|Though Pakistan and the United States have resumed their dialogue, they are still on far from friendly terms. Apart from the first warning from the US secretary of defense, who said: "we won't let this kind of attack happen again," on Sunday [ 18 September] Hillary Clinton went as far as to pay a little courtesy visit to her Pakistani counterpart. Their conversation was "very substantial very frank."
According to AFP, citing a diplomatic source, "the attacks of changed the nature of the conversation, decided on long ago, whose duration -- three and a half hours -- greatly exceeded what had been planned. Counterterrorism became the first and last point on the agenda." This is the backdrop.
United States and Pakistan: mutual hatred
Though the Pakistani foreign minister "recognizes" the threat, the government denies any links with terrorist groups. The United States, which accuses the Pakistani Government of passiveness will complicity, refuses to heed this argument, stating that the areas in question are the among the best protected in Kabul and that these attacks require organization, planning, and... internal complicity.
"Whenever major attacks are perpetrated in Kabul or elsewhere in Afghanistan, the exchange of recriminations resumes," one senior Pakistani official said, anonymously. [passage omitted citing New York Times ]
[Description of Source: Paris Marianne 2 in French -- Website of Marianne, weekly news magazine; URL: http://www.marianne2.fr/]
Pakistani Commentary Recalls 1990s Infighting Between Rabbani, Hekmatyar, Masud
SAP20110925115002 Islamabad Ausaf in Urdu 23 Sep 11 p10
[Commentary by Navid Masud Hashmi: "Killing of Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani"]
Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani, the leader of Jamiat-e-Islami Afghanistan [JIA], has reached the court of his God with all his good and bad deeds. Rabbani and his JIA played a significant role in the jihad against the Soviet Union. Ahmad Shah Masud was central JIA commander. When the mujahidin were busy fighting the Soviet forces in Afghanistan in 1989-90, the commanders vitally engaged in jihad in Afghanistan established an advisory council of commanders for consultation on jihadist matters. The chief of the consultative council was Commander Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani, the conqueror of Khost, while Masud was the central commander of the council.
Professor Rabbani was a well-known leader of Afghanistan, like the late Maulvi Younus Khalis, Professor Sibghatullah Mujaddedi, Gulbadin Hekmatyar, Maulvi Nabi Muhammadi, and Professor Abdul Rasul Sayyaf. When the jihad against the Soviet Union was in full swing, Rabbani, like other leaders, remained active for the Afghan cause, sometimes in Peshawar, sometimes in Quetta, and sometimes in Islamabad, while sometime he visited foreign countries like the other leaders.
Rabbani was born in the northern Badakhshan Province in 1940. He completed his early education in Badakhshan. When he returned to Afghanistan after getting his master's degree in Islamic philosophy from Cairo's Al-Azhar University, the high command of the JIA assigned him the task of organizing students in Kabul University. It is worth recalling that Ghulam Muhammad Niazi, the founder of the JIA of which Rabbani was later elected as chief, was executed by Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan on 29 May 1978, along with 180 colleagues.
On 9 September 2001, just two days before the 9/11 incident, two Al-Qa'ida activists probably killed Masud on the pretext of interviewing him in the guise of journalists by blowing up explosives hidden in the video cameras.
Several days were left in the transfer of Afghanistan's presidency from Mujaddedi to Rabbani when I, along with a delegation of renowned clerics of Pakistan, left for Kabul to enjoy the hospitality of commander Masud. All the commanders that we met on way to the Kabul were overwhelmed by the victory and were desirous and waiting for the establishment of a peaceful Islamic government in Afghanistan. However, when we reached Sarobi, the sounds of horrible explosions were enough to shake our hearts. We came to know that the explosions were the outcome of mutual clashes and infighting between Masud and Hekmatyar.
Hekmatyar was the host of our delegation in Sarobi. He fully entertained us in his special guesthouse in a traditional manner. Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, led our delegation.
Hekmatyar started to make complaints against Masud. However, Rahman and other renowned clerics asked him to try to find solution, for the sake of God, to the problems through reconciliation as a mutual rift between the two groups after conquering Kabul was maligning jihad, as well as the mujahidin, across the entire world. Hekmatyar paid heed to the advice and proposals of our delegation with great love and subservience. However, he said: "You should convince Rabbani and Masud not to waste the sacrifices of the mujahidin with the help of aliens."
