Pakistan Mocks US Military Mission in Afghanistan
Since , a series of armed skirmishes and firefights have occurred along the Durand Line The Soviet war in Afghanistan forced millions of Afghans to take refuge inside Pakistan. Pakistani officials feared that the . "Pak-Afghan relations: Border clash mars peace overtures". The Express Tribune. War on Terror. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have a long and complicated history that must be told in order to better understand the sacrifices of our volunteer army. Barack Obama: Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan . But bin Laden was thought to have managed to have slipped into Pakistan with the help of Afghan and Pakistani forces . and Obama at least outwardly making efforts to mend their relationship.
One battalion had only two of them for forty soldiers. American soldiers have difficulty maintaining a feeling of trust with the Afghan police with whom they work. Some of them are illiterate, and as soon as some are paid, they disappear.
They are unreliable partners who sometimes skip planned missions or flee as soon as the shooting begins. The allegiances of the district police chiefs are also frequently unclear. In one instance, a police chief was using his men to help his brother, who was running for reelection in the parliament.
US troops were not prepared for the type of warfare they encountered, an insurgency that crossed borders and involved groups working hand in hand. Although they wore sixty pounds of gear that protected them, the vehicles they rode in, while useful in climbing winding and difficult roads, became death traps as explosive devices ripped through their light armor.
Under former secretary of defense Robert Gates, some mine resistant vehicles have been developed. The Department of Defense is testing a revamped version of the Humvee equipped with a chimney to vent blasts from IEDs. The chimney, which rises through the passenger cabin, is intended to funnel some of the explosive gases that travel at supersonic speed and have flipped and mangled many of the conventional vehicles.
However, it will take years to make them available to servicemen and servicewomen. Thus, US and Coalition forces encounter hidden explosive devices too many times a day, use unsafe vehicles, and engage in combat along with the soldiers of a weak government in Afghanistan. Hamid Karzai won reelection inbut he exercises little control over the country and tends to remain secluded in Kabul.
The hundreds of diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and released in December show that bribery, extortion, and embezzlement are the norm within the Karzai regime.
They also include allegations of bribes and profit skimming in pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia, in purchases of wheat seed, and in economic aid. Many of the federally administrated tribal areas, such as Waziristan, comprise isolated villages that, for years, never received any aid from the government and therefore do not support the Kabul regime.
Sometimes they succeed in removing them, but it is not an easy task. They often get wounded or killed while the insurgents observe them from behind bushes in nearby fields. Even if they succeed in clearing an area, the Taliban or al Qaeda or another insurgent group soon returns.
There are Afghans who wonder why Americans occupy their country and who would like to see them to leave. Among them is Malalai Joya, who is widely known and celebrated for her important effort in providing education and healthcare for girls and women in concealed areas that are safe from the Taliban. Her mission is to liberate women and girls from Sharia practices that require them to remain at home, unseen and uneducated, and only able to appear in public when accompanied by a male relative.
These are just a few of the Sharia rules governing the conduct of women: They must not wear adorning clothes. They must not wear narrow and tight clothes. They must not walk in the middle of streets. They must not talk to strange men, and if it is necessary to talk, they must do so in a low voice and without laughter. They must not look at strangers or mix with strangers. There are many more regulations that oppress women and girls.
The fact is the media do not cover the number of civilian casualties, most particularly those resulting from drone attacks.
The parliamentary elections that took place in November were rigged and thus exacerbated ethnic tensions. The Taliban threatened Pashtun voters, ordering them to boycott the election. As a result, the Pashtuns lost 15 percent of their seats to the Hazaras and Tajiks.
Thus these two minorities have achieved advantages that cause resentment among the Pashtuns. The Tajiks and Hazaras dominate the upper officer class in the army and police, even though the training and recruitment given by the United States involves a strict parity between ethnic groups.
Traditionally the Afghan officers have been Pashtun. A Tajik general, Atta Muhammad Noor, and his fellow northern warlords are rearming their militias for a long war with the Taliban. However, as with the police, the attrition rate from the Afghan Army is 24 percent per year, most of them are illiterate, and drug use is a major problem. Although 80 percent of army units are fighting along with coalition forces, no single Afghan unit is ready to fight on its own without American help.
