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Why Pakistan Supported Taliban?

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    Why Pakistan Supported Taliban?

    Sometimes ago I started that topic; the administrator put lock on it after stupid remarks one of the participant and then removed it from the discussions. During searching of my computer discs in the drawer of my desk I found a cutting form “The Sun” daily news paper published from Toronto Canada, dated September 13, 1998 i.e. almost three years old. ‘Eric Margolis’ wrote the article; the well known respected Canadian journalist. I am fond of reading his articles, which are related to Middle East and South Asia. The guy’s views on even most sensitive issues are very neutral, clear and specific. It is really a pleasure to listen to him on TV discussing issues such as Taliban without any prejudice and discrimination.

    I found above answer in the article “Tough New Players Join The Great Game” published in the above newspaper. Remember that article is three years old before the disaster of WTC happened. I would like some excerpts taken from above article be posted here, for the information and providing necessary fuel for brain storming.

    “While the world watches the lurid drama of Bill Clinton’s slow motion demise, South Asia is facing dangerous crisis that could embroil the entire region in new round of fighting over strife-torn Afghanistan.

    This imbroglio began in 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan as part of grand strategy to push south to Arabian Sea. Afghan holy warriors, or mujahedin, backed by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the U.S., defeated the Soviets, who finally withdrew in 1989.

    Soviet occupation destroyed Afghanistan’s delicate political, ethnic, and religious balance between the majority pathans or Pakhtuns, who are Sunni Muslims and minority Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Hazaras, some of whom were Shia Muslims. The seven muhahedin groups, each supported by outside powers, fought themselves. Afghanistan dissolved in anarchy and bloodshed.

    In 1994, a new force exploded on the scene. “Talibs, students at religious seminaries, or madrasas, took AK-47s in one hand and the Quran in the other, formed a crusading army, the Taliban, and went war against the feuding mujahedin, vow to bring order and Islamic law to Afghanistan. Led by the shadowy, one eyed, Mullah Omar, the simple seminarians were miraculously equipped with heavy artillery, tanks, and jet fighters. They quickly captured 60% (Now I think 95%) of Afghanistan, including Kabul.

    The real force behind Taliban was Pakistan’s crack intelligence service ISI, which had directed the earlier war against Soviets. Peace would allow western consortia to build oil and gas pipelines from Termez in Uzbekistan to Karachi, Pakistan’s main port-the shortest most efficient route to export Central Asia’s vast, untapped energy resources.

    Tehran, however, wanted Central Asia’s energy exports to be brought out by its own pipelines and railroads to Persian Gulf. Tehran consequently kept fuelling the Afghan civil war to prevent Pakistan from securing the Termez-Karachi route.

    Tehran, which constantly back-stabbed the mujahedin during the great Jihad against Soviet occupation supported anti-Taliban Tajiks, flying in plane loads of arms and munitions to their bases in the Panshir Valley and to Shia Hazars in Hindu Kush mountains. (Perhaps still supporting Northern Alliance).

    Other players quickly joined this new round of what Rudyard Kipling called “The Great Game”. Russia eager to restore its influence in the region backed the Afghan Tajiks and Uzbeks with arms, money, oil and advisers. So did the former Soviet republics of Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Their despotic, neo-Marxist regimes live in terror Taliban will export Islamic revolution to Central Asia and overthrow the existing communist order. (Very recently Pope visited Kazakhistan)

    India joined he anti-Taliban alliance to thwart its rival Pakistan. China, increasingly worried about rebellion by its oppressed Muslims Uighurs in Sinkiang (Turkestan) also discreetly backed the anti-Taliban alliance.

    Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the wealthy Gulf Emirates support Taliban. (Very recently Saudi Arabia and UAE withdrew its support to Talibans). The US flirts with both sides. Washington is worried by Taliban’s Islamic extremism, sheltering of enemies like “Osama bin Laden”, and Taliban’s medieval way, particularly in treating women. But Taliban’s hatred of Shia Iran, and its promise to bring order to Afghanistan-opening the way to American strategic penetration of Central Asia-is most appealing.

