Articles, Opinions & Views: Washington Must Punish Pakistan For Its Support of the Taliban By Hugh Fitzgerald

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“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God

Which must always come to pass

He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?

Have you always turned the other cheek?

To My Church have you been true?"

"No, Lord, I guess I ain't

Because those of us who carry guns

Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around

Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here,

Lord, It needn't be so grand,

I never expected or had too much,

But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Washington Must Punish Pakistan For Its Support of the Taliban By Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Goat Shagger Imran Khan

Jihad Watch : In all the attention being paid to the debacle in Afghanistan, many have overlooked the Taliban’s beginnings in Pakistan, and the loyal support from Pakistan given the terrorist group right up until today’s triumph. A report is here: “As Taliban conquer Afghanistan, time to sanction Pakistan,” by Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, August 20, 2021:

As Taliban insurgents swept through Afghanistan this month on their brutal quest to return that country to the seventh century, ceremonies were held in neighboring Pakistan to commemorate the 6th anniversary of the death of a man dubbed “the father of the Taliban.”

Gen. Hamid Gul, who died in 2015, was the former head of Pakistan’s terror-soaked spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Much of his career was spent fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s when the ISI worked closely with the American CIA. With the collapse of the Soviet occupation, swiftly followed by the collapse of the actual Soviet Union, the ISI began backing Islamist groups across the region, from Kashmir to Afghanistan, where the Taliban first came to power in 1996, about two years after they were fostered by the ISI’s secret Directorate “S” with funding, weapons, and military training.

The Pakistani ISI began in the 1980s to recruit and train jihadis among the Afghan refugees who had fled to Pakistan to escape the Soviets. Given weapons by Pakistan, these refugees – called the “Taliban” after the word “Talib” or “student,” for many of its recruits were found studying in madrasas — went back to Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Infidels who had invaded Afghanistan. At this point, the ISI was a collaborator with the CIA, in a shared attempt to push the Soviets out of Afghanistan. The Americans failed to grasp that these Islamic groups were just as hostile to American infidels as they were to the Russians. The Taliban were supplied with weapons, military training, and money by the ISI. And after launching attacks inside Afghanistan, they could always return to the safety of Pakistan, to regroup and replenish their supply of weapons.

The tributes to Gul in Pakistan last week centered on a television interview he gave just more than a year before he died,[that is, in 2015] in which he predicted the humiliation of the U.S. military and its Afghan government allies at the hands of the ISI’s Taliban proxies. “When history will be written, it will be said that ISI defeated the Soviet Union in Afghanistan with America’s help,” Gul remarked. “But it will also be added that ISI defeated America (in Afghanistan) with America’s help.”

That comment that General Gul made in a television interview should have been given close attention in the Pentagon, and caused alarms to be sounded in official Washington, for here was a leading general gleefully foreseeing the defeat – by the Pakistani ISI, working through its proxy, and ally, the Taliban – of the Americans in Afghanistan. But instead, it was ignored. And Pakistan continued to be regarded, despite all the evidence to the contrary, as an American ally.

Gul’s devotion to the Taliban exemplified the divide within Pakistan’s intelligence establishment over its relationship with U.S. agencies. “Pakistan’s alliance with the U.S. against the Taliban irked many former army generals who had supported the Islamists,” Farooq Sulehria, a Pakistani expert on the Taliban, explained to the German broadcaster DW shortly after Gul’s death from a brain hemorrhage. “These divisions within the army still persist. While some military generals think that a ‘double game’ with the West—kill some Taliban and save some—is a good strategy, people like Gul wanted Islamabad to support Islamists wholeheartedly.

Pakistan has always been on the side of the Taliban. The only difference that arose was between those ISI generals who thought it wise to pretend to be against the Taliban, feigning an alliance with the U.S. against the Taliban — even killing some, so as to satisfy the West — and keep American money and weapons flowing to Islamabad, and those generals who felt they needn’t dissimulate, but could support the Taliban and still receive American military aid.

