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Pakistan lacks plan to defeat Taliban: US

The Obama administration has criticized Pakistan’s efforts against al-Qaida and Taliban militants, saying years after the conflict began, there remains “no clear path” toward defeating the insurgency on their side of the border with Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s efforts to launch a comprehensive fight against terrorism are greatly hampered by its perceived threat perception against India, US President Barack Obama has said in a new report to Congress.

* White House report to Congress says situation in FATA deteriorating

* Operation against Taliban in Mohmand Agency and Bajaur Agency hampered by terrorist resistance, poor weather, need to settle IDPs and discovery of caches of IEDsg Report says Pak-US military cooperation survived outcry caused by Raymond Davis shooting incident

WASHINGTON: Pakistan lacks a robust plan to defeat the Taliban and its security forces struggle to hold areas cleared of the al Qaeda-linked fighters at great cost, says a critical US report which came just three months before US President Barack Obama is scheduled to announce the pace at which American troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan.

The semi-annual White House report to Congress is designed to judge progress or otherwise towards key objectives of the war in Afghanistan and operations against al Qaeda in Pakistan.

The report notes a deterioration of the situation in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in the country’s northwest alongside the Afghan border between January and March this year. It details an operation in Mohmand Agency and Bajaur Agency that started in January to clear insurgent strongholds – the third time in two years that the Pakistani army has attempted to complete the task. It says the operation had been hampered by terrorist resistance, poor weather, the need to settle internally displaced people and the discovery of several caches of improvised explosive devices.

The report acknowledges that “tremendous human sacrifices” were made by Pakistani forces in the region, but concludes “what remains vexing is the lack of any indication of ‘hold’ and ‘build’ planning or staging efforts to complement ongoing clearing operations”.

“There remains no clear path toward defeating the insurgency in Pakistan, despite the unprecedented and sustained deployment of over 147,000 forces,” the Obama administration says in the report.

The critical assessment, however, emphasises that the US “must strengthen our dialogue with both Pakistan and Afghanistan on regional stability”. It also hints at the Obama administration plans to hold next round of trilateral talks with the two countries in Washington.

On a more encouraging note, the report says US-Pakistan military cooperation had survived the outcry caused by a deadly shooting incident involving a CIA operative, Raymond Davis. It also touches on strains in relations and refers to incidents involving NATO and ISAF incursions and closure of Torkham border.

The survey, portions of which remained classified, also reflects rising recent bloodshed in Afghanistan, particularly among civilians. It also warns that Pakistan still had no clear path to triumph over insurgents and that Afghanistan’s Taliban were turning more and more to soft civilian targets.

According to declassified portions of the report, Pakistan is central to US efforts to defeat al Qaeda. The report determines that “progress in our relationship with Pakisttan over the last years has been substantial, but also uneven”. It shows slight progress in the last six months in involving the international community to help stabilise Pakistan, and overall, modest progress in the US surge strategy to subdue the Taliban. But, it says that absenteeism and attrition continued to pose a risk to the quality of the Afghan national security forces that are vital to Washington’s goal of eventually drawing down its troop presence in Afghanistan. The report issued on Tuesday was not accompanied by any public statement by Obama. But, the report states clearly what many administration and Pentagon officials have long said in private: Without pressure from the Pakistani side of the border, it is virtually impossible to wipe out terrorism. agencies

Source: DailyTimes

In a harshly critical assessment of Pakistan’s efforts to tackle terrorists, the US has said that Islamabad has made little progress in the past year in battling militants and has “no clear path towards defeating insurgents”.

پاکستان کے پاس واضح منصوبہ نہیں: وائٹ ہاؤس

امریکی انتظامیہ نے کانگریس کو بھیجی گئی ایک رپورٹ میں کہا ہے کہ حکومتِ پاکستان کے پاس دہشت گردی کو ختم کرنے کے حوالے سے کوئی ’واضح منصوبہ‘ نہیں ہے۔

اس سال جنوری میں دہشت گردی کے خلاف جنگ پر امریکی سٹریٹیجک رپورٹ میں کہا گیا ہے کہ پاکستان کو دہشت گردی کے خلاف جنگ میں مزید اقدامات اٹھانے کی ضرورت ہے۔

یہ سالانہ رپورٹ صدر براک اوباما کے قومی سلامتی امور کے مشیران تیار کرتے ہیں جو امریکی کانگریس کے کو پیش کی جاتی ہے۔ یہ رپورٹ ایسے وقت پر سامنے آئی ہے جب تین ماہ بعد صدر اوباما افغانستان سے امریکی فوجیوں کے انخلاء کا اعلان کریں گے۔

وائٹ ہاؤس کی اس رپورٹ میں کہا گیا ہے کہ پاکستان نے دہشت گردی کے خلاف جنگ میں بڑی جانی قربانیاں دی ہیں اور امریکہ اور پاکستان کے درمیان فوجی تعاون کے باوجود دہشت گردی کے خلاف نمایاں پیش رفت نہیں ہوئی ہے۔

رپورٹ میں پاکستان کے قبائلی علاقے مہمند اور باجوڑ میں رواں سال شروع کیے گئے آپریشن کا ذکر کیا گیا ہے۔ رپورٹ میں کہا گیا ہے کہ یہ آپریشن دو سالوں میں تیسری بار کیا جا رہا ہے۔ رپورٹ کے مطابق اس آپریشن میں جنگجوؤں کی مزاحمت، خراب موسم اور بے گھر ہونے والے افراد جیسےے مسائل کے باعث کامیابی نہیں ہو رہی ہے۔

’پاکستان کی جانب سے کیے جانے والے آپریشن میں بظاہر علاقے پر قبضہ اور اس کے بعد کی منصوبہ بندی نظر نہیں آتی۔ اگرچہ پاکستان کی ایک لاکھ سینتالیس ہزار فوج دہشت گردی کے خلاف جنگ میں حصہ لے رہی ہے لیکن پاکستان کے پاس دہشت گردی کو ختم کرنے کے لیے واضح حکمتِ عملی نہیں ہے۔‘

رپورٹ میں مزید کہا گیا ہے کہ پاکستان اور افغانستان کو تعاون بڑھانے کی ضرورت ہے تاکہ سرحد کے دونوں جانب شدت پسندوں کا خاتمہ کیا جاسکے۔

رپورٹ میں افغانستان کے حوالے سے کہا گیا ہے کہ خودکش حملوں میں حالیہ اضافے سے یہ بات ثابت ہو گئی ہے کہ رواں سال کی جنگ کا آغاز ہو گیا ہے۔

حالیہ خودکش حملوں سے یہ بات سامنے آئی ہے کہ طالبان نے اپی حکمتِ عملی تبدیل کر لی ہے اور اب وہ آسان اہداف کو نشانہ بناتے ہیں جیسے کہ عام شہری اور سرکاری دفاتر۔

وائٹ ہاؤس کی اس رپورٹ میں کہا گیا ہے ’طالبان کی حکمتِ عملی میں تبدیلی سے یہ بات ظاہر ہوتی ہے کہ طالبان دباؤ میں ہے اور اسی لیے وہ شہریوں میں خوف و ہراس پیدا کر رہے ہیں۔‘

Source: BBC Urdu

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  • DAILY TIMES EDITORIAL: Fresh irritations

    The troubled Pak-US relationship seems headed for more choppy waters. In its latest semi-annual report to Congress, the White House has critiqued Pakistan’s lack of a robust plan for defeating the insurgency on its soil. The report says Pakistan struggles to hold areas cleared of al Qaeda-linked fighters at great cost. It quotes the example of military operations in Mohmand and Bajaur Agencies that started in January this year, the third such operation in two years. The operation has been hampered, the report argues, by underestimated terrorist resistance, poor weather (winter), the need to settle internally displaced people and the discovery of several caches of improvised explosive devices. While acknowledging the “tremendous human sacrifices” by the Pakistani forces, the report states that there seems no ‘hold’ and ‘build’ planning or efforts to complement the ongoing clearing operations. This means there is no clear path to defeating the insurgency despite the deployment of 147,000 forces in the area. Reports in our media say a similar situation persists in Swat, considered one of the more successful military campaigns. The reconstruction task to consolidate the hold of the authorities on the valley has gone abegging, partly because of a shortage of funds and the tawdry pace of US aid for the purpose, raising concerns about the possibility of a resurgence of the Taliban in that area. The White House report recognises the need to strengthen the trilateral dialogue with Pakistan and Afghanistan and ‘celebrates’ the survival of US-Pakistan military cooperation despite the Raymond Davis affair and strains surrounding NATO/ISAF incursions into Pakistani territory, which led to the temporary closure of the Torkham border.

    On Afghanistan, the report says bloodshed, particularly of civilians, is rising because the insurgents are increasingly turning to soft civilian targets. Pakistan’s sustained pressure on the Pak-Afghan border and the denial of safe havens to Afghan insurgents remain crucial to efforts to defeat al Qaeda. Progress in the relationship with Pakistan has been substantial over the last few years, but uneven. On the other hand, absenteeism and attrition pose great risks to the quality of the Afghan national security forces, whose development is central to the US/NATO plans to begin withdrawing troops starting this June.

    Meanwhile, in a reminder of the nature of guerrilla warfare, the Wall Street Journal has reported that al Qaeda is gradually returning to eastern Afghanistan, setting up bases for the first time in years in the wake of the withdrawal of US troops from the area to more populated centres. In stark contrast to the hope of the US command that the insurgents would follow the withdrawing troops to engage them in and around the more populated centres, the insurgents have stayed put and expanded their territorial influence in the vacuum left behind by the US troops.

    The two reports above point to the same phenomenon: the protracted nature of insurgency and counter-insurgency, involving many such see-saw changes of control between the contending sides. If the White House report criticises Pakistan for having to conduct operations again and again in ‘cleared’ areas as evidence of a lack of ‘hold’ strategy, the same could be ascribed to the Petraeus strategy of retreating from isolated outposts to more populated centres, thereby ‘abandoning’ huge swathes of territory to the tender mercies of the insurgents. Guerrillas rely on the inherent contradiction between holding territory and conducting pro-active operations against insurgents by a conventional army. The insurgents in Pakistan’s FATA and eastern Afghanistan have imbibed this lesson well.

    The White House report makes no mention of the repeated demand for an operation in North Waziristan, considered the last remaining solid redoubt of the insurgents. However, it also tilts against the civilian government, calling it weak, divided and inefficient. Combined, the strictures of the report against Pakistan’s military and civilian government will no doubt add fuel to the fire of the already troubled relationship. The military has already expressed its irritation at factual and conceptual errors it sees in the report. The civilian government so far is practising a diplomatic silence. Where this latest episode will lead is anyone’s guess. Both sides are joined out of necessity in a symbiotic embrace that does not easily lend itself to disengagement, while continuing to suffer the slings and arrows of outrage at each other’s perceived failures. *

  • Pakistan and US in patch-up efforts

    ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said on Thursday it was ready to work with the United States on its concerns about the fight against militancy, but cautioned it against making Pakistan a scapegoat for its failures in Afghanistan.

    The statement indicated that Islamabad was willing to come out of the latest denouement in relations with Washington that started with last month’s drone attack on a tribal jirga in North Waziristan and forced Pakistan to pull out of March 26 trilateral ministerial meeting with the US and Afghanistan.

    At her weekly briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson Tehmina Janjua rejected the White House assessment of Pakistan’s counter-insurgency operations and said that divergences on combating militancy in the region warranted purposeful Pak-US-Afghanistan engagement to deal with the challenges in the conflict.

    “There is undoubtedly recognition of the need for genuine and honest engagement between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US to overcome what are perceived to be common challenges and shared goals,” the spokesperson said, adding that Pakistan would be engaging with the US on these issues.

    Underlining the need for Pakistan, US and Afghanistan to engage with each other at both bilateral and trilateral levels, Ms Janjua noted that the three countries needed to be “on the same page to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan”.

    While indicating that a Pak-US rapprochement was in the works, the spokesperson placed special emphasis on keeping Pakistan’s national interest “foremost”.

    “We are building our bilateral relations with the US on principles of equality, respect, partnership, mutual interest and mutual trust.”

    Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir is likely to travel to Washington later this month to discuss contentious matters that have strained the relationship.

    The military and intelligence leadership of both countries is also engaging separately to discuss problems in their cooperation that was always taken as the foundation of Pak-US ties.

    It was, however, quite evident that Pakistani leadership was displeased with the White House report submitted to Congress earlier this week, which made a bleak appraisal of Pakistan’s progress in its fight against Taliban insurgents in tribal areas and had said that it (Pakistan) lacked a sound strategy to fight militancy.

    The report had further alleged that Pakistan’s poor planning for ‘hold’ and ‘build’ stages of its military operations was enabling militants to make a comeback in areas from where they had been driven out.

    The US, in an effort to complement Pakistan’s counter-insurgency operations, is said to have provided billions of dollars in the shape of military training, hardware and civilian aid programmes and has been particularly vexed over poor results.

    Ms Janjua rejected this perception and said: “Pakistan has a clear strategy in dealing with these and other issues and in doing so will solely be guided by Pakistan’s national interest.

    “I would like to emphatically state that we do not entirely share the US assessment,” she said, adding that references related to Pakistan in the report were “unwarranted”.

    Pakistan, she noted, was itself capable of evaluating its strengths and weaknesses in the fight against militants and the strategy being pursued by coalition forces in Afghanistan.

  • Pakistan Rejects White House Report on Terror

    A top U.S. military official traveled to Pakistan Thursday, a day after the release of a U.S. report slamming Pakistan for what it calls failed efforts in the counterinsurgency against Islamic radicals.

    General Mattis, chief of US Central Command – which heads up US military efforts for the entire region – discussed bilateral military cooperation with Pakistani Army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani at a time when the relationship between the two countries is strained by several events, most recently a report this week criticizing Pakistan’s counterinsurgency efforts.

    The United States considers Pakistan key to its efforts to stabilize Afghanistan and defeat al-Qaida. Over the past decade, it has supplied Pakistan with military and other aid to stop the Taliban and other militants from using the country as a safe haven.

    But this week’s White House report criticizes those efforts, charging that Pakistan has no clear path towards defeating the insurgency in the border areas near Afghanistan.

    Pakistan Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Tasmeena Janjua rejected the report’s findings.

    “We have seen the report that has been issued by the U.S. administration to the Congress,” said Janjua. “We realize that the report reflects a certain point of view on some very difficult issues. It, of course, reflects the U.S. point of view. I would emphatically state that we do not share the assessment of the U.S.”

    The White House report accuses Pakistan of not following through when targeting militant strongholds. The report claims the Pakistani military takes territory ,but falls short of completely securing the area, creating a power vacuum that allows the insurgents to return when the army moves out.

    Brigadier General Mahmood Shah is a former chief of Pakistani forces in the tribal areas. He says there is some truth to this criticism, but that still does not give the United States the right to issue orders to another country’s military.

    “I would say that I agree with the report when it comes to the country Pakistan lacks a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy,” said Shah. “I would agree to this. Trying to micromanage the technical details as to where and when the Pakistan army carries out an operation, probably I would disagree with this.”

    But the general also pointed out that there are a number of other legitimate counter-criticisms from the Pakistani establishment.

    Many here say that the White House is scapegoating Pakistan for U.S. failings in Afghanistan.

    Others point to the need for the U.S. to provide certain sensitive assistance to the Pakistani military, including handing over drone technology so that the Pakistan can run its own drone mission.

    But perhaps greater than anything else is the belief by many in Pakistan that they have sacrificed a great deal in the global fight against terrorism.

  • Pak disagrees with White House report on Af-Pak.

    Smarting over the criticism of its civil and military establishment by the U.S. Administration in its report to the Congress on Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Foreign Office on Thursday said Islamabad should not be held responsible for the failings of the counter-terrorism strategy adopted by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

    To questions on the report, Foreign Office spokesperson Tehmina Janjua again rejected the notion of Af-Pak in the U.S. scheme of things. “Emphatically” stating that Islamabad does not share the U.S. assessment of the war on terror, she described the references to Pakistan in the report as unwarranted without flagging any particular mention.

    According to the report, the denial of extremist safe havens will require greater cooperation with Pakistan along the border with Afghanistan and cannot be achieved through military means alone as sanitisation operations have to be backed with effective development strategies.

    What has evidently irked the Pakistani military establishment is the criticism of the Army for its inability to prevent to the return of extremists to areas that had been cleared. Referring to the extension of Operation Brekhna to Bajaur tribal agency, the report notes that this was the third time in two years that the Army was conducting a clearing operation in the same agency; “a clear indicator of the inability of the Pakistan military and government to render cleared areas resistant to insurgent return”.

    Stating that Pakistan has its own assessment of the strategy followed by ISAF vis-à-vis counter-terrorism and on issues of peace and security in Afghanistan, Ms. Janjua pointed out that the “Pakistani nation, its government, its security and armed forces” had done much more than any one country to deal with the issues of terrorism.

    Arguing that Pakistan had a clear strategy in dealing with terrorism and would be guided only by national interest, the Foreign Office said the report highlights the need for developing clarity and strategic coherence between all those involved in Afghanistan. “There is undoubtedly recognition of the need for genuine and honest engagement between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the U.S. to overcome what are perceived to be common challenges and shared goals. Pakistan will be engaging with the U.S. on these matters,” she said.

    As for the fate of the trilateral conference on Afghanistan which has been rescheduled twice this year — first by the U.S. in the wake of the Raymond Davis-related stand-off and then Pakistan pulled out after a drone attack in North Waziