Never before in its history has Pakistan faced such a deep crisis as the one it faces today. This is the direct result of the bloody-mindedness of the generals that have gone mad and insist on maintaining their illegal control of all decision-making processes in the country.
There appears no light at the end of the tunnel for Pakistan. The thugs in khaki insist on political engineering while making moves to exclude Imran Khan, the former prime minister, from the political process. The khakis don’t care what happens to Pakistan so long as they control the process.
The army in Pakistan is an enormously expensive institution. It consumes more than 50 per cent of the country’s budget countless other resources. The army, however, has failed to fulfill its primary function of defending the country’s borders. Can Pakistan afford such an army?
The generals in Pakistan follow no rules and are answerable to no one. They have usurped all political space. The current crisis is the direct result of the generals’ refusal to allow the normal political process to continue to hold elections because they fear it will bring Imran Khan back to power. That is not what they want, hence the deep political crisis.
Overseas Pakistanis are the largest remitters of foreign exchange surpassing even the country’s total export earnings. Why then are the overseas Pakistanis treated with such disdain? They should rise up and fight for their rights.
Every year, March 23 is celebrated as Pakistan Day. There is nothing to celebrate given the crushed economy that has driven millions into poverty amid a deliberately-engineered crisis to prevent the crooks in civvies and uniform from going to jail. Pity the people of Pakistan.
Powerful forces are deliberately creating instability to subvert the demand for holding elections in Pakistan. The power-wielders fear that Imran Khan’s party will sweep the polls and usher in changes that will curtail the powers of the parasites that have ruined Pakistan to this sorry state.
After the US’ humiliating defeat in Afghanistan, there was widespread belief that the Americans would leave Afghanistan alone. Far from it. They continue to meddle not only in Afghanistan by propping up discredited warlords, but also extending their mischief into Central Asia.
While Pakistan teeters on the brink, the elite have been busy speculating about who would become the next army chief. Corruption is rampant and the incompetence of its rulers legendary. Unless the ruling mafia is divested of its powers, and soon, the country may not survive.
In its relentless policy to make the occupation of Kashmir permanent, India pursues a multi-pronged approach: army brutality including torture and killings, imprisonment of political and human rights activists and preventing journalists from traveling abroad lest they speak out about Indian atrocities
An estimated 76,000 Afghans have been brought to the US since August of 2021. Unfortunately, they are not categorized as refugees. These Afghans risked their lives collaborating with the Americans in Afghanistan but are deprived of the opportunity to legally settle in the US.
The UN says 97% of Afghans are on the verge of starvation. This is the direct result of US illegally holding $9.7 billion of Afghanistan central bank funds, Da Afghanistan Bank. For 20 years, the US and its allies bombed Afghanistan beyond the Stone Age but the Taliban still defeated them militarily. Now the Washington warlords want to starve the Afghans to death.
In the grip of fascism, India’s Hindutva rulers are determined to crush Muslims. Their latest victim is Yasin Malik, a Kashmiri freedom fighter who has been convicted on ‘terrorism-related’ charges. There are grave fears for Malik’s life held in stinking cell in Delhi’s Tihar Jail.
It is interesting to note so much breast-beating for the plight of Ukrainians facing Russia’s military onslaught, but the same western do-gooders are actively pursuing a policy to starve the poor people of Afghanistan. The UN says, 97% of its population could face starvation. This is a crime against humanity
The food situation in Afghanistan is grim. It is facing a humanitarian catastrophe. Even the UN and World Food Program have confirmed this. Yet, Western regimes, led by the US, are holding funds that belong to Afghanistan, thereby exacerbating the problem
There are unmistakable signs that the US is inching toward some kind of understanding with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Using Pakistan’s good offices, new rounds of talks are also being held in Doha. India, meanwhile, is trying to intrude in Afghan affairs. It should stay out.
The Taliban may not have achieved formal recognition from any country so far but they continue to be received by neighboring states. They certainly have de facto recognition and it is only a matter of time before they get formal recognition.
The shooting war in Afghanistan may be over but other forms of warfare continue. These include economic and propaganda warfare with the specific aim to frustrate the Taliban’s consolidation of power to govern effectively and provide services to the people.
Will Afghanistan descend into civil war? This is what the doomsayers are projecting but the manner in which the Taliban have conducted themselves so far gives hope that fighting, if any, will not be large scale and the resistance group would be able to control it.
Soundly defeated militarily by the Taliban, the US warlords have not given up on mischief-making. They are setting up a trap for Pakistan even as they retreat in disgrace from Afghanistan.
The illegal prison at Guantanamo Bay represents the ugly nature of the US. Of the 700 prisoners kept there at its peak, only 40 are left. Saifullah Paracha, 73, is the oldest prison who has been cleared for release but it is not certain when he might return home to his native Pakistan.
While announced to much fanfare that US troops would be out of Afghanistan by September 11, US President Joe Biden left out whether the 18,000 mercenaries euphemistically called “contractors”, operating in Afghanistan would also go. The Taliban are not amused.
Joe Biden is beginning to have second thoughts about withdrawing all US forces from Afghanistan. Should he fail to honour the February 29, 2020 agreement his predecessor signed with the Taliban, there is every likelihood of intensification of conflict resulting is US forces driven out Afghanistan in ignominy.
Despite its immense potential, Pakistan has not made the progress it deserves. We look at the reasons for this failure and what can be done to rectify them.