By 2021, it was clear that Gul’s position had won out, as evidenced by the horror of the revived Taliban conquering cities like Faizabad, Kandahar, Mazar e Sharif and finally Kabul, 20 years after they were banished from the Afghan capital. That fact should stick in the craw of most Americans, because we’ve been pouring aid money into Pakistan year upon year, despite the nefarious role played in Afghanistan by its military and espionage services. In 2020, the U.S. was once again the top donor country to Pakistan of financial assistance that always takes the form of a grant, so as not to add to Pakistan’s debt burden or balance of payments struggles.

Yet from our point of view, this was hardly money well-spent.

According to Chris Alexander, who spent six years as Canada’s Ambassador to Afghanistan followed by a stint as a U.N. envoy, the Taliban’s return represents a Pakistani invasion. “Apart from being Pakistan’s mercenaries, the Taliban are U.N.-listed terrorists,” Alexander recently told an Indian newspaper. “Anyone cozying up to them is playing a dangerous game.”

Having spent six years in Afghanistan as the Canadian ambassador, Chris Alexander was well aware of Pakistan’s duplicitous support of the Taliban – “cozying up to them” is how he put it – and warned that this was a “dangerous game.” Presumably he meant that a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan could lead to a similar victory in Pakistan by that country’s most fanatical Muslims.

Large and growing segments of public opinion have grasped this reality. In an interview with Foreign Policy magazine, Pakistani Ambassador to the United States Asad Majeed Khan flatly denied that Islamabad was still supporting the Taliban, going on to make the laughable claim that Pakistan is “a free and democratic country, and there are a whole range of views for and against the policies of he government. But when asked what exactly Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had meant when he gushed that the Taliban had “broken the shackles of slavery,” the good ambassador answered only that it was “really hard to keep track” of what gets reported on social media, before offering the reassurance that Pakistan wants “inclusive” government in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. denies that Pakistan any longer supports the Taliban, and even more absurdly, claims that Pakistan is a “free and democratic country,” when everyone knows there is no freedom of the press, no freedom of speech, nor of assembly, and no freedom of religion, as those freedoms are understood in the “free and democratic” countries of the West.

While the civilized world is appalled at the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban fanatics, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has described the Taliban as having “broken the shackles of slavery.” Asked about this astonishing remark, the Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. sidestepped the question, saying only that it was “really hard to keep track” of what is reported on social media – meaning “you mustn’t believe everything that is claimed to come out of Pakistan” and then said that Pakistan wants “inclusive” government in Afghanistan, which must be an allusion to the Shi’a Hazara, whom Pakistan presumably hopes will be represented in Islamabad, rather then being massacred at the hands of the Taliban, as happened before the Americans arrived in 2001.

Nobody should be fooled by these rather amateur attempts to prettify the historically destructive role played by Pakistan in Afghanistan. To many Americans, the events of the last month suggest that we sacrificed troops and spent billions of dollars on a country that is no more united in purpose now than it was 20 years ago, in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks carried out by Al-Qaeda, the Taliban’s partner in crime. But from the perspective of ordinary Afghans, that is a harsh judgment on the quiet progress they have made.

That “quiet progress” is, however, easily undone. Life expectancy rose by ten years between 2001 and 2021 mainly because there was relative peace for 20 years when the Western allies kept control of the country. Now that the Taliban’s bloodletting – despite its protestations of being more tolerant and less bloodthirsty than when it last held power, in 2001 – has resumed, expect more conflict, and earlier deaths. And the army of Western medical personnel who descended on Afghanistan during the past two decades and helped lengthen the life expectancies of Afghans, have now fled the country, along with many of the Afghan doctors they trained, which will cause a reversal of that trend.

