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Is Shia genocide in Pakistan an outcome of Saudi-Iran proxy war?

Saudi-Iran proxy war is an effective, oft-used tactic to deflect attention from Pakistan army's support to Jihadi assets (Takfiri Deobandi Taliban and Sipah Sahaba) killing Shia Muslims.

Editor’s Note: The following debate took place on a facebook forum that highlights the nature and reasons of Shia genocide in Pakistan. The conversation was initiated by a repetition of oft-repeated theories that are deeply insensitive to the victims in this case who happen to be Shia Muslims in Pakistan. We encourage all readers to read the entire conversation and arrive at their own conclusion. However, we are disappointed to note that such conversations are not the exception but sadly the norm amongst Pakistan’s educated elite which wants to justify and rationalize Shia genocide while discounting its own sectarian prejudice against Shias, Pakistan’s most target killed faith group, with more than 19,000 deaths in last few decades. Only recently, an international survey report by Pew stated that only 50% of Sunnis in Pakistan consider Shias as Muslims. This also explains why there is either complete silence or massive misrepresentation of incidents of Shia genocide in Pakistan. The latest incident of misrepresentation is not by daily Ummat or Zare Momin but by “liberal” Express Tribune which mischievously reported Shia massacre of Gilgiti passengers in Naran  as Sunni massacre. The news item was later corrected after massive protest on Twitter. There is an unfortunate tendency to dilute the suffering of those who are on the wrong side of the policies dictated by the military establishment. It is time that Pakistan’s rights activists and persecuted communities realize that civil society is not necessarily objective when it comes to Shia Genocide but in fact peddles the manufactured discourses of the State.

 The following conversation is a classical example of the deflective and obfuscating tactics of Pakistan’s educated civil society elite.

C-1 :  This ongoing persecution of the various Shia sects in Pakistan and elsewhere is indeed tragic. What is not being said often enough, however, is that this slaughter, which isn’t quite genocide yet, is a manifestation of the proxy war being fought there between the Arabs and the Iranians. This war has been ongoing ever since the Arab Imperialists of the 7th century invaded Persia and forcibly converted the Persians to Islam. The Persians never liked the ensuing cultural subjugation and have forever been looking to undermine the Arabs ever since.

And paying the price for this war are the Shia in Pakistan who, through their emotional and, increasingly, cultural attachment to Iran, are being targeted as if they were the undeclared proxies of Iran. And those that are targeting them are largely on the employ of Saudi Arabia. Of course the Iranians are not entirely blameless in all this. In fact, historically, in the context of South Asia, Iranians (read nader Shah) and their surrogates (read Ahmad Shah Abdali), have massacred more Sunnis in Delhi than the rest of the various war-mongering Central Asians put together. What any of this has to do with the price of tea in China can perhaps be expanded upon by the literati in this group. My sense is that memories of such atrocities linger and beget badness.

The point, you ask? Whenever the violence raining down upon the hapless Shias of Pakistan is spoken of, mention also needs to be made of Saudi bloody Arabia and the SOB mullahs of Iran without whose unholy machinations none of this would be happening. And Pakistan’s Shia President also needs to be held accountable for the madness being perpetrated under his watch.

C-2 :  This is kind of blaming the victim. It’s the Shia’s fault for either being “hapless”, “massacred more Sunnis in Delhi than the rest of the various war-mongering Central Asians put together” or their “cultural attachment to Iran”. If you think it’s the Shia’s own fault why bother protecting them? By the way there’s genetic evidence that there’s more of the Middle East haliotrop in the Shia population of South Asia then in other populations. Doesn’t that kind of blow great big hole in the whole Arab imperialism stuff – how did the persecuted minority end up being the one with the ME genes.

C-3:  This is full of essentialist assumptions that can never really get us anywhere, “Arabs”, “Persians”, as if these were absolutes with no space for nuance or deep cultural interaction across historical time; likewise it’s full if emotive anachronisms, “Arab imperialists”, as if transposing C19th and C20th European imperialism back to C7th-C8th Persia had any relevance at all. Vile drivel. No, it’s about much more than all that; it’s about what happens when one takes a stand for the truth in the face of the forces of this world, har zamaan ‘ashoora, ve har makaan karbela’ ast….