When we left Sarobi and reached Kabul, Masud, the conqueror of Kabul, received our delegation. Masud, wearing commando uniform with his specific cap on his head, was very submissive to the clerics. Mujaddedi, Rabbani, and the leaders of the Shiite organization Hizb-e-Wahdat were also present in the president's house in Kabul. Maulvi Nabi Muhammad, the leader of Harakat-e Inqilab e-Islami, was also present in the presidency along with his delegation. The delegation of the Pakistani clerics appraised these respectable personalities of the reservations of Hekmatyar and prayed for an end to the infighting. All the leaders present in the presidency, including Masud, said that Hekmatyar was the root cause of the conflict because he did not want pe ace in Kabul, but just to appease foreign powers. In short, infighting was being fanned through a blame game.
Then a time came when Masud, the JIA commander and the then defense minister, had the plane of Mujaddedi, his dervish-style president, attacked with a rocket and as part of conspiracy handed over the office of the presidency of Afghanistan to Professor Rabbani through intimidation. I have no hesitation in saying that infighting among Masud, Hekmatyar, and Professor Rabbani played a key role in destroying the Muslims of Afghanistan.
Now, let us set aside all these details and come to Rabbani. Rabbani, who was the so-called president of Afghanistan from 1992 to 1996. However, his rule was virtually confined to Kabul. That was the period when the horrible war between Hekmatyar and Masud made Muslims all over the world weep. That was the time when the //warlords// [previous word published in English], by forming small groups, established their governments in different provinces, cities, towns, and villages of Afghanistan.
That was the time when not only Pakistan but also the entire world, Muslim scholars and the rulers of Islamic states, begged and appealed to Hekmatyar, Rabbani, and Masud not to indulge in infighting and show respect for the blood of the martyrs. However, it is regrettable that the clerics, saints, and the pious people of the entire world, as well as the Muslim rulers, failed in their efforts. (to be continued)
[Description of Source: Islamabad Ausaf in Urdu -- Daily supportive of jihadi groups and a hard-line Pakistan policy on Kashmir. Extensively covers extremist groups, catering to religious and anti-US groups, with a circulation of 40,000. Provides good coverage of activities of militants in Waziristan and other tribal areas. Ausaf is also published from Frankfurt and London besides Pakistani cities of Lahore, Multan, and Muzaffarabad.]
Article Terms Haqqani Network 'Greatest Threat' for Pakistan's Survival
SAP20110929127014 Karachi The Express Tribune Online in English 29 Sep 11
[Article by George Fulton: "Understanding the duplicity"]
[Text disseminated as received without OSC editorial intervention]
The very public spat between Pakistan and the US which emerged last week after Admiral Mike Mullen, a man known for his straight talking, outed the ISI and called the Haqqani militants a 'veritable arm' of the spy agency, has left many analysts perplexed. Why do it? What benefit would America gain from such a public announcement? Perhaps it was frustration on behalf of the Americans. Admiral Mullen is due to retire at the end of the year. Maybe, with his forthcoming demobbing, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff felt able to candidly blow off steam at the perceived duplicity of the ISI? Unlikely. This evidence given to the Senate Armed Services Committee on September 22 was a designed ratcheting up of pressure on Pakistan. The defence secretary, Leon E Panetta, threatened 'operational steps' against Pakistan -- a euphemistic term for possible American raids against the Haqqanis in North Waziristan.
But don't the American's understand the psyche and character of Pakistan's military/intelligence nexus yet? Rather than spurring the ISI/Army into doing more, this public humiliation will have only further dented the frail ego of the military -- an ego that has only just recovered from the dishonour of the Osama bin Laden raid. Mullen's announcement will only have helped embolden those anti-American elements within the intelligence services and undermine the pro-Americans within the military.
