Aurangzebawan's Weblog

September 29, 2008

Confused About Taliban? The Good Taliban, the Bad and the Ugly

Filed under: Politics — aurangzebawan @ 4:23 am

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—At the time of 9/11, there was only one Taliban, the Afghan Taliban. Now there are several. This is not natural. It is the result of a great game that intelligence agencies from several countries are playing to confuse the situation on the Pak-Afghan border. Some, like the Indians, are using it to send trained terrorists. Others, like the Americans, are using it to support terrorists like BLA. And Russia is suspected of financing some other militants to keep the Americans tied down.

 

The Good Taliban is those who are patriots, they understand the situation created by the enemies of Pakistan. They support the Army and its various agencies that are all busy protecting Pakistan. The Good Taliban also includes the Afghan Taliban, who is the original Taliban. They are good not because we like or dislike their policy, but because they, too, have never attacked Pakistan or Pakistanis. They are part of the Afghan opposition to the puppet regime of Hamid Karzai and are part of the Afghan resistance to a foreign occupation, all of which has nothing to do with Pakistan.

 

The Bad Taliban are those who started to form various groups under the leadership of the opportunist Mullahs or Imams. Such groups formed when they found the country was rapidly slipping towards chaos and lawlessness.

 

The Ugly Taliban are those who are the well paid agents of the coalition that consists of India, Israel, Europe and United States, using Afghanistan as their base of operation. They are supported by the Northern Alliance and the puppet Mr. Karzai in Kabul. They have sold themselves to the enemy and are responsible for the present chaos. Their objective is to make the country weak, induce turmoil and attack the defense system and the associated personnel of the country.

 

This last group, the Bad Taliban, whom you can also call the Fake Taliban, is the real enemy of Pakistan.  They pose themselves as religious people and have contacts with other religious organizations in Pakistan and arrange all the suicide bombings, truck bombings, the introduction of fear and panic among the people. The BLA of Balochistan has also joined this group and is supported by the above mentioned countries.

 

Mr. Anwar is a Pakistani commentator. He can be reached at Gli2der@yahoo.com

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Zardari: A Presidential Cartoon?

Filed under: Politics — aurangzebawan @ 3:36 am

KARACHI, Pakistan—The day Asif Zardari was supposed to make one speech, he ended up making three. Well, he only meant to make two, but he made three. This isn’t statecraft; it’s the blind leading the lame leading the deaf. The ‘second speech’ fiasco is being blamed on that political appointee at PTV, Shahid Masood. Here’s some advice for Zardari: fire him. And the others too.

I’m sure all the people working at PTV, the information ministry and in the president’s media team are nice people. I have no doubt they have families to support and unemployment in these tough economic times is nothing to sneeze at. But good, decent people can also be rubbish at their jobs. The media team surrounding Zardari has a simple task: make the president look presidential. Think Jinnah, not a Disney cartoon. The only reason Zardari got in front of a camera in the middle of the night was to reassure a frightened public that he has a steady hand at a time of crisis. His unsteady gaze and fumbling for words probably frightened the people a little more — this is the man in charge of our fate and security?

The main show — the speech before the constellation of Pakistani and foreign elite — was botched too. I sat, pen in hand, ready to learn about Zardari’s plan for saving us. By the end of it, I wasn’t the only one wondering who will save us from Zardari. Forget his halting, fumbling delivery and his poor English — that’s just red meat for the snickering patricians amongst us. It matters little in which language he speaks and how he chooses to phrase himself, if — if — he is saying the right things. But he didn’t.

Give him a break, the jiyalas cry. He’s learning on the job. Well, I’m sorry. Since when did supporting Team Democracy mean you have to support Team PPP? Especially if Team PPP is running the place into the ground? If Zardari isn’t ready for statesmanship, why must an orphaned country wait for him to grow into his job? He is only president because he wanted to be. And the same goes for the PPP co-chairmanship. It may rankle that the PPP is, in the memorable phrase of Tariq Ali, a “family heirloom”. But that’s our politics, so we can’t get stuck up over it. Now that Zardari has exercised his right to become leader though, it is our right to expect leadership from him.

