Impact of US Taliban Pact on Afghanistan, Asia and Middle East


The USA Taliban agreement signed a couple of days back in Doha is a fig leaf, an attempt to cover American failure in Afghanistan. It is a triumph of the tenacity of the Taliban and the Pakistani army, pitted against the most powerful country in the world.

USA and its army were, and are, way out of their depth in Afghanistan. USA has the most powerful armed forces on the planet today, and also the largest economy. However American policy makers, and think tanks, are as yet unable to make a transition from pitched land battles, massive air and fire power of WWII, to fighting in penny pockets against experts in guerrilla warfare. Americans have failed to understand and address the resilience of cultures built up over centuries of intercinine tribal loyalties and warfare, adverse geography, ability to withstand the harshest punishments that can be delivered in a life time.

Not to forget, ostrich like behaviour in dealing with crooked ‘allies’ who work on a daily basis to fool them and openly support its enemies.

America under President Trump is trying not to repeat the tragi comedy of the evacuation of the American embassy in Saigon. America does not want the world to laugh at it openly once again. Asians call it ‘saving face’.

Afghanistan

Taliban will take over the government. The lives of elected members of the present government including that of president Ghani will be in danger.

There are nearly 3 million registered and unregistered afghan refugees in Pakistan. Approximately 300,000 have been compelled to return to Afghanistan, consequent to Pakistani army pressure. What will be the policy of Pakistan towards those who have lived for nearly four decades in Pakistan. How will Afghanistan manage the torrent of returning refugees?

All educated Afghans and who can manage have already migrated abroad. Soon the few who are left will desert Afghanistan, after all survival comes first.

Back to Medeival ages. No more democracy or even a semblance. Women will be the most hit and deprived. No more schools or education for girl. Shariah laws will be implemented. *

5000 Taliban prisoners are to be released from prisons before 10 March, by Afghan government. This is an understanding between USA and Taliban. Afghan government was not consulted on this . President Ghani knows and is genuinely scared of the problems these Taliban extremists will create and is reluctant to release them.

OPIUM Afghanistan will be among the largest producers of opium. Now under protection and control of Taliban. Menace of increasing number of drug addicts will have to be borne by successive generations of humanity around the world.

Impact on Asia & Middle East

A very positive and favourable ambiance will be created for China and Pakistan.

India, Iran, Iraq Syria and Israel will face mounting problems from dispersal of armed and indoctrinated Sunni militants. Armed and dangerous Taliban and its volunteers from many nations, who were engaging Americans in Afghanistan are now free to be relocated to other areas like Kashmir, Syria, Palestine , and even Africa.

India will be very adversely affected. Installation of a Taliban government in Afghanistan will be a major boost to the geopolitical outreach of Pakistan and its army. It is a vindication of the Pakistani army policy of supporting the Taliban for over three decades, and the ability of its army to fool the Americans not only to part with billions in ‘aid’ but also accept thousands of casualties and shove trillions of dollars down the drain, being engaged in an unwinnable war.

Pakistan will have full support China, and will push in maximum number of terrorists from across the borde into Kashmir and other parts of India. Terrorist training camps will be shifted in to Afghanistan from Pakistan.
All positive efforts by India to improve the lives of Afghans people, through infrastructural projects have gone to waste.
India will now have to work with a fanatical Muslim setup with a medieval mind set.

Prince Salman of Saudi Arabia will also need to be extra careful. Fanatical Wahabis will flood into Saudi Arabia and its neighbouring states, and attempt to destabilise Salman government.

PakistanI Dilemma

Taliban leadership is no pushover.

Pakistan has given shelter to Taliban leaders and their families since 2001. It has provided unstilted support to Taliban in terms of arms, ammunition, intelligence and security against the greatest odds. Pakistan Naturally expects reciprocity from Taliban leaders, a pliable and sympathetic Taliban government in Afghanistan. Pakistani army dream of a base in the rear in case of a showdown with India will be realised.

Durand Line

Durand Line and Pushtoons

However A decade down the line, Pakistan will however need to be careful in handling the Taliban leadership. The euphoria of installation of Taliban government in Afghanistan which couldn’t have happened without full Pakistani army support will be a memory after a decade.

Not to forget that Afghanistan governments have never accepted the Durand line as the legitimate border of Afghanistan. Pashtuns reside on either side of the border, in Afgan Pakistan. How far is the day when Afghanistan will push for return of Pashtun areas from Pakistan?