C-1: ”har zamaan ‘ashoora, ve har makaan karbela’ ast….” Indeed! The very fact that the Persians have taken ownership of Husain’s Alamo goes to the point I was making. I rest my case. C-3,commentary restricted to three paragraphs isn’t meant to accentuate “nuances”. Once the basic framework is laid out you can nuance till the cows come home. The basic framework won’t change.

C-4: If it was the manifestation of an Arab-Iran war, it would logically have been a two-way affair in Pakistan rather than one way Shia Genocide.

C-1:  Yes C-4, A 2-way war. 18% of the population taking on 80%. That’ll go really well. I would love to hear a better theory for why the Shias are getting slaughtered in Pakistan.

C-5:   Judges must be looking for rebuttals so that can let a vicious criminal walk away exonerated free from the charge with a grin on his wicked face i don’t! cuz that won’t make the criminal innocent in reality. the problem with the world is the we wanna sort every thing out with arguments. i have learnt something from nature that a few things are to be accepted than objected. and there’s nothing not open to objections. that doesn’t mean that everythings wrong. and theres nothing indefensible either that doesn’t mean that its right.

If it is only a vicarious iranian arab war fought on pakistan’s territory than why do we witness shia genocide within arab community itself? and why are there iranian sunnis complaining about iranian gov.? hasn’t it to do more with minority majority thing? hasn’t it to do with that shia’s aren’t exceptional in this course? and isn’t it a universal phenomenon? happened to jews before us? isn’t it survival of the fittest? big fish eats small? or is it truly a religious long pending unresolved issue? what ever the reason history or game it may be all we know is that shias happen to be at the worst side in this wager. i’d love to read your views cuz you guys are really in the know.

C-1:  C-5,  you do indeed have a point. What solutions are you offering?

C-6: C-5,  your unique and irrationally biased logic is like putting salt on the wound.The reason and motivation for Shia genocide is within the Pakistani Sunny terrorist psyche and vast majority of people are mute spectator of all such brutalities.Judiciary and security agencies have tacit support to those killers.All heinous terrorists have been let off by judiciary perhaps with the support of security agencies who are responsible for investigation and collect authentic evidence.

C-5:  Sir C-1, which point are we talking about because i have made a whole diversity of possibilities there. ‘SOLUTIONS’? … sounds daunting for a petty being like me. lets ask those who claim to be in the know, who claim to have read the history from top to bottom. what a person who is skeptical about the causes know about solutions. Sir C-6, sorry i don’t really know what you mean by ‘irrationally biased logic’.

C-7:  C-1,  your note has certain glaring inconsistencies. Ahmed Shah Abali is actually held responsible for his anti-Shia pogroms in Kashmir which before his raids and conquests into India, had a Shia-Hindu flavour. Similarly, both Nader Shah and Abdali did not base their attacks and raids into the Indian Sub-Continent due to their Shia “leanings”. Quite the opposite. Refer to the virulent anti-Shia polemics of Shah Abdul Aziz/Shah Waliullah during the 18-19th century. Abdali’s anti-Shia pogroms in Kashmir contradict your simplistic view of history. The Persian influence in India did not seek to dominate; rather it sought to syncretize itself with the Hindu-Buddhist culture of the sub-continent. It extended to pre-Safavid times. Similarly, there is a strong Shia sentiment in varous Arab countries including Yemen, Bahrain, Oman, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria with smaller minorities in Egypt and Jordan. It is a false binary to conflate anti-Shiaism as a Saudi-Iranian proxy battle. Post 1980, the Shia clerics do look towards Iran – a flawed strategy. In this regard, many of them have been pushed into it while some seek favour for their own benefits. This is an unfortunate development and will only harm Pakistan’s Shias, IMO. Furthermore, historical Sindh included much of what is Southern Punjab today. In this area, Shia sentiment is nearly a thousands years older than the Safavid era in Persia. For Sindhis, Mohammad bin Qasim was a marauder who was sent by Hajjaj bin Yousuf to kill the (Arab) descendants and partisans of the Holy Prophet’s family who had been provided refuge and protection by Raja Dahir of the Chach dynasty. Iraq, which has a Shia majority, has been this way since the time of Imam Ali ibne Abi Talib. Today, from Indonesia, Malaysia to Nigeria and even in Belgium, Shias are being targetted by fellow muslims.

