Pakistan On Tenth Anniversary of Sept 11, 2001 Terror Attacks

Here are a few facts about Pakistan's role in the "war on terror" since Sept 11, 2001:

First, none of the terrorists who carried out the 911 attacks on the United States were from Pakistan.

Second, the former Pakistani President Musharraf condemned the 911 attacks and quickly allied his country with the United States in the coalition to fight the US-led "global war on terror".

Third, Pakistanis continue to pay the heaviest price among the US coalition partners ten years after 911.

Would Pakistanis have been better off if President Musharraf had kept his country neutral after President George W. Bush delivered the following ultimatum to the entire world: "You are either with us, or against us?" Before answering this key question, let us examine the heavy toll the "war on terror" has taken on Pakistan:

1. Before 9/11, Pakistan had suffered just one suicide bombing — a 1995 attack on the Egyptian Embassy in the capital, Islamabad, that killed 15 people. In the last decade, suicide bombers have struck Pakistani targets more than 290 times, killing at least 4,600 people and injuring 10,000, according to data reported by the Los Angeles Times.

2. Pakistan averaged nearly six terrorist attacks of various kinds each day in 2010, according to a report by the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies.

3. As of April 25, 2011, the Pakistani military has confirmed that since 2004, 2,795 of its soldiers have been killed in the war and another 8,671 have been wounded. There have also been 21,672 civilian casualties (at least 7,598 of these were killed) since September 11, 2001, up to February 18, 2010, according to the military.

4. Pakistan's current leadership says that the alliance with the U.S. against Islamic militants has destroyed the country's investment climate, caused widespread unemployment and ravaged productivity. The government estimates the alliance has cost it $67 billion in direct losses over the last 10 years.

5. There have been incalculable indirect costs of massive war-related societal divisions and disruptions caused by acceleration of internal displacements and migration and proliferation of guns, drugs and violence in major urban centers of Pakistan since 911, the most striking being the increasingly destabilizing violence in Karachi.

Now let's turn to the "what-if" analysis of the road not taken by Pakistan after 911 and ponder the following:

1. Would Pakistanis have been better off by snubbing the world's sole superpower which Musharraf described as a "wounded bear" after 911 attacks?

2. Would Pakistan not have been isolated as a pariah state by the United States with support from the international community by slapping the most stringent international sanctions imaginable?

3. Would Pakistan not have faced the combined military might of the US and India if it had not allowed American troops on its territory to fight Taliban in Afghanistan after 9/11 terror attacks?

4. Would parts of Pakistan not have been heavily bombed into "stone age" with some parts of the country occupied by US military to facilitate NATO supply lines into Afghanistan?

5. Would there not have been an even more violent insurgency against foreign occupation and more frequent suicide bombings with even more horrible consequences for the civilian population of Pakistan?

As mightily as Pakistan has suffered at the hands of the Taliban and al Qaeda terrorists and their affiliates since 911, I do believe that Pakistanis would have been much worse off if Musharraf had not sided with the United States when asked after the worst terror attacks on US mainland.

As the only nation in the history of the world to have used nuclear weapons against civilian targets, I have to agree with Stratfor's George Friedman's characterization of America as "barbaric", particularly when it feels threatened by any external force. I believe the United States would not have hesitated one bit in using all of its political, economic and military might against nuclear-armed Pakistan had Musharraf's decision been any different.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Jihadis Growing in Tenth Year of Afghan War

Daily Carnage in Pakistan

The Next 100 Years

Seeing Bin Laden's Death in Wider Perspective

Musharraf's Legacy


Riaz Haq said…
Here's an Express Tribune story on Pakistani govt ad in Wall Street Journal on tenth anniversary of 911:

As newspapers in the United States mark the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the government of Pakistan has tried to remind Americans of the sacrifices made by Pakistanis in the war against terrorism, by purchasing a half-page advertisement in The Wall Street Journal, the largest newspaper in the US by circulation.