Independent investigative journalists have exposed India’s massive disinformation campaign against Pakistan spanning 15 years. Delhi’s operatives have used dormant NGOs, fake media outlets and even resurrected dead individuals to advance its nefarious agenda.
Let us be clear: The military invasion of Afghanistan was not meant to ‘liberate’ Afghan women (whatever that may mean) or bring democracy and education. It was and is an imperialist project in which horrific crimes have been committed against Afghan civilians.
The prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have been virtually forgotten. They languish in the torture chamber without charge or trial and away from public focus. Their plight reflects the criminality of American rulers.
Intra-Afghan talks started in Doha, Qatar on September 12 but they are not making much progress. The Taliban and the US-backed Afghan government representatives have very different perspectives on the future set-up in Afghanistan.
The Loya Jirga (grand assembly) is an honoured Afghan tradition but last month the US-installed president of Afghanistan used it as a cover to surrender to the Taliban. While the move is welcome, the manner in which it was utilized is not so honourable
August 5 will mark one year since India’s illegal abrogation of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. Aware that the Kashmiris reject this, the occupation forces have intensified their terrorist acts against the Kashmiris. The pandemic has only made life worse.
Will Afghanistan finally have peace after 40 years of war and bloodshed? This will depend on whether various Afghan factions can accommodate ethnic groups with divergent interests.
The blow-up between India and China on the frozen peaks of the Himalayan mountains cannot be understood without examining India’s creeping military expansion into areas the Chinese consider vital to their geostrategic interests.
The pandemic has put paid to the lavish iftar parties of the Pakistani elite. While they do not fast, they must participate in iftar parties. This year, they have been deprived of this exercise in gluttony!
The US and its NATO allies do not give up on mischief. They may withdraw all forces from Afghanistan but their destabilization activities will not cease.
Afghans will observe another grim anniversary in their long ordeal with foreign occupiers: the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan 40 years ago. Today another self-proclaimed superpower is about to bite the bullet in the landlocked country.
Donald Trump’s cancellation of talks with the Taliban had nothing to do with the killing of one American soldier; it had everything to do with the Taliban’s refusal to meet him before an agreement was signed.
When the Americans and their allies first attacked and occupied Afghanistan, they thought it would be a cakewalk. Nearly 18 years later, the Americans are begging the Taliban to allow them a safe retreat!
The US military has lost in Afghanistan. What is underway now in talks between the Taliban and the US is to work out a way for an orderly withdrawal of American forces from the country.
Who would have imagined that after waging a 10-year war in Afghanistan, the Russians would be back as mediators and peacemakers in the now US-occupied country.
Despite being the longest US war, few politicians or media outlets are talking about the never-ending war in Afghanistan. This because the US has lost it but nobody wants to admit defeat.
American warlords have had their noses rubbed in the dust, or on the rocks of the Hindu Kush mountains by the intrepid Afghans. Afghanistan has become graveyard for one more empire!
The UNHCHR report detailing massive abuses by Indian occupation forces in Kashmir has led to hysteria in India. The regime in Delhi and its media are thrashing about violently in a desperate attempt to discredit the report.
This April marks the 40th anniversary of the Marxist coup against President Daoud that set Afghanistan on a course to endless war. America, the latest invader, is on the verge of total defeat at the hands of the intrepid Afghans.
The US has lost the war in Afghanistan. It is time to pack up and leave.
American officials frequently bark demands of Pakistan to “do more” to fight terrorism yet Afghanistan under US-occupation is a den of terrorists from where they launch deadly attacks inside Pakistan.
Far from fighting terrorism, the US creates and actively promotes terrorists for its imperialist agenda. Its support of ISIS in Afghanistan illustrates this.
Donald Trump says he read a lot of briefs (a blatant lie, he does not read!) before announcing his new policy on Afghanistan. He blamed Pakistan for US’ defeat and then prescribed the same failed policy as his predecessors.
China’s One Belt, One Road initiative was launched at a grand conference in Beijing last month. The plan envisages connecting the Eurasia landmass with China, Europe and South East Asia to foster trade and economic progress.
The people of Afghanistan have not witnessed a single day of peace since the April 27, 1978 coup against the government of Sardar Mohammad Daud. Millions have perished or made refugees over the years.
The ongoing tragedy and suffering of the people of Kashmir will be the focus of a conference organized by Pakistan’s young parliamentarians in Islamabad on January 5 and 6. Parliamentarians, academics and activists from all over the world will attend the two-day event.
Three countries in South Asia—Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan—have between them enormous mineral and energy resources. This makes them the special target of predatory powers.2
The US-crafted Afghan regime with two rulers—a president and a chief executive—had little chance of success. It is coming unhinged amid political squabbling as the Taliban make military gains across the country.
Kashmiris are again being targeted by one of the most ruthless regimes in the world. The Indian occupation troops have introduced a new weapon this time: pellet guns that spray hundreds of steel-tipped bullets that have blinded hundreds of people.1
As Ramadan begins, the gap between the rich and poor in Pakistan continues to widen. The top portion of the picture shows an Iftaar dinner arranged by former Pakistani President Asif Zardari while below Pakistani children scavenge for food at a garbage dump. Where is justice and the taqwa that Ramadan is supposed to build?
Life for the Afghan people has never been easy but having suffered war for nearly four decades, they want some peace and security. These are denied them because of the conflicting interests of external players.
The shenanigans of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a Karachi-based “political” party, have dominated news in Pakistan for several weeks now. With its leader, Altaf Husain in self-imposed exile in London, England, facing money laundering and murder charges, deep fissures have emerged in the party at home.
