Asif Haroon Raja |
War against the Soviets
Fearing a takeover by the fundamentalists, 40th Soviet Army intervened and occupied Afghanistan on December 27, 1979, killed Hafiz Amin and installed a communist regime under Babrak Karmal. Pakistan could not remain unconcerned with this intervention because of Moscow’s age-old quest for warm waters, its strategic partnership with archrival India and 7 million Afghan refugees having barged into Pakistan. The military regime under Gen Zia ul Haq decided to support the Afghan Mujahideen in their struggle to push out Soviet forces.
When the US decided to stand behind Pakistan, it used Afghan Mujahideen as proxies and made the tribal belt of Pakistan a base of operation to conduct proxy war. The Afghan and Pakistani Mujahideen were baptized as holy warriors. Ronald Reagan invited key leaders including Jalaluddin Haqqani to the White House and eulogized their role profusely. 1.5 million Afghans lost their lives and as many crippled for life but won the war.
The Baloch rebel leaders in exile conspiring to make Baluchistan an independent state are being hosted by European countries and USA. MQM under Altaf was mandated to make Karachi lawless and then separate it and pave way for creation of Jinnahpur
The US after achieving its objectives in 1989, hastened to withdraw and left the Mujahideen in a lurch. Pakistan fell from the US grace and was put under sanctions. America’s callous abandonment infuriated the Mujahideen. Osama bin Laden (OBL), once the darling of CIA, was incensed when the US established a military base in Saudi Arabia in 1990 to hit Iraq. OBL’s Al-Qaeda started striking the US targets. In 1997, the US targeted OBL’s camp in Afghanistan but he survived.
Read more: A master plan to balkanize Pakistan – Part I
Militarization of Pakistan Society
The 10-year Afghan war followed by an uprising in Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK) and Indian military barbarities against Kashmiris militarized the Af-Pak region and gave birth to militant and Jihadi groups. 30,000 Mujahedeen gathered by CIA from 40 Muslim countries to fight proxy war didn’t return to their respective countries.
Pakistan bore the entire brunt of fallout effects of war-torn Afghanistan, which got embroiled in a vicious civil war from 1990 to 1994. The burden of Afghan refugees, weapons, and drugs smuggling from Afghanistan affected Pakistan economically, socially and politically. It gave rise to extremism, intolerance, and militancy. The two ideological rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia stoked sectarianism in Pakistan.
While Pakistan stuck to its commitment to India that it will not indulge in a proxy war, and also dutifully did the biddings of USA, India in collusion with its partners activated the Afghan front and started bleeding Pakistan through paid proxies
Political instability in the 1990s due to extreme polarization between the two mainstream political parties PPP and PML-N handicapped four successive regimes to confront the ill effects of the Afghan war. Punjab became the hotbed of sectarianism, while Karachi got infected with ethnicity and violence due to MQM militancy. Peshawar became the meeting ground of Mujahideen leaders. Wadera culture in interior Sindh and Baloch Sardars in Baluchistan kept the provinces underdeveloped and lower and middle classes oppressed.
Taliban Regime in Afghanistan
The Taliban under Mullah Omar in their five-year rule from 1996 till 2001 enforced Islamic Sharia law stringently. They were against western education, women freedom and foreign culture, but managed to wipe out most vices from the Afghan society. Warlords were reined in, poppy growing, narcotics business and thefts were eliminated, and the country was made almost crime free.
Taliban regime enjoyed cordial relations with Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and UAE, but became a monstrosity for the USA, the West, Iran, and India. Central Asian Republics, China, and Russia also remained uncomfortable with the fundamentalist regime due to its linkage with IMU and ETIM and Chechens.
After sufficiently weakening it from within, its nuclear program was to be disabled. India is now eying at Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir because of CPEC which passes through these regions
Cordiality in Pak-Afghan relationship was the outcome of Pakistan’s wholehearted support to Afghan Mujahideen in their struggle to free Afghanistan and treating Afghan refugees as guests. While Afghan war brought Pakistan more close to Saudi led the GCC States, coldness occurred in Pak-Iran relations. Influence of Iran and India had waned in Afghanistan during the 5-year Taliban rule but it brought the two closer to each other since both were averse to the Taliban and supported the Northern Alliance under Ahmad Shah Masood.
Saga of 9/11
After the saga of 9/11, the US wanting to occupy Afghanistan to achieve its geostrategic and geo-economic interests in the region, asked Pakistan threateningly, “Decide, whether you are with us as a friend, or against us as an enemy”. As a friend Pakistan was to be richly rewarded and as an enemy it was to be pushed into Stone Age. Gen Musharraf opted for friendship. Although Pakistan was made a coalition partner, a frontline state to fight a war on terror and later a non-NATO ally, in reality, it was listed as one of the targets. The US wanted to steal the nukes after weakening it from within through covert war.
Invasion of Afghanistan
Prior to invading Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, it was strategically encircled with the help of Pakistan, Iran, India, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. Pakistan provided air bases, airspace, seaport, logistics routes and shared intelligence. It also deployed 70,000 troops to seal the western border. Iran lent a hand to topple its ideological rival in Kabul and facilitated the transfer of power to Northern Alliance (NA) which it had hosted since 1995.
Militaries of Iran and India trained, equipped and launched NA ground forces to capture key cities of Afghanistan. Like Iran, India also cultivated NA leaders including Dr. Abdullah. Tajikistan and Uzbekistan provided airbases to the invaders. In support of NA ground forces, the US resorted to massive carpet bombing using B-52s, daisy cutters, and cruise missiles.
Objectives of USA
Guided by its imperialist ambitions, the US had a set of objectives against all the regional countries including Pakistan. For the accomplishments of its objectives, CIA, Mossad, MI-6, BND, RAW, NDS were clubbed together at Sehra Naward, north of Kabul, to conduct covert war.
Militaries of Iran and India trained, equipped and launched NA ground forces to capture key cities of Afghanistan. Like Iran, India also cultivated NA leaders including Dr. Abdullah. Tajikistan and Uzbekistan provided airbases to the invaders
Under the garb of friendship, CIA and FBI wormed their way inside Pakistan to instigate insurgency in FATA and Baluchistan covertly and to find out the secret locations of our nuclear facilities. However, the main responsibility of destabilizing, de-Islamizing, denuclearizing and balkanizing Pakistan was given to India. The ISAF comprising military contingents from 48 countries led by the US embarked upon counter-terrorism operations against Al-Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan, while Pakistan was asked to do the same in FATA.
Balkanization of Pakistan
The secret plan envisaged the creation of Greater Pashtunistan comprising eastern and southern Afghanistan, FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Pashtun belt of Baluchistan; Greater Baluchistan comprising Baloch/Brahavi dominated regions of Baluchistan and Sistan province in Iran; and Muhajirsitan in urban Sindh.
Before cutting Pakistan into four parts, it was to be destabilized by stoking insurgencies and making Pak security forces fight the foreign aided proxies. After sufficiently weakening it from within, its nuclear program was to be disabled. India is now eying at Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir because of CPEC which passes through these regions.
False Flag Operation
In order to build a narrative against Pakistan that it abets terrorism, India staged a drama on December 13, 2001, which was termed as another 9/11. The attack on Indian Parliament by 4-5 terrorists was engineered to draw further concessions from Pakistan. Pressured by India and USA, Gen Musharraf once again caved in and banned Kashmir focused Jihadi groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad and several other militant groups in 2003.
Deceptive Peace Treaty
While signing the peace treaty with India in January 2004, Musharraf gave a unilateral undertaking that he will not allow the use of Pakistani soil by militant groups for cross-border terrorism in any neighboring country. He also allowed India to fence the entire length of Line of Control (LoC) and took steps to prevent infiltration. These steps gave a severe blow to the freedom movement in IOK. While he bargained peace along the LoC in Kashmir, he somehow took no undertaking from India that it will reciprocate by not carrying out cross-border terrorism in Pakistan.
Cultivation of Proxies
While Pakistan stuck to its commitment to India that it will not indulge in a proxy war, and also dutifully did the biddings of USA, India in collusion with its partners activated the Afghan front and started bleeding Pakistan through paid proxies. TTP in FATA and BLA, BRA, BLF were the creation of foreign agencies while MQM was cultivated by RAW and later by MI-6. Pakistan couldn’t question India since it had not taken such an undertaking.
TTP under runaway Maulana Fazlullah after being chucked out from North Waziristan is now based in the safe haven of Kunar. Khalid Khurasani heading Jamaat Ahrar, an offshoot of TTP is operating from Nangarhar. Daesh has been brought into Afghanistan by the three conniving intelligence agencies to fight the Taliban and carry out subversive activities in Pakistan. Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is the coordinator. The Baloch rebel leaders in exile conspiring to make Baluchistan an independent state are being hosted by European countries and USA. MQM under Altaf was mandated to make Karachi lawless and then separate it and pave way for creation of Jinnahpur.
The writer is a retired Brig Gen, a war veteran, defense and security analyst, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre. Takes part in TV talk shows, delivers talks and take part in seminars. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.