The advertisement, which includes a photograph of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and President Asif Ali Zardari lists several statistics which highlight the impact of the 9/11 attacks – and the subsequent war in Afghanistan – on Pakistan. It was timed to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

“Since 2001 a nation of 180 million has been fighting for the future of world’s 7 billion,” said the advertisement. It then went on to ask: “Which country can do more for your peace?”

The ad lists several statistics and then asks “Can any other country do so? Only Pakistan … The promise of our martyrs lives on.”

According to the ad, since September 11, 2001, 21,672 Pakistani civilians have lost their lives or have been seriously injured in an ongoing fight against terrorism. The Pakistan Army has lost 2,795 soldiers in the war and 8,671 have been injured.

There have been 3,486 bomb blasts in the country, including 283 major suicide attacks. More than 3.5 million have been displaced. The damage to the Pakistani economy is estimated at $68 billion over the last ten years.

Over 200,000 Pakistani troops were deployed at the frontline and 90,000 soldiers are fighting against militants on the Afghan border.

Foreign Office statement

The Foreign Office released a statement paying tribute to the victims of the attacks on their 10th anniversary Sunday, saying that Pakistan too was a target of terrorism.

“Pakistan joins the people of the United States and of the world in honouring the memory of all those who lost their lives on 11 September, as well as those who have been victims of terrorism around the world,” the foreign ministry said.

The cataclysmic events of September 11 dragged the nuclear power into a decade of fighting and violence that the government in Islamabad says has killed 35,000 people.

The foreign ministry statement said: “As a country that has been severely affected by terrorism, we reaffirm our national resolve to strengthening international cooperation for the elimination of terrorism. It is also appropriate that today the global community renew its commitment to uphold the noble ideals of tolerance, humanity, brotherhood and friendship amongst all peoples and its determination to work for creating a better world.”

The United States government appeared to acknowledge Pakistan’s support in the war on terrorism on Saturday, with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney saying that Pakistan’s action had helped keep Americans safe in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
Riaz Haq said…
Here are some excerpts from a Washington Post story indicating that Adm Mullen overstated the case when he called the Haqqanis a "veritable arm of the ISI":

U.S. officials have long accused Pakistan of providing support to the Haqqani network and allowing it to operate along the Afghanistan border with relative impunity, a charge that Pakistani officials reject.

But Mullen seemed to take the allegation an additional step, saying that the Haqqani network “acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency,” a phrase that implies ISI involvement and control.

That interpretation might be valid “if we were judging by Western standards,” said a senior U.S. military official who defended Mullen’s testimony. But the Pakistanis “use extremist groups — not only the Haqqanis — as proxies and hedges” to maintain influence in Afghanistan.

“This is not new,” the official said. “Can they control them like a military unit? We don’t think so. Do they encourage them? Yes. Do they provide some finance for them? Yes. Do they provide safe havens? Yes.”

That nuance escaped many in Congress and even some in the Obama administration, who voiced concern that the escalation in rhetoric had inflamed anti-American sentiment in Pakistan.

U.S. officials said that even evidence that has surfaced since Mullen’s testimony is open to differences in interpretation, including cellphones recovered from gunmen who were killed during the assault on the U.S. Embassy.

One official said the phones were used to make repeated calls to numbers associated with the Haqqani network, as well as presumed “ISI operatives.” But the official declined to explain the basis for that conclusion.

The senior Pentagon official treated the assertion with skepticism, saying the term “operatives” covers a wide range of supposed associates of the ISI. “Does it mean the same Haqqani numbers [also found in the phones], or is it actually uniformed officers” of Pakistan’s spy service?

U.S. officials said Mullen was unaware of the cellphones until after he testified.

