WASHINGTON: A USA report says that Indian intelligence agency RAW is creating trouble for Nato in Afghanistan to malign Pakistan by funding and supporting terrorists. The report said that the U.S. intelligence community is well aware of the covert support by the Indian Government and its intelligence services — principally RAW — for the jihadist movement and that the Indians are feeding the Americans ‘tailored intelligence’
Due to this covert RAW operation, U.S. and Western media reporting currently portrays the problems facing ISAF as coming into Afghanistan from Pakistan, but the reality is the reverse of this: stirring the problem in Afghanistan causes problems to flow into Pakistan. Always brushed aside in Washington discussions is the reality that Pakistan still cares for 3.5-million Afghani refugees remaining from the earlier proxy war which the U.S. waged from 1980 to 1988 against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. And, with the U.S.-led conflict against the Taliban in Afghanistan since September 11, 2001, the problems continue to pour from Afghanistan into Pakistan.
Moreover, as the U.S. intelligence community is well aware, this is a problem is exacerbated because of covert support by the Indian Government and its intelligence services — principally RAW, the Research & Analysis Wing — for the jihadist movement.
India’s involvement follows an historical geopolitical pattern, but much of it is institutionalized as ‘payback’ for Pakistani Government support for the Muslim liberation movement in Indian-occupied Jammu & Kashmir over the past decades. At the same time, close U.S.-Indian intelligence ties at a formal level and within the Afghan battlespace mean that India is feeding a range of ‘tailored intelligence’ into the U.S. system which shapes U.S. political and intelligence perceptions of the situation, encouraging the belief that ‘Pakistan is the problem’ in resolving the counter-Taliban conflict in Afghanistan.
It may be that the U.S. feels that Indian activities which put weapons in the hands of tribal members inside Pakistan keeps Pakistan on the defensive, and forces it to deal with the problems of the tribal areas — which have remained outside the control of the central Government since the times of British occupation in the mid-19th Century until the 21st Century — but the reality is that Indian stimulation of jihadism or tribal unrest in the Pakistani Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and elsewhere merely compounds the problem in the entire region.
The Afghan Government of Hamid Karzai is actively cooperating with the Indian intelligence agencies through the Afghan intelligence agencies, the Ministry of the Interior, and the Ministry of Borders and Tribal Affairs (under Karim Barahowie), in launching covert activities against Pakistani areas.
Whatever the reason for Pres. Karzai’s support for Indian use of Afghanistan as a base of operations against Pakistan, it is clear that the U.S. Government is aware of the cooperation and the input of substantial amounts of direct and indirect weapons and financial support to the jihadist, criminal, and terrorist movements operating inside Pakistan, and yet does nothing about it. Massive quantities of munitions, much of it identified as coming from India, have been captured by Pakistani forces operating against insurgents in Swat, FATA, and Balochistan. Apart from the strong presence of Indian advisors dominating the Afghan Government, India has established a string of consulates and intelligence posts inside Afghanistan along the border with Pakistan.
The Indian Government has created a string of “consulates” along the Afghan side of the Pakistan border, largely as intelligence collection facilities, and a large number of Indian intelligence officials were working closely with Afghan intelligence officials. This has caused the Pakistan Government some concern, given that the U.S. has facilitated the Indian intelligence build-up against Pakistan to be conducted while the Pakistan Army and Government have been working with the U.S. in the area. There is more than a little feeling in Islamabad that this has been an act of poor faith on the part of the U.S. toward Pakistan, on which the U.S. is completely reliant.
[The integration of the tribal region into Pakistan] cannot happen solely by force of arms. It involves not only ensuring the long-term ability of the Federal Government to enforce law and order, but also to introduce the priority of Pakistani nationalism ahead of tribal identity, and to ensure the introduction of the national educational curriculum, and the infrastructure required to integrate the tribal areas into the national economy.
Despite the reality that this is a long-term process, the U.S. Government has kept hinting — and privately insisting — that it should be allowed to put “boots on the ground” and intervene militarily in the complex FATA and other tribal areas of Pakistan, even though the U.S. has been unable to manage affairs inside Afghanistan, or even to prevent the Afghan unrest from spilling into Pakistan.
U.S. media reporting and U.S. officials, buying their own propaganda that the war against the Taliban is going well — a process known in the intelligence community as ‘drinking your own bathwater’ — and insisting that the problem is only that Pakistan is “not doing enough in the war on terror” have failed to understand that (a) Pakistan has committed more men and lives to the “war on terror” than the U.S., but is also suffering far more from it than the U.S., and (b) that Pakistan is using both carrot and stick to achieve long-term victory over terrorism, insurgency, and secessionist or anarchical tendencies in its border areas.
Clearly, however, as anyone who has viewed the Afghan-Pakistan border can attest, there is no possibility that neither the Pakistan Government— nor the NATO forces— could control ingress and egress across the border, the 2,560km of the Durand Line. The terrain along the border, barren and mountainous, is not only difficult to access, but also determines the life and hardiness of the tribal populations along it.
The U.S. Government quietly wants to insert Special Forces units into these areas to pursue Taliban and/or al-Qaida leaders, and has already violated agreements with Pakistan by launching air strikes into Pakistani territory several times in 2008 alone. But if the U.S. wanted to “put boots on the ground”, it would be best served by offering to put U.S. Army Corps of Engineers capabilities into the tribal areas to help build roads, clinics, schools, and the like. But first, however, U.S. policymakers have to decide whether they really wish to win the conflict they are fighting in Afghanistan, or merely whether they wish to find someone to blame for their failure.-SANA