Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Afghanistan the exit strategy and resulting vacuum

As the international coalition forces prepare to withdraw the South East Asian analysts begin to worry about the resulting vacuum and extreme eagerness of neighboring countries to fill in the vacuum and exploit the Afghan situation to their maximum use.At the forefront is Pakistan military that due to its past involvement in Afghanistan in Soviet era and than during Taliban’s rule has strong connections with Taliban leadership even in the toughest times after 9/11 Pakistan’s Inter Services intelligence agency did not abandon its assets in Afghanistan but instead helped to keep the command and control structure of Afghan talibans in Quetta.

During the presence of international forces in Afghanistan India supported the reconstruction of country and also Baloch nationalist leaders stayed in Afghanistan. During these years Pakistan also significantly increased the China’s presence in Balochistan, the resource rich territory that accounts for more than 45% land of Pakistan and has a sea port. Against the wishes of Baloch nation China has continued investing heavily in Baloch sea port of Gawader. Hence soon after the withdrawal of international coalition forces it’s not only Pakistan military establishment that will be supporting its Taliban movement to retake all the positions in Afghanistan and push India out of the country but also China would be supporting that initiative too.

This has strategic implications for Pakistan and China, Pakistan on its part has been in a state of war against Baloch nation it has used its Army against civilians, chemical weapons, kidnappings, killings of political and student leaders and infamous torture cells to overcome Baloch national struggle for freedom and an Afghanistan under Taliban’s ensures Pakistan that no Baloch leader could go into exile there.

Secondly Pakistan also sees the militant religious organizations such as Afghan Taliban’s as well as internal organization such as those fighting in Kashmir (and involved in Mumbai attacks) as important components of its future designs against India.

Most importantly Pakistan and China see a Taliban rule in Afghanistan as their only viable option to keep Indian completely out of Afghan scene and gain a safe and exclusive access to Central Asian countries through Afghanistan and then to Gulf Sea through Baloch seaport of Gawader.

This plan obviously involves taking back everything to Taliban era which means no education for girl, no human rights, no political and freedom of speech. That seems to be the dilemma where international coalition troop commanders wish to withdraw handing over the control to Afghan forces its evident that Taliban’s backed by Pakistan military intelligence with a logistical base at Quetta are far better off in the battle.

Baloch national struggle for independence offers a great opportunity for a stable independent, democratic government in Afghanistan because Pakistan has access to Afghanistan through Baloch territory and an independent Baloch state would be a natural buffer zone. But currently the coalition commanders are planning for a quick withdrawal even if it means an unstable Afghanistan ruled by Taliban’s.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

China’s growing interest in Afghanistan and its implications for the region.

The Chinese government has kept its distance from international community when it comes to cooperation in Afghanistan but that does not mean it’s not involved in Afghan situation especially from Pakistan’s perspective. Pakistan’s military intelligence through its half hearted cooperation with international community has been able to continue receiving aid from civilized world but on the other hand its Afghanistan control cell at Quetta is a buzzing with activity now a days. The ISI is conducting massive contractor level negotiations with what it calls the assets or “good Taliban’s” these are based on post international community withdrawal situation in Afghanistan.

During post 9/11 era china could not move into Afghanistan but it has increased its presence in Balochistan, the homeland of Baloch nation which is currently occupied by Pakistan and accounts for 45% land of Pakistan. Balochistan is currently the focus of China as it intensifies its search on global energy resources for future use. Balochistan has huge natural gas and oil resources .What makes it more attractive for China is the presence of Baloch sea port “Gwarder” where China has invested heavily.

Pakistan is looking to create a pre 9/11 type of situation in Afghanistan where its paramilitary forces along with Taliban controlled the country and Pakistan military ruled Kabul. With Chinese presence in Gawader Pakistan is looking to have access to central Asian countries and have Talibans in Afghanistan as its contractors to fight Indian and Baloch presence in Afghanistan and even fight in Kashmir. The Pakistan’s inter services intelligence strongly believes on using Talibans and other militant organizations against India as its only reliable means of continuous war against India, something Pakistan army refers to as “strategic depth”.

The Baloch national struggle for independence has been a major obstacle to Chinese presence in Balochistan as Baloch perceive ChinaPak collaboration in their homeland as yet another tool for genocide of Baloch nation. Baloch groups have attacked many Chinese personnel in Balochistan resulting in many deaths. Pakistan army has been prompt in intensifying its war against Baloch nation to revenge the death of Chinese intruders in Balochistan. As a result Baloch cities have been completely destroyed, civilians killed, leaders attacked and killed, writers, teachers, students, political activists kidnapped tortured and killed.

It’s a critical moment in Baloch nations struggle for independence as Pakistan is using its entire military muscle to crush Baloch demand for freedom and sovereignty. Baloch nation is fighting as best as it could but eventually Pakistan and China will overcome this resistance if international community continues to support Pakistan army. Such an outcome will have grave repercussions for international community in Afghanistan and Iraq because Pakistan will turn Afghanistan into a heaven for terrorists again. The terrorist organization involved in Mumbai attack could be seen as a test case its activities were banned in Pakistan on international community’s pressure but it’s completely functional and working in full capacity and there are confirmed reports that this particular organization has established another huge training camp in Pakistan controlled Kashmir. There should be no doubt that once Pakistan and China over come Baloch resistance in Balochistan and international forces are withdrawn from Afghanistan, Talibans and militants will rule that region once again.

Baloch nation is looking towards international community to support its right to exist and stop the grave human rights violations by Pakistani army. Baloch political leadership led by Nawab Khair Baksh Marri, Nawab Brahamdagh Bugti, Mir Harbiyar have been willing to discuss an international mediation on independence of Baloch nation. A test case of cooperation by Baloch leadership, was the release of US citizen John Solecki who was working in United Nations and was abducted by a Baloch group on the request of United Nations Nawab Khair Baksh Marri, Nawab Brahamdagh Bugti, Mir Harbiyar Marri made several appeals to kidnapers asking them not to hurt an international civil servant working in Balochistan. Mr. Solecki was finally released by kidnappers without any harm.

But it seems that international community does not have a coherent plan for Afghanistan and their strategy consists of handing over the situation to Pakistan military forces and withdrawing at the earliest. This makes it understandable why international community is not concerned about human rights violations conducted by Pakistan army in Baloch territory. But Baloch nation at present is fighting for such rights as freedom, dignity , equality , freedom of expression, non discrimination and liberation of Balochistan from pakistan is the only possible mean for Baloch nation to achieve their basic human rights.

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