Pakistani officials acknowledge that they have ongoing contact with the Haqqani network, a group founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani, who was one of the CIA-backed mujaheddin commanders who helped drive the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Now in poor health, Haqqani has yielded day-to-day control of the network to his son, Sirajuddin.
Riaz Haq said…
Here are some excerpts from an interesting editorial in The Sunday Leader of Sri Lanka arguing that "India Can’t Replace Pakistan In Afghanistan":

Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai’s visit to New Delhi last week may have conveyed the impression that it was a backlash against Islamabad with whom he had heated exchanges, accusing it of carrying out the assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani, the head of the Afghan Peace Council. Rabbani was a key figure in the Karzai regime and his assassination resulted in Karzai immediately flying back home from New York.
It is quite unlikely that despite the strategic partnership agreements signed between the two countries during the Karzai visit which included training of Afghan security personnel by Indian forces, India would risk the wrath of the fanatical fundamentalist Taliban groups or Pakistan’s intelligence forces; Afghanistan being considered by Pakistan as its sphere of influence vis-Γ -vis India. It is no secret that Pakistan’s intelligence forces set up the Taliban in Afghanistan to create a‘strategic depth’ for their country against India.
India as a regional and emerging global power would want to establish its presence in the neighbourhood. It would be extremely naΓ―ve for it to take on the role – which the Soviet Union, a one time super power that failed in the task – with now the only superpower, America, trying to disengage itself.

India despite having the fourth largest army in the world is yet unable to ward off terrorist attacks which they allege are emanating from Pakistan. Afghanistan and Pakistan have been fertile grounds for nurturing terrorism in the past two decades. And any provocation provided to fanatical Islamist groups by ‘Hindu India’ would be inviting retaliation.
U.S. pull out and its implications.

Even though the call for American troops to pull out of Afghanistan is not only supported in Afghanistan and Pakistan but among sections in most South Asian countries; if the Americans do pull out of Afghanistan leaving a vacuum in power, would history be repeated as after the Soviet pull out? The Obama plan is to pull out all troops by 2014.
What happens then? Afghanistan is the cockpit of the world with very powerful nations around it: China, Pakistan, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and some of the former Soviet Republics. Should they leave Afghanistan as one of the least developed and impoverished countries to itself? That is quite unlikely because in recent times its strategic importance has increased. Through it has to pass oil and gas pipelines which global and regional powers are interested in.
It could also provide a gateway to China through Pakistan to the Indian Ocean and now it has been found to be a country extremely rich in mineral resources.

Poor Afghans, will they be able to ever have their own country and govern themselves? One fact however they have proved to the world: Afghanistan has remained unconquered throughout history.
Riaz Haq said…
British officials believe al Qaida almost wiped out in Pakistan, reports The Guardian:

Senior British officials believe that a "last push" in 2012 is likely to definitively destroy al-Qaida's remaining senior leadership in Pakistan, opening a new phase in the battle against Islamist terrorism.

So many senior members of the organisation have been killed in an intense campaign of air strikes involving missiles launched from unmanned drones that "only a handful of the key players" remain alive, one official said.

However, well-informed sources outside government and close to Islamist groups in north Africa said at least two relatively senior al-Qaida figures have already made their way to Libya, with others intercepted en route, raising fears that north Africa could become a new "theatre of jihad" in coming months or years.

"A group of very experienced figures from north Africa left camps in Afghanistan's [north-eastern] Kunar province where they have been based for several years and travelled back across the Middle East," one source said. "Some got stopped but a few got through."

It is unclear whether the moves from west Asia to north Africa are prompted by a desire for greater security – which seems unlikely as Nato forces begin to withdraw from Afghanistan – or part of a strategic attempt to exploit the aftermath of the Arab spring. They may even be trying to shift the centre of gravity of al-Qaida's effort back to the homelands of the vast majority of its members.
Repeated efforts to push the Pakistani authorities to take military action against the Haqqanis have been rebuffed. Western and international officials said senior Pakistani military officers insisted they needed the Haqqani network, which has not attacked Pakistani targets though it has repeatedly struck Nato and other western targets in Afghanistan, to keep militant groups that make up the Pakistani Taliban network "under control". These latter have repeatedly struck civilian and military targets within Pakistan.

Western officials dismissed the argument as far-fetched and unrealistic. One international official said, however, that there was evidence the Haqqani family had been acting as intermediaries between the Pakistani secret services and militant groups and described the Pakistani position as "understandable".

