South-Asia & Terrorism - Origins  

Posted by CK in , , , , ,

A new blogger friend, Roshmi Sinha and I are having a discussion (in the comments section of a movie review post) that I think deserves attention.

We were talking about the state of current affairs in South Asia and it's development today. But let me backtrack so I can give you a little bit of history about the current topic.

The term Mujaheddin essentially means freedom fighter in Arabic. The most popular usage of the term came to light with several tribal leaders and opposition groups forming a coalition against the pro-Soviet Afghani government that came to power after overthrowing King Mohammed Zahir Shah in 1973. Now, the Soviets have had interests in Afghanistan strategically since the days of the Romanov Russian Empire with billions of dollars of aide flowing in to Afghanistan to secure alliances. This interest obviously carried over in to the days of the Cold War.



"In June 1975, militants from the Jamiat Islami party attempted to overthrow the government. They started their rebellion in the Panjshir valley, some 100 kilometers north of Kabul, and in a number of other provinces of the country. However, government forces easily defeated the insurgency and a sizable portion of the insurgents sought refuge in Pakistan where they enjoyed the support of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's government, which had been alarmed by Daoud's revival of the Pashtunistan issue."

Now, the unpopular Afghan government started calling upon the Soviet Union to send reinforcements to fight the resurgent and hugely popular Mujaheddin rebels. The USSR, seeing this as a great opportunity sent regiments of Soviet regular troops into Afghanistan under the guise of protecting the elected government.


This prompted the Mujaheddin to reach out to the enemies of the Soviets, the Americans, for help. In 1979, Jimmy Carter authorized the funding of anti-Communist guerrillas in Afghanistan and Operation Cyclone, a covert CIA plan to arm the Mujaheddin was born.



Now, if you watch Charlie Wilson's War and other movies detailing that era, you have a good idea of how much money and training went in to upgrading the Mujaheddin from a ragtag group of revolutionaries to a battle-hardened fighting force capable of beating the mighty Soviets. It is also open knowledge that in order to be discreet about the funding and aid, the US used Pakistan's ISI to train the rebels instead.

After almost a decade of Cold War hostilities from both sides being fought on the Afghan battlefield, billions of dollars went to the Mujaheddin from their prime benefactors, the Americans and the Saudis. This decade also saw the Mujaheddin become one of the most formidable fighting forces in the world and the only one to defeat the Russian Army.

The Soviet Union, after a severe beating, withdrew from Afghanistan on Feb 15, 1989.



Post-Soviet Withdrawal

The war in Afghanistan took an incalculable toll on the people and the nation.


"Over 1 million Afghans were killed. 5 million Afghans fled to Pakistan and Iran, 1/3 of the prewar population of the country. Another 2 million Afghans were displaced within the country. In the 1980s, one out of two refugees in the world was an Afghan.Along with fatalities were 1.2 million Afghans disabled (mujaheddin, government soldiers and noncombatants) and 3 million maimed or wounded (primarily noncombatants)."

Afghanistan, as a country, was completely and utterly destroyed as was any and all infrastructure the country once had. Also, three years after the withdrawal, the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan collapsed to the mujaheddin resistance.



Then, the expected happened with the Mujaheddin turning in on itself and broke off in to several warring factions until finally, the Taliban rose to deal with the corruption that had infiltrated all ranks of the Mujaheddin. The Taliban initially enjoyed enormous good will from Afghans weary of the corruption, brutality, and the incessant fighting of Mujaheddin warlords. The Taliban was also overtly funded by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates who felt that the Islamic radicals and fundamentalists who made the rank and file of the Taliban would be easier to control. They held power from 1996 till late 2001 when they were removed from power by the invading US and allied forces.

Bin Laden & Al-Qaeda

Now, from amongst this chaos rose one very prominent individual with the money to back his own brand of radical Islam.  

"Bin Laden believes that the restoration of Sharia law will set things right in the Muslim world, and that all other ideologies—"pan-Arabism, socialism, communism, democracy"—must be opposed. He believes Afghanistan under the rule of Mullah Omar's Taliban was "the only Islamic country" in the Muslim world. Bin Laden has consistently dwelt on the need for violent jihad to right what he believes are injustices against Muslims perpetrated by the United States and sometimes by other non-Muslim states, the need to eliminate the state of Israel, and the necessity of forcing the US to withdraw from the Middle East. He has also called on Americans to "reject the immoral acts of fornication (and) homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling, and usury," in an October 2002 letter."