C-1: C-7, why don’t you finish your polemic and I’ll then happily tell you what the shortcomings of your assessment are. Or you could just tell me why in your opinion the Shia are being slaughtered in Pakistan.

C-2: Calling C-7 out for “shortcomings” in the light of the quality of the initial comment by C-1 is a wonderful case of the pot questioning the colour credentials of the kettle.

C-9: In fact, the massacre at Karbala was also because of the Ahlul Bayt’s association with the Iranians/Persians. All Shiite Imams were killed due to same association, the sinister Iranian connection. False neutrality at its best (or worst)!

C-7:  C-1  I will make it very simple. Shias are, for the overwhelming part, being killed in Pakistan because our civil-military bureaucracy dominated State supports/funds/protects/patronizes Non-State actors for its “strategic” objectives both within and outside of Pakistan. And it is not just Shias who are their victims but Ahmadiyya muslims, Sunnis (Barelvis, moderate Deobandis), Christains, Sikhs : All these groups are suffering at the hands of the non-State actors. This is not a revelation and please refer to the excellent Peshawar Declaration of 2010 which details a similar hypothesis. Ali Basti (Golimar, Karachi) was attacked in 1978 by IJT-JI facists nearly two years before Iranian Revolution. Since atleast 1949, the Pakistani State has been acceeding space to Islamofascists and during the 1950s (anti-Ahmadi pogroms) and 1960′s, the Jamaati-e-Islami fascists were an auxilllary of the State culminating in the 1971 Genocide in Bangladesh where JI collaborated with the West Pakistan army against its own people. I was simply pointing out the flaw in your initial comment where you presented the anti-Shia pogroms in Kashmir and the rape and plunder of India by Abdali as some sort of a Persian (read Shia) action on Sunnis. I don’t understand this obsession with misrepresenting the violent actions of State-backed element as an Iran-Saudi proxy war.

C-8:   Are Sunnis in Pakistan too being killed due to their Iranian connection? https://lubpak.net/archives/74672

C-5: ‎^ equally condemned! and condemned equally for all human races across the globe, jews Christains Sunni Shias Hindus even animals. but comparing christian genocide with jews’ holocaust or sunnis’ with shias’ not only in pakistan but elsewhere is an evident sign of an ignobly ignoramus individual on a gigantic scale.

C-9:  C-5, You missed the entire point. Both Sunnis and Shias in Pakistan are being killed by State-sponsored ASWJ-LeJ terrorists.A SWJ-LeJ terrorists represent their sponsors, not Sunnis. This is not Sunni vs Shia sectarian violence as is being presented by some people in this thread.

C-1: Many wishy-washy attempts here at explaining the madness in Pakistan. Not one that explains why so many on this forum believe the Shia are being singled out for slaughter in Pakistan.  ‎”And it is not just Shias who are their victims but Ahmadiyya muslims, Sunnis (Barelvis, moderate Deobandis), Christains, Sikhs : All these groups are suffering at the hands of the non-State actors.” True statement. So why only bemoan the Shia “genocide”? And don’t look now but the state-actors are just as complicit in these murders. And the president of the state is a Shia.

C-5: One thing as I infer it is that ….at the outset the Utopian Islamic state of Pakistan was being founded in the hope of emancipation of muslims of india. (like Moses) Mohammad Ali Jinnah (shia), and subsequently the constitution draftsman bhutto (shia); EITHER