"To move against the Haqqanis is a no-win option for the Pakistani military. If they suffer heavy casualties and fail to eliminate the group, they lose their authority and a key interlocutor. If they succeed, they lose a key asset," the official said.
Riaz Haq said…
Here's an AP report on the high cost of alternative routes while NATO supplies thru Pakistan remain shut:

The U.S. is paying six times as much to send war supplies to troops in Afghanistan through alternate routes after Pakistan’s punitive decision in November to close border crossings to NATO convoys, the Associated Press has learned.

Islamabad shut down two key Pakistan border crossings after a U.S. airstrike killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers in late November, and it is unclear when the crossings might reopen.

Pentagon figures provided to the AP show it is now costing about $104 million per month to send the supplies through a longer northern route. That is $87 million more per month than when the cargo moved through Pakistan.

While U.S. officials have acknowledged that using alternate transportation routes for Afghan war supplies is more expensive and takes longer, the total costs had not been revealed until now. The Pentagon provided the cost figures to the AP on Thursday.

U.S. officials said Thursday the elevated costs are likely to continue for some time, as U.S.-Pakistan tensions remain high and Pakistan has not yet offered to restore the transport arrangement or to begin negotiations on the matter. Until the closure, the U.S. had relied on Pakistani routes to move about one-third of all war supplies for Afghanistan.

The U.S. has given Pakistan more than $20 billion in aid since 9/11, including civilian and military assistance. But over the past year, relations with Islamabad have been strained by a series of incidents, including the U.S. assault in Pakistan last May that killed Osama bin Laden.
Pakistani officials say they are sorting through the thousands of stranded vehicles to push through supplies for Afghans. So far, the Pakistanis have given no indication of when they will open the border for NATO supplies to Afghanistan.

There has been limited contact between top U.S. and Pakistani officials.

Last week, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, talked by phone with his Pakistani counterpart, Army Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, their first contact since Dec. 21. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has not spoken to Pakistani leaders since the incident.
Riaz Haq said…
Here's an AHN report on US intelligence assessment of US-Pak relations:

At a Senate hearing on Tuesday, top U.S. intelligence officials were candid in admitting that the bilateral relationship with Pakistan is essential but strained at present.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, a retired Air Force lieutenant general, testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, categorized the relationship as “challenging … but important one,” citing Pakistan’s status as a nuclear power.

Replying to a question from chairwoman Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Clapper said, “Their existential threat continues to be India,” stressing that, “Pakistan and our interests are not always congruent.”

“Sometimes our interests converge and sometimes they differ,” said Clapper, adding, “I would characterize the relationship is crucial — we have one and have a positive relationship even though we have gone through some trying times.”

Accepting the fact that present U.S.-Pakistan relations are at their nadir, CIA Director David Petraeus said, “The relationship is very important but relationship right now is quite strained.” He added, “The most recent cause of that, of course, is the 26 November border incident between ISAF and Pakistani forces.”

Petraeus highlighted the ongoing domestic tensions among different political, judicial and military players within Pakistan, saying, “The activities right now are also complicated because of the difficulties in the domestic context there where there is a bit of tension between the Supreme Court, between the Army Chief and the ISI director and the government of president and the prime minister.”

There were positive signs of change in internal political equations in Pakistan, according to Petraeus.

The intelligence chief said it was “worth noting that the former Pakistani ambassador to the United States — Ambassador [Husain] Haqqani was allowed to leave and he did arrive in the UAE this morning.”

Haqqani was forced to resign late last year after Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz claimed Haqqani had asked him to pass on a memo, on behalf of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, to the American government calling for their help to oust Islamabad’s military leadership.

Ijaz has since hesitated to return to Pakistan to appear before the Pakistani agencies investigating the truth behind the claims.

Citing “awareness there that this is a critically important relationship,” Petraeus said, “There is a committee (in the Pakistani Parliament) that is determining recommendations to make for the government for the way forward between United States and Pakistan.”

On the ongoing refuge and safe heavens in Pakistan for terrorists, Clapper said, “During the past year, the Taliban lost some ground, but that was mainly in places where the International Security Assistance Forces … were concentrated,” adding that “the Taliban’s senior leaders continued to enjoy safe haven in Pakistan.”

Clapper argued that for success Afghanistan needed support from ISAF and its neighbors — particularly Pakistan. “And although there’s broad international political support for the Afghan government,” he added, “there are doubts in many capitals, particularly in Europe, about how to fund Afghanistan initiatives after 2014.”
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan allowed supplies to Afghanistan by air route through Pakistan during blockade, reports Express Tribune:

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad publicly admitted Tuesday that it had allowed NATO to use Pakistani airspace to fly supplies into Afghanistan, despite a more than two-month blockade on the border crossings.

“The permission has been given for food items,” a defence ministry official quoted Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar as saying at a function in Islamabad.

“Since the food items were perishable, we have allowed them to transport them by air to Afghanistan.

“We have told them to take the supplies out by air and don’t bring more for the time being,” the official quoted him as saying.

US ambassador to Islamabad, Cameron Munter, last week confirmed that NATO had continued to fly supplies into Afghanistan despite Pakistan’s closure of the border to NATO trucks and oil tankers on November 26.

Relations between Pakistan and the United States sunk to an all-time low after air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along the Afghan border in an incident that the United States blamed on mistakes made by both sides.
Riaz Haq said…
Fugitive #Taliban leader Mullah Omar lived short walk from #American base, died and buried in #Afghanistan in 2013 , book reveals

The Taliban’s elusive one-eyed leader Mullah Omar lived within walking distance of US bases in Afghanistan for years, and American troops once even searched the house where he was hiding but failed to find a secret room built for him, a new biography claims.

The account exposes an embarrassing failure of US intelligence, which put a $10m bounty on Omar’s head after the 9/11 attacks in the US. Officials repeatedly suggested that, like the al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, he was hiding in Pakistan and died there.

It also upends the Taliban’s own account of their movement, revealing how Omar handed over practical control of the insurgency to his deputies in 2001, even though they claimed him as leader for the rest of his life, and for two years after his death in 2013.

While statements issued in his name were scrutinised around the world, he was living as a virtual hermit, refusing visits from his family, filling notebooks with jottings in an invented language and occasionally hiding from US patrols in irrigation tunnels.

Omar fell ill in 2013, coughing, vomiting, and eventually losing his appetite, but he refused any form of medical care. Omari offered to bring him a doctor or drive him to Pakistan, but Omar appeared resigned to his fate and died on 23 April.

Omari buried him that night, and made a video to show to Omar’s son Yaqub and half-brother Abdul Manan. They had not seen Omar since 2001, but travelled to his hideout several days later and insisted on opening the grave to confirm it was him.

They confirmed that it was Omar’s corpse buried in a simple grave in a remote corner of Zabul, but it would be two years before they admitted to their own fighters, and the rest of the world, that the one-eyed ascetic who once defined their movement had died.

Riaz Haq said…

today is the 21st anniversary of 9/11, and also of the entire media class losing their minds over Chomsky telling some uncomfortable truths about it


today is also the 49th anniversary of the first 9/11, a much worse act of state terror conveniently memory-holed by the Western media and political class because the US sponsored it: the fascist military coup against Chile's socialist government


as the media class began the "War on Terror" propaganda, in November 2001 Chomsky was pointing out that the US is the world's leading terrorist state and that "it's a great error to describe terrorism as the weapon of the weak: it's a weapon of the strong, and always has been."


right after 9/11 the first major part of the so-called "War on Terror" was the US empire's illegal invasion of Afghanistan under false pretenses, destroying the country and killing over 200.000 over the next 2 decades. The entire media class cheered it on


the next target of the "War on Terror" was Iraq, and here too the media class played a key role in manufacturing consent for the destruction of the country and the killing of over 1 million, which remains the greatest crime of the 21st century


despite the pervasive hysterical propaganda, there was also opposition to the "War on Terror" from ordinary people, most notably against the war on Iraq with the largest global demonstrations in history. Here is Corbyn presciently speaking at the UK rally:

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