America is undoubtedly frustrated with what they perceive as a double game being played by the ISI. But rather than merely lambasting the ISI for their treachery, it needs to understand the historical perspective from where it originates. Pakistan has, and is, a nation in perpetual existential crisis. They see foes on all sides. They know that friendships are fleeting in this part of the world. America -- an ally against the Soviets in the 80s -- has form in suddenly abandoning 'friends' in the subcontinent. Their withdrawal from the region after 1989 and the defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan proved costly for Pakistan. The blowback from that sudden departure left Pakistan with three million refugees on its doorstep, an unstable neighbour, and the spread of the Kalashnikov culture.
The Pakistan military/intelligence nexus is merely planning for a post-US Afghanistan -- a scenario that could be all too imminent. This is where Pakistan's insecurity lies. Not without foundation. They don't want a repeat of 1989. Instead, they want to have control and influence over an independent Afghanistan -- hence the support for the Haqqani militants. This is not just for the old chestnut of 'strategic depth'. Instead, they are particularly terrified that any ensuing vacuum after the pullout of Nato and American forces will allow India to gain influence within Afghanistan. They want to control Kabul before the Indians do. It is this very thought, above all else -- the idea of having India effectively on both of Pakistan's flanks -- that has ensured the ISI carries out such duplicity, even at the detriment of Pakistan's relationship with America. If America wants Pakistan to truly give up its links with the Haqqani network they need to understand this legitimate, even if ever so slightly paranoid, fear. And having done so, they should provide Pakistan with the necessary assurances and alternative solutions to allow Pakistan to give up their 'veritable arm'.
But this latest row has really highlighted the dysfunctionality and disingenuousness at the heart of the 'strategic relationship'. America easily forgets their own relationship with the Haqqani militants in the 1980s. It was during this period that links were first forged between the network, and the ISI and the CIA. Their leader, Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani, even shook hands with President Ronald Reagan at the White House. So America was happy to break bread with these people when it suited their strategic interests. The problem lies in that Pakistan and America's strategic interest have now diverged. America is still fighting in Afghanistan in the present. Pakistan has an eye on the future.
Meanwhile, Pakistan expects the world to believe that they have had no contact or involvement with the operational activities of the Haqqani militants? Even if this was true -- which is doubtful as support of the Haqqani network has been an open secret for a long time -- the problem here is that Pakistan has what you might call form. For too long Pakistan has relied upon non-state actors for strategic goals. Whether it is the Taliban in Aghanistan, Jaish-e-Mohammed in Kashmir or Lashkar-e-Taiba in India, Pakistan is addicted to this dangerous game. So when the information minister denies Pakistan's link to the Haqqani's -- the very same minster who denied that Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan -- forgive us for not believing a word he says.
More worryingly, it reminds us of the short-term-ism of Pakistan strategic thinking. Pakistan believes that their support of the Haqqani network will allow them to act as the puppeteer of Kabul once the Americans depart. But have the military/intelligence nexus learnt nothing from history? These non-state actors do not remain compliant forever. They eventually go rogue. The Taliban, Sipah-e-Sahaba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba all eventually rebelled against their intelligence handlers and have now become Frankenstein monsters against the Pakistani state itself; thousands of Pakistanis have been murdered by these very groups.
Rather than being a strategic asset, groups like the Haqqani network remain the greatest threat to Pakistan's existence. The cancer of militancy in Pakistan has metastasised because of our addiction to such loathsome groups. Even if America's reasons are very different, they are right in wanting Pakistan to disengage with the Haqqani network. We need to stop our addiction to dangerous non-state actors for furthering our short-term strategic goals. For in the long-term all it does is perpetuate and aid a militancy culture in South Asia. And I think we can all agree that is not good. A recent programme on ARY stated idhar America, udhar Haqqani.....kya karay Pakistani? Get the necessary assurances from America for Pakistan post-US troop withdrawal, and then ditch the Haqqani militants.