The border is porus and there is no way it can be made hard, not with so much interaction across the border and Afghanistan being a landlocked country. Pakistan is the largest trading partner of Afghanistan today and is likely to be so in to the distant future. Any attempt to restrict movement of people and trade will sour relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It will be interesting to watch how the Afghans (wily Taliban’) take advantage of the Pakistani army’s weaknesses and demands for ‘strategic depth’ and protection for Chinese ventures. &

China will be able to take advantage of the changed situation to access the mineral resources of Afghanistan and its market. China will manage initially indirectly through Pakistani army and later directly with the Taliban. Chinese will need access to mineral resources in Afghanistan and also need to keep the Taliban militants out of Uygur, away from its own Islamic underbelly. Taliban leaders are well known for their voracious appetites for wealth, power and armaments. So the Chinese will have no problems in having ‘friendly relations’ with the Taliban.

US and Taliban sign deal to end 18-year Afghan war

Bihari Muslims in Bangladesh-1971


 

Bihar is a state adjacent to Bengal. Bengal was much more prosperous thanks to its being seat of government and Jute Industries than Bihar.

Pre partition, many Biharis moved to Calcutta and Dacca in search of employment.

Post partitions more than half a million Bihari Muslims migrated to the then ‘‘East Pakistan’. They spoke Hindi and Urdu. Initially they were happy when Mohammad Al Jinnah, a WOG lawyer from Bombay became the Governor General of Pakistan (later president), declared Urdu as the sole official and national language of Pakistan. Urdu was the preferred language of Muslims from UP and Bihar. However this move to impose Urdu was not welcome to the people of Bengal who obviously loved their own mother tongue.

 

Sudden influx of refugees upset the balance in East Pakistan.Resultant pressures on employment opportunities, cultural issues were added to the differences between native Bengalis and migrant Biharis.

Biharis in East Pakistan considered themselves superior to locals, native Bengalis, comparing themselves to the original first generation Muslims of Hijra era. Fluency in Urdu, and insistence on speaking Hindi among themselves widened the gap between Bengalis and Biharis.

Inevitably mutual animosities commenced simmering, between both nationalities.

Things took a turn for the worse when Bengalis in East Pakistan realised the second grade treatment given to them by Punjabis in West Pakistan. Economically and politically Bengalis demanded equal status to Western Pakistan. The language issues, birth and ascent of Awami League, arrest of Banga Bandhu are all matters of recorded history.

Terror was unleashed against Bengalis both Hindus and Muslims, on 26 March 2071 by Pakistani army. Thousands of Bengalis, both Muslims and Hindus were massacred and countless women raped.

During thse most critical moments in the history of Bengal, Urdu Hindi speaking Bihari Muslims sided with the Pakistani army, in creating havoc against native Bengalis. They aided the Pakistani army in identifying educated Hindus and Bengalis who were rounded up and summarily executed by Pakistani army, all over East Pakistan. Bihari Muslims guided Pakistani army to Mukhti Bahini hideouts.

Bihari Muslims were confident that Pakistani army will subjugate native Bengalis. They considered themselves Pakistanis first and last, and clean forgot the fact that Bengal was their chosen place of residence. They assumed they had no loyalty to the native people of Bengal who had given them shelter post partition. They did not pay heed to the sentiments of Bengalis, their love of their mother tongue and their desperate desire to free themselves of Oppression.

Post 1971, liberation of Bangladesh, Bihari Muslims (500,000) fully expected that Pakistani army will arrange for their move to West Pakistan. The rich thought flights will be arranged for them. The poor thought they will be transported by sea.

However West Pakistan, dominated by its Punjabi army and Mohajirs from UP had no special sympathy for Bihari Muslims. They were left to fend for themselves in Independent Bangla Desh. Many, more than a 100,000 still live in squalid camps.

Only A few could manage to move out with the help of Red Cross over years.

However keeping with their broad mindedness and charitable disposition, keeping with Supreme Court decisions, Bangladesh has allowed all children of Bihari Muslims, (even those opting to go to West Pakistan) born post 1971 to be naturalised citizens of Bangladesh.

During-the-Bangladesh-Liberation-War-in-1971-were-there-people-who-collaborated-with-the-Pakistani-forces-What-happened-to-them-later-Are-they-now-the-citizens-of-Pakistan-or-of-Bangladesh


PS

A great deal of the above is from memory, based on personal observations and discussions with people of Bangladesh in 1972.

Have not given references. There are one too many.

During-the-Bangladesh-Liberation-War-in-1971-were-there-people-who-collaborated-with-the-Pakistani-forces-What-happened-to-them-later-Are-they-now-the-citizens-of-Pakistan-or-of-Bangladesh

 

 

 

“INDIAN ELEPHANT MUST TANGO WITH CARE”


News : Indian Prime Minister Modi is to meet Chinese President XI Jinping on the side-lines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit at Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) to be held on 13-14 June 2019.