i) had forgotten the true trait of muslims throughout of how they treated the family of Mohammad (which is of course implausible) OR
ii) deliberately overlooked the subsequent genocide of their followers later.
The only reason i can think of for DELIBERATELY is the HOPE of brushing off the old mess of tussles and conflicts aside and beginning a new muslim state that could virtually be a Utopian Islamic state. (turned dystopian unfortunately which these twos happened to be the first victims themselves). However worked well at the outset until the opposite forces realized that ‘yalla habibi this is no good another shia state is coming thru hard!’ and decided to step in with their petro-dollars. All the way thru, remarkable historical events like islamic world bank took place which was quite annoying to the opposite forces and they couldn’t see all this prosperity happening under a shia supervised state and got paranoid. Then throughout and today saudis and other contra-forces have been waging the war against shiism just on the account of fact that they can’t stand a second Shia state (state Bahrain Pakistan Kuwait Palastine you name it) to come into existence. Later on to square the deal Iran had to step in as a sectarian guardian or a big brother for her ppl. And hence the war continues… there’s more! and hey this all sounds good to west cuz the missiles manufacturing company’s ceo need to run their companies dont’ they? well the Bottom line is that Iranian/Arab war is not the cause but is the freaking upshot of ali’s hatred in c7th! simple as that! And remember this on going war is gonna get worst as Iranian government loses control of their hardwired racist secular citizen and falls apart. cheers!

C-7: C-1, Your insensitive and personal choice of words “polemics, wishy-washy” mar whatever little merit that is in your comments.  ”True statement. So why only bemoan the Shia “genocide”? And don’t look now but the state-actors are just as complicit in these murders. And the president of the state is a Shia.

C-9: C-7,Clearly, this man (C-1) has no explanation of the massacre of Sunni Barelvis and moderate Deobandis at the hands of ISI-sponsored ASWJ-LeJ terrorists. In peddling the ISI’s manufactured false binary (Saudi vs Iran), he lost the plot. Some common fallacies often shared by Taliban apologists and (fake) liberals.

C-7: C-1, Your insensitive and personal choice of words “polemics, wishy-washy” mar whatever little merit that is in your comments. ”True statement. So why only bemoan the Shia “genocide”? And don’t look now but the state-actors are just as complicit in these murders. And the president of the state is a Shia.”Who on this group is denying the atrocities against other faith groups; by the same non-State actors who are committing Shia Genocide?? Strawmanning is a pathetic tactic to deflect attention away from a flawed analysis.

Furthermore, it is the repeated airing of the trite, simplistic, misdirected, reductionist theory of the “Saudi-Iran proxy war” that takes attention away from the role of the State actors. On the contrary, it is the military establishment that continues to support these State actors, the Judiciary that goes out of its way to release brazen mass killing Jihadists and the media that gives them both airtime and legitimacy (Ludhianvi, Aamir Liaquat, Farid Paracha, Orya Maqbool Jan, Hamid Mir, Ansar Abbasi) and also goes out of its way to give airtime to Taliban apologists like Hamid Gul and Imran Khan! Those who want to deny the role of these State actors are the same ones who keep hammering away their insensitive and deeply flawed thesis of “Saudi-Iran proxy wars” to dilute the sufferings of ALL those who are being killed by the Non-State actors.

If Shias are being killed by Sipah-e-Sahaba/Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat/Lashkar-e-Jhangvi bcos they are somehow all Iranian fifth columnists, then what about the Ahmadis who are being killed by the same SSP/LeJ murderers?

Is the killing of Ahmadis part of a Timbuktu-Brazil proxy war in Pakistan? Or are the pogroms against the Sikhs in Pakistan by the Taliban due to a proxy conflict between Real Madrid and Barcelona??

As for the President being a Shia, what is your point?? Jinnah was a Shia as are 20% of Pakistan’s population. If you think that this President or any other legitimately elected leader can overnight end this “Strategic Depth” policy, you are not only living in cloud cuckoo land, you are also being willfully obtuse.

Source: Wolrd Shia Forum

Watch this video after 6:20, will give you an idea how a Deonbandi cleric Maulana Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi uses the false Iran-Saudi proxy war binary to justify Shia genoicde:


Ashrafi was one of the first people to meet and greet LeJ chief Malik Ishaq after release.

Also this wall chalking in which a worker of Takfiri Deobandi group Sipah Sahaba stereotypes Shias as Khomeinites

Shia Kafir: An Deobandi member of Sipah Sahaba is writing hate slogans against Shia Muslims in Soldier Bazara, Karachi, ahead of the Difa-e-Pakistan rally.