Bizarrely, some in the news media have argued that Zardari’s speech in parliament was presidential and that if he had given detailed policies he would have been criticised for eviscerating parliament. Rubbish. The circularity of power at the top of the civilian government is lost on nobody. Zardari is the PPP co-chairman. Forget the de facto configuration of power, it is factually his government. Were he to give up the co-chairmanship and strip himself of the powers inimical to parliamentary democracy, it would make sense to make a show of separating the presidency from parliament. But he hasn’t. The country needed policy. Asif Zardari could have made everyone happy by simply prefacing every policy statement with, “My government has instructed me to say….” But we got nothing.

Zardari thundered that he wouldn’t let anyone violate our sovereignty. When Kayani said the same, the realists exchanged knowing glances. The general was pandering to the gallery — playing to a nationalist audience. It was red meat for the people, and the people loved it. The general was playing politics. It’s what Zardari should have done weeks ago.

But in politics what’s fresh yesterday is stale today. A week is a long time in politics. Parroting Kayani’s line 10 days after the general surprised the world was pitiful. It’s a bit silly to talk about inviolable sovereignty when missiles have been raining down on Waziristan for weeks, isn’t it? Tell us instead what you’re going to do about missiles — and terrorism. Especially when you’re about to fly off to the UN to hobnob with the world’s elite.

The Marriott carnage underlined the deadly seriousness of the terrorists. Some still don’t get it. A hack was on TV saying Pakistanis would rather eat onions than lose their self-respect, which American missiles are presumably devouring. This would no doubt be news to all those Pakistanis crying out about inflation. All this talk of our war or America’s war is beside the point. Zahid Hussain has said it best: it is an internal war. Like it or not, we have to fight it — because those fighting the Americans are killing us. And if we don’t kill the terrorists first, the Americans will kill the lot of us.

You want to win the war against the terrorists, defeat those who killed Benazir Bhutto and hundreds of Pakistanis, and rein in our shadowy agencies? Win over the people. All this talk of not violating our sovereignty and being our war is only violating our eardrums. Tell Pakistanis who we are fighting in Bajaur and why. Explain who the terrorists in Waziristan are. Unmask the sectarian hate-mongers in Khyber and Kurram. Use graphs and videos and numbers and pictures to expose the ugliness and hate that is spreading amongst us. The shadowy elements in the state apparatus will strike back. But they are no longer the real terror — the terrorists they have long since lost control of are.

And squeeze the Americans for more aid. The Americans have given us a few hundred million to upgrade our F-16s. With great fanfare, they have also given us 11,000 tons of wheat. Some perspective: our annual wheat requirement is 23 million tons; we are importing two and a half million tons. This is a joke. Get something meaningful from the US. Bring the country money. Bring it fuel. Bring it a plan. Help the poor. Do something. Anything. Husain Haqqani and Mahmud Durrani owe their jobs to the fact that the Americans trust them — but what use is that trust if it earns us nothing? ‘Us’ being regular Pakistanis, not the PPP elite or the establishment.

By now Zardari’s plan has revealed itself and it is wretchedly familiar: the consolidation of power. The trenches are being dug in Punjab rather than Waziristan. If someone dares, he should whisper into Zardari’s ear: what’s the point of consolidating power if you’ll end up presiding over the burned-out shell of a country?

The writer is a columnist for Dawn newspaper, where this column was first published. The author can be reached at cyril.a@gmail.com

September 27, 2008

Imposing a War on Pakistan

Filed under: Politics — aurangzebawan @ 3:11 am

Apologists for the U.S. position on Pakistani spy agencies need to understand that Pakistan has a legitimate right to protect it interests in the region. Everyone does.  The problem is not our intelligence agencies. It is how Washington deliberately trampled on the legitimate interests of its ally in favor of strengthening the position of our competitors inside Afghanistan. Maybe if the Americans have been as considerate to us as we have been to them, our spies wouldn’t have needed to re-establish contacts with the militants. If we are doing this, it is protect our interest.

 

 

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: – When a founder of one of Pakistan’s largest leftist parties has an opinion on Pakistani military, skeptics need to listen.

 

“Allow me to state what I believe to be the core strategic objective of the U.S.,” says Dr. Mubashir Hasan, the ideologue-founder of PPP, the ruling party in Pakistan today, in a recent email exchange with me. “It is to establish its control over the Pakistan Army, to weaken it when it is strong and strengthen it when it is weak but maintain total control over it.”