There are many blurbs and snippets of ‘Good friends’, Modi and Xi Jinping meeting, in Bishkek to discuss various issues of trade and commerce in a world unsettled by President Trump’s America First policy.

China which is at the receiving end of Trump’s policies would definitely like India on its side. Hence there is a lot of sweet talk from the Chinese media towards Modi. Chinese are well aware of the mushy sentimentality and naivete of Indians in the hard world of international politics.

In international relations, dealings with other countries would depend upon a number of factors, personal aims, ambitions and confidence of its leaders, national interests, economic and military clout, ideologies and history, just to name a few, and not necessarily in that order.

Realpolitik is all about transactional outcome.

In matters of state and serious diplomacy, even allowing for personal likes and dislikes, personal friendships and geniality go only so far in achieving ensuring national objectives.

Here it would be interesting to note what President Trump had to say about the meeting he is expected to have with Xi Jinping on the side lines of SCO.

“ I have a great relationship with him. He’s actually an incredible guy… but he’s for China and I’m for the US.” BLOOMBERG

In the case of China, even cursory perusal of its history will indicate an inherent tendency to expand and dominate, in correspondence with its growth in economic and military power. During the last century China has not only been laying claims but has managed to occupy neighboring countries like Tibet and Xinyang, and also extend its hegemony on the high seas, The Nine Dash line, unilaterally projected by China, claims areas that as per laws of the sea belong to Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. (China even “added a tenth-dash line to the east of Taiwan island in 2013 as a part of its official sovereignty claim to the disputed territories in the South China Sea.[11][13][14” ])Wiki.

At present China is a fast growing power, and among the strongest in the world.1 It has a political and administrative set up with a strong leadership due to which it is able to harness its potentials effectively and efficiently.2

China has avoided major military confrontations after 1979, when it last invaded Vietnam and clashed on the banks of Ussuri R with Russia.. However it has not desisted from frequent testing of its military and naval might and provoking responses of neighbors in from Ussuri R to Himalayas on land and in the South China Sea, where it has built up islands big enough to land aircraft and berths to dock naval vessels. (Dhoklam is only one among the latest in small time ‘provoke & test’ incursions).

In its strategic calculations China has accorded high priority to the access and domination of the Indian Ocean. An oil deficient country, China imports vast quantities, up to 10 million barrels a day, of crude and natural gas. Ships carrying millions of tonnes of oil and gas have to cross the Indian Ocean and the Straits of Malacca on the way home from the Middle East. While China’s desire to safeguard its trade routes in the Indian Ocean,3 and quest for a safe and clear land route to the southern oceans is natural, the methods adopted, and the steps taken to achieve the objectives are clearly producing negative reactions in South Asia. The pressures exerted on countries like Myanmar, Malaysia, Srilanka, Pakistan, and Maldives to undertake road and port projects are raising hackles locally.

A positive approach by China would lead to peace, security and prosperity for all in Asia.

If China accepts that every South Asian country has a right to live and be independent, it will stop propping up and inciting neighbours to fight with one another. It was the colonial mindset, and China should avoid it in its dealing with neighbours.

A positive attitude towards India and other South Asian Countries would have easily opened up land routes and through Myanmar, Bangladesh and India. It would have raised trade relations to even higher levels. Its land routes would have been

secure. India with its growing naval power could have taken easily care of and secured the high seas in the Indian Ocean for safe movements of Chinese vessels.

Even better, the India-China border of 3380 km stretching over inhospitable mountainous terrain, would have been peaceful; making redundant large deployments of Chinese forces.

However, the uncompromising approach adopted by China in its dealings with neighboring states has led to rise in unnecessary tensions, imprudence in Chinese financial transactions, reduction in security, increase in terrorism and support to terrorist organisations.

Flawed Chinese policies today, in respect of its relations with other south Asian countries, have compelled it to supporting a Pakistan run by its obscurantist military. The China Pakistan Economic corridor, though good on paper, and costing $ 60 billion +, is fraught with growing problems. Pakistan is a state that is financially unviable today, and a high risk area for any judicious entrepreneur to invest in. China is sinking over $ 60 billion there. Will it ever recover that amount?

However,a major Indian concern is the fact that CPEC passes through Indian territory illegally occupied by Pakistan. China is not even willing to accept this fact and is going ahead with the CPEC project completely ignoring India’s concerns.

Chinese have so far turned a blind eye to the export of terrorism by Pakistani terrorist organisations. The case of JeM and Masood Azar is too familiar to bear repetition. It must be noted that repeated friendly overtures by India and Modi had no effect in declaring Azar a terrorist. It took the combined efforts of USA, UK and France to move XI Jinping to an acceptance of declaring Azar as a terrorist.

