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পাকিস্তান পরিস্থিতি ৪

May 21, 2013

১৮ মে ২০১১, বুধবার

যেরাষ্ট্রের বন্ধুত্বে পাকিস্তানের সবচেয়ে বেশি আস্থা, সেই চীন, সন্ত্রাসের বিরুদ্ধে যুদ্ধে পাকিস্তানকে সর্বাত্মক সহযোগিতা দিতে চায়। আর পাকিস্তান দেখাতে চায় তার আমেরিকা ছাড়াও অন্য সুযোগ আছে।

Andrew Small, a researcher at the German Marshall Fund think tank in Brussels told Reuters that Gilani’s visit to China will tell the US, the Pakistani public and the wider world that “Pakistan has other options.”

However, Sun Shihai, vice director of the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that China and Pakistan have long maintained close cooperation with each other at all times.

“I don’t think Gilani’s visit to China has any special implications for Pakistan-US relations because all parties have their own to play for the regional stability,” Sun said.

বিস্তারিত পড়ুন : China most-trusted friend of Pakistan: PM


২৭ মে ২০১১, শুক্রবার

কোথাও কেউ জানত ওসামা কোথায় লুকিয়েছিল, কিন্তু সেটা অবশ্যই জারদারি গিলানি কায়ানি বা পাশা নয়, অন্য কেউ – লাদেন হত্যকাণ্ডের পর আজ তার পাকিস্তান সফরে এমন কথাই বললেন মার্কিন পররাষ্ট্রমন্ত্রী ক্লিনটন। এভাবেই তিনি পাকিস্তানের শীর্ষ কর্মকর্তাদের clean chit দিলেন। কিন্তু সেসাথে জঙ্গিবাদের বিরুদ্ধে আরো কঠিন সংগ্রামে পাকিস্তানের প্রয়োজনীয় সহযোগিতা চাইলেন। সবচেয়ে ভয়ঙ্কর যা চাইলেন — তা হল পাকিস্তানকে ‘anti-americanism’ ত্যাগ করতে হবে। একেবারে ‘কাঁঠালের আমসত্ত’ই চাইলেন। খবরের লিন্ক এখানে

Hillary Clinton gives clean chit to Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said on Friday there was no evidence that Pakistan’s military and intelligence officials knew the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden who was killed by US commandoes early this month in the backyard of Pakistan military officers academy in Abbottabad.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad after meeting Pakistan’s military and civilian leaders, the US secretary of state said: “The US had absolutely no evidence that anyone at the highest level of the Pakistani government knew the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden.” Pakistani leaders have assured to probe the presence of bin Laden in Pakistan. She added that she was returning to Washington “ever more committed” about the relationship. However, people in Pakistan and US believe that some officials were involved in hiding bin Laden in the garrison town.


৩১ মে ২০১১, মঙ্গলবার

পাকিস্তানের পারমাণবিক বোমার গর্বকে পাকিস্তানি কলামিস্ট Saroop Ijaz বলছেন Atomic Bomb Complex ঠিক যেন ফ্রয়েড বিধৃত Phallic Complex । পাকিস্তানকে এই কমপ্লেক্স থেকে সরে আসার আহবান জানিয়েছেন কলামিস্ট। বোমা ও জেনারেলদের মধ্যে অনিবার্য মিলও খুঁজে পেয়েছেন তিনি। বিস্তারিত পড়ুন : Our atomic bomb complex

Our atomic bomb complex

By Saroop Ijaz

The writer is a lawyer and partner at Ijaz and Ijaz Co in Lahore

There is something very falsely mawkish and diabolically insensitive about celebrations and chest-beating at the end of a week which suffered multiple terrorist attacks, including one on an important naval base. The venue was Lahore on May 28 and the cause for this sloppy jubilation was the Yaum-e-Takbir, i.e. the anniversary of the ‘Islamic atomic bomb’. A disgracefully and wilfully ignored anniversary falling on the same day was the wanton murder committed in the Ahmadi places of worship, one year ago. The irony here is agonising. If there is one item that brings moral and political certainty in the otherwise grim flux, it is the bomb. The bomb allows for a complete suspension of reason across the political spectrum. The ritualistic solidity of the opinion regarding the bomb is completely apt at some level, given its theological nature. Revelry regarding an instrument of mass destruction, which can kill millions of people in a matter of seconds, defies rationality and decency.

It is evidently imbecilic to ascribe a religion to an inanimate object. Yet, at some level, the bomb is anything but inanimate. It has the ability to violently and explosively kill millions, and that, too, indiscriminately. The technology, at this point, is such so as not to permit the bomb to make the distinction between potential victims on the basis of age, sex, gender and, ironically, religion. Hence, we have miniature versions of the Islamic bomb on an almost daily basis, maniacs blowing themselves up without discrimination. To concede that the atomic bomb is a terrible idea has become treasonous. There is practically no argument about the rationale of the bomb (barring the sparkling examples of Dr Hoodbhoy and very few others). The buoyancy with which the use of the bomb is generally discussed in our national discourse is bizarre.

The primary argument for the existence of the bomb is that India did it first and hence left us with no option. It is absolutely unjustified for any country to possess these hideous weapons. And it was incredibly stupid of India to conduct tests, but we should have been able to resist the temptation of stooping to their level and conducting the corresponding explosion, and then some more by baptising the bomb as ‘Islamic’. Our military experts and their hawkish friends in the intelligentsia have made the argument of ‘nuclear deterrence’ and the utter indispensability of the bomb very vehemently and consistently, the only problem with the argument is that it is not really an argument. It is an argument which does not allow for a counterargument, i.e. it is an argument designed to survive all reason and evidence. And anyone opposing the sacred bomb is likely to be labeled as a foreign intelligence operative. The case against the bomb is beautifully simple, you cannot use it without being annihilated, hence its only utility is in the event of a mass, state-level suicide bombing.

Freud believed the visualisation of guns to have a direct and inverse relationship with a man’s potency. Hence, the more inadequate a man felt; the bigger and meaner the gun would be in his dreams. He loosely termed the phenomena as a ‘phallic complex’. Pakistan suffers from a phallic complex of an unprecedented proportion in history. The immeasurable inadequacies are offset by the possession of a vulgarly outsized gun. We are paranoid that the world covets our bomb, since at a subconscious level we are terrified at the prospect of facing up to our poverty, militancy, and ignorance, which we will be compelled to, once the gun is taken away. The obsession with our apocalyptic weaponry falling in the hands of the messianic forces is excruciatingly sardonic. We are now left to guard with paranoia the object whose only ostensible utility was to defend us, so much for the deterrence argument.

The reluctance of the supposedly liberal to attack and confront this visible absurdity is probably due to some furtive, ingrained notion of ‘patriotism’. This is a particularly salient example of letting an atrociously inane argument go unexamined because it is garbed in ‘national security’. In my opinion, it is shamefully unpatriotic to allow for a weapon capable of exterminating ‘us’, within our midst. We compel ourselves to love an object that is designed to hurt us; this is the very definition of sadomasochism. To glorify an apparently pedestrian scientist and more significantly a self-confessed thief, an exposed trickster now pathetically seeking to recant as a fractious juvenile, is dishonorable. Words like ‘national hero’ have been cheapened by overuse.

Orwell in his essay You and the atomic bomb, observed that since the atomic bomb was not something as cheap and easily manufactured as a bicycle or an alarm clock, but rather a costly object, similar to a battleship, it is likelier to put an end to large-scale wars at the cost of prolonging indefinitely a ‘peace that is no peace’. This is applicable to Pakistan with remarkable precision. The bomb has brought misery, not peace. Orwell’s other point about the pricey nature of the bomb is also relevant. The bomb is like the generals in Pakistan in many ways, i.e. they are expensive to make, even more expensive to maintain and once made, not easy to get rid of. Hence, even if we need to make our ‘peace’ with the bomb’s existence for now, we at least have to subjugate it to democratic control.

A question conspicuous by its absence on this discreditable anniversary, immediately following the Abbottabad and Mehran base incidents, is why shouldn’t parliament control our nuclear weapons. One is compelled to refer to Georges Clemenceau’s statement, almost a cliche now, that “war is too important to be left to the generals”, especially to those with records of irresponsibility. The reluctance and inability to have that debate is as significant and telling as whatever the substantive conclusions may be. The military establishment cannot and should not be allowed to play God and decide the timing of the Armageddon.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2011.


২৭ জুন ২০১১, সোমবার

মার্কিন – তালেবান আলোচনায় পাকিস্তান বাদ। আমেরিকায় পাকিস্তানের রাষ্ট্রদূত হোসাইন হাক্কানি এতে অসন্তুষ্ট। বিস্তারিত পড়ুন : Pakistan upset at being left out of US-Taliban talks

Pakistan upset at being left out of US-Taliban talks

Ambassador Haqqani says Islamabad has conveyed its displeasure to Washington.