 

The solution? Says Dr. Hasan, “The only long term potent weapon with the Pakistan Army is to have the support of the people of Pakistan behind it.  The support General Kayani received from the people on the few words he said about not allowing foreigners to violate the territory of Pakistan is extremely significant.”

 

Dr. Hasan is no longer an influential figure in the party he helped create. In Pakistani political parties, there is no place for ideologues and visionaries and intelligent people. Thanks to a blind implementation of British democracy, our parties are bastions of feudalism and landed elite.

 

The army chief has suddenly become the most popular person in Pakistan after taking a stand U.S. attacks inside Pakistan. This is where the defeatist stance of Pakistan’s elected government on U.S. belligerence becomes inexplicable. Gen. Kayani does not need votes. Those who do need them are wasting a perfect opportunity to earn more of them.

 

That is why Prime Minister Gilani’s statement saying ‘Pakistan can’t wage war with U.S.’ comes as a shock. Even if true, why would the Prime Minister deprive Pakistan of the strategic psychological impact that the army chief’s warning is supposed to create?

 

Pakistani military’s warning was not a knee-jerk reaction.  There is a bigger problem here. Pakistani policy analysts are convinced that United States has been a duplicitous ally during the past seven years, using the sincere Pakistani cooperation on Afghanistan to gradually turn that country into a military base to launch a sophisticated psychological, intelligence and military campaign to destabilize Pakistan itself.

 

In one sign of the grand double game, despite the poor relations with Iran, Washington has encouraged Karzai and the Indians to complete the construction of a road that links Afghanistan to an Indian-built Iranian seaport. The purpose is to end the dependence of both U.S. army and Karzai regime on Pakistan.  U.S. military officials have also been seeking permission to use Russian air space for military cargo to replace Pakistani facilities. These actions show long term planning on the part of U.S.  The recent demonization of Pakistani intelligence agencies is a pretext.

 

Apologists for the U.S. position on Pakistani spy agencies need to understand that Pakistan has a legitimate right to protect it interests in the region. Everyone does.  The problem is not our intelligence agencies. It is how Washington deliberately trampled on the legitimate interests of its ally in favor of strengthening the position of our competitors inside Afghanistan. Maybe if the Americans have been as considerate to us as we have been to them, our spies wouldn’t have needed to re-establish contacts with the militants. If we are doing this, it is protect our interest.

 

Pessimists fear that if our military tries to block U.S. border violations, there is a possibility of armed conflict. Also, in case of conflict, Washington is expected to signal to India to open a front in the east to divert Pakistani military resources. 

 

But Pakistan is not without options. In fact, the Pakistani position is stronger than what it appears to be. Islamabad can activate old contacts with a resurgent and rising Afghan Taliban inside Afghanistan. The entire Pakistani tribal belt will seize this opportunity to fight the Americans.  The attempts to divide Pakistanis along sectarian lines have failed and the Americans cannot expect to repeat what they did in Iraq in 2003.  There is a possibility that Pakistani tribesmen could cross the border in large numbers using secret routes to dodge aerial bombardment and join the Afghan Taliban and find their way to Kabul.  The misguided and suspicious ‘Pakistani Taliban’ – whom the NWFP governor has described on Sept. 12 as an extension of U.S. military in Afghanistan – will also come under pressure of the tribesmen and will be forced to target the occupation forces instead of fighting the Pakistani government and people.

 

But the situation between Islamabad and Washington does not have to come to this. Islamabad can help tip the scales in Washington against the hawks who want a war with Pakistan. Not all parts of the U.S. government accept this idea and this must be exploited. Pakistan must make it clear that it will retaliate. Statements like that of Prime Minister Gilani must be stopped because it is demoralizing for a nation that faces the threat of an imposed war.

 

U.S. military posturing aside, Washington has recently seen a string of diplomatic defeats. Russia has cut American meddling in Georgia to size. In Iraq, a coalition of Shiite parties is forcing the Americans to set a timetable for departure. And both Bolivia and Venezuela have expelled U.S. ambassadors, and, in Bolivia’s case, the world has suddenly become alert to Washington’s intrusive meddling in that country’s domestic politics and the role of the U.S. ambassador in fueling separatism. This is not very different from the U.S. role inside Pakistan, where U.S. diplomats have caused political chaos by directly engaging the politicians.

 

The only way to entrap Pakistan now is to either orchestrate a spectacular terrorist attack in mainland U.S. and blame it on Pakistan, or to assassinate a high profile personality inside Pakistan and generate enough domestic strife to scuttle military resistance to U.S. attacks. It’s called realpolitik. You don’t have to be a sleuth to understand how this works.

September 26, 2008

Time to End Pakistani Role in America’s War

Filed under: Uncategorized — aurangzebawan @ 11:34 am
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Pakistan is being punished for refusing to allow U.S. military boots on Pakistani soil, for the bombings in India, for the July 7 attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, and for the failures of the American military in Afghanistan. The attack is a clear message to the Pakistani ruling elite: We will bring the war to your home. The Americans are now accusing army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani of complicity in bombing the Indian embassy in Kabul, an accusation that even the Indians dared not make. The General is a suspicious man now in the eyes of the Americans and the Zardari government. After its bungled attempt on the ISI, there is a possibility that the pro-U.S. Zardari government might try to remove Gen. Kayani and replace him with a more pliant army chief who can subordinate the Pakistani military to Washington’s agenda in the region. To end this mess, Pakistan needs to say goodbye to the coalition that Washington assembled in 2001 to occupy Afghanistan, a coalition that has shrunk in seven years to only U.S., U.K. and Pakistan.

 

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: – The massive attack on the Marriott hotel in the heart of the federal Pakistani capital is a punishment for Pakistan for refusing to allow U.S. military boots on Pakistani soil, for the bombings in India, for the July 7 attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, and for the failures of the American military in Afghanistan.

 

The attack is a clear message to the Pakistani ruling elite: We will bring the war to your home; we will convince you and the world that your situation is worse than Iraq and Afghanistan and that you are unable to handle it alone and need foreign intervention.

 

Pakistan stands accused of attacks in both Afghanistan and India. The Americans have gone as far as blaming Pakistan in advance for future attacks against United States. In fact, in a calculated leak, The New York Times on Sept. 11 accused Pakistani army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani of complicity in the July 7 bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul, something that even the Indians didn’t dare do. And on Sept. 7, President Bush delivered a speech at the National Defense University in Washington where he almost called Pakistan a terrorist state.

 

The Americans had hoped that the pro-U.S. Zardari government in Islamabad would move to neutralize or disband the ISI and check the Pakistani military. They waited enough. The Zardari government did make a failed attempt on July 27 to clip the wings of ISI, which would have ended the agency’s external counterintelligence operations, crucial for the world’s sixth declared nuclear power and an important regional power that has legitimate security and strategic interests to protect.  But it seems Mr. Zardari has decided not to risk alienating the country’s powerful military. Hours before the attack, President Zardari told a joint session of Parliament “We will not tolerate the violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity by any power in the name of combating terrorism.”  This statement ended the confusion, at least for now; on Zardari’s apparent reluctance to endorse army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s stern warning to Washington not to attack Pakistani soil.

 

The punishment for Pakistan is not limited to the Marriot hotel, which was more of a symbolic target, close to the houses of the President, Prime Minister, federal ministers and senior federal bureaucrats.  Hours earlier, explosives-laden cars attacked two military convoys in the tribal belt. Eight hours after the Marriot attack, the power grid in Swat, northern Pakistan, was blown up.  The frequency and intensity of attacks inside Pakistan have exceeded the attacks that U.S. military is facing in Afghanistan.

 

Which is in itself a strange thing? If the U.S. accusations are true and Islamabad is behind Afghan Taliban’s resurgence in Afghanistan, then why are the ‘Pakistani Taliban’ attacking Pakistani military targets? They should be happy that Pakistan is allegedly supporting the Afghan Taliban? But what is happening is the opposite: The so-called ‘Pakistani Taliban’ is punishing Pakistan, exclusively. The question is: Who benefits?

 

According to one Pakistani source, there are close to 8,000 foreigners in the country’s tribal belt at the moment.  Before 9/11, they were under 1,000, and most of them were peaceful leftovers from the anti-Soviet war in the 1980s, grownup, aging, with local wives and children.  Yes, Pakistan did have a domestic religious extremism problem but it consisted of small groups and not armies with endless supplies of money and sophisticated weapons and, apparently, advance knowledge of Pakistani military movements.

