Part-4/5: Who Made Afghanistan A Bleeding Wound
Al-Qaeda deputy leader , Ayman al Zawahiri , was staying as a guest at the house of a senior Pakistani official in Kohat. The official was none other than the governor of NWFP (North West Fronteir Province now Khyber Pukhtunkhwa) , a retired general and Musharraf appointee.
Osama bin Laden was moving freely from place to place in the border ares for about three years after 9/11 under the cover of ISI. Every one was aware in the region where he was.
In 2004 when Nek Mohammad was killed in a drone attack , then Osama Bin Laden had been moved by the military to a safe house in City.
In Decmeber 2004 when Musharraf was in Washington D.C. General Musharraf announced that the trail had gone cold. In fact bin laden had gone to live in Haripur near Islamabad in 2004. Bin Laden’s youngest wife told the investigators after the death of Osama bin Laden that they had lived in the swat valley for six months, then two years in Haripur before moving to their last home in Abbotabad in 2006.
Each move happened under Musharraf’s watch, just as he was proclaiming to the world that the trail had gone cold
When American raids started in Afghanistan , a lot of innocent people were killed .
Our people were victims of al Qaeda and Taliban and it is not fair that they should be victims of the American campaign. (Abdullah Abdullah)
The same scenario started as it was during the time of former Soviet Union invasion Afghanistan.
The Afghans were inviting the US and NATO army officers to their homes. They wanted to help them against the Taliban. But every thing went wrong due to the massacre of the inncocent people, women , children , youngsters and elders. The Afghan couldnt tollerate it and gradually they parted ways with the Afghanistan government and its allies USA and NATO.
In 2004 , nine children and a teenager were killed in front of a house in Ghazni.
The wedding Party and funerals were bombed .
A 100 years old man was shot dead in the Mosque.
These type of incidents created the vacuum between the government supported by allien forces and the people. And very easily the enemies of peace and stability could utilize this situation. The victims family members started to join Taliban to take the revenge.
A frustrated Afghan official once asked Carlotta Gall, if the British Army would be allowed to bomb a house in Northern Irland because it suspected an IRA gunman was inside. if not , then why they are doing so in Afghanistan, he asked. If you are looking for one man, you should not use B-52. You should use spies , not bombs”. To kill ninety people for one Mullah Sadiq?
The frustration among the population was growing. Karzai also begain to complain. The source of isnurgency was in the training camps, madrassas and even the headquarters of the ISI in Pakistan, but USA and ISAF were turning a deaf ear and bling eye and they didnt want to bomb their targets? Instead they come and bomb our villages. The Unted state was bombing Afghan villages when the source of the insurgency was in Pakistan. ” The war against terrorism is not in Afghan villages, the war against terrorism is elsewhere, that’s where the war should go. Why do they target the Taliban inside the villages? Why don’t they bomb them when they are outside the village.
As a result the people of southern Afghanistan were close to breaking point and no longer trusted their president or the Americans. Afghans withdrew from cooperating with US forces and Karzai government and the Taliban were using this opportunity to grab these people very easiy. The Taliban were benefiting from the growing disaffection.
However, the government and USA could use these people to fight agasint the Taliban, but instead they were pushed toward Taliban.
Taliban told the people that United States was not coming to help them , that the infidels had darker aims in occupying the country. It was an argument designed to tap to the Afghan’s deep historic distrust of foreign invaders. The Soviet invasion was still a living memory that had affected every single Afghan family, and the three wars British imperial armies fought in Afghanistan are alive in the Afghan folklore. Most families in the south have an ancesstor who fought against the British.
Once Colonel John W. “Mick” Nicholson Jr.in a ceremony with the relatives of the victims in Jalaabad , repeated his apology in full to a news teleconference with Pentgon reporter:
” So I stand before you today, deeply , deeply ashamed and terribly sorry that Americans have killed and wounded innocent Afghan people. We are filled with grief and sadness at the death of any Afghan, but the death and wounding of innocent Afghans at the hand of Americans is a stain on our honor and on the memory of the many Americans who had died defending Afghanistan and the Afghan people. This was a terrible terrible mistake and my nation grieves with you for your loss and suffering . We humbly and respectfully beg for your forgiveness.
The Afghan government should have provided a strong defense against the Taliban. Using the foreign soldiers to defend districts and towns with inadequate local forces was to use the wrong tool for the job.