After leaving college in 1979 bin Laden joined Abdullah Azzam to fight the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and lived for a time in Peshawar. Bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia in 1990 as a hero of jihad, who along with his Arab legion, "had brought down the mighty superpower" of the Soviet Union. However, during this time Iraq invaded Kuwait and Laden met with Sultan, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, and told him not to depend on non-Muslim troops and offered to help defend Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden's offer was rebuffed and after the American offer to help was accepted he publicly denounced Saudi Arabia's dependence on the US military. Bin Laden's criticism of the Saudi monarchy led that government to attempt to silence him.

This caused the birth of Al-Qaeda which went on to become the threat that it is to the world today. 

Bush & The Middle-East Wars


George W. Bush, who I believe to be the biggest mistake ever to happen to world politics, probably worse than Neville Chamberlain and his appeasement of Nazi Germany from 1937-39, used the 9/11 attacks to start his global War on Terror with invasions of Afghanistan, the overthrow of the Taliban regime and of course, the invasion of Iraq based on some fabricated WMDs.



I am of the genuine opinion that Bush never wanted to capture Bin Laden, not because of any collusion between the two but because Bin Laden was Bush's excuse to walk into Asia and then use this as a platform to take out his father's old nemesis, Saddam.

The bruised Taliban, in the meanwhile, gathered their forces and made a massive resurgence not just in Afghanistan but in neighboring Pakistan where they had ties to the JUI party.


"For a period of seven years since their origin, Pakistan's government had been the Taliban's main sponsor. It provided military equipment, recruiting assistance, training and tactical advice that enabled the band of village mullahs and their adherents to take control of Afghanistan.


Officially Pakistan denied it was supporting the Taliban, but its support was substantial—one year's aid (1997/1998) was an estimated US$30 million in wheat, diesel, petroleum and kerosene fuel, and other supplies. The Taliban's influence in its neighbor Pakistan was deep. Its "unprecedented access" among Pakistan's lobbies and interest groups enabled it "to play off one lobby against another and extend their influence in Pakistan even further. At times they would defy" even the powerful ISI."


The formation of a Pakistan Taliban umbrella group called Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan was announced in December 2007.


As of now, the Pakistani government and army is in a full-blown war with the Taliban in many provinces with suicide bombings happening in Pakistani cities on almost a daily basis.




As of December 2008, at least 889 persons were killed and 2,072 others injured in 61 suicide attacks in Pakistan, as the total number of suicide bombings in the country since 2002 rose to 140.
The suicide bombings in 2008 surpassed the last year's figures of 56, including the one in which former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, whose first death anniversary would be observed on December 27, was killed in Rawalpindi.

My view on South Asia and the current crisis

The Taliban is a monster created by the US and Pakistan to counter what was then, the communist USSR. Now, they are a terror force the likes of which has never been seen. Al-Qaeda, using the protection of the Taliban, continues to plan and execute strikes all around the world in any country that seems unsympathetic to the Islamic cause.

I believe the Taliban and terror activities of the Asian Subcontinent can only be contained locally. The US is already in it's own sequel to Vietnam where they've dedicated hundreds of thousands of troops to both Iran and Afghanistan in a completely no-win situation that can only lead to more deaths and definitely no victory. They are invaders or "saviors" in a country that doesn't want to be saved, especially by them.

They should also stop funding Pakistan as it admittedly uses a good portion of aid sanctioned for the War on Terror against India. On September 25, 2009, Indian External Affairs Minister, S.M.Krishna told reporters, "Considering the statement that has been issued by the former president of Pakistan Musharraf himself where he has said that the aid provided to Pakistan by the United States have been used for directing its hostile operations against India."

It is only a matter of time before the discontent within America over the deaths of US soldiers on foreign soil will become vociferous enough that the US will have to withdraw, either voluntarily or because the cost of keeping forces abroad just does not outweigh the losses the forces are incurring in terms of both lives and money.