 

There is no question that many of these 8,000 foreigners are agents of foreign intelligence agencies who have infiltrated the Pakistani tribal belt from Afghanistan. This is not Hollywood. During the 2001 war against the Taliban government in Kabul, U.S. military used special ops teams made up of Pashtun look-alikes complete with perfect Pashtun accents, assisted by local help, purchased in U.S. dollars, in the areas of their deployment.

 

In Pakistani tribal belt, the numbers of foreigners dramatically increased in the years 2002 to 2004. These foreigners used the natural local anger at Pakistani military’s alliance with U.S. to work up the locals against Islamabad.  The area remained quiet for most of the time after the 2001 war until it finally erupted in insurgency led by a series of ‘rebel Mullahs’ who caught the Pakistani government and military by surprise.

 

Karzai’s security and intelligence network is populated with strongly anti-Pakistan officers. The Indians received an American nod to establish an elaborate intelligence and military training setup in Afghanistan.  Indians and Karzai’s men are directly involved in training, arming and financing rebels and insurgents and sending them into Pakistan.  There is a full backing for an ethnic insurgency in southwestern Pakistan where China is building a strategic seaport.  There are reports that the Israeli intelligence, the Mossad, is helping the Indians and Karzai’s security in destabilizing Pakistan’s western parts. The Israeli ambassador in New Delhi admitted in February that Israel offered crucial help to India during the Kargil war in 1999 which was the only reason India managed to repeal what appeared to be a surprise Pakistani victory. The Israelis have built a close defense relationship with India ever since and are also helping India perfect its occupation methods in Kashmir.

 

Pakistanis don’t have evidence that shows direct U.S. involvement in this anti-Pakistan campaign. But the circumstantial evidence is more than overwhelming.  Afghanistan could not have turned into a staging ground for anti-Pakistan covert operations involving several players with out Washington’s nod.  U.S. military has also been deliberately attacking those militant tribals inside Pakistan who are pro-Islamabad, and sparing those militants who only fight Pakistani military. Also, U.S. government has refused to designate the ethnic insurgency in southwestern Pakistan as terrorism.  One very interesting piece of information that points the fingers to both India and U.S. is that these shady ‘Pakistani Taliban’ have focused their efforts in the past four years on attacking Chinese citizens and Chinese interests inside Pakistan. No U.S. or NATO citizens have been attacked.

 

The Afghan Taliban –who are the real Taliban before this American-orchestrated insurgency in Pakistani border areas was deceptively termed ‘Taliban’ – have never attacked Pakistan despite Islamabad’s policy change after 9/11. In fact, senior Taliban officials, like its ambassador to Islamabad Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, never said anything against Pakistan despite having been captured and handed over to the Americans by Islamabad.

 

There is no question that Washington destabilized Pakistan using the same methods it had perfected in South America in the 1970s.  As Pakistan faced instability on the border, Washington moved in late 2006 to destabilize the country from the inside. A discredit former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, was convinced to end her self-exile and enter into a U.S.-brokered deal with a weakened President Musharraf in exchange for endorsing the U.S. agenda and having her stolen millions whitewashed. The fast paced political change threw Pakistan off-balance and resulted in massive internal upheaval that continues until today, almost ending Pakistan’s remarkable economic rise of the past decade.

 

Once Pakistan was trapped, U.S. media sprung into action and mounted a massive propaganda about Pakistan becoming ripe for an Iraq-like U.S. intervention to neutralize its nuclear weapons and to ‘save’ the country from turning into a haven for al-Qaeda.

 

The entire purpose of this anti-Pakistan campaign is to remove the Pakistani hurdle that stands in the way of Washington’s plans for the region: China, Russia, Central Asia and Iran, and also to help pave the way for India to assume a bigger role, which it can’t in the presence of Pakistan.  This is what the planners in Washington might be thinking. The Indian thinking, however, is more short term. India is more interested in disorienting Pakistan and using all possible opportunities to make hurt Pakistanis and deprive Islamabad of any strategic advantage, whether in Afghanistan or with regards to the Chinese-built seaport near the Gulf.

 

WHAT ISLAMABAD CAN DO

 

Pakistan will continue to face instability as long as it continues to be part of the war on terror on Washington’s terms. Pakistan’s legitimate security interests have been so damaged and ignored by Washington that it is time to tell the Americans to go and deal with Afghanistan on their own.  This is the only way for Islamabad to regain respect in the eyes of its own people. Pakistan can say that it will help Washington where possible but that it is no longer part of the coalition that Washington assembled to occupy Afghanistan 2001, a coalition that only includes three nations now: U.S., U.K., and Pakistan.  In this regard, Pakistanis can renegotiate the terms of letting U.S. use Pakistani soil and airspace for the transport of supplies. Pakistan can ask U.S. military to vacate the remaining Pakistani airbase under American use. Also, Islamabad can revoke the permission that former President Musharraf granted CIA to establish outposts in Pakistan’s tribal belt and the permission to recruit local assets.  Meanwhile, Pakistan can continue eliminating the shady foreign and local criminals who call themselves ‘Pakistani Taliban’. This is what the Pakistani military has been doing recently, wiping off all these foreign assets. Which probably explains some of the recent American panic?

 

This way Pakistan can regain some of the stability and also the confidence of other countries in the region, especially China which has been watching with concern how Islamabad has allowed itself to be dragged by Washington into this mess.

 

KAYANI’S FUTURE

 

Of immediate interest is how the Zardari government will balance its strong pro-U.S. stance with the military’s resolve to stop U.S. belligerence. Mr. Zardari did try to please Washington by his risky July 27 move on ISI.  But now, with Gen. Kayani’s strong statements, it is fair to say that the army chief might become the new target of American’s and this government’s anger.  There is a possibility that Mr. Zardari might try to replace the army chief, using powers that Mr. Musharraf left in the hands of the new president.  Gen. Kayani is the last standing roadblock in Zardari government’s way to seize control of the military and spy agencies and subordinate them to U.S. policy interests in the region.

Please leave Pakistan alone

Filed under: Uncategorized — aurangzebawan @ 11:25 am
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The ‘Kid’ In Kabul

Amrullah Saleh, the thirty-six-year-old director of Karzai’s spy agency, known as NDS, became the world’s youngest intelligence chief in 2004, at age 32. Since 2005, NDS has emerged as a major source of strategic instability in the region.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—He is young, bold, and methodical, often delivering his arguments in bullet-form even in an informal chat. According to one account, he went from earning $400 a month working for an NGO in Pakistan to making $6,000 working as a liaison officer for CIA with Northern Alliance. This is not the official version of course. His American patrons describe this assignment in a less dramatic way as “an informal ambassador and coordinator of non-governmental organizations with Afghanistan’s Northern Alliance.” This is how U.S. Congressman Mike Rogers introduced him during a reception three years ago.

This is Amrullah Saleh, the thirty-six-year-old director of Karzai’s spy agency, known as NDS, who probably became the world’s youngest intelligence chief in 2004, at age 32.

Mr. Saleh is also a central figure in the undeclared, low-intensity war against Pakistan, although he is more of a good executioner than an original thinker. Since 2005, NDS has emerged as a major source of strategic instability in the region. Armed with what appears to be an American nod that goes as far back as 2002, and with direct help from fourteen Indian intelligence outposts on Afghan soil, the NDS has facilitated the launch of a covert operation that has successfully created multiple insurgencies across Pakistan’s western belt – from Gwadar to swat – in less than three years.

Pakistan stands accused of attacks in both Afghanistan and India. The Americans have gone as far as blaming Pakistan, in advance, for all future attacks against United States. In fact, in a calculated leak, The New York Times on Sept. 11 accused Pakistani army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani of complicity in the July 7 bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul, something that even the Indians didn’t dare do. And on Sept. 7, President Bush delivered a speech at the National Defense University in Washington where he almost called Pakistan a terrorist state.

The ground reality, however, is a little different. The frequency and intensity of attacks inside Pakistan over the past two years have exceeded the number of attacks the U.S. military faces in Afghanistan. This is strange because if the U.S. accusations that Islamabad is behind Afghan Taliban’s resurgence in Afghanistan are correct, then why is the ‘Pakistani Taliban’ attacking the Pakistani State and people? The so-called ‘Pakistani Taliban’ should be happy that Pakistan is supporting the Afghan Taliban? But what is happening is the opposite. It is more like the ‘Pakistani Taliban’ is punishing Pakistan. The question is: Who benefits?