When United states invaded Iraq and US Defese Seretary Donald Rumsfeld annouced the withdrawl of 3000 American troops from Afganistan and sent to Iraq , the Pakistan military had surmised that the United States could not wage two counterinsurgencies at once both in Afghanistan and Iraq. Pakistan was happy to see US forces leave the southern Pashtun belt in Afghanistan, which it considered its own back yard. And the people also started questioning the seriousness of NATO and the Afghan government.
During the Soviett Union invasion , the people , the police and the Army were with the government day time but during night they would be with the Mujahideen. The same scenario developed during USA and NATO invasion Afghanistan . But only the players changed. USA and NATO took the place of Sovietst and Taliban & Al Qaed replaced the Mujahideen.
70 percent of Afghans were sitting on the fence , not with the Taliban but unwilling to support the government either. They were going mad. They think one side should be finished either Taliban or the government , we dont care which. On one side they were killed by the Allied forces and on the other side by Taliban.They were just getting made.
Coming to the villages , Mullah abdul Rauf , a senior Taliban commander, taunted the American military . ” where is the American Power? He told it in interview with Al Jazeera TV network.
For the young people there are no jobs , these unemployed young people go to Pakistan in search of work and being recruited by Taliban. The Taliban are paying them US$ 175 a month to join up and fight. Why , the USA and its allies couldnt do that to pay some amount to these unemployed young people and use them against Taliban. However, they could spend on one gas station 43 millions US dollars which is not working. Did a gas station costs 43 Millions US dollars???
On the other hand hundreds of madrassas in Pakistan’s border area had emptied , students were dispatched to fight Jihad in Afghanistan. The grieved villagers started to give them shelter and local assisstance in Afghanistan.
The suicide bombers and the networks supplying them were emanating from Pakistan.
” All Taliban are ISI Taliban. It is not possible to go to Afghanistan without the help of the ISI. Every one says that” , said brother of a Pakistani suicide bomber killed in Afghanistan. In Pakistan there is factory of suicide bombers. Most of the attackers are non- Afghans. They are either Pakistani or Afghans living in Pakistan. Afghan sympethizers are bringing these bombers into Afghanistan , and providing them with safe houses , logistics and vests and cars primed with explosives.
USA and NATO did little to investigate the suicide bombing networks organizing in Pakistan. Western officials found that their requests for cooperation were always dismissed. They complained that whenever they asked Pakistan military and ISI officials to arrest members of Taliban or other figures suspected of orchestrating the attacks, the Pakistani stonewalled them.
The Taliban and Pakistan’s religious parties and Pakistan army were working together to raise an army of militants. The madrassas are a cover, a camouflage. Behind the curtain , hidden in the shadows , lurked the ISI.
Western officials began to talk of the “S” Directorate of the ISI , which was responsible for Pakistan’s covert programs outside the country, namely the proxy operations. One department handled Kashmir , one Afghanistan and another the Sikh in India, the former Western diplomat told Carlotta Gall.
ISI provides the Taliban with fuel , ammunition, and other logistical support , and they hold strategy meetings with the Taliban to discuss when to increase or ease up to operations.
The United State only began watching the links between ISI and the Taliban in 2007 and 2008. Before that, the CIA had been focused purely on al Qaeda. And after that Pakistan became one of its particular targets. It was only toward the end of the decade that Us intelligence and military services began to examine more closely Pakistan’s relationship with the militant proxies. As US forces began to monitor the links and level of contacts , and to intercept phone conversations, they came to realize that Pakistan was pulling the stings of the Taliban and actually involved in promoting terrorist attacks.
The Taliban can not work for a single day without the patronage , cooperation, and support Pakistan army and ISI, said Mohmud Khan Achakzai.
Even members of the Taliban complained of the pressures of the ISI. One Taliban commander fled Afghanistan. In Pakistan he was also arrested. ISI agents threatened him with prison unless he returned to Afghanistan to fight US forces.
The Taliban were used as leverage against Afghanistan , and the Pakistani militant groups as leverage against India.
The red mosque stood at the capital of Pakistan promotes jihad in Afghanistan. It was founded by a famed jihadi preacher, Maulana Abduallah Ghazi who had enjoyed the patronage of military dictator General Zia ul haq in 1980s. It had supplied thousands of students over the years for Jehad in Afghanistan , Kashmir and Inda. Ghazi had also claimed friendship with bin laden. And to keep his relationship with the ISI and , ISI killed him.
When blowback started in Pakistan , a former senior intelligence official told a colleague, ” We indoctrinated them and told them , ‘ You will go to heaven.’ You cannot turn it around so suddently.
The ISI sometimes encouraged them to fight each other for territory, and assassinate rival commanders to prevent any one group from growing too strong and independent.