    One of the world’s bravest, most noble people, the Afghans has become pawns in the new Great Game for energy. Outsiders are happy to fight to the last Afghan to dominate this strategic, beautiful, ravaged nation whose people only want to be left alone. Taliban may be medieval, but better medieval peace, say most Afghans, the continued chaos.”

    This article has revealed many things that perhaps most Pakistanis did not know. I would request moderators to leave this article here because it is directly related to Pakistan’s future.



    [This message has been edited by Farid (edited September 30, 2001).]

    [This message has been edited by Farid (edited September 30, 2001).]

    It has not revealed anything that most informed Pakistanis didn't already know.

    From strategic depth to strategic nightmare
    By Pepe Escobar

    ISLAMABAD - "The next few days are going to be very important for the ISI." The high-level Pakistani intelligence source savors his words as he begins to explain in detail how the all-powerful Pakistan Inter-Service Intelligence is on the brink of despair.

    He starts by saying how Iran is Pakistan's economic enemy, and how India is Pakistan's political enemy. During the 1990s, "the ISI theory was to get hold of the Central Asian markets". This was the time of the famed General Nasirullah Babar, the man who tried to convince diplomats from Asia and Europe that through the Taliban he could assure them of a peaceful and stable government in Afghanistan - the key to everyone's pot of gold: "The concept of strategic depth was that without a friendly government in Kabul, Pakistan would not have access to Central Asian states." Now, the whole ISI world seems to be upside down. Strategic depth is being replaced by a strategic nightmare.

    Taking time to sip his tea, the source goes on, "I would take the liberty of drawing a parallel between the relations of Osama bin Laden and the CIA, and the relations of the Taliban with the ISI. The CIA was basically the promoter of Osama. Then Osama turned against the CIA. It is the same with the Taliban and the ISI."

    As the Pakistani intelligence community follows in horror the way the Americans are beefing up the Northern Alliance - already supported by Pakistan's enemies India and Iran - the source ponders, "The problem is not so simple. Pakistan cannot simply delink from the Taliban, and the Taliban delink from the ISI. Also, the ISI has already penetrated into the low ranks of Taliban. Historically, whenever the ISI felt that some groups were going out of their control, they tried to politically divide them. This is how the ISI will try to create a split within the Taliban. Hardliners will be sidelined for a while. They will go behind the scenes, and a new leadership will be brought [in]."

    As far as the volatile tribal areas inside Pakistan that border Afghanistan are concerned, the source comments that the Taliban hardliners living in these areas will certainly join the Taliban in Afghanistan for another jihad. "In Peshawar there is already a campaign of distribution of arms among these people."

    The source is keen to emphasize that the game is far from over. "In Afghan history there have always been groups and countergroups. Seventy percent to 80 percent of the Taliban officials are from Najibullah's administration. They have disguised themselves. They had no option, they had to win their daily bread. They will now be taken into confidence. Otherwise, Pakistan will be out of the whole scene." The source expresses the whole Pakistani dilemma. "If the Northern Alliance comes onto the scene, gets into power, it would be the end of 'strategic depth'."

    Lately, in the non-stop jockeying for position in a situation that has never been so fluid, the ISI "has been working with Sayyaf". Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, deputy prime minister of the Northern Alliance administration, was described a month ago to this correspondent by a Panjshir source in the north of Afghanistan as "nothing less than a genocide perpetrator".

    Says the source: "It was basically Sayyaf's religious party [Islamic Unity] that Osama bin Laden first joined when he came to Afghanistan. Sayyaf trained him militarily. Sayyaf is Osama's teacher." Indeed, it was Sayyaf's party that attracted most of the so-called Afghan Arabs - Middle Eastern Muslims who came to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets, and he is ethnically Pashtu, like the Taliban. The source stresses that "all these contradictions will now be exposed" - for the ISI's benefit, of course. "There will be a split in the Northern Alliance - the same as within the Taliban."