About the author

Abdul Nishapuri


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  • Iran Saudi Arabia Proxy War Theory

    A reminder to all those who think #SHiaGenocidePK is Iran/KSA proxy war. Thehri incident with 118 martyrs in 1963 http://www.shaheedfoundation.org/tragic.asp?Id=13

    Some common fallacies often shared by Taliban apologists and (fake) liberals

    Is Shia genocide in Pakistan an outcome of Saudi-Iran proxy war?

    Urgently required: Holocaust deniers for obscuring propaganda about Shia genocide in Pakistan – by Riaz Malik

    Unloading the entire blame of sectarian terrorism on Saudi Arabia and Iran is unfair – by Adnan Farooq

    Is Shia genocide in Pakistan an outcome of Saudi-Iran proxy war?

    ISI-sponsored Shia genocide in Pakistan or Sunni-Shia sectarian violence?

    Is Shia genocide an adequate term to describe the plight of Pakistan’s Shia Muslims?

    State-sponsored Shia genocide or Sunni violence against Shia community? A response to Sadanand Dhume


    Throughout the article, Huma fudges and dishonestly presents some crucial facts. For instance, she rehashes the two most common false hypothesis that are peddled by Pakistan’s pro-establishment media.

    One hypothesis is that the ongoing Shia genocide inPakistanis an outcome of an Iran-Saudi Arabia proxy war. As per this biased hypothesis, a post-revolutionary Iran had to be checkmated by the Ummah and Saudi Arabia and Iraq under Saddam stepped up to the task. This half-baked idea completely fails to take into account the Theri massacre of 118 Shias on Ashura in Khairpur in 1963. Or the burning of the Ali Masjid in Ali Basti, Golimar in 1978; two years before the Iranian Revolution!

    Similarly this dishonest hypothesis fails to take into account why Shias are being targeted, oppressed and killed in Muslim countries ranging from Morocco to Malaysia. It is truly callous and insensitive to explain this away as an Iran-Saudi proxy war!

    Like other dishonest media commentators, Huma Yusuf engages in the same tactic of attempting to misrepresent the ongoing Shia massacres as “sectarianism”; a tag that falsely portrays Shia killings as a symmetric conflict which it clearly is not!

    Throughout the Muslim world, Shias are suffering due to this false binary based on the dubious scholarship that is being propagated by Ms. Yusuf. It is one thing to be critical of Iran’s human rights record, its policy for joining the nuclear club and the theocratic disposition of a select bunch of clerics like Khamenai. It is another to equate Iran with Saudi Arabia; a global funder of terrorism and extremism. Sadly, in the intellectual and moral wasteland of the Pakistani media, this false binery is par for the course.


  • Great work, Mr. Taj , WSF.

    This effectively puts to rest the propaganda that Shia massacre in Pakistan is an outcome of Irani-Saudi fight.

  • “Shias = Iranian agents”: Ahmed Rashid’s dangerous stereotypes may enable further Shia genocide!

    Ahmed Rashid’s false stereotypes about Shias may further enable their massacres in Pakistan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and other countries.

    In his most recent interview (21 March 2012) with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross, Ahmed Rashis recycles and reinforces an extremely dangerous stereotype of Shia Muslims in the Middle East and throughout the world, i.e., Shia Muslims are stooges and agents of Iranian mullah-regime. This stereotype has been frequently used by Arab dictators in the Middle East, Jihadi-sectarian groups (Al Qaeda, Taliban, Sipah-e-Sahaba, Ikhwan-al-Muslimoon etc) in Arab and non-Arab countries to persecute or/and massacre innocent Shia Muslims.
    Lately, Ahmed Rashid’s narrative is a reflection of the 80-20 mixture, i.e., 20% of propaganda camouflaged in 80% of factual analysis. We have noticed similar slants in his previous works which will be shared on these pages shortly.

    On Tuesday’s (21 March 2012) Fresh Air, Rashid discusses the challenges facing Pakistan and Afghanistan in the post-Osama bin Laden era and within this interview spreads adverse and unrealistic stereotypes of Shias.

