…by this drumming up of Afghanistan-Pakistan-Kashmir connection on the GWOT.
Henry Kissinger has dismissed the suggestions of a future position for Bill Clinton as the US envoy on Kashmir with a smart quip — “there is a limit to the number of Clintons you can appoint” at one time. However, many Pakistani experts, who have been reportedly consulted by Obama’s team and by General Petraeus, are still trying their level-best to drum upon the fanciful theory of Afghanistan-Pakistan-Kashmir connection.
“Clearly the only solution to Afghanistan now is a regional solution,” said Ahmed Rashid, author of Descent into Chaos, a recent book on U.S. failures in Afghanistan and Pakistan, who has been consulted by Mr. Obama’s team. “The key to peace in Afghanistan is Pakistan. The Afghan Taliban leadership is living in Pakistan. The reasons for that happening is related to [the Pakistani] military’s views on India.”
Rashid falls short of putting it correctly. The actual reason is not Pakistani military’s views on India but the thinking within the Pakistani military itself. A report from Bajaur in The Guardian captures this train of thought of the Pakistani military, that yearns for the US dole but does not perceive the Taliban and the al Qaeda as its enemy.
…the Pakistani Army still views the battles it is fighting against extremists very differently from Western strategists and policy-makers. Scores of private conversations with soldiers of all ranks reveal that few see themselves as fighting in a ‘war on terror’ that many of them abhor.
Many believe that India, Pakistan’s long-term regional rival, and Afghanistan are manipulating the militants fighting in Pakistan. In a mirror image of the Western analysis that attributes the success of the Taliban in Afghanistan to their bases in Pakistan, the Pakistani officers blame the war in Afghanistan for their troubles at home.
Privately few have much good to say about the West either. Anti-American sentiment is widespread. Many – both on the front line and at senior levels – doubt that al-Qaeda was responsible for 9/11. Instead the officers and men interviewed by The Observer see their fight as a necessary struggle to purge their own nation of an internal threat. ‘It is our war, not anyone else’s,’ said Colonel Nauman.
For many such officers, both the presence of al-Qaeda on their territory and the pressure from Washington to play a greater role in the war on terror complicate the situation. American money, technical assistance and equipment is welcome – the Pakistani military has received about £7bn from the US since 2001 – but interference on the ground is not.
The Pakistani establishment and its frontmen analysts, who assume that the new US administration will pander to Pakistani blackmail over Afghanistan, force India to resolve Kashmir and move away from India, should pay heed to Kissinger’s views on the Indo-US relations.
“Relations between India and the US are unusually close. Indian and American interests are complementary… In major areas, there is an extraordinary parallelism of interests. In the whole region from Singapore to Cairo, we have identical interests…”
“I am very optimistic. Relations are likely to become even closer. But that does not include differences in perception on some issues,” said the 75-year-old diplomat and academic who was described by some as “President for Foreign Affairs”, due to his influence in Washington with successive administrations.
David Kilcullen’s presciption for Pakistan fits in snugly with Kissinger’s worldview. David’s plan might dash many parturient hopes in Islamabad but it will be the most likely course of action on Pakistan for Messers Obama and Petraeus.