Roshmi believes (and I agree) that the powerful defense contractor lobby within the United States will not allow the War on Terror to end because of the billions of dollars in funding that these companies get for conducting the wars, both logistically and otherwise.


This doesn't seem an unpopular belief either. If you reference a recent spate of movies and shows, both 24 and State of Play both deal with Private Military Corporations responsible for providing private contractors (mercenaries) to handle certain aspects of the War on Terror. Their claim is that these PMCs are bolstering terrorists' capabilities on the battlefield through illegal arm supplies in order to increase their necessity on the battlefield.


According to a news report dated November 12th, 2009:



US defense contractors are funding insurgents in Afghanistan, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, according to a report in The Nation published Thursday.
 
The report, by veteran investigative correspondent Aram Roston, asserts that US military contractors charged with assisting US forces in Afghanistan are actually funding the groups killing American soldiers. Roston describes a protection racket similar to that of the mafia, in which contractors pay the Taliban "protection money" not to attack them.

"In this grotesque carnival, the US military's contractors are forced to pay suspected insurgents to protect American supply routes," Roston writes. "It is an accepted fact of the military logistics operation in Afghanistan that the US government funds the very forces American troops are fighting. And it is a deadly irony, because these funds add up to a huge amount of money for the Taliban. 

"It's a big part of their income," a top Afghan government security official purportedly told told The Nation.


This is exactly the kind of gross mistreatment of War that spawns fears of Defense Contractors' involvement.

This essentially means the US is giving the Taliban money that will eventually be used against it.

My question to you is, how can America not loose? Obama is paying for Bush's gross incompetence and is continuing to pour troops and money in to Afghanistan and Iraq. The money, in some instances, is going directly to the Taliban.

The only way out is for the US to pull out and support these countries through partner states like India, Brazil and China. Any direct influence will, again, be misconstrued as setting up "Puppet Governments" which Karzai's government is already accused of being.

This entry was posted on Friday, November 27, 2009 at Friday, November 27, 2009 and is filed under , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

9 comments

A very good read indeed! I intend to do a satire on this 'War on Terror' soon... and will link this post up with it.

November 28, 2009 at 9:30 AM

The US hand behind events in Asia esp. South Asia is very evident. And their media... rather the western media... is a tool that is used for the purpose.

If you follow events in Pak and Iran... the pattern is evident. It is called the 'colour revolution'.

The Lawyers movement in Pak is highly suspicious.

Well, wasn't the 'Men in Black' involved in the agitation/movement... way back in '77... ??? Of course they were joined by others too... back then. It resulted in a coup... and the subsequent hanging of an elected PM.

And wasn't the hand of the Jimmy Carter administration found... behind those 'spontaneous and popular' agitation... ???

Aren't the cowboys trying to do the same in Iran... ??? Not through the 'Men in Black' of course.

Ummmm... as they say, "Old wine in new bottle".

November 28, 2009 at 9:34 AM

The foreign media is notorious for getting under the skin of 'inconvenient' politicians/leaders... belonging to the '3rd world'. Why do they not do any write-ups or op-ed pieces on the Guantanamo Bay, the tragedy/human tragedy of the Gulf War/Iraq War/Afganistan/Africa... ??? Or on the oil-grabbing policy of the sole super power... ???

Aren't we aware of their role in perpetuating the preposterous theory of WMD's in Iraq... ??? And aren't we aware of the 'means to what end' that led to... ???

But they never tire of regurgitating the 'Holocaust' for the upteem-trillionth time...

The 'cowboys' and their cronies also work through the NGOs as well as through various reports and polls. It is an open secret. Why do you think the NGOs employ lobbyists... ???

If you have watched the iconic movie 'Gladiator'... a line stands out. The same line mouthed by Maximus’ African friend... when yet another of Maximus' friend tastes his food, to check for poisoning, etc. This African guy says to Maximus: You have a big name. They will have to kill your name first... before they kill you. Or words to that effect.

