Rising Afghan Violence; Hazara Killings; Safdar's Anti-Ahmedi Move

Why is the violence in Afghanistan intensifying? Why has US-NATO coalition dropped more bombs in Afghanistan in Jan-March 2018 quarter than in any other 3 month period in the last 15 years? Is it in response to the Taliban annual spring offensive? Or the Daish (ISIS) contributing to more killings? Is the Trump administration too busy with the military option and paying too little attention to any diplomatic initiatives to end the war in Afghanistan? Will the appointment of Michael Pompeo as US secretary of state make a difference?

Terrorism Toll in Pakistan. Source: SATP.org
Why are the Hazara killings continuing in Quetta? What can the Pakistani state and the military do to provide relief to the Hazara community? Beyond the the focus on security, what else can and should be done to reduce ethnic and sectarian hatred in Pakistani society in general? What kind of social and educational initiatives are needed to quell such violence? What role must the politicians play to appeal to the better angels of human nature?

 What does Captain Safdar, son-in-law of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, hope to achieve by pushing a bill in the Pakistan National Assembly to drop the name of renowned Pakistani Nobel Laureate Dr. Abdus Salam from the National Center of Physics at Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU)) in Islamabad? Is this cynical move timed to coincide with the upcoming election to win votes for his father-in-law's PMLN party? Why do politicians pander to the worst instincts of the people to win votes? Why is this happening in this day and age in many countries including India, European Union and the United States? Is this the ugly underbelly of modern democracy?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with analysts Ali Hasan Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

https://youtu.be/rhS9QC8UCmU




Related Links:

Haq'sMusings

South Asia Investor Review

Trump's Afghanistan Policy

Security Situation in Pakistan

Mariam Nawaz and Capt Safdar's Support of TLYR  Dharna

Viewpoint From Overseas Youtube Channel

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel

PakAlumni Worldwide

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Are the #Afghan #Taliban unbeatable? #US #NATO #Pakistan #India

https://tnsr.org/2018/05/unbeatable-social-resources-military-adaptation-and-the-afghan-taliban/

Unbeatable: Social Resources, Military Adaptation, and the Afghan Taliban
How have the Taliban come back so successfully after virtual defeat following the 9/11 attacks? Its resiliency stems from two factors: its social resources and its ability to adapt militarily.
Theo FarrellMay 08, 2018
Insurgencies are famously difficult to defeat, yet the Afghan Taliban have proven especially so. Accounts of Taliban resilience have focused on both the deficiencies of Western efforts and the Afghan state and on Pakistani support for the Taliban. These accounts fail, however, to reveal the full picture of how the Taliban have been able to survive. Drawing on original field research, this article explores how the Taliban’s success has been shaped by factors internal to the insurgency, namely, the social resources that sustain it and the group’s ability to adapt militarily.

The fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan was swift and brutal. Shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the United States went to war against al-Qaeda and its Taliban hosts in Afghanistan. Taliban forces were obliterated in a lightning war prosecuted by American special operations forces and their Afghan allies, supported by an armada of warplanes. U.S. air forces did most of the killing. The U.S. Air Force and Navy dropped 18,000 bombs in the air campaign, 10,000 of which were precision munitions. The exact number of Taliban fighters killed is unknown, but according to one estimate the death toll was 8,000 to 12,000.1 By early 2002, the Taliban emirate had ceased to exist as a physical entity, and its leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, had fled to Pakistan.

Within five years, however, the Taliban had regrouped and returned in large numbers to southern and eastern Afghanistan. In the decade that followed, the new Afghan state and its Western backers were unable to stop a Taliban insurgency from steadily gaining more ground across the country. In 2016, the Taliban seized Kunduz city in northern Afghanistan for a second time, having done so the year before as well.2 The Taliban had also come close to capturing the provincial capitals of Helmand and Uruzgan in the south and Farah in the west. In May 2016, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan command reported that only 65 percent of the country’s 407 districts were under government control.3 This highlights the question of how the Taliban was able to come back so successfully from utter defeat.

Between 2001 and 2016, the United States spent around $800 billion on war in Afghanistan. The international community spent an additional £240 billion building up Afghan security forces. In 2010, at the height of the international military effort in Afghanistan, just over 100,000 U.S. troops and around 40,000 troops from fifty other nations were deployed there. Despite all this military might and international largesse, the Taliban were not defeated. How can this be explained? To date, studies on the war have mostly focused on deficiencies in the international military effort and problems with the Afghan state. Lack of success in defeating the Taliban has been blamed on the failings of Western leadership and strategy, on the hubris and incoherence of the international effort, and on flaws in counterinsurgency tactics and operations.4 Equally important has been the scale of corruption in Afghanistan, fueled by the massive influx of international aid, which has undermined both the legitimacy and the effectiveness of the Afghan government and security forces.5
Riaz Haq said…
#ASWJ's Ludhianvi in North #Waziristan. #Pakistan agencies have used a two-pronged counter #terrorism approach: fight, capture and kill those who cannot be convinced to lay down arms and co-opt those who can be weaned from violence. http://newsweekpakistan.com/ludhianvi-in-north-waziristan/

In its fight against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and its affiliates, many of whom are from Deobandi sectarian outfits like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Jaish-e-Mohammad, the security forces and their intelligence agencies have used a two-pronged approach: fight, capture and kill those who cannot be convinced to lay down arms and co-opt those who can be weaned from violence.