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqani said that Pakistan is not part of the negotiations between Washington and the Taliban and is upset about it.

“We have told America that we are not happy with this,” said Haqqani in an exclusive interview with Express 24/7.

The Obama administration has recently confirmed that it had established contacts with the Afghan Taliban though it insisted the negotiations were at a preliminary stage. It is widely believed that the US has deliberately kept Pakistan at bay about its efforts to seek a peace deal with the Taliban ahead of the phased withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Earlier, a statement issued by the foreign ministry after talks between State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar and US deputy special representative Frank Ruggiero, in cloaked diplomatic language complained that “the minister underscored the importance of clarity and strategic coherence as well as transparency to facilitate the Afghan people and the Afghan government in the process for peace and reconciliation.”

Haqqani’s statement is also the first official recognition of Pakistan’s displeasure at being excluded from the endgame in Afghanistan.

“If America believes that Pakistan’s participation is required for success in Afghanistan, they will have to get Pakistan on board in their negotiations with the Taliban,” said Haqqani.

Visas for CIA operatives

Haqqani dismissed reports that the Pakistan Embassy in the US had issued 67 visas to CIA operatives. A local newspaper last week quoted embassy officials in Washington as saying that the Pakistan embassy has issued visas to CIA officials for deployment in Pakistan.

“The news reports are rubbish, false … the media should be more responsible,” said Haqqani while dismissing the report.

Haqqani also said that Pakistan has lodged a protest with the Americans on militants crossing over from Afghanistan into Pakistan and launching attacks.

“The Americans should wipe out Taliban sanctuaries in Kunar and Nuristan,” he said.

The interview will be aired today on Express News.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2011.


৩ আগস্ট ২০১১, বুধবার

চীনের জিনজিয়াং প্রদেশে গত শনি ও রোববারের জঙ্গি হামলার মাস্টারমাইন্ড পাকিস্তান, একথা বলছে পাকিস্তানের বন্ধু চীন। পাকিস্তান-অধিকৃত কাশ্মীরের সীমান্ত ঘেঁষা পশ্চিম চীনের জিনজিয়াং প্রদেশে উইঘুর সম্প্রদায়ের মুসলিমদের মধ্যে বিচ্ছিন্নতাবাদী তৎপরতার সাম্প্রতিক ইতিহাস আছে – ২০০৮-এর বেইজিং অলিম্পকের আগে আগে প্রথম বড় ধরনের বিচ্ছিন্নতাবাদী তৎপরতার জন্য আন্তর্জাতিক শিরোনাম হয় ‘বিশেষ স্বায়ত্তশাসিত অঞ্চল’ জিনজিয়াং। এই অঞ্চলে সক্রিয় সন্ত্রাসবাদী সংগঠনের নাম ‘পূর্ব তুর্কিস্তান ইসলামি আন্দোলন’(ই টি আই এম) এবং চীন সরকার বলছে এই নিষিদ্ধ ঘোষিত সংগঠনটির প্রশিক্ষণ চলে পাকিস্তানের জঙ্গিদের তত্ত্বাবধানে। জিনজিয়াং ও অধিকৃত-কাশ্মীর সীমান্তে চীন-পাকিস্তান বাণিজ্যপথ আছে, তাই এই অঞ্চলে চীনের নিরাপত্তা বাহিনীর অবস্থান আগের চেয়ে আরো সংহত করা হয়েছে। খবরের লিন্ক এখানে

Xinjiang attacks masterminded by overseas-trained terrorists: government

KASHGAR, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) — A group of religious extremists led by militants trained in overseas terrorist camps was behind the weekend attack on civilians in China’s far-western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region that left 6 dead and 15 others wounded, the local government said Monday.

The initial probe found that the group’s leaders had learned how to make explosives and firearms in overseas camps of the terrorist group “East Turkistan Islamic Movement” (ETIM) in Pakistan before entering Xinjiang to organize terrorist activities, the government of Kashgar City said in an online statement.

Six civilians were killed, 15 others — including three policemen — were injured after attackers set fire to a restaurant and started randomly killing civilians in Kashgar on Sunday. Five suspects were shot dead by police.

The government on Monday also issued arrest warrants for two suspects who fled the scene. The two have been identified as 29-year-old Memtieli Tiliwaldi and 34-year-old Turson Hasan. Both are local ethnic Uygurs, according to the warrants.