My take (satirical) on the events in Pak can be read at:

1. http://notapennyformythoughts.blogspot.com/2009/11/holy-cow-errrrr-goat-part-1.html

2. http://notapennyformythoughts.blogspot.com/2009/11/holy-cow-errrrr-goat-part-ii.html

3. http://notapennyformythoughts.blogspot.com/2009/11/for-want-of-that-elusive-nuclear-deal-1.html

November 28, 2009 at 9:42 AM

Benazir was killed on Dec 27th, 2007... hence this year will be her 2nd death anni... not the first.

Just read well known investigative journalist Seymour Hersh's take on her assassination. He has clearly pointed fingers at Dick Cheney, CIA and the US Commander in Afganistan among others. They wanted to maximise their gains... and get a 'face' to launch their plans in this part of the world.

Within minutes Hersh had to issue a statement... contradicting all this of course. And I'm sure he did that 'voluntarily'.

Why do you think the US/NATO forces drop bombs on hotels where investigative journalists stay... ???

Why do you think they are protecting the erstwhile supermodel of the 'Bushshirt'... ??? Of course they have a lot of work to be done thru him.

No wonder they jumped to his assistance and supported his preposterous theory of Benazir dying due to the head injuries sustained as a result of her head hitting the sunroof levers. This... despite Toyota (the makers of the vehicle) issuing a statement rubbishing such a theory.

And what happened to the report re: the Bushshirt supermodel's plans of massively rigging the polls and much else... which she was on the verge of disclosing via a press conf.. ???

I'm sure he wouldn't be doing anything without a nod and wink from the 'cowboys'. He was a stickler for following the HMV.

Why did BBC airbrush her interviews... where she had spoken about the 'Big O' having been taken out... ??? Infact she had named his eliminator.

That's 'coz they still need to 'keep him alive' via the media. Until they have 'created' another 'Big O'. Their efforts to do so with 'Mehsud' failed.

November 28, 2009 at 9:56 AM

Have you ever wondered why the other scams never make it to the foreign shores... ??? Why did any of them not receive the 'Swiss medal of Honour'... ??? Inspite of having several zeros following some figure... to their credit. Plus a large number of 'rags to riches' stories walking around on two legs... in front of our very eyes. None of them have made the 'cut'...
How many cases have gone to the foreign shores and therefore received the 'Swiss Medal of Honour'... ??? From this country/subcontinent/3rd world... ??? What are your thoughts on it... ???

If you have watched the iconic movie 'Gladiator'... a line stands out. The same line mouthed by Maximus' African friend... when yet another of Maximus' friend tastes his food, to check for poisoning, etc. This African guy says to Maximus: You have a big name. They will have to kill your name first... before they kill you. Or words to that effect.

November 28, 2009 at 10:01 AM

If you look at the events in PAk in '95-96... two things stand out.

One was the initiation or rather signing of the IPI. i.e., the Iran-Pak-India gas pipeline. This was initiated by Benazir who was the PM then.

The other being the arrival of the 'Taliban'. These were students of various Afgan madrassas and the children of the mujahedden, etc.

In a country which had not known peace for decades and there were no scope for employment/education or even proper institutions... one cannot expect people to go back to agriculture. And except for poppy cultivation there were hardly any farming activities left.

She and her interior minister built them up to counter the weak Afgan govt, to oversee law and order. But most importantly to assist in Pak's plans of opening up the old trade route to Central Asia and provide security to this route, etc.

These steps angered Unocal - the American oil giant (Cheney and Kissinger among others have close ties to them). Even the Bush family is into the oil business.

They got her govt. dismissed thru the then President (he is known to be a fav of Unocal) - on charges of massive corruption.

The Taliban thereafter took on a different role.

Stabilizing Afganistan is not on the agenda of the US. Infact Benazir... days before her death had indicated that the US wants to do to Pak what they have done to Iraq. And that... it should be resisted. No wonder she met her maker... shortly afterwards.

Have you thought about the great cull... that of strong and popular leaders esp in this part of the world... ??? It cannot be mere fate or even coincidence.

Pak today blames India for fomenting trouble in Baluchistan. While it is common knowledge that the UK is involved. And the UK is a crony of the US.

Why... ??? Baluchistan has great oil reserves. The IPI project has been in cold storage and offlate India has all but backed out of it.

November 28, 2009 at 10:17 AM

Once they succeed in their plans with Pak... India is next.