[Description of Source: Karachi The Express Tribune Online in English -- Website of a newspaper partnered with the International Herald Tribune, the global edition of The New York Times. It is part of the Lakson Group, which includes Daily Express and Express News Television in Urdu and Express 24/7 Television in English. The group's media wing has no known political affiliations and operates as a moderate, independent commercial media organization. The newspaper claims its mission is to defend "liberal values and egalitarian traditions"; URL: http://tribune.com.pk]
Pakistani Army Chief Discloses Information on 'US-Haqqani Network' Links
SAP20110926122005 Rawalpindi Nawa-e Waqt in Urdu 25 Sep 11 pp 1, 10
[Report by Sohail Abdul Nasir: "General Kayani Points Out the US Links With Haqqani Network"]
Islamabad -- In a written response, comprising eight lines and three paragraphs, to the US allegation of Pakistan's links with the Haqqani network, Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has pointed out the US links with the Haqqani network. In the second paragraph of his statement, Gen Kayani has said: "the United States knows quite well which countries have links with the Haqqani network."
According to a reliable source, Gen Kayani had to point it out as the United States, its key allies -- the United Kingdom and France, and even the Afghanistan Government -- had always had close relations with the Haqqani network. The United States sent goodwill messages to the Haqqani network several times. Moreover, one and a half year ago, when Khalil Haqqani, brother of Jalaluddin Haqqani and his nephew were arrested after a bloody encounter, they were respectably detained two months and then released as a goodwill gesture, besides providing them cell phones and cash.
The Afghanistan Government has always remained in contact with the Haqqani network. Initially through Professor Abdur Rab Rasul Sayyaf, and later though Mullah Abdus Salam Zaif, former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan. As the saying goes, all feet fit in the elephant's foot, the United Kingdom and France also maintained political relations with the Haqqani network. Some of Pakistan's friend countries are also included among those who had relations with the Haqqani network.
As the Haqqani network is an influential militant group in Afghanistan; therefore, no country having interests in the Afghanistan affairs can stay dissociated from it. In view of this reality, Gen Kayani, without naming anyone, has tried to pin point those who had links with the Haqqani network. Pakistan has also tried to make the United States understand that does the Taliban, who are active in the length and breadth of Afghanistan, come from Pakistan or especially North Waziristan? The United States has no answer to this question.
Source claimed that the Taliban have gunned down the NATO helicopter in the Northern Afghanistan Province of Samangan on Friday. Will they accuse Pakistan for this incident too? The source said that in fact every US Army general, who has been associated with the Afghanistan war after the 9/11 incident, has retired as a defeated general. Admiral Mike Mullen is also suffering from the same dilemma.
[Description of Source: Rawalpindi Nawa-e Waqt in Urdu -- Privately owned, widely read, conservative Islamic daily, with circulation around 125,000. Harshly critical of the US and India.]
Senior Haqqani Leader Captured In Afghan East
SAP20111001950069 Kabul Pajhwok Afghan News in English 1256 GMT 01 Oct 11
Text of report in English by Afghan independent Pajhwok news agency website
Kabul: A senior Haqqani network leader in Afghanistan was captured during a security operation in the Janikhel district of southeastern Paktia Province on Tuesday, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) announced.
Haji Mali Khan, uncle of Sirajoddin Haqqani, was one of the highest-ranking members of the group, the NATO-led force said, blaming the detainee for managing militant bases and supervising their operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"Khan moved forces from Pakistan to Afghanistan to conduct terrorist activity. Jalaluddin Haqqani consistently placed Khan in positions of high importance," a statement from the force said.
Having served as an emissary between Baitollah Mahsud and senior Haqqani leaders, Khan established a rebel camp in Mangal tribal lands, coordinated the transfer of money for insurgents and facilitated acquisition of supplies.
Before he was killed last year, Mahsud was the Tehrik-e Taleban Pakistan leader who provided foreign fighters, including Uzbeks, to the Taleban and Haqqanis. He led 20,000 rebels and organised attacks against Pakistani and Afghan targets.
[Description of Source: Kabul Pajhwok Afghan News in English -- independent news agency]
Article: Afghan President Karzai Trying To Sabotage Pakistan Talks With Taliban
SAP20111002093001 Islamabad The News Online in English 02 Oct 11
[Corrected version: correcting Subject; report by Hamid Mir: "The Difference Between Uncle Haqqani And Nephew Siraj"]
[Text disseminated as received without OSC editorial intervention]
ISLAMABAD: Tension between Pakistan and the US has been reduced but all is not well for sure. Another Taliban attack in Kabul could create new tensions and it is obvious that Afghan President Hamid Karzai tried to undermine the resolution passed by All Parties Conference in Islamabad by suspending his talks with Taliban on Saturday in Kabul.