    As we discuss the ballet of the groups and counter-groups, the source casually says that the Uzbek warlord in the north of Afghanistan, General Abdur Rashid Dostum, who had been reported killed, was done in by a faction of the Northern Alliance, that is, the Sayyaf group. "Commander Fahim [who replaced slain Ahmed Shah Masoud as top commander] would have expressed concerns about Dostum's attitude. This is unconfirmed, but apparently the two false journalists who went to interview Masoud [and killed him] were carrying a written message - a recommendation letter signed by Dostum. General Fahim suspects that Masoud was killed by Dostum's people. If this is true, and Dostum is also killed, you can imagine the situation that the ISI has already started." A few hours later, though, Dostum himself told a news agency that he was alive, well, and fighting the Taliban near the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

    The source, before leaving, says that he is betting on a broad-based government for Afghanistan "with people from the Northern Alliance and soft people from the Taliban". He does not trust octogenarian former king Zahir Shah. "He has outlived his image. Afghanistan went through so many metamorphoses when he was in exile that the concept of a monarchy is going to be shattered." So he sees as the only acceptable solution an embryonic government of national salvation "with a Pakistani hand on it".

    The United States government has spent this past week unsuccessfully pressing Europe to agree to a military campaign to "smoke out" (copyright George W Bush) the Taliban. The reason they have had no success is that they are clueless for the moment on just how to find bin Laden and his top 3,000 Al-Qaeda fighters. A source from Brussels confirms that the Europeans remain highly skeptical - they want proof, and there is none. Our Pakistani intelligence source obviously frets at the thought of the US, from its point ideally, replacing the fallen Taliban with an interim coalition government under United Nations supervision. And to create the conditions for this scenario to unravel, the US is now prepared to go it alone.

    Actually, it's been it going alone for quite some time, since a few Hercules loaded with surveillance equipment arrived in Tashkent in Uzbekistan, which could be the precursor of an armada of US fighter planes taking over the Termez airfield there. Termez is right on the Uzbek-Afghan border. Russia didn't say a word about it. It's still unclear what exactly is in the package for Moscow, courtesy of Washington: but the fact is that President Vladimir Putin, his generals and the Federal Security Service have given the green light for the American deployment. With the Central Asian states of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan on board with Russian blessing, it's not that the Americans are begging the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

    The Northern Alliance - a loose coalition at best - is a touch of local color in what is now configured as an American-British-German-Russian-Central Asian military offensive, with some lateral help from Iran and India. Objective: to topple the Taliban. The Taliban were never more than a theocratic-military movement anyway: they never qualified as a government, since the leader, Mullah Omar, and his clerics are unaware of the meaning and responsibilities of a modern state.

    The coming war will be decided by a multitude of factors. Among them: the violent twists and turns of Afghan history; the deployment hardships through mountains and deserts as the snowy winter sets in; the near impossibility of pinpointing human targets; the near absence of military targets worth capturing; the practically total absence of intelligence; the splits within the Northern Alliance; the extremely fragile position of former king Zahir Shah; the Islamist-nationalist fire stoked by the Taliban as they decide to make life hell for the "crusading invaders"; the dreadful possibility of tremendous "collateral damage" in case of air attacks.

    From Islamabad to the capital of Tajikistan, Dushanbe, the predominant rumor is that the Northern Alliance, now with ultra high-tech international backing, could make a push to capture Kabul in a little more than a week, maybe 10 days. It has to be in early October before Afghanistan's "terminator" winter sets in. One wonders if the political settlement after this surefire military victory would be enough to ensure "enduring justice" - a justice that the long-suffering Afghan people deserve more than anybody.


      Originally posted by Taj2001:
      It has not revealed anything that most informed Pakistanis didn't already know.

      From strategic depth to strategic nightmare
      By Pepe Escobar

      I don't think it was for stratagic depth. If the author is under the impression Pak could place its assets away from preemptive Indian strikes then s/he must be high on drugs.
      Afghans are not easy to tame and pose a much greater threat.

      The reason is purley NA, as long as NA is there Pak will support Talibs. Just like US supported them when USSR was there. NA is now Paks USSR.