The culture of entitlement that is so prevalent among the Pakistani elite is leading the country to disaster. Are the elite willing to give up their terrible ways?
Peace in Afghanistan is vital for the region but there are players that want to disrupt it, especially members of the Afghan Northern Alliance because they believe such an outcome would diminish their influence and clout in the country.
Even as British Prime Minister David Cameron thundered against the ISIS terrorists (aka takfiris, Da‘ish, or ISIL) that had caused mayhem, death, and destruction in Paris on November 13, he was happily consorting with another terrorist.
If Pakistan is serious about confronting and eliminating terrorism, then it must adopt a coherent policy starting with the Sharif brothers withdrawing their support of terrorist outfits.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif seems to have hit a jackpot. The Chinese plan to invest $46 billion in Pakistan’s infrastructure—roads, railways and power plants—to facilitate transport of Chinese goods to markets worldwide.
There may be a faint light at the end of Afghanistan’s long dark tunnel. Two neighbours—China and Pakistan—have indicated they would like to help bring about peace in the war-torn country.
Parents of slain school children in Peshawar are upset at the incompetence of the security agencies as well as the fact that the Pakistani establishment is hiding the true casualty figures believed to be more than 500, not 149.
The horrific murder of nearly 140 school children in Peshawar has caused great anguish and anger in Pakistan. Unless there is a comprehensive approach to this problem, a reaction in anger will only escalate the cycle of violence.
President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan has a small window of opportunity to set things on the right track and strike some kind of a deal with the Taliban. He is banking on China and Pakistan for help.
Another batch of ‘Alexander the Great wannabes’ have slunk out of Afghanistan having been taught a lesson by the intrepid Afghans. History is repeating itself in the Hindu Kush Mountains.
After months of political uncertainty, Afghanistan has new president, a former executive at the World Bank. There is also a new ‘chief executive,’ a post created courtesy of the Americans. The more things change, the more they remain the same.
Pakistan has been gripped political crisis since August 14. Does it pose a serious challenge to Nawaz Sharif who is accused his opponents of rigging the May 2013 elections to get into power?
The 13-year US-led Western war on Afghanistan has not only devastated that poor country but also caused great damage to Pakistan. Neighboring Iran has also suffered greatly as a consequence.
The April 5 presidential elections are not likely to change conditions for the long-suffering Afghan people much as long as there is foreign manipulation through money and troops presence in the country.
President Hamid Karzai has added one more condition—start of peace talks with the Taliban—before he would agree to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement with the US giving US officials serious heart burn.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have questioned US drone strikes and say those that authorize them may face war crimes charges. The UN has also condemned them.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is a man in a hurry. He knows his time is running out and with it his chances of survival. He is desperate to make a deal with the Taliban but they are unwilling because they see him as an American puppet.
With the opening of the Taliban office in Doha, Qatar, Hamid Karzai feels he will be left to hang high and dry if the Americans strike a deal with the resistance group. He has hit his now-familiar tantrum to be noticed. Will he get anywhere with it?
The December 20 and 21 meeting in a hotel outside Paris between representatives of the Taliban, the Karzai government and members of the Northern Alliance as well as Gulbuddin Hikmatyar’s Hizb-e Islami shows that the Taliban are now firmly in control of the future agenda in Afghanistan.
Will American troops last until 2014 when attacks by Afghan soldiers and policemen on American trainers have escalated alarmingly?
Before US President Barack Obama landed in Chicago to attend the NATO conference on Afghanistan (May 20–21), albeit to noisy protests from the anti-war and Occupy Wall Street movements, he already had two agreements tucked under his arm...
After the latest American rampage through three Afghan villages in the Pajway district of Qandahar on March 11, US President Barack Obama issued the following statement: “This incident is tragic and shocking, and does not represent the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan.”
The self-proclaimed superpower is clutching at straws about “peace talks” following the Taliban’s convincing defeat of US-NATO armies in Afghanistan. While talk about talks has gone on for years with American officials — civilian and military — making bold pronouncements about commencement of “secret talks”, only to discover that some goat herder or a petty bicycle shop owner had taken the “smart” Americans for a long ride, the latter have not given up.
Pakistan’s boycott of the December 5 US-sponsored conference on Afghanistan in Bonn, Germany reduced it to little more than a farce. It was like a wedding without the groom. Pakistan boycotted to protest the November 26 US-NATO attack.
Is the US endgame in Afghanistan real? If so, it appears to have entered a crucial phase under the cover of a series of international conferences to facilitate US troop withdrawal from the war-torn country. Some observers, however, believe America is playing a double game trying to give the impression of preparing to leave while working behind the scenes to establish permanent military bases in the country.
Since April 1978, the Afghans have experienced nothing but war. An entire generation has grown up with violence, murder and mayhem. First it was the Russians, followed by various Afghan factions fighting it out among themselves, then came the Taliban and now the Americans and their NATO allies.
Afghanistan’s most powerful warlord, Ahmed Wali Karzai, half brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, was shot and killed by Sardar Mohammed, a trusted family friend and security commander, at his home in Qandahar on July 12.
The removal — real or fake — of Osama bin Laden from the equation in the US war on terror has opened up new possibilities for what could be achieved in Afghanistan. While much attention is focussed on US moves, no doubt an important consideration, Washington is quickly losing control, thanks to its military defeat in Afghanistan.
Talk about desperation; the Americans are falling over themselves to talk to the Taliban but the Afghans are in no hurry to meet, even if offered lamb kebab and rice as inducement. Carefully planted rumors in the media by American officials have been circulating for years. “Taliban representatives have secretly met US officials in Saudi Arabia;” according to one of such report. Others have claimed meetings have taken place in Turkey, Qatar or even Germany. The Taliban have vehemently denied all such reports. One is inclined to accept the Taliban version because past US claims have come to naught.
It is a safe bet that the Taliban have never heard of much less read Barack Obama’s book, Audacity of Hope yet they have shown plenty of it in what they did in Qandahar on April 25. Digging a tunnel some 360 meters long (some reports have suggested it was 1,000 meters long) under the Qandahar-Herat highway, they reached the Sarpoza prison and rescued 487 prisoners, many of them Taliban fighters while the guards were asleep.
This past winter, American troops murdered even more Afghan civilians than in previous years. And true to form, they routinely claim the attacks were aimed at militants and that no civilians were killed.
Last December, an agreement for the pipeline from Turkmenistan to India, via Afghanistan and Pakistan was signed without fanfare or publicity despite its immense significance.
A non-descript country like Afghanistan has become the epicenter of global change sending not one but two superpowers into the dustbin of history.
True, there is no shortage of armchair warriors in Washington insisting that the US cannot cut and run, or that President Barack Obama does not have the spine for a fight.
Nine years and tens of thousands of deaths later, it is the Americans that are begging the Taliban for talks
Now to the situation in Pakistan, and the inability of the government to properly address the crisis. Any subscriber of Crescent International knows that Pakistan has been the subject of numerous articles and opinion pieces, and thus this is not the place to go over a detailed history of the country and outside involvement in its internal affairs.
Western policy-makers, especially in the US were in absolute panic for two days when tens of thousands of pages of leaked documents describing the grim situation in Afghanistan were released by WikiLeaks, a tiny but influential internet site.
This was evident during the one-day conference when officials from 70 countries converged on Kabul to talk about Afghanistan’s future amid growing concern for intensified violence and the growing strength of the resistance.
Informed observers wonder about the timing of the announcement. The US Geological Survey had known about these deposits as early as 2004 although until now this was a closely guarded secret known only to a few in the US...
The Americans are caught, literally, between and a rock and a hard place in Afghanistan. The mountainous country has one of the toughest people on earth that have never allowed foreigners to dominate them.
Events in Afghanistan are moving so fast that it is often difficult to keep pace. The two-day visit to Islamabad (March 9 and 10) by the Afghan President Hamid Karzai was preceded by two other events: a visit on March 9 to Kabul...
Regardless of US spin, the endgame in Afghanistan has begun. Aware that they cannot defeat the Taliban militarily, the Americans have changed tune...
No less serious is the refusal of Congress to authorise funding for the prison or prisons on US mainland where detainees are to be transferred or even the authority to transfer those to be held indefinitely.
The December 30 istishhadi operation at a remote base in Afghanistan’s Khost Province achieved two vital objectives: it demolished virtually the entire crop of CIA officers operating in the field, and it blew the cover off Jordan’s deep involvement with the Americans in Afghanistan causing it huge embarrassment at home...
Dissenting voices against the surge and futility of war were heard from the antiwar movement but these are largely confined to the internet...
Afghanistan’s presidential elections held on August 20 may be over but the uncertainty continues; indeed it has deepened with no clear winner. The two front-runners represent opposite sides in Afghanistan’s ethnic divide — the incumbent Hamid Karzai is a Pashtun while his main challenger, Abdullah Abdullah represents the Tajik-Uzbek bloc...
In the early eighties, Peshawar was the hub of activity for anti-Soviet fighters.
When Americans are not winning hearts and minds by dropping 1,000-pound bombs on wedding parties or mud-hut dwelling women and children as they did in Farah province on May 4 killing 147 civilians, 93 of them children, they are busy delivering democracy through cruise missiles...
This year’s spring has arrived with the Americans singing a new tune about Afghanistan: the Taliban cannot be defeated militarily. While this was obvious for quite some time to most observers familiar with the Afghan scene, the Americans being slow learners needed extra time to grasp this reality. From US PresidentBarack Obama down, most Americans are now singing from the same page.
Long before Barack Obama was sworn in as president, the Americans had started to mutter darkly that Hamid Karzai was not only ineffective, he presided over a government that was corrupt and harbored drug and warlords in Afghanistan. While not all charges are false, Karzai alone cannot be blamed for all of them; it appears like another desperate attempt to shift blame for America's own disastrous policies.
On a secret visit to Kabul on December 20, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman US Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced that the US would increase its troop level by 60,000. At the same time, he warned that this had to be coupled with development programs and better governance otherwise no number of troops will do the job.
Is it the beginning of the end for foreign occupation in Afghanistan? Seven years after driving the Taliban from power, Western bravado about defeating them militarily has evaporated. Several Western commanders and diplomats have at different times admitted that defeating the Taliban militarily was not possible and that a negotiated settlement to contain the insurgency was the only possible option.
Barack Obama, Democratic party presidential nominee, calls it the “good war”; his Republican rival, John McCain, insists that he will “chase Osama to the gates of hell.” Americans are being told that Afghanistan is the “right war” and that it is “winnable”, in contrast to Iraq.
Their situation being precarious at the best of times, last month was even worse than usual for President Hamid Karzai and the foreign occupation forces in Afghanistan. A day after Kabulreceived pledges of $20 billion in aid from donors at the Paris conference, the Taliban carried out a spectacular raid on the Sarposa prison in Qandahar, releasing nearly 1,200 prisoners, among them 400 Taliban fighters, on June 13.