Not that they aren't 'involved' now. All the top brass of all the separatist/terrorist outfits operating in Inda find sanctuaries in the US and/or the prominent countries of Europe.

They even indulge in fund raising activities there.

After destroying Afganistan... for a few years now... the US has been pounding SWAT valley. A place in the North West Frontier Province of Pak... well known for its scenic beauty.

Periodically the 'respected' magazines, journals, newspapers, reports, etc... in the US and other prominent Western countries, carry reports... that 'so and so' have been sighted there.

This place is home to a large number of Shias, hindus and sikhs. There is a place here... which is referred to as "Ramji's throne". Through the centuries and millenniums this place has existed.

Now, the 'cowboys' are pounding this and much else via the 'Drone'. The US Navy's Electronic Attack Squadron 134 is nicknamed the 'Garudas'. Isn't it ironical... ???

'Drone' attacking Kandahar (Gandhari's birth place) and Ramji's throne... ??? I ask you!

November 28, 2009 at 12:28 PM

Roshmi, I have a few points to clarify before we embark upon the question answering.

First off, I’m amazed that when you leave a comment, it’s equivalent to a book.  Second, it has about 16 million questions in them. Most of which might be rhetorical but some of which are not and I shall attempt to answer.

While I agree that SOME of the Pak mess is the American’s fault, I can’t say that it all is. While Pakistan has been an American “ally” for the better part of half a century now, the Americans have always preferred stable, albeit, military or dictatorial governments. The current anarchy doesn’t suit their needs at all. In fact, it’s singularly a disadvantage if Pakistan fulfills it’s destiny as a failed state. The current war in Pakistan means that the Army, which under Musharraf had control is now slowly fighting a losing battle. A Pakistani civil-war not only makes it more dangerous for America, through the opening of a third-front which cannot be sustained, it means that the Taliban have that much more maneuvering room between Afghanistan and Pakistan. And you have to understand that in order for them to exert any control in South Asia; they need a controllable Pakistan, since India and China have already asserted their independence quite vociferously.

Now, this is the first I’m hearing of an assassination conspiracy behind Benazir’s death but I guess every assassination has that. I believe that it was done by internal dissidents as opposed to an American hand. Whether she was a popular leader or not, she in now way could directly defy America, even if she wanted to. Too much aid (financial, military and otherwise) comes from the US, in order for her to be able to defy them. In fact, she would’ve been the first stabilizing movement the country would’ve seen since Musharraf. Right now, this turmoil which sees our neighbor tearing itself to bits serves only one side and that is the Taliban. They can do here what they did in Afghanistan.

As for entry of American games in India, I don’t believe that’s possible. India, for better or for worse, is an insanely boisterous democracy. If you’d told me this even 5-6 years ago, I’d have said that is possible. The States no longer exerts the same influence that it once did. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still powerful but right now, we’re on the cusp of being just as powerful. The US needs to deal with India and China with kid gloves (as evidenced by recent Obama meetings with both). And that is precisely what they are doing.

India and its crazy billion part system doesn’t allow for too much influence because of the mercurial nature of our politics. Just because you’re in power one day doesn’t mean you’re there to last the term. Parties drop out of alliances, no-confidence motions are passed, and a government is toppled. And even America doesn’t have enough money to line the pockets of ALL our leaders.

So, in my opinion, we’re safe.

November 30, 2009 at 5:42 PM

Well... it is more the exception than the rule.

I think this has been the only occasion where my comments have been so lengthy. Infact, I have managed to surprise myself :)

Lets see how the events unfold. Only time will tell...

PS: In the American scheme of things... Musharraf has a role to play. Most certainly. Else they wouldn't be shielding him. Plus future recruitment of would-be Rommels and Guderians... will get affected.

The Americans prefer someone who is a creature they can control.

Benazir's assassination has been the subject of much discussion. Including conspiracy theories. The manner of her killing... has all the mark of intelligence agencies' involvement. Meticulous planning, execution, involvement of one or more snipper, etc. A la JFK's assassination.

Taliban or Al-Qaeda do not have this kind of expertise. The 'attacks' on Musharraf were mere child's play...

Lets see how events unfold in that blighted country. We... as their next door neighbour will surely get affected.

December 2, 2009 at 6:11 PM

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