A matter of cultural trait, Indians tend to be emotional and sentimental, and accept others blindly, to a fault. Delusion that going out of the way to express friendship, hoping that personal friendship and amenability will subsume national interests have clouded the judgement of Indian leaders since independence. Mushy idealism and sentimentalism have lead to India abrogating national interests and losing time and again to worldly wise leaders from other countries.

The best of bargaining chips have been frittered away by Indian negotiators and Prime Ministers, from Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Morarji Desai, Rajiv Gandhi. To IK Gujaral, and Manmohan Singh. Loss of Tibet, a third of Kashmir, areas in the Rann of Kutch, surrender and betrayal of intelligence assets , the list is long and excruciating.

Coming back to Prime Minister Modi, his ‘goodwill and personal friendship’ with Nawaz Sharif did not get India anywhere in its quest for peace and security, or elimination of cross border, state sponsored terrorism with Pakistan.

In the case of China comparatively quite borders in the North should not lull India to the threats emanating from the encircling strategy adopted by China in the Indian ocean and the littoral states. In pursuit of ‘Active Defense’ as explained in its

Science of Military Strategy , China’s Naval forces are being augmented on a monthly basis. By 2030 China will possess at least 5 aircraft carriers, 50 + destroyers, 50 + frigates, and 25 submarines of which at least 6 will be Nuclear. Chinese Navy plans to dominate not just the China Sea but the Indian ocean and beyond to the Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba.

Historically China has never given up on its claims to territory on land or Sea. It has boycotted, ignored, or simply brushed aside any objections to its claims. Its stand on Aksai Chin, McMahon Line are known to us. The manner it has rejected and brushed aside the verdict of Haig tribunal’s ruling in South China Sea case which upheld the case of Philippines and pulled up China is among the latest approach to international behaviour.

Luckily India has a pragmatic leader in Prime Minister Modi. With Shri Doval and Shri Jaishankar, who have proved their mettle more than once in matters of security and diplomacy as advisors, India can expect the best possible outcome in the SCO meeting.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled on Tuesday that China’s claims to the resource-rich and strategically vital South China Sea had no legal basis. China, which had boycotted the case brought by the Philippines, vowed to ignore the ruling, saying the UN-backed tribunal had no jurisdiction over the case and accused it of bias. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/07/philippines-china-respect-hague-ruling-160714055516116.html

Return of Commander Jhadav from Pakistani Custody


    I have given a brief Reply already to question on IJC and Indian diplomacy. #

India has consistently maintained that Commander Jhadav is not in anyway connected with any espionage agency, and has been kidnapped by Pakistan from Iran. Pakistan has for purely propaganda purposes branded him as a spy, subjected him to torture, and had an illegitimate and unlawful order passed for his execution. India then upstaged Pakistan by taking up the issue in the IJC, and in 2017 got an order restraining Pakistan from executing Commander Jhadav.

At present Jhadav is still in Pakistani custody.

In such cases,

  1. Pakistan can hold him as long as possible, even after finalisation of the case in IJC, and release him as a ‘good will measure’ at some future date to extract maximum propaganda mileage ( Wg Cdr Abhinandan affair).

2. Swap or exchange him for one or more Pakistani spies / terrorists in Indian custody.

3. Keep Jhadav indefinitely in custody.

4. Execute officially.

5. Allow Jhadav to die ‘accidentally’ , or due to denial of medical attention.

Regarding When will Commander Jhadav be returned to India, based on prior international incidents involving alleged and real spies, the possibilities appear to indicate a return of Commander Jhadav, though it is difficult state when. &&

In view of the publicity received in this case, Pakistan may hesitate to execute or do away with Commander Jhadav. However his continuous custody will be reflected as a weakness of the Indian government, viewed positively by Pakistani populace, a great plus point for Pakistani state run by the Pakistani army,

Pakistan will hold him as a trump card in every discussion on any matter with India.

It will be upto Indian government and its agencies to bring pressure on Pakistan to release Commander Jhadav. Surely Government of India and its agencies must be working hard, through different channels in their own way, to obtain his release.

Once he is released he may return back to his civil life in India, as a normal citizen. May even get some compensatory grant from the government.

All in all, it is the first time that the Indian government has taken so much effort for an Indian citizen in Pakistani custody. A great move forward. considering how the earlier governments have left more than 50 POWS from as far back as 1971, languishing in Pakistani prison.

#.      Finally, International Court of Justice stayed the execution of            Kulbhushan Yadav. How do you see this decision? Is it another              feather in India’s diplomacy?

&&.    Spy swap: US and Russia hand over agents in full media glare