The police have offered 100,000 yuan (15,384 U.S. dollars) for information which could lead to their arrests.

Pan Zhiping, a researcher with the Central Asia Studies Institute under the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, called the ETIM “the most violent and dangerous” among the “East Turkistan” separatist forces. He said the organization is based somewhere along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

The ETIM traditionally trains its members for suicide bombings and car bombings before sending them to Xinjiang. But today more are using the Internet to penetrate the border to spread bomb-making techniques, Pan and other long-time Xinjiang observers said.

The United Nations and the Chinese government have labeled the ETIM an international terrorist organization.

The Sunday attack was the second violent case in Kashgar over the weekend. On Saturday night, two people hijacked a truck after killing the driver and drove it into crowded street. The suspects then jumped out of the truck and hacked bystanders randomly.

Eight civilians were killed while 27 others were injured. One of the suspects was killed in the clash while the other was apprehended.

The local government did not specifically label Saturday’s attack as an act of terrorism.

Zhang Chunxian, secretary of Xinjiang regional committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), has ordered a crackdown on terrorist attacks, religious extremist forces, and illegal religious activities at an emergency meeting held in the regional capital Urumqi following the attacks.

Zhang also ordered strengthened management of explosives.

He said the violent attacks would greatly damage the region’s stability.

“People in Xinjiang should stay vigilant and recognize that terrorist attackers are the ‘common enemies of all ethnic groups,'” Zhang said.

Xinjiang — with 41.5 percent of its population Uygurs, a largely Muslim Chinese ethnic group — is China’s frontline against terrorism. The region borders eight central and western Asian countries, many of which have been attacked by terrorist and extremist militant groups.


৫ আগস্ট ২০১১, শুক্রবার

পাকিস্তানের পাঞ্জাব প্রদেশের দক্ষিণাংশকে নিয়ে একটি নতুন প্রদেশ সৃষ্টির চিন্তা-ভাবনা চলছে। অনেকে বলছেন এমাসের মাঝামাঝি এই ঘোষণা আসতে পারে জারদারি সরকারের কাছ থেকে।

There is mounting speculation in Pakistan that President Asif Ali Zardari might soon announce the formation of a new province from the southern parts of the Punjab province. Some say the announcement could come as early as the middle of this month, when Pakistan celebrates its independence day on August 14.

As in undivided India, so in Pakistan, Punjab was the main source of recruitment into armed services. Punjab’s double hegemony—as the largest province and the dominant ethnic group in the Pak army—evoked much resentment from the three other provinces, the Sindh, Balochistan and the Northwest Frontier Province.

Like every other part of the Subcontinent, the Punjab is a patchwork of multiple identities. In recent decades, the Seraikis, from the southern Punjab have begun to reassert their identity and demand a separate province for themselves centred on Multan.

Zardari’s decision on dividing the Punjab, his opponents have argued, is about playing politics against Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League, whose clout vests in its dominance over the Punjab. Yet, members of the PML-N, from southern Punjab have supported the formation of a Seraiki province. Meanwhile the political leaders from the Bahawalpur region in the Punjab oppose their inclusion in the proposed Seraiki province.

It is to the credit of Zardari and the PPP that they have sought to address the grievances of various minority ethnic groups in Pakistan. It has agreed to rename the NWFP as Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa and has engaged the Baloch leaders and promised to end the state repression there.

The Zardari government has also responded to the demands of the people in the so-called Northern Areas, a part of the original state of Jammu and Kashmir, by naming it Gilgit-Baltistan. While this does not end the anomalous status of the region within the Pakistani federation, it is indeed a step forward.

If the military rulers in Pakistan tended to centralise the nation and ride roughshod over minority sentiments, the democratically elected governments have responded to the aspirations for political devolution.

বিস্তারিত পড়ুন এখানে


১১ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১১

সেপ্টেম্বর ইলেভেনের এক দশক পূর্ণ হল। এ উপলক্ষে পাকিস্তানের তিনটি ইংরেজি পত্রিকার আজকের সম্পাদকীয় উদ্ধৃত করছি এখানে।

ডন লিখেছে লিন্ক : Pakistan after 9/11

Pakistan after 9/11

STUCK with a pre-9/11 mindset in a post-9/11 world, Pakistan has suffered greatly over the past decade. Here`s what the Economic Survey of Pakistan, 2010 released last April has to say in a special section: the `war on terror` has “cost the country more than 35,000 citizens, 3,500 security personnel, destruction of infrastructure, internal migration of millions of people from parts of north-western Pakistan, erosion of investment climate, nose-diving of production and growing unemployment and above all brought economic activity to a virtual standstill in many parts of the country”. All of this is all too well known for anyone who has lived in Pakistan over the last decade. What is less clear for the average Pakistani is why this country has suffered so much. Driven by paranoia and fear, the blame for all that ails Pakistan is often laid on external powers. Meanwhile, the outside world has increasingly become suspicious and fearful of Pakistan. How can those two opposites be reconciled?

