore they continued to attack government forces. On the start of the Muslim holy months of Ramazan, Ghani asked again for a ceasefire. Taliban representative in his response called this call ‘illogical’. Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) also called for a ceasefire during negotiations between Taliban and Afghan government. Taliban are not likely to agree to this. They see attacks on Afghan security forces as a lever to extract more concessions. Taliban also want to calibrate its military operations to keep momentum of its cadres. If they agree to a prolonged ceasefire and few months later need military operations, they may face difficulties in re-activating its own cadres.
Current violence in uneven geographically. Violence has decreased in Taliban controlled areas in south and east and large cities. In Taliban controlled areas, night raids by Afghan forces and air strikes by US forces and attacks by Taliban on government posts and convoys, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks and target killings was the main engine of violence. Afghan forces have stopped operations in Taliban controlled areas resulting in marked reduction of violence. In government controlled large cities, Taliban were attacking government and civilian targets. They have markedly reduced these attacks that resulted in reduction of violence in large cities. In some parts of eastern Afghanistan, Daesh was responsible for most attacks. An unlikely alliance of US, Afghan forces, Taliban and local militias confronted Daesh from all sides eliminating most pockets of Daesh that contributed to marked reduction of violence. In all these areas, with reduction of violence, general public feels somewhat secure with economic activity picking up in towns and rural areas. Continue reading “Afghanistan, Next Round”
[Author’s note: With the celebrations of Guru Nanak’s 550th Anniversary and the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor being in the news, this is an opportunity for discussing the importance of the Sikh message, not just from a religious perspective – for Sikhs – but for Indian history. This article places the founding of Kartarpur, and Guru Nanak’s message, in a historical context – juxtaposing it with Babur’s founding of the Mughal Empire.]
I. Turning of the Wheel: Baba Nanak and Babur
In 1519, Babur invaded India – ‘ever since coming to Kabul we had been thinking of a Hindustan campaign, but for one reason or another it had not been possible,’ he writes in the Baburnama (translated by William Thackston, see pp 270-280). For some time his armies had been campaigning on the frontiers of the Hindu Kush, but these campaigns had yielded ‘nothing of consequence to the soldiers’. So, he turned to Hindustan. In the next few months, despite dogged resistance by the Afghans, Gujjars and Jats of the upper reaches of the Jhelum and Chenab, northern Punjab was subjugated, and plundered, by Babur’s armies. Babur himself spent most of his days inebriated, contemplating the legacy of Timur and setting poems to rhythmic metres. While his next great invasion of Punjab would come few years from then, in this interregnum, Punjab burned.
Among the towns and villages devastated was the settlement of Sayyidpur.
Special thanks to Mayuresh Madhav Kelkar for sending this. I would start watching this excellent Dari Farsi documentary 1 minute 19 seconds in. There are many excellent ancient maps of central and south Asia.
I just want to watch this again and again, just to listen to the narrator’s voice. Majestic, wise, soft and sweet. For those so sure Afghanistan will fall; any nation with voices like this is perchance stronger than she appears. This may be where the homo sapien sapien modern civilization was born.
Film review from Major Aghan Humayun Amin. (Spoilers ahead)
Last night I watched a movie named “ Drone” with immense interest.
Drones have been a major part of my research since 2006 when I personally and closely saw some drone strikes while serving as a consultant in Afghanistan and Pakistan. My main client were Canadians and to be specific SNC Lavalin , at that time Canada’s largest consulting company and worlds fifth largest. The movies director is a Canadian citizen which multiplied my interest as Canada sometimes moves opposite United States and has been doing so with varied levels since loyalists fled to Canada after the rebellion of the American Colonies.
The first issue with this movie which could be very hard hitting and a block buster is that it misses the small details , which is a case of lack of common sense and sweeping judgements which were entirely avoidable.
The first image failure occurred when while claiming to depict Pakistans wild west Waziristan region the area filmed and shown was Pakistans biggest city Karachi. To deliver the most unkindest cut of all as Shakespeare would have described it , the first shot titled Waziristan shows sky scraper buildings in Karachi rather than mud houses and totally opposite images for which Waziristan is famous and known. Continue reading “Film Review: Drone”
Review from Major Agha Humayun Amin. I am sure some of Major Amin’s observations will invite comment 🙂
I was very keen to watch this movie and watching it was a big disappointment.
While the movie is low budget , budget by no means could have reduced it from reaching the stature of greatness if the man who made the movie was more intellectually dishonest !
The entire historic context of this movie is drastically flawed and fallacious. The movie conveys a German military in Afghanistan that committed serious war crimes , whereas my personal observations having constructed five clinics in Kunduz in 2004-5 and having been involved in CASA 1000 survey passing through Kunduz province where German military was deployed , leads me to the irrevocable and unflinching conclusion that the German military in Kunduz was the most humane military outfit in entire NATO or non NATO forces deployed in Afghanistan.
Now this was entirely avoidable had the author carefully studied the history of German military record in Afghanistan.
As one who lived in Kabul and travelled extensively I found that Afghans loved no foreign country more dearly than Germany who they lovingly referred to as ”ALMAAN” and Turkey.
The reason was simple ! Both these states simply refused to enter areas where the public was hostile to NATO presence. While it is another issue that the German governments reasons for not doing so were based on pure and simple lack of moral courage or strategic resolution , in not annoying the large Muslim population of Germany , the result was positive, at least in terms of human rights. Continue reading “Film Review: Berlin Falling”