As NATO heads of state converge on Bucharest, the Romanian capital, in the first week of April, the question uppermost on everyone's mind will be the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. Despite the presence of more than 50,000 NATO troops, the security situation has worsened and the insurgency has escalated.
The US and its allies are not only losing the war in Afghanistan, but their military alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), is also on the verge of unravelling as a result of this failure. Several Western officials, including US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, defence secretary Robert Gates, British foreign secretary David Miliband and Lord Paddy Ashdown, a British peer, have in recent days given dire warnings about NATO’s impending collapse.
The political situation is Pakistan so precarious that few people, including the country’s president, general (retired) Pervez Musharraf, can say with certainty that the parliamentary elections scheduled for February 18 will indeed be held on time. Even if they are, there is little prospect of change unless Musharraf resigns and allows genuine civilian rule. There are widespread allegations of bogus voters’ lists, illegal use of government machinery and vehicles to support candidates allied to Musharraf, and of course of voter intimidation.
With the surge in Iraq to establish security an utter failure and the British having fled Basra, Washington’s propagandists are in no mood to set another trap for themselves by making bold policy pronouncements about Afghanistan. A detailed review, forced by the failure of America and NATO to subdue the resistance in Afghanistan, has been launched without fanfare.
The year 2007 has turned out to be one of the costliest in blood and lives since the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan by the US in October 2001. On November 19 a bomb-explosion killed seven people but missed Ghulam Dastagir Azad, governor of Nimroz province, the intended target in the town of Zaranj. On the same day an attack on a military bus in Kabul was thwarted when the bomber was prevented from boarding. Two days earlier a roadside bomb near Qandahar had killed two Canadian soldiers and wounded three others, bringing the Canadian death toll to 73.
The Loya Jirga, or grand assembly of tribal elders, is the traditional Afghan way of discussing and resolving differences, but there was something very odd about the one held in Kabul from August 9-12. True, large amounts of food that (including rice, lamb kebabs and other Afghan delicacies) were served with typical Afghan hospitality, but the jirga was not entirely an Afghan affair. This was partly because it brought together tribal elders from both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border, which is something of a novelty with potentially grave consequences for the future of Pakistan if it is not handled carefully.
After another particularly bloody week in which the Americans and their Western allies killed more than 100 Afghan civilians, President Hamid Karzai stood on the lawn of the presidential palace on June 23 to denounce the air strikes and artillery fire as “careless”. He asserted: “Afghan life is not cheap and should not be treated as such.” These sound like brave words, but they carry little weight with the Americans or anyone else. They, as well as Karzai, know that Afghans’ lives are indeed cheap.
The expression “uneasy lies the head that wears a crown” may have to be extended to include the modest Afghan karakol cap that has, together with the Dracula gown, become President Hamid Karzai’s trademark. Obviously, such theatrics impress few in a land whose people are famed for their independent spirit, where Karzai is regarded as an American puppet. This is the kiss of death, because America’s atrocious behaviour has alienated most Afghans.
President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan is to visit Pakistan this month, ostensibly to help increasing tensions between the two countries. He has his work cut out for him. Last month, Karzai had rubbished such “high profile” visits while Pakistani prime minister Shaukat Aziz was in Kabul for talks on January 6. Despite Karzai’s outburst, Aziz announced that Islamabad would increase its development aid to Afghanistan to US$350 million. He politely sidestepped Karzai’s tantrum by pointing out that both Pakistanand Afghanistan need to address their own internal problems.
Pakistan appears headed for more turbulent times as General Pervez Musharraf runs out of policy options in his desperate attempts to appease his foreign masters. Internally, bush fires are burning in three of the four provinces; in the fourth—the Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province—Musharraf is fighting a rearguard action to outflank supporters of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, whom he replaced in a coup in October 1999. At the international level, foreign leaders are no longer as polite as they were immediately after September 2001, when Musharraf hitched his fortunes to America’s “war on terrorism”
Afghanistan is sinking into a black hole, but this is not what the rulers of the West, whose forces are busy killing Afghans, will admit. They continue to talk as if all is well and that the Afghans are happy to be "liberated" by gun-toting foreigners who shoot first and ask questions later, if at all.
The killing on August 26 of Nawab Akbar Bugti (pic, right) by the Pakistan army has sunk the already troublesome Balochistan province into chaos, with violence among Balochis in neighbouring Sind province as well as in the commercial city of Karachi.
While ignoring Palestine and Lebanon reeling under the barbaric onslaught of the zionists, the UN Security Council still found the time to talk about Afghanistan. Tom Koenigs, the UN envoy for Afghanistan, warned on July 27 that the Taliban were rediscovering their strength and that the fighting in Afghanistan now had to be called an insurgency, rather than just “isolated acts of terrorism”.
After making a grand retreat from the deliberately contrived nuclear standoff with Iran that even its close allies had found distasteful, US officials still continue to behave as if everyone must snap to attention whenever they click their fingers. This was again seen on June 21, when US president Bush was in Vienna for talks with European rulers.
The announcement by US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld during a brief visit to Kabul on May 1, to the effect that the military phase of the campaign in Afghanistan is over, took American soldiers in the country by surprise.