    GROSS: So I want to change the subject a little bit here. We’ve been talking about Afghanistan and Pakistan. I should bring up Iran with you because the Israelis are considering bombing Iran’s nuclear facility before Iran is able to make a nuclear weapon. There’s some pressure in the United States to have Obama – the Obama administration work with Israel in doing that. If the Israelis were to attack Iran – Iran’s nuclear facility – what impact do you think that would have on the region?

    RASHID: I’m glad you asked me that, Terry, because I think, you know, this has totally been underplayed by the American media. I think the repercussions in the region would be devastating simply because the Iranians would not retaliate in a confrontational war with either Israel or the United States, if there was a bombing of Iran.

    They would launch a guerilla war using their proxy forces all through the Middle East, from Lebanon all the way to India. You know, Iran, as you know, is a Shia country. All these countries have Shia minorities. Many of these Shia minorities have groups which are pro-Iranian and have been armed and funded by the Iranians. These groups would unleash terrorist attacks on Americans and Europeans and Westerners and Israelis. And there would be a real mayhem. And this would particularly affect the neighboring countries of Iran, of which both Pakistan and Afghanistan are. So, Afghanistan and Pakistan are ostensibly allies of the United States, but they’re also neighbors of Iran.

    And they would be placed in a terrible quandary because they would be faced of the possibility of American forces using these territories to launch retaliatory attacks against Iran, Iran retaliating with guerilla attacks and terrorist attacks in Pakistani cities, in Afghan cities, killing Americans, killing Westerners, et cetera.

    And plus the anger, not to speak of the general anger of the Shia minorities in these countries, and the overall anger of Muslims everywhere. Because, you know, this – I mean Muslims would read this as being the third time in a decade that the U.S. has attacked a Muslim country – if we look at, you know, Afghanistan and Iraq as the first two.

    So, you know, it would not just create anger in the Shias, but I think there would be, you know, the growth of anti-Americanism in the Muslim world amongst Sunnis, the mainstream Muslim sect, would also be enormous. And the consequences I don’t even want to think about. I mean, you know, it would be very difficult to push through programs of democratization and liberalization, et cetera, et cetera, once something like this happened.

    Source: http://www.wbur.org/npr/148605645/ahmed-rashid-pakistan-lurches-from-crisis-to-crisis

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    Posted on March 21, 2012 at 9:34 am in Original Article | RSS feed | Respond | Trackback URL

    Tags: Ahmed Rashid, Iran, Misrepresentation of Shia Genocide, Yellow Journalism
    7 Responses to ““Shias = Iranian agents”: Ahmed Rashid’s dangerous stereotypes may enable further Shia genocide!”