This leaves US soldiers with the responsibility to deal with many political tensions without much support from the population in trying to deal not only with the Taliban but also with many other different insurgents. Besides tension between ethnic groups, there are also many other militias and gangs that go marauding through the country. These gangs go through villages demanding food, shelter, and money from the local population.
Some of these are headed by former mujahideen that once fought against the Soviet Union. Others are created by village elders.
Others in Takhar Province provide protection for warlords who traffic narcotics along a drug transport corridor that runs to the Tajik border.
Iraq–Pakistan relations - Wikipedia
These groups and growing disenfranchisement of Pashtuns make the Taliban more attractive to those already disillusioned with the government. In the spring ofthe United States launched a program considered by General David Petraeus, the former commander of US forces in Afghanistan, as a key part of his counterinsurgency strategy. Its goal is to convert insurgents into village self-defense forces, an Afghan Local Police that is distinct from the existing police force.
It is organized and trained by the US Special Forces units in cooperation with the Afghan authorities and working at the village level. But they are paid half of what the national police officers earn. This has created a public outcry. During their meetings, elders and provincial government officials have expressed their concern. Many Afghans fear a return to the warlord days of the civil war of the s even more than they fear the Taliban. A recent study by Oxfam and three other aid groups reported that the program had failed to provide effective community policing and, instead, produced forces feared by the communities they are supposed to protect.
For example, in Kunduz Province, armed thugs acting as local police even before they had completed their training were demanding their taxes just as farmers were harvesting their crops. Two commanders along with thirty armed men stormed the school, beating both men unconscious with rifle butts in front of the students, and closed the school. A United Nations Report expressed concern regarding weak oversight, recruitment, vetting, and command-and-control mechanisms.
As Iraq has an open border with Iran, Afghanistan has an open border with Pakistan, a country that harbors the Taliban and other insurgent groups. The ISI is known to support the militants, including the Taliban, the Haqqani, and al Qaeda, and even Lashkar-e-Taiba the Army of the Purethe faction that the United Sates believes was responsible for the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in and in Even though the government of Pakistan claims that, under pressure from the Bush administration, it severed ties with Lashkar in the wake of the September 11,attack, the ISI still maintains its connection with it.
The Obama administration has estimated that Lashkar-e-Taiba has the capacity to quickly and inexpensively train young men from villages to be driven and proficient killers. In Pakistan, domination by militants occurred in late after General Ali Muhammad Jan Aurakzai, the governor of the Northwest Frontier Province, brokered an agreement with Islamic districts.
Since then, it has been ruled by Jalaluddin Haqqani, who created an alliance with the Taliban Movement of Pakistan. He also has close relations with Mullah Muhammad Omar, the spiritual leader of the Taliban. There have already been two major wars between these two countries over Kashmir. Further, inPakistan closed its border to Afghanistan for weeks on end, keeping long lines of American fuel-supply trucks waiting at the border crossing and making them easy targets for terrorists to blow up.
Its turmoil is caused by a mixture of religious ideology and economic despair. It is also fueled by class differences, lack of support for the government, and resentment toward the landed and industrial classes. The government takes in little in taxes and provides few services to its people.
Since the May Navy Seal raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad, his Pakistan hideaway, American officials have grown even more distrustful of that country.
The Pakistan military that, in effect, rules the country and has been deeply embarrassed by that raid, wants to alter its relations with the United States.
In addition, the Pakistani government is already reaching out to China and Iran in search of new allies. There are many centers of power in Pakistan, which are often difficult to fathom or to criticize without creating diplomatic strains. General Kayani, who is the most powerful figure in Pakistan and has led the army sinceis now fighting to save his position and to respond to the outrage among the XI Corps commanders who are demanding that he get tougher with the United States.
It arrested more than thirty Pakistani informants who had helped the CIA in tracking bin Laden and ordered US military trainers to leave the country as a way to express its anger over the US operation. Both leaders want to end CIA drone attacks against militants in tribal areas. The anger and disillusionment in the Pakistani army stem from the fact that the Obama administration decided against informing Pakistan in advance about the bin Laden raid. Thus Pakistan was unable to detect or stop it.