The answer lies in a reckoning with our own past. From the glorification and sponsorship of jihad in the 1980s to the present breakdown of internal security and external credibility, a bloody but fairly straight line can be drawn. Enamoured of the `non-state actors` that were once cultivated and nurtured to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan, the `low-cost` option for pursuing an India-centric security policy has proved almost impossible to resist. But until that link is severed, completely, totally and with zero tolerance, Pakistan is unlikely to ever emerge from the nightmare it has been plunged into. And to sever that link, Pakistan will have to go back to the beginning, to publicly re-examine whether the policy of jihad ever made any sense. While powerful sections of the state apparatus and swaths of public opinion, cynically manipulated by the state over the years, continue to believe that the war of the 1980s was a good idea, it will be impossible to come to terms with who the enemy today is. The cognitive dissonance of venerating one era of militant Islamists while believing the present era of militant Islamists needs to be demobilised or eradicated is too much — the former is always likely to trump the latter.

Even now there is time to change direction and begin the root-and-branch eradication of the infrastructure of jihad. Unhappily, there are few signs that is what the security establishment and the political elite are willing or able to do. Can Pakistan afford, or even survive, another decade like the last? The answer should be obvious, but are the powers that be willing to acknowledge it?

এক্সপ্রেস ট্রিবিউন লিখেছে লিন্ক : Life 10 years after 9/11

Life 10 years after 9/11

A construction worker arrives for work at the World Trade Center construction site in New York September 9, 2011. PHOTO : REUTERS

When al Qaeda struck New York on September 11, 2001, the founder of the organisation, Osama bin Laden, was reported to have watched it all happen on television. The event was recorded on a videocassette and became known as the Jalalabad Tape — evidence that al Qaeda had done the job. It was a moment of triumph for bin Laden and he wanted it publicised. The Islamic world, not keen on being associated with the deed, went into denial — a lot of Muslims, many of them educated and otherwise sensible, still think that the “Jews had done it”. Ten years later, it can be said that the Americans have taken revenge for 9/11, as they found Osama bin Laden and killed him. However, has al Qaeda died with him, or has the threat to the US from it and its allied groups diminished in any way? The answer to that is a circumspect ‘no’.

In fact, not even the Americans in their triumphalism under President Obama say that the death of bin Laden has put an end to terrorism. At the time of writing, America is preparing for another assault by al Qaeda to avenge the death of its leader and to mark the fateful day when America was humbled on 9/11. Pakistanis say none of the 19 hijackers who took part in the 9/11 act were Pakistani, but the truth which they ignore is the fact that all them had met Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan before the incident and had passed through Pakistan. The planner of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, was living in Karachi and several top-tier al Qaeda leaders who have been arrested or killed have all been found in Pakistan.

How successful has the West been in tackling the menace of al Qaeda? One can say that the highly organised states of the West have prevented a repeat after being struck once. The ‘sleeper cells’ of France, Spain and the UK are being relentlessly hunted and caught before they can inflict more destruction. In this, it must be said, these countries were greatly assisted by Pakistan which has caught or helped catch hundreds of al Qaeda terrorists — some of them extremely important. Then, the western blunders overtook the train of events. The US attacked Iraq without the permission of the UN Security Council. It divided a world that had earlier united to help the US attack al Qaeda in Afghanistan and had given Pakistan the moral grounds on which to help the international community. Many of the Muslims living in the West became alienated. The Americans passed laws like the Patriot Act to tackle their own rage. Europe also enacted tough laws to curtail its multiculturalism; and western politicians silently began to build a sinister anti-Islamic consensus. Indirectly, al Qaeda had succeeded in creating the civilisational rift it wanted.