Post-9/11 , the Musharraf government paid off the leaders of the main militant groups to keep them loyal, asking them to go quiet. Some organizations were banned overtlly but covertly they were told to start working on another name. Cross -border attacks into Afghanistan were allowed , but terrorist attacks on Western targets inside Pakistan were not acceptable. Those who ignored the rules were detained.
Haqqani network has become the main instrument for ISI-directed attacks in Kabul and eastern AFghanistan.
The Taliban , when they say something , they do it. They threaten to kill people and they do it. But when we say we will protect you , we often do not. Jelani, Afghan government offical.
When in 2008 , a pair of suicide bombers, attacked the serena hotel in Kabul, one blow himself and the other telephoned his controller-in Pakistan- fourteen times during the attack. In April 2008 , when gunmen made an assassination attempt on President Karzai, he texted their commander in Pakistan , and he was urging them on , fight up to the last minute, invetigators found from the gunmen’s cell phones.
One suicide bombing in the Capital was aimed at the Baluch rebel leader Burmgdagh Bugti, who had sought refuge from Pakistan with the AFghans. Bugti was not a target of the Taliban , but the Pakistani miitary certainly wanted him dead.
ISI and other Pakistani intelligence organizations were clearly collaborating with the militants and suicide bombers attacking targets in the Afghan Capital. Haqqani network and Lashar-e-Taaiba , the two militant organizations operating from Waziristan , have always been in close ties with the ISI.
The sucide bomber are prepared in Pakistan , said a Pakistani journalist Ahmad Rasheed.
The Indian embassy bombing revealed the clearest evidence of ISI complicity in its planning and execution. From the telephone of the facilitator of the attack in Kabul, had been in direct contact with Pakistan by telephone.
Afghan intelligence and police became convinced that the ISI was working with al Qaeda, the Taliban, the Haqqanis, and Pakistani groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba infliterating in Afghanistan.
At the core of Pakistan’s thinking was an obsessive desire to dominate Afghanistan , so that Afghanistan will not be able to demand for its territory from Durand line to Indus river occupied by Pakistan.
Pakistan denied all this. In every interview , officials insisted that they wanted a stable Afghansitan and were working to defeat terrorism.
Due to the anarchy and terror in Afghanistan created by Pakistan , it paralyzed local government as police, judge , provincial conuncillors ,and teachers began abandoning their jobs and moving to the cities for protection. The people would not risk their lives to work with the government. This situation leads Afghanistan to stone age.
For all these operartions ISI has expended a lot of money and work.
According to General David D. Mckiernan , his forces came under attack from insurgents crossing the border from Paksitan.
Karzai repeated his usual refrain: the United States and its coalition were failing to tackle the insurgency at its source in the training camps and ISI offices in Pakistan. It was a disastrous falling-out , when the war was at its most dangerous point . The Taliban and Pakistan were able to press their advantage.
Karzai became convinced that the United States was not going to win the war against the Taliban. He had long realized that no administration in Washington was going to make Pakistan cease its support for the Taliban. Pakistan continued to ignore US requests that it do more against the militants on its soil and United States was evidently not prepared to use greater pressure. Pakistan was, after all, a nuclear -armed country of 180 million Muslims and the scale of things more important than much much smaller , in poverished Afghanistan.
Bush administrator had promised Karzai to handle Pakistan but never had. Kazai had been let down. Karzai was reluctant. He disliked the idea of counterinsurgency. To him, the answer was not more fighting in Afghan towns and villages. The answers were at the source of terror in Pakistan, in the santuaries , training camps and madrassas that were motivating young men to take arms , and in the offices of the ISI that were sponsoring them.
On one accasion , Karzai burst into tears during a speach. He threatened to abandon the fight. ” If you and international community pressurize me more, he told memebers of Parliament,” I swear that I am going to join Taliban’.
The ordinary people compelled to say that US forces would not stay for ever, and they doubted the Afghan government could protect them from Taliban when the fighters returned. ” We don’t trust the foreigners. Last time they came and then left and left us to Taliban. So we are careful. Their friendship lasts until the end of the afternoon. The Russians were the same. ( one farmer and landowner said).
Americans have empowered those who were against us and the people were against them. That’s why we started movement against them. American had promised a lot to the Afghan people but they have not fulfilled their promises.
Afghans would never let go of their desire for revenge.
America was not putting pressure on Pakistan, and Pakistan was not giving up its support for the Taliban. When Taliban fighters escaped to Pakistan during the surge of 2001, Pakistan forced them to go back into Afghanistan……. to be continued…….
Mashal Khan Takkar
Editor in chief
THE VOICE TIMES
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