That bin Laden was living in Pakistan caused little outrage in a country that is more sympathetic to al Qaeda than to the United States.
Pakistan Mocks US Military Mission in Afghanistan
Yet other events caused the United States to reevaluate its support of Pakistan. This caused suspicion that such intelligence was being shared with the insurgents. That move, it is hoped, will cause the Pakistani army to fight militants more effectively.
It is indicative of the seriousness of the debate raging within the Obama administration over how to change the behavior of one of its key counterterrorism partners. In addition, Pakistan offers several strategic advantages, such as access to the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf and the opportunity to be engaged in pipeline projects transiting to the ocean through Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It also serves as a counterweight to the neighboring powers of India, China, and Russia. American policy needs and its ongoing differences with the Pakistan military have resulted in a very trying situation for US soldiers on the ground.
They are dealing with the Taliban, an organization that is widespread and unseen. Again, there are no clear perimeters or a front line for the fighting. As in Iraq, the battle is nowhere and everywhere. Like JAM in Iraq, the Taliban is an underground government of local fighters who have established a civilian administration to complement their fighting activity.
They run schools, collect taxes, and adjudicate civil disputes in Islamic courts. Their combat is aided by intelligence and support networks that include villagers who inform them and provide shelter in tunnels where they can elude capture and receive medical care.
The members of the Taliban are able to disappear by slipping away in canals or village alleys. And their supporters give false information to US troops. Suicide bombers infiltrate seemingly secure areas, exploding their mortar shells that can strike soldiers that are sleeping, standing in a shower, jogging around an airfield, or at meetings—all moments when soldiers are not wearing their sixty-pound protective gear. Local civilians who help Afghan and American troops are identified and assassinated by the Taliban, which operates a vast spy network.
Taliban fighters harass Afghan and American forces and lead a campaign of intimidation against residents who cooperate with or even acknowledge the Kabul government. Dressing as civilians, they engage in ambushes, set up IEDs, and conduct mortar attacks. Often wearing the uniforms of Afghan soldiers or police, they blow up buildings housing members of the Afghan government and Allied forces.
Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited some of these schools, including those that Greg Mortenson has been building throughout the country, and voiced support for his work.
It sought to combine efforts to provide security, create small reconstruction projects, and help Afghan government officers build schools and health clinics and create jobs. To make matters even more difficult, President Karzai has been pursuing conflicting policies from the United States, and this led to tensions between the two countries.
On the one hand, he supports US efforts to train the Afghan army and police, while on the other, he has opened secret negotiations with the Taliban. There are two views of the war, the one in Washington, where policy is made; and the one on the ground in the crucial provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, where many US soldiers would prefer a quick withdrawal because they find that the Taliban continually retakes areas they have cleared.
Thus, the war is one of conflicting stories one hears from the head of the US forces—General Petraeus—or a soldier crouching in a ditch outside a village. As usual, the governments of the Coalition forces only talk about policy, the big picture of the Afghan war, not the travails that soldiers face in combat and that make the war so difficult to pursue.
In JuneUS forces suffered their biggest toll in three years. Because of the security agreements between Iraq and the United States, American forces are restricted in their ability to act on their own to confront security threats.
This creates a high level of anger and anxiety among the US troops who find themselves under attack but are unable to respond. They are also reluctant to target Shiite militias since they are linked to officials in the Shiite-dominated government. To make matters worse, the flow of arms from Iran to Iraq has increased along with Iranian influence. Weapons smuggled from Iran are being used against American troops by Shiite militias.
Those discussions are focused on the capabilities of the Iraqi security forces and on domestic political considerations in Washington and Baghdad, and not on the safety of US troops. Although the intention of the United States was to help create a democratic government in Iraq, power is rigidly contested on sectarian lines, a situation the de-Baathification policy helped to create. The unequal response by Iraqi security forces to threats from Sunni and Shiite insurgent groups is a legacy of the sectarianism that the US invasion unleashed.
Deadlock occurs frequently with each community unwilling to compromise. Many Iraqis believe that the de-Baathification policy and disbanding the entire military in Iraq helped fuel the insurgency that pushed the country into sectarian conflict.