Life expectancy has risen by 10 years, to the age of 65—still woeful, by international standards. When the United States invaded, little more than 20 percent of Afghan children were enrolled in primary school, a figure that now stands at 100 percent. Literacy among female adults has risen from 17 percent to 30 percent and will likely recede once again as soon as the Taliban reimposes gender apartheid by excluding girls from school.

Here, too, progress achieved can be easily undone. The Taliban is likely to spend less on regular schools and spend more on a network of madrasas; adult women, inferior creatures according to Islam, will no longer be the object of special literacy campaigns; they will again be condemned to being largely unlettered mothers and wives; the offices where women had worked, even unhijabbed, will now be closed to them as they return to their traditional functions. As for higher education, expect the Taliban to again make it inaccessible to women.

Most of all, Afghans overwhelmingly reject the regime that has effectively been imposed upon them by the U.S. withdrawal on the one hand, and Pakistani support for the Taliban, backed politically by Russia and China, on the other. “While generally conservative in their Muslim faith, Afghans have consistently demonstrated in poll after poll that they want nothing to do with the pathological pseudo-theology the Taliban continue to enforce wherever they gain ground,” the Canadian commentator Terry Glavin, a frequent visitor to Afghanistan, observed in the National Post. “The latest Asia Foundation polling shows that 82 percent of Afghans say they have ‘no sympathy’ whatsoever for the Taliban.”…

82 percent of Afghans now say that they have “no sympathy” for the Taliban, but that will not stop the violent and fanatical group from holding the country firmly in its grip, just as it did before 2001. The Taliban will not hesitate to rule by extreme violence; some may remember the stadiums in Kabul and Kandahar that were full of people who were forced to watch the mass executions, both by stoning and by gunfire, of those deemed to be “enemies of Islam” by the Taliban. Others who were convicted of theft had their limbs cut off in front of the crowds; their arms and legs were then hung up in the stadium as a stark warning to the people in the stands.

It is time to recognize Pakistan’s long and duplicitous role in supporting the Taliban with money, weapons, and secure training camps. And having finally done so, the Americans should give up any remaining illusions about Islamabad ever being a “friend.” Instead, Washington has to apply pressure to Pakistan. First, it should put sanctions on the Pakistani elite, preventing them from sending assets abroad, to buy homes in Europe and North America or to send their children to be educated abroad. All of their assets in the West could be frozen. That should get their attention. Second, along with those sanctions directed at individuals, the U.S., which is “the largest export destination for Pakistani goods,” could refuse to buy Pakistani goods. Third, the American government can make it difficult, even impossible, for Pakistani-Americans to send money back to relatives in Pakistan; those remittances are an economic lifeline to many of those family members. Americans can be prevented by law from investing in Pakistan. Such measures, combined with a halt to the nearly $3 billion in annual economic and military aid that the U.S. has continued to lavish on Pakistan, should bring Pakistan quickly to its knees. And that, in turn, should persuade the Pakistanis to pressure the Taliban, so that it does not engage in a reign of terror against its perceived enemies, and even more importantly, so that it does not again give other Islamist groups, such as ISIS and Al Qaeda, refuge in Afghanistan.

It just might work. And it all begins with the Americans understanding that Pakistan is not now and never has been our friend, and that the only way to change its behavior, so that is through financial pressure.

Americans don’t want to be in Afghanistan. They are sick of the whole business and know they should have left the country long ago. Still, they would like to ensure that the Taliban does not institute a reign of terror, and what is even more important, that the Islamic groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS are not again given shelter and a base of operations in Afghanistan.

The only country that can pressure the Taliban is its oldest ally, Pakistan. And America can make life very difficult for Islamabad. It can end over $3 billion in annual economic and military aid. It can end remittance payments from Pakistani-Americans. It can prohibit American investments in Pakistan. It can place economic sanctions on members of the Pakistani elite, making life very difficult for them.

All of this just might work. But it can only happen with the recognition that Pakistan is our enemy. Can the American foreign policy establishment now admit it has been wrong about that country for the past seventy years?

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 11:47 AM  
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