The APC recommended a new mechanism for talks with people in the Pakistani tribal areas on Thursday and many Pakistani leaders also raised questions that if the US and Afghan governments can talk to Taliban then why Pakistan cannot talk to its own people? Informed sources in Kabul claimed that President Karzai actually made this announcement for sabotaging any expected talks between Pakistani Taliban and Islamabad because he thinks that Islamabad sabotaged his efforts of engagement with Afghan Taliban.
It is learnt that Karzai and US officials tried to meet not only Mulla Omar but also Sirajuddin Haqqani many times. Siraj is also known as Khalifa in eastern Afghanistan. Khalifa Sirajuddin Haqqani, Operational Commander of Haqqani Network, refused to meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai not once but three times in last one year. Khalifa Siraj even declined to meet US officials outside Afghanistan in June 2011.
President Karzai and late Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani approached Khalifa Siraj many times through his uncle Haji Ibrahim Haqqani and offered him to become part of the peace talks. At one stage Karzai offered Khalifa Siraj to become Governor of Paktia but he refused. Haji Ibrahim is the younger brother of Jalaluddin Haqqani. US officials broke Ibrahim from his elder brother in 2002 by offering governorship of Paktia province but this promise was never fulfilled.
Later on Haji Ibrahim Haqqani was appointed military chief of Paktia province in 2002 by President Hamid Karzai but after some time he developed differences with Khost Governor Badshah Khan Zadran, who used to interfere a lot in Paktia. Both Badshah and Ibrahim belong to Zadran tribe but they were opposing each other. Finally, Ibrahim Haqqani left the government job but he remained in contact with President Karzai in the hope of becoming a minister in Kabul one day. He approached his nephew Khalifa Siraj many times on behalf of President Karzai but Jalaluddin Haqqani always advised his son not to betray Taliban.
Khalifa Siraj made it clear to his uncle that he cannot talk to Karzai or Rabbani or US without the permission of Mulla Omar. The last meeting between Ibrahim and Khalifa Siraj took place in Peshawar where Ibrahim asked his nephew that Taliban were talking to the US through Tayyab Agha then why you are reluctant to go into talks with Kabul and Washington? Khalifa Siraj asked some time for response and crossed the border into eastern Afghanistan. He never came back. Sources close to Khalifa Siraj claimed that he actually informed Taliban leader Mulla Omar about the whole discussion with his uncle through a messenger.
Mulla Omar assured Khalifa Siraj that Taliban were not engaged in any talks with US or Kabul. Mulla Omar informed Khalifa that Taliban only exchanged some lists of prisoners with Americans just to test waters and Taliban were sure that US was trying to divide them through talks. Mulla Omar asked Tayyab Agha to stop meeting US officials three months back and that's how Khalifa Siraj was vindicated.
According to informed sources in eastern Afghanistan, Khalifa Siraj is freely moving between Gardez and Paktia while his father Jalaluddin Haqqani is hiding somewhere in Pakistan because he is sick. Sources said the assassination of Peace Council head Burhanuddin Rabbani was a clear indication that Taliban were not interested in talks with US.
Pakistan faced a lot of pressure from the US after the assassination of Rabbani and this pressure provided an opportunity to Khalifa Siraj to ask Pakistani Taliban to stop attacks against Pakistani forces. In a recent m essage to Waliur Rehman Mehsud, the Commander of Pakistani Taliban in South Waziristan, Khalifa Siraj asked him, "Look on the allegations of US against ISI and Pakistan, US have no trust on Pakistan, Mike Mullen talking like an enemy of Pakistan because I refused to ditch Mulla Omar, White House endorsing the allegations of Mullen against Pakistan then why are you fighting with the enemy of your enemy?"
[Description of Source: Islamabad The News Online in English -- Website of a widely read, influential English daily, member of the Jang publishing group. Neutral editorial policy, good coverage of domestic and international issues. Usually offers leading news and analysis on issues related to war against terrorism. Circulation estimated at 55,000; URL: http://www.thenews.com.pk/]