Pakistan had its own blunders. It had fought a decade of deniable jihad in Afghanistan and Kashmir with the help of non-state actors. These were trained in Afghanistan in camps set up by al Qaeda with Arab money with the ‘warriors’ coming from communities influenced by the mosque and madrassa networks of Pakistan. The Arab donors who funded this state-sponsored terrorism took no notice of the fact that Pakistan had joined the war against terrorism. The jihadi loyalty swung to the side of al Qaeda, followed by a gradual curtailment of the writ of the state. The territory from where Pakistan culled its non-state actors now became the ‘ungoverned spaces’ where al Qaeda and its international brigades and Pakistani loyalists became dominant. The state could not — or did not want to — stand up to the challenge. The national discourse swung against America and the West, gathering muscle by linking America with arch-enemy India and Israel. Many in society and state institutions swung behind this discourse and began to identify with al Qaeda’s ideology. The decade has brought Pakistan to its knees. Al Qaeda is very much around while many institutions of the Pakistani state are struggling to fight it. Some are not even sure if they should fight it at all! Depressing as it may sound, the fact is that if al Qaeda envisaged victory in this way, it has succeeded. It has killed more Pakistanis than it hopes ever to kill Americans. And there are those among us who believe that if the Americans leave the region, the threat to Pakistan from extremism and militancy will go away as well.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2011.

ডেইলি টাইমস লিখেছে লিন্ক : 9/11 and all that

EDITORIAL: 9/11 and all that

On the tenth anniversary of 9/11 today, much introspection is taking place on the meaning and impact of that seminal event. Despite successes against al Qaeda, in particular the degrading of its terrorist capabilities by taking out Osama bin Laden (OBL) and many of the top leaders of the organisation, cautionary voices can be heard arguing that the struggle against terrorism is far from over and there is little room for complacency. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pointed to a credible, new, but still unconfirmed threat to the US on the eve of the anniversary. Ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair too chimed in with the statement that the post-9/11 battle was not over. Some context needs to be recalled.
The decade 1991-2011 could be looked back at with the benefit of hindsight as arguably providing the momentum that led to 9/11 in the midst of historic changes and developments. The first Iraq war of 1990-91 saw foreign, particularly US forces, deployed for the first time on Saudi soil. This event is widely believed to have alienated OBL from his home country and its monarchy, and impelled him to seek ways and means to combat American worldwide hegemony. This project led him from Sudan back to his original battlefield against the Soviets, i.e. Afghanistan, now ruled by the Taliban. From his base there, OBL stands accused of planning 9/11. The American response in the shape of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq crippled the neo-con American century project, in the process eroding due process and civil liberties at home and abroad, the latter witnessing the recourse to rendition and torture of suspects. However, whatever success or lack of it attended the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, they had the unintended consequence of spreading the al Qaeda franchise further abroad, increasing the threat of the terror network beyond its original support base. Western interventionism found a new lease of life (which continues), while the checks and balance provided in world affairs by the USSR-led communist camp during the cold war ended with a whimper when the Soviet Union imploded in 1991. The assassination of redoubtable Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud in Afghanistan just two days before 9/11 has been considered by many as the prelude to and preliminary strike by al Qaeda in preparation for the 9/11 attacks. The purpose perhaps was to ensure the strengthening of al Qaeda’s hosts, the Taliban’s grip on Afghanistan.
While there is little quarrel with the assertion that 9/11 changed the world almost beyond recognition, it is perhaps too early to grasp all the ramifications of that change. After all, if the cautionary voices mentioned above are correct, and there is weighty evidence that they are, the struggle against the ideology that al Qaeda represents is continuing, even while it spawns affiliates and draws to its banner a diverse array of religious extremists worldwide. Of all the countries most affected by 9/11 and its aftermath, in order of destruction, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan probably enjoy pride of place. We in particular have been hoist by our own petard, our support to the export of jihadi extremism having returned to haunt us with a vengeance. While the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are seeing an incremental drawdown and withdrawal of foreign troops, the problems they leave behind will not so easily go away. In particular, Afghanistan’s endgame is poised delicately at the cusp of a possible return to the corridors of power, albeit partial, in Kabul of the Taliban. This spells risks not only for the Afghan people, but also for Pakistan’s security if the nexus of the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban strengthens the latter’s ability to operate from Afghan soil against Pakistan’s security. Ironically, our military establishment’s quest for that will-o-the-wisp, ‘strategic depth’ in Afghanistan, may end up in the strategic pit of increased threats to Pakistan’s own security. *

One Comment
  1. পাকিস্তানের নতুন সেনাপ্রধানকে বলা হচ্ছে ভদ্রলোক এবং সেনাপরিবারের সন্তান — তাতে কী, তাকে তো পাকিস্তানের সেনাবাহিনিই চালাতে হবে, দেখা যাক। []

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