    March 21, 2012 at 12:58 pm
    He is speaking Saudi-ISI’s language:
    March 12, 2012 7:04 pm
    A deal with the Taliban is the only way out
    By Ahmed Rashid
    In an army of 150,000 US and Nato soldiers in Afghanistan, one rogue soldier who massacres 16 civilians, including nine children, does not necessarily mean that the discipline and morale of the whole force is breaking down. However, when the spate of recent incidents is put together – US soldiers burning copies of the Koran, footage apparently showing US marines urinating on bodies of dead Taliban fighters and a series of accidental killings of civilians during US attacks on the Taliban – the situation looks far more grim. There can be no doubt that the western forces in Afghanistan are facing a crisis of confidence, across the Muslim world and also in their home countries.
    The Afghan people are exhausted by a war that has gone on in one form or other since 1979, when most US soldiers now in Afghanistan were not even born. Increasing numbers of Afghans would agree with what the Taliban have been arguing for almost a decade: that the western presence in Afghanistan is prolonging the war, causing misery and bloodshed. The hundreds of civilians killed already this year across the country are almost forgotten now in the aftermath of the killing of children by a farengi, or foreigner.
    Moreover, faced with an increasingly corrupt and incompetent government, Afghans are seeing fewer improvements on the ground. So-called “nation building” has ground to a halt, simple justice and rule of law is unobtainable and a third of the population is suffering from malnutrition. The people blame not just the Americans but equally Hamid Karzai and his inner circle, which gives him conflicting and contradictory advice, leading him to flip and flop on policy issues.
    The Afghan president’s desire to seek a strategic partnership agreement with the US is becoming more and more unacceptable to the Afghan people. At the same time he also wants to make peace with the Taliban, but they have no desire for a pact with Washington. His dilemma, which he still refuses to understand, is that he can either ask for a long-term US presence or peace with the Taliban, but not both.
    America is clearly also exhausted by the two wars it has waged in Iraq and Afghanistan – the latter becoming the longest war in US history. Officers and soldiers have done several tours of duty in both countries, while the wars themselves have been virtually ignored at home. Neither war has yielded the dividends that Washington once hoped for. Osama bin Laden may be dead but al-Qaeda’s beliefs have spread their net into many more countries since 2001, while the Taliban have proved to be far more resilient than western forces could conceive of a few years ago.
    Yet the US military high command has been lobbying in Washington, insisting that some kind of victory in Afghanistan is still possible if only President Barack Obama would not withdraw so many troops so soon and if only Congress would keep the funding flowing. US generals have done their best to delay and undermine the still-weak hand played by the State Department in its efforts to get talks with the Taliban going. But now even the Republicans, many of whom have supported the military and condemned Mr Obama for daring to open talks with the Taliban, appear to be at a loss as to how to move forwards in Afghanistan.
    After the spate of incidents this year, there should be no doubt in Washington that seeking a negotiated settlement to end the war with the Taliban as quickly as possible is the only way out. Mr Obama has to put his weight behind this strategy to ensure an orderly withdrawal and to give the Afghan people the chance of an end to this war. A power-sharing formula with the Taliban, which now appears increasingly unavoidable, and an accord with neighbouring states to limit their interference, will be key.
    In 1989 it was America and Pakistan who refused to allow a political solution to end the fighting because they wanted not just the Soviets gone but also Moscow’s Afghan protégées led by Mohammad Najibullah. Instead he hung on for three years, resulting in a civil war. America cannot again leave Afghanistan with a civil war as its bequest to the Afghans. Washington, and Nato, must seek an end to the war before withdrawing their forces. Despite the tragic death of so many innocent children, this is still possible if there is a concerted diplomatic and political push.
    The writer is author of several books about Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia, most recently ‘Descent into Chaos’

    March 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm
    Over the past fifteen years, Ahmed Rashid, has made himself the authority on the Afghanistan-Pakistan conundrum. Via series of books and articles, he has made himself the ‘go-to’ person on the problems posed by the troublesome and wretched region. Anyone who is interested in acquiring any deep knowledge of these two countries, must acquaint himself with the writings of Ahmed Rashid. With all that being said, I for one am not in the least taken-in by the current line that he has been trumpeting these past two to three years, that negotiations with the Taliban, with or without International participation will be the only possible ‘solution’ to the War in Afghanistan. I say this, as someone who looks forward to the almost complete withdrawal American and Western forces in the region. Why then do I say this? Simply put, there is absolutely no evidence that the Taliban, who have so far shown themselves completely unwilling to come to terms with either Afghanistan President Karzai or the Americans, while the latter and their allies have approximately one-hundred and fifty thousand troops in the country, will use the occasion of the withdrawal of said troops to come to some sort of modus vivendi with the former. There is absolutely nothing in the modus operandi of the Taliban in either past or present to suggest that they would see the occasion of the withdrawal of the Western forces as a time to come to reasonable terms with the current regime in Kabul. Based upon past form, it is evident to me, that the Taliban will use the occasion of the withdrawal of Western ground forces to launch a major offensive to destroy the existing Aghan government in Kabul.
    With that being said, I for one do not advocate that there be a total withdrawal of American & Western forces from the country. Certainly ‘special forces’ and air squadrons, as well as drones, need to remain in Afghanistan. As well as a limited number of trainers and advisers in the various ministries. Recognizing of course that the latter element will remain at risk, as has been seen most recently. Unlike I presume Rashid, I believe that even sans Western ground forces, the Karzai regime, with the Western assistance outlined and with financial assistance continuing, and with the backing of the non-Pashtun majority of the country, can indeed remain in power over perhaps two-thirds to half of the country. Enough, I believe to prevent the Taliban from regaining power and possibly turning the country once again into a hotbed of International terrorist outrages and violence `a la 1997-2001. The real issue then is not ‘negotiating with the Taliban’, which essentially means negotiating terms of surrender. What has to be done, with or without Western ground forces is ensuring the survival of the Karzai regime and the maintenance of a semblence of stability. As Wadir Safi, a lecturer in law and political science at Kabul State University, thus providing a ‘grounds eyes view’ of the situation (unlike the safely residing in Europe, Rashid):
    “The Americans must determine if they have fulfilled their job or not,” Safi says. “The U.S. must think if they can really leave in 2013 or 2014. If they leave without reaching an agreement with the government and the insurgents, what will be the consequences of a withdrawal? If we can reach an agreement now, I would ask the Americans to go tomorrow, but if not, then they must stay here until they are sure that things will not become worse than they were 10 years ago, before they came.” Leaving behind chaos in Afghanistan “will show that the U.S. is not a superpower” 1.
    1. Quoted in: John Wendle, “Afghanistan: Rising Anger over American’s rampage, but also fear of US departure.” Time. 13 March 2012, in http://www.time.com.
    posted by Charles Giovanni Vanzan Coutinho, Ph.D