Eight years after the United States—led invasion, there were still bombings and assassinations in Iraq almost every day. Yet almost everyone in Iraq regarded the United States as the arbiter even though Iraqi politicians ritually objected to its intervention, especially when it did not reflect their individual interests. The continuing US presence created a very complex and often-contradictory situation.
Special Operations Forces were sent there inbut their mission is top secret. Until they are finally withdrawn, they will still face an enemy, need to defend themselves, and continue to suffer casualties. In Augustthe powerful Shiite, anti-American cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr threatened to have his thousands of followers attack any United States troops that stayed past the December 31,withdrawal deadline.
Worried about a potential backlash, Iraqi officials once tried to characterize American soldiers who would remain as trainers of the Iraqi military, not as combat troops.
But American servicemen and servicewomen not only are involved in training but they also assist in Iraqi counterterrorism operations. While security is improving, attacks against US service personnel are still common. June was one of the bloodiest months for the US military over the past two years. August 15,proved even worse, as forty-two coordinated attacks occurred across Iraq against civilians, security forces, and US soldiers.
These widespread attacks compared with an average of fourteen attacks daily during this year and suggested that the Sunni insurgents, al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, were growing in power. The attacks occurred two weeks after the Iraqi government agreed to negotiate with the United States about the possibility of maintaining some troops in Iraq after the end of the year.
A professor of political science at Baghdad University declared that the Iraqi security forces were more loyal to al Qaeda and to the Shiite militias than to the Iraqi government, and that the Iraqi army was not capable of protecting the country.
The United States will be leaving behind a country that does not have a representative government and is caught in the throes of a civil war. In addition, Iraq has aligned itself with Iran and Syria despite the uprising in Syria that has turned many Arab countries against it.
Under these conditions, keeping a reduced number of American troops in Iraq does not bode well for Iraqi security. The decision was an unstated acknowledgement that the Iraqi government refused to agree to a key US condition for leaving American troops behind: The United States is also scaling back diplomacy in Iraq because of fiscal concerns. For example, the State Department had a plan for contract workers for a police training effort; now the figure is close to There will now be ten Offices of Security Cooperation to manage the sale of weapons and training instead of the planned fifteen.
These results reflect the lack of interest in a Congress that is consumed with domestic issues. Even so, the war in Iraq will be a subject of contention in the United States for many years to come. Drawdown in Afghanistan In JulyPresident Obama announced that he would bring home thirty-three thousand troops from Afghanistan by September and withdraw the remaining sixty-eight thousand by the end of However, military leaders, including General Petraeus and retired admiral Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, publicly stated that they would prefer a slower withdrawal.
General Petraeus was the leading champion of a counterinsurgency strategy requiring a large number of troops. Later that year NATO took command of the war across the country; American officials said that the United States would play a lesser role and that the face of the war would become increasingly international. This shift reflected the greater need for U. By contrast, the war in Afghanistan was still regarded in Washington as a relative success. Department of Defense For commanders on the ground in Afghanistan, however, it was apparent that the Taliban intended to escalate its campaign, launching more frequent attacks and intensifying its fund-raising from wealthy individuals and groups in the Persian Gulf.
International pressure had forced the Taliban to curb poppy cultivation during their final year in power, but after their removal in the opium industry made a comeback, with revenues in some areas of the country benefiting the insurgency.
But those were the exceptions. Top insurgent leaders remained at large, many of them in the tribal regions of Pakistan that adjoin Afghanistan. This reality prompted the United States to begin targeting insurgent leaders who lived in Pakistan with missiles fired from remotely piloted drones. The CIA program of targeted killings was publicly denied by U. Pakistani officials in turn denounced the strikes in public but privately approved of them as long as civilian casualties were limited.
The Obama surge U. Barack Obama went to the White House promising to focus attention and resources on the faltering war effort in Afghanistan. On February 17,he approved sending an additional 17, U. Three months later Obama took the rare step of removing a commanding general from a theatre of war, replacing Gen. David McKiernan with Gen. While McKiernan was shifting U. McChrystal was brought in to implement a new strategy modeled after the surge strategy in Iraq—one in which U.