It has become routine for the regime in Kabul to blame Pakistan for allowing “cross-border infiltration” whenever there is any increase in resistance activity inside Afghanistan. Some infiltration is definitely taking place, because the mountainous terrain makes the border virtually impossible to seal completely, but the volleys of rhetoric being hurled at Pakistan betray the Afghan government’s own incompetence.
According to official pronouncements from Islamabad, Pakistan has never had it so good economically under the present dispensation. Officials point to the booming real estate and stock markets as well as rising sale of commodities such as cars, particularly the number of Mercedes Benzes on the road, to support their case.
All is not well in the "land of the pure": the "stans"—Baluchistan and Waziristan (both North and South)—are on fire; the dams' controversy has subsided somewhat, but has been replacedby the fury surrounding Europe's cartoons. The anger of the protests is also fuelled by the exorbitant prices of essential commodities, and Pakistan's opposition parties, sensing blood, are going for the jugular.
The subservience of Pakistan’s rulers was again displayed on January 13: the US bombed a border village in Pakistan's Bajaur Agency, killing 18 civilians, six of them children. Far from confronting America's state terrorism, Pakistani officials from general Pervez Musharraf down proffered lame excuses: "foreign terrorists" were the intended target, for instance. In particular, they claimed that Ayman al-Zawahiri was a guest at one of the houses for an Eid al-Adha celebration in Damadola village.
The inauguration of Afghanistan's new assembly on December 19 was a fairly accurate reflection of the country's present plight: Dick Cheney, dubbed vice president for torture in his own country, came all the way from Washington to preside over the bizarre event that nearly did not happen because three days earlier a bomb had exploded outside the building.
By taking a firm and principled stand over its right to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran has forced the US to blink. The meeting on November 24 of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna was a far more civilized affair than the bellicose threats issued by the same body two months earlier.
Afghanistan’s thrice-postponed presidential election, due to be held on October 9, is turning into a grand farce. Far more people are registered than are eligible to vote, though that hardly cramps the American installed-puppet Hamid Karzai’s style...
The plight of the Afghan people under American occupation is no better, and in many instances much worse, than it was under the Russian occupation in the nineteen-eighties, despite US drum-beating about bringing democracy to the country, a recent report concludes.
General Pervez Musharraf's insistence on calling his surrender to India a "peace process" has left not only the people of Kashmir but also some of his closest advisors completely bewildered. His U-turn on Afghanistan, and his abandonment of Pakistan's principled stand on Kashmir, as well as the nuclear programme to appease the US, have left Pakistandangerously exposed.
Pakistan's deep social divisions are on display yet again in the case of two women, Mukhtar Mai and Dr Shazia Khalid, who have been raped but are finding it difficult to secure justice. The feudal system demands that they commit suicide so that the crimes can be hushed up and the criminals let off the hook.
Despite his rhetorical claim that he is “not scared of anyone”, general Pervez Musharraf is a worried man. The “not scared” boast flies in the face of the facts: he is in effect a prisoner in the presidential compound. Meetings and conferences are organized inside the compound so that he does not have to go out, for fear of being assassinated.
Hamid Karzai was sworn in as president of Afghanistan on December 7 amid unprecedented security: foreign troops protected him from the very people who are supposed to have elected him to his office. In attendance were not only US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld but also vice president Dick Cheney, with an entire hospital in tow, just in case his pacemaker should stop during the ceremony.
Hamid Karzai was sworn in as president of Afghanistan on December 7 amid unprecedented security: foreign troops protected him from the very people who are supposed to have elected him to his office. In attendance were not only USdefence secretary Donald Rumsfeld but also vice president Dick Cheney, with an entire hospital in tow, just in case his pacemaker should stop during the ceremony.
What fate awaits a government that wages war on its own people as the regime of general Pervez Musharraf is doing in Pakistan? Having experienced the tragedy of East Pakistan, most Pakistanis know the answer, but appear not to have grasped the gravity of the current crisis...
After months of virulent anti-Iran propaganda by zionists and Americans, becoming more strident daily as the US presidential elections draw near, the Islamic Republic hit back with a warning of its own...
Hamid Karzai, the US-appointed president of Afghanistan, is used to saying one thing and doing the opposite because he has little authority to make decisions; such is the plight of all puppets...
If getting agreement on Afghanistan’s new constitution at the Loya Jirga was a tortuous process, what lies ahead may well be worse. Implementing its articles, especially those on disarmament and demobilisation of the armed militias (whose survival depends not on what is written on a piece of paper but on guns), will be the most difficult task...
Two-and-a-half years after occupying Afghanistan, ostensibly to bring peace to the warn-torn country, the Americans are no closer to achieving their objectives than they were when they attacked in October 2001...
Whatever one’s view of Osama bin Ladin, his understanding of issues and his methods, one thing is indisputable: he has carved a niche for himself in world politics, thanks to US president Bush’s obsession with him...
As this issue of Crescent International goes to press, general Pervez Musharraf remains president of Pakistan, despite two attempts on his life within a few days...
In his eagerness to appease the US, Pakistani president general Pervez Musharraf has uncorked the very demons policy-makers in Islamabad have struggled for 50 years to banish...
Thirty-one months after removing the Taliban from power, the Americans are being forced to consider the unthinkable: strike a deal with the Taliban for power-sharing in return for a face-saving exit for US forces from Afghanistan. This remarkable turn-around has occurred primarily because the Afghans have refused to be cowed by US firepower...
That the unanimous approval of the Shari’ah Bill by the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) assembly on June 2 should send the secular elites into a frenzy is a telling sign of the true state of affairs in the "Islamic Republic" of Pakistan.