    Twitter Monitor
    March 21, 2012 at 1:03 pm
    Huma Imtiaz ‏ @HumaImtiaz
    Zing. Ahmed Rashid on BB in 07: “This time Zardari has been told to stay home in Dubai and mind the kids.”
    18 Mar Huma Imtiaz ‏ @HumaImtiaz
    I have a terrible feeling I’ve wasted $13 on the new Ahmed Rashid book.
    16 Mar Asad Munir ‏ @asadmunir38
    What Ahmed Rashid has written about FATA, 2001-2003 in “Decent into Chaos”,believe me there is not an iota of truth in that, all fiction
    Huma Imtiaz ‏ @HumaImtiaz
    Halfway into Ahmed Rashid’s book. Convinced its a rant by a bitter man waiting for the bijli to return and who’s mali has stolen the mangoes
    Azmat Khan ‏ @AzmatZahra
    Indian media: In his new book, Ahmed Rashid writes that Panetta wanted “parallel intel org” in Pakistan hidden from ISI
    Shashank Joshi ‏ @shashj
    So Ahmed Rashid’s new book seems to be a dud. What are the most readworthy, recently-published books on Pakistan then?
    3h Abdul Nishapuri ‏ @AbdulNishapuri
    “Shias = Iranian agents”: Ahmed Rashid enables #ShiaKilling http://wp.me/p1joLZ-auL
    View media
    3h Aisha Sarwari ‏ @AishaFSarwari
    “There’s no investment, no money, there’s no energy — I live in Lahore. We’ve had no gas for six months” Ahmed Rashid – http://www.npr.org/2012/03/20/148605645/ahmed-rashid-pakistan-lurches-from-crisis-to-crisis
    3h Aisha Sarwari ‏ @AishaFSarwari
    Pakistan on the Brink by Ahmed Rashid – “There could be a major terrorist attack in the US or Europe which is traced back to Pakistan” (NPR)
    Mohammad Taqi ‏ @mazdaki Close
    @Laibaah1 Since Ahmed ‘Balaach’ Rashid launched attacks on US oil in Balochistan his understanding of guerilla war has become rusty @mehmal

    Baqi Khan
    March 22, 2012 at 8:16 am
    Ahmed Rahid was also a a part of the ISI-sponsored Jinnah Institute’s pro-Strategic Depth Foreign Police elite’s report on the future of Afghanistan.
    For the last two or three years he has started receiving pay cheques from Aabpara. A double cross like Saleem Shahzad.

    April 7, 2012 at 7:13 am
    Shia-Sunni fight is what the aim of all these ISI sponsored puppets. The page Karbala-e-Quetta from facebook clarifies and answers why do Iran not throw in some supportive statements for the Shia killings – An answer for the sparrow sized minds who criticize Iran’s Leader’s neutrality towards religion rather than ethnicity.


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