The strategy also involved trying to persuade enemy fighters to defect and ultimately encouraging reconciliation between the Karzai government and Taliban leaders.
Barack Obama meeting at the White House with Pres. Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and Pres. Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan, May Marines and Afghan soldiers in Helmand province, Afghanistan, Department of Defense Soon after assuming command, McChrystal concluded that he did not have enough troops to execute the new strategy, and in September he laid out his concerns in a confidential report, which was subsequently leaked to the press.
McChrystal predicted that the war would be lost within a year if there was not a significant troop surge. After an intensive Afghan policy review—the second one by the Obama administration in less than a year—the president delivered a speech at the U.
Military Academy at West Point on December 1 in which he announced a major escalation in the war effort, with 30, additional troops being deployed to Afghanistan by the summer of The new strategy led to an increase in U.
Stanley McChrystal right and U. Department of Defense The surge in U. But the CIA also paid a price in late December when an al-Qaeda double agent detonated a suicide bomb at a Bagram air base in the eastern province of Khost, killing seven from the agency. Raven surveillance droneA U. Marine sergeant left and a corporal right monitoring the flight of an RQ Raven surveillance drone, Afghanistan, Marines achieved a relatively quick victory, even as McChrystal planned a more ambitious offensive in Kandahar.
Obama visited Afghanistan for the first time as president on March 28, delivering a stern message to Karzai that he needed to clean up corruption in his government. Karzai had won a new five-year term in an August election that was tainted by widespread allegations of fraud. Karzai vowed in his inaugural address to stamp out corruption in his government, but there were few signs in the short term that he had done so.
Department of Defense Meanwhile, Karzai announced that he would attempt to reconcile with the Taliban; he repeatedly invited Mullah Omar to meet with him, but the Taliban leader steadfastly refused. Under intense pressure from the United States, Karzai lashed out in April and even threatened to join the Taliban if the international community did not stop meddling in Afghan affairs.
But others, including Kai Eide, the former top UN official in Kabul, said Baradar had been a leading Taliban proponent of reconciliation and that the arrest was intended to scuttle efforts to end the war through a political, rather than military, solution.
The military command structure in Afghanistan abruptly changed again in Junewhen Obama replaced McChrystal with Gen. In the meantime, the Taliban insurgency began around I realise that's tough. Most of these events cannot be independently verified because news journalists usually have very limited access to reaching the areas where the fighting take place. Pakistan's military responded with artillery fire on targets in Afghanistan, reportedly destroying three ANA border posts killing 32 Afghan soldiers.
Azimi also accused the Pakistani military of using artillerysaying the alleged attack was a clear violation. An Afghan commander in Khost confirmed the exchange of fire and alleged that the incident broke out after Pakistani troops in Waziristan opened fire towards Afghan police posts in Gurbuz Districtclaiming the Afghan engagement as retaliation. However, a military official in Peshawar said Afghan troops fired on an army check post in Ghulam KhanNorth Waziristan and that the fire emanated from Afghan territory first.
At least 12 Afghan troops and one soldier from the Pakistan Frontier Corps were killed in the clash, although another source put the Afghan casualties at 8.
The attack came just a week after Afghan soldiers had struck in Lower Dirkilling 2 Pakistani security personnel and 40 militants. According to the Pakistani military, Afghan troops opened "unprovoked firing" from across the border and also damaged a market, causing troops from the Pakistani side to respond with fire. However, Afghanistan blamed Pakistan for the clash and denied any Afghan casualties, claiming that only three Pakistani troops were killed. According to Pakistani intelligence analysts, foreign coalition forces have been encouraging Afghan troops to attack border posts.
Pakistan also demanded an immediate meeting to discuss the incident. The Afghan government called for the immediate cessation of the artillery fire from Pakistan against Afghan villages.
Zahir Azimi said around missiles fired from Pakistan had landed in different areas of Kunar province. The angry protesters expressed anger over the rockets fired into Afghanistan allegedly from the Pakistani side. Pakistan rejected the Afghan government accusations, saying a "few accidental rounds" may have been fired when it chased unknown militants who had crossed over from Afghanistan and attacked its security installments.