Hamid Karzai, the American-installed puppet in Afghanistan, was dealt another blow when Haji Gilani, one of his close allies, was gunned down outside his home in Deh Rawood, Uruzgan province, during the night of April 3. His nephew was also shot dead by six armed men, who then managed to escape.
Citing security concerns, Hamid Karzai, the US-installed and protected president of Afghanistan, cancelled his visit to Pakistan only an hour before he was supposed to leave Kabul on March 22. His Pakistani hosts were taken aback...
Despite eighteen months of relentless bombing, the US has failed to turn Afghanistan into a democratic paradise with groceries in every shopping plaza and a McDonald’s at every street corner. This is frustrating for US president Bush...
After claiming for months that everything in Afghanistan is under their control, the Americans got a rude shock at the end of January; it has forced them to concede that several of their soldiers have been killed. But even this admission came with a fantastic amount of ‘spin’...
The American occupation forces are not finding their self-appointed task easy going in Afghanistan, despite a news blackout by the pliant western media. Not a day passes without some attack on American troops or a bomb exploding somewhere...
Given president George Bush’s limited grasp of international affairs, it would be unrealistic to expect him to understand why America is hated so much worldwide, but his advisors should be better equipped to deal with the reality of global politics.
While attention is focused on the US-engineered Iraq crisis, the world’s real axis of evil, comprised of the US, Israel and India, is getting more involved in Afghanistan. Although the Americans have in effect occupied Afghanistan, they have failed to subdue the Afghans...
Pakistani president general Pervez Musharraf has made a grand retreat on Kashmir while pretending to be safeguarding his country’s interests. The unkindest cut is that this has happened under American pressure despite Musharraf’s abandoning a 25-year policy on Afghanistan in order to appease Washington.
Pakistani president general Perwez Musharraf walked a fine line in his televised address to the nation on May 27, defiantly asserting Pakistan’s willingness to defend itself against India for popular consumption while also asserting his commitment to prevent ‘terrorists’...
The war in Afghanistan had spilled over into Pakistan long before the car/bus bomb explosion in Karachi on May 8 that killed 16 people, 11 of them French technicians working on Pakistan’s submarine project.
War is a grim business, the more so in Afghanistan, but occasionally nuggets of humour emerge even from that harsh landscape. The latest is the Americans’ announcement that they will train Afghans to fight...
Despite making tall claims about wiping out Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters in the Shahi Kot mountains, reports from the area reveal a very different picture. Figures given out by the US for its latest operation, codenamed Operation Anaconda, after the snake that squeezes its prey to death, mention an estimated 1,000 Taliban...
As the fighting on March 2 in the Arma mountains showed, the war in Afghanistan is far from over. On March 4th, the Pentagon admitted that eight American soldiers had been killed and 50 injured in the latest US offensive.
Deep divisions in the interim Afghan government, papered over and ignored under American pressure, erupted last month when Abdul Rahman, the minister of aviation and tourism, was beaten to death on the tarmac of Kabul airport on February 14.
The US went into Afghanistan to get rid of the wicked Taliban, capture Usama bin Ladin, destroy al-Qaeda, restore law and order, and bring peace to the war-torn country. Amid much fanfare the Taliban were vanquished, thanks to massive aerial bombardment using 15,000-pound bombs fancifully described as “daisy cutters”...
Afghanistan’s American-installed puppet, Hamid Karzai is feeling puffed up because he was promised US$2.6 billion at an international conference in Tokyo on January 21-22. It was attended by representatives from Western countries, the World Bank/IMF and the UN.
Following in the footsteps of the occupiers of Palestine, L. K. Advani, the Indian home affairs minister, announced on August 20 in Srinagar, capital of Indian-occupied Kashmir, that Indian soldiers accused of torture, extrajudicial executions or rape of women would be immune to prosecution under a new law.
The scourge of secularization is spreading so rapidly in Pakistan that Islam, the Qur’an and hadith are now openly ridiculed in educational institutions, in open disregard of the feelings of Pakistan’s overwhelming majority or the consequences of such actions.
Commentators in Pakistan as well as abroad expressed surprise when general Pervez Musharraf assumed the title of president on June 20. It is a step in the opposite direction “to the restoration of democracy”, lamented a US state department spokesman after hearing the news.
The arrest last month in Serbia of Slobodan Milosevic on corruption charges has aroused hopes that he might one day be brought to the Hague to face war crimes charges. He has already been indicted as a war criminal.
Aware that its finances are in shambles and need a large handout just to survive, the government of Pakistan has decided to tap the one resource — overseas Pakistanis — which it feels can be mobilised to see it through the present crisis. While the assumption is correct, the plan may not work as planned.
A 24-year-old roving ambassador of the Taliban, making his rounds of the US, has made quite a stir among Muslims even if his pleas have fallen on deaf ears in the US government.
Tens of thousands of Afghani refugees are at risk of starvation as a result of a three-year drought compunded by US-led Western sanctions. More than 100,000 have been forced to seek shelter in makeshift refugee-camps in Pakistan...
One of the oft-repeated cliches about Kashmir is that the issue is complicated and cannot be resolved quickly. The premise is false, although the conclusion may be correct.
The military regime in Pakistan has enough egg on its face over the Nawaz Sharif episode to feed a battalion. But those who expected it to behave differently should have known better.
How things have gone wrong in Pakistan can be gleaned from the following episode at the end of last month. The chief justice of the Baluchistan High Court, Justice Amir-ul Mulk Mengal, was travelling to Nushki/Kharan when his car was stopped at the Chagai checkpost by the Frontier Constabulary (FC) on November 26. On orders of the checkpost in-charge, a captain Butt, the FC personnel requested that the vehicles be searched.
The US has demanded that the Taliban in Afghanistan hand the Saudi mujahid Osama bin Laden over to them fro trial by November 14, or face international sanctions.
Moscow has been desperately trying to involve the west in its futile war in the Caucasus by invoking the name of Osama bin Laden, the US’s current villain of the month, but with little success so far.
Fears of US action against Shaikh Osama bin Laden were further raised on August 9, when US military aircraft carrying commandos were reported to have landed at Islamabad and Quetta airports. Speaking at a rally later the same day, Maulana Fazalur Rahman, head of the pro-Taleban Jami’at Ulama-e Islam (JUI)...
While Russian president Boris Yeltsin spends his few sober moments fighting with whoever happens to be prime minister at the time, his interior ministry troops are trying to assuage their injured pride by provoking fights with Chechen mujahideen. It seems that some people never learn, either from their own mistakes nor from others’.
Zahir Shah, the former king of Afghanistan, refuses to fade away. Living in exile in Italy since July 1973, when he was overthrown by Sardar Daoud, his prime minister, Zahir Shah has made occasional appearances on the political stage amid suggestions of resurrecting Afghanistan’s traditional system.
That the claimant to sole superpower status should feel threatened by one frail man living somewhere in the barren mountains of Afghanistan is strange indeed. American obsession with Osama bin Laden, the Arab mujahid, borders on paranoia.
Aware that if she were to return to her native Pakistan, she would end up in prison on corruption charges, Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistani opposition leader, has decided to ‘languish’ in Britain.
US foreign policy has been reduced to a three-point agenda in the post-cold war era: unquestioning support of Israel, daily bombings of Iraq, and chasing Osama bin Laden
The Taliban government in Afghanistan has reacted angrily to Russian plans to establish a permanent military base in Tajikistan. The Taliban foreign minister, Mohammed Hasan Akhond, complained about the plans in a letter to UN secretary general Kofi Annan on April 11.
Although there is much noise about Indo-Pakistan rapprochement since the February 20 meeting between their respective prime ministers in Lahore, there has been no let-up in the killing of Kashmiris by the Indian occupation army.
There appears to be a dichotomy in the attitude of the Pakistan government as far as the Afghans are concerned. Islamabad is virtually alone in backing the Taliban-backed government in Kabul.
It is no doubt important to be important. Nowhere in the world, however, is it more important to be ‘important’ than in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. While everything else is in terminal decline, the VIP culture is alive and well and thriving as never before.
In a pointed snub to their efforts to gain international recognition, the Taliban were frozen out of a high-powered meeting in New York called by the United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan on September 21 to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
Never have a country’s rulers shown so much incompetence in such a short period of time as demonstrated by those in power in Pakistan.
Displaying characteristic arrogance and imperial over-reach, the US not only sent its troops for exercises into Uzbekistan but also got such arch-rivals as Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey to join in what were billed as Nato’s "Partnership for Peace" programme.
Like newly-hatched chicks, rulers of the Central Asian republics have been reluctant to stray too far from the cozy warmth of mother Russia even if the bipolar world was dead.
The burning of the 700-year-old Shah-e Hamdan shrine in Tral, Indian occupied Kashmir, on December 16 was no accident. This was the third ‘accidental fire’ that has destroyed an important Islamic monument in Kashmir.
If they are not pre-occupied with the length of people’s beards, the Taliban are busy thinking up exotic names for their war-ravaged country.
By including Harkatul Ansar, a Muslim group battling the Indian occupation army in Kashmir, on the list of ‘terrorist’ organisations, the US has served noticed that it has joined the Hindus’ crusade against Kashmiri Muslims.
Even the most ardent admirers of Benazir Bhutto do not deny that the former first family plundered the country’s wealth. Their defence of Benazir and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, an even bigger crook, is that it is nothing uncommon.
Aware that their survival depends on unity, the Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus have frequently attempted to achieve this goal in the face of persistent threats from Russia as well as other regimes in the region.
Uncle Sam’s globe-trotting habit is taking him to Central Asia this month; for military exercises. As if the region needed American ‘peacekeeping’ efforts, some 500 troops from the US 82nd airborne regiment will participate in what are dubbed as exercises in the spirit of ‘Partnership for Peace.’
That the drug problem is a global menace is beyond dispute. What is less well known is that there are many big timers in this murky business.
Nothing in Afghanistan is as certain as uncertainty. This was again demonstrated over the last two months when the Taliban’s fortunes rose and fell dramatically in short order. The situation today stands almost as it was before the eruption of fighting in northern Afghanistan in mid-May.
Mir Aimal Khan Kansi is not our favourite terrorist. This scribe and the paper he works for, make no secret of their hatred for these seedy types especially when they are known to have worked for the most despicable agency (CIA) of the most despicable regime (the US) in the world.
General Abdul Rashid Dostum’s tiny kingdom in northern Afghanistan collapsed around him suddenly. A major blow was delivered by generals Abdul Malik and Gul Mohammad, brothers of a slain former chief of staff of Dostum’s militia, Rasul Pahlawan.
Following last month’s attempt on the life of Osama bin Laden, the famed Arabian mujahid residing in the mountains of Afghanistan, he moved with his family to Qandahar on April 4.