According to one Pakistani official source, close to 8,000 foreigners have infiltrated Pakistani territories over the past two to three years. The figure was under 1,000 before 9/11, and most of them were peaceful leftovers from the anti-Soviet war in the 1980s, grownup, aging, with local wives and children. Yes, Pakistan did have a domestic religious extremism problem but it consisted of small groups and not armies with endless supply of money and sophisticated weapons and, apparently, advance knowledge of Pakistani military movements.

There is a pile of evidence with Pakistani security officials that leaves no doubt that many of these 8,000 foreigners are operatives of foreign intelligence agencies who have infiltrated the Pakistani tribal belt from Afghanistan. This is not a Hollywood script. During the 2001 war against the Taliban government in Kabul, U.S. military used special ops teams made up of Pashtun look-alikes complete with perfect Pashtun accents, assisted by bought local help in the areas of their deployment.

In Pakistani tribal belt, the numbers of foreigners dramatically increased in the years 2002 to 2004. These foreigners used the natural local anger at Pakistan’s alliance with U.S. to work up the locals against Islamabad. The area remained quiet for most of the time after the 2001 war until it finally erupted in insurgency led by a series of shady ‘rebel Mullahs’ who caught the Pakistani government and military by surprise.

Karzai’s security and intelligence network is populated with viciously anti-Pakistan officers. Under U.S. patronage, the Indians are suspected of having raised the strength of their soldiers in Afghanistan to around ten thousand, mostly under the guise of security for Indian construction projects. Indians and Karzai’s men are directly involved in training, arming and financing rebels and insurgents and sending them into Pakistan. There is a full backing for an ethnic insurgency in southwestern Pakistan where China is building a strategic seaport.

Pakistanis don’t have evidence that shows direct U.S. involvement in this anti-Pakistan campaign. But the circumstantial evidence is more than overwhelming. Afghanistan could not have turned into a staging ground for anti-Pakistan covert operations involving several players without Washington’s nod. U.S. military has also been deliberately attacking those militant tribals inside Pakistan who are pro-Islamabad and sparing those who exclusively fight Pakistani military. Also, U.S. government has refused to designate the ethnic insurgency in southwestern Pakistan as terrorism. One very interesting piece of information that points the fingers to both India and U.S. is that these shady ‘Pakistani Taliban’ have focused their efforts in the past four years on attacking Chinese citizens and Chinese interests inside Pakistan. No U.S. or NATO citizens have ever been attacked.

The Afghan Taliban –who are the real Taliban before this foreign-orchestrated insurgency in Pakistani border areas hijacked the word ‘Taliban’ – have never attacked Pakistan despite Islamabad’s policy change after 9/11. In fact, senior Taliban officials, like its ambassador to Islamabad Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, never said anything against Pakistan despite having been captured and handed over to the Americans by Islamabad.

The only way out for Islamabad now is to leave the U.S.-led coalition that occupied Afghanistan in 2001.

Pakistan will continue to face instability as long as it continues to be part of the war on terror on Washington’s terms. Pakistan’s legitimate security interests have been so damaged and ignored by Washington that it is time to tell the Americans to go and deal with Afghanistan on their own. Pakistan can say that it will help Washington where possible but that it can no longer remain part of the coalition, a coalition that only includes three nations now: U.S., U.K., and Pakistan. In this regard, Pakistanis can renegotiate the terms of letting U.S. use Pakistani soil and airspace for the transport of supplies. Pakistan can ask U.S. military to vacate the remaining Pakistani airbase under American use. Also, Islamabad can revoke the permission that former President Musharraf granted CIA to establish outposts in Pakistan’s tribal belt and the permission to recruit local assets. Meanwhile, Pakistan can continue eliminating the shady foreign and local criminals who call themselves ‘Pakistani Taliban’. This is what the Pakistani military has been doing recently, wiping off all these foreign assets. Which probably explains some of the recent American panic?

‘Insurgency,’ Mr. Saleh, the Afghan spymaster, told American journalists in 2006, ‘is like grass. Two ways to destroy it: You cut the upper part, and after four months, you have it back. You poison the soil where that grass is, and then you eliminate it forever.’

What Mr. Saleh got wrong is the soil. It is not Pakistan. The Afghan insurgency is sustained by Afghans. It is an Afghan problem.

Please leave Pakistan alone.