There’s nothing radical about these two approaches. They have been tried, mostly in tandem, in other conflict zones, with varying degrees of success. In the case of Ludhianvi, he, and some of his lieutenants were co-opted by the intelligence agencies as part of the operation to clean up Punjab of sectarian terrorism.

Ludhianvi was also used to bring in Malik Ishaq, one of the most dreaded sectarian terrorists and the face of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. The same group also provided help to, and facilitated, terrorist attacks by the TTP and its Jama’at-ul-Ahrar faction.

Ishaq did initially come round and stayed away from violence for some time, but went back to his old habits. That created a rift between his group and Ludhianvi’s and his hitmen also killed a close associate of Ludhianvi’s. It was at that point that counter-terrorism (CT) experts decided that Ishaq needed to be sent to his Maker. Ishaq was killed in a shootout along with his two sons, his consigliere, Ghulam Rasool Shah, and several hitmen.

The dead Ishaq and the living Ludhianvi are metaphors for the two-pronged CT strategy that has been at play. There has been much criticism of what some call mainstreaming these terrorists. Personally, I am not keen on the term. The strategy is more about coopting than mainstreaming.

Riaz Haq said…
#Afghan #Hazara’s journey to #Pakistan for work meets brutal end. Majority of the miners had travelled to Mach, in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, from the remote Afghan province of Daikondi, an intensely impoverished part of that country. https://aje.io/h9w7h via @AJEnglish

#Afghan #Hazara’s journey to #Pakistan for work meets brutal end. The Afghan Hazara coalminers killed in Pakistan first went to #Iran for work but were deported back to #Afghanistan. Then they came to work in Pakistan.
https://aje.io/h9w7h via @AJEnglish

When Aziz Begi left his native Daikondi province to resume work at a coal mine in Pakistan, last month, his life was brimming with new possibilities. His eldest son was preparing for the college entrance exam and his wife was just about to give birth to their seventh child.

It was these prospects that filled the 36-year-old with hope during the 800km (500 miles) journey across the Durand Line, which marks the border between the two countries. After years of travelling between Daikondi, Kabul and Iran to find suitable work to feed his growing family, he had finally secured a gainful form of employment in Quetta, Pakistan.

Last week, he was among seven Afghan coal miners, including two of his cousins, who were murdered in a targeted attack due to their ethnicity, being members of the Hazara minority, in the town of Mach, in southwestern Pakistan. Ten people – all ethnic Hazaras – were killed in the attack in total, say security officials. Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, has seen hundreds hold a sit-in protest since the January 3 killings.

Like Aziz, the majority of the miners had travelled to Mach, in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, from the remote Afghan province of Daikondi, an intensely impoverished part of that country.

Residents from Daikondi, one of the poorest provinces in the country, are forced to travel to the capital Kabul or neighbouring countries in search of better opportunities.

Aziz’s brother, Qayoum, says his brother was an example of an all-too-common story in Daikondi – home to more than 700,000 people.

“My brother was constantly on the move for 10 years. He was always travelling from place to place just trying to feed his wife and children because there’s nothing here in Daikondi.”

Throughout that decade, Aziz uprooted his family several times. He took them to Kabul, but soon realised that working as a day labourer was barely enough to provide his basic living expenses in the capital, too less to put enough food on the table.

Discrimination and abuse
By 2017, he even took his family to Iran, but soon found himself faced with the kinds of discrimination and abuse, rights organisations say, is a common threat to Afghans, particularly Hazaras in Iran.

Like millions of other Afghan parents, Aziz found that he was unable to enrol his children in school, something he saw as necessary to them being set on the path towards a better life than his. Iranian authorities have imposed restrictions on the schooling of immigrant children.

Adding to his fears was the fact that, in recent years, Tehran has been accused of recruiting Afghan boys as young as 14 to fight in Syria. He was worried that as his boys grew older, they too could have been sent off to fight in a foreign war.

In the end, none of that mattered. The family was deported less than a year after they arrived in the neighbouring country.

When they returned to Daikondi in 2018, Aziz’s family merely became a part of the province’s statistics. According to the Central Statistics Organization of Afghanistan, more than 80 percent of residents of Daikondi, mostly men, have lived abroad for at least six months at a time.

As the vast majority of Daikondi come from the Hazara minority, going abroad for work comes with its own pressures and difficulties.
In Pakistan, Afghans and Pakistanis from the Hazara minority have had to deal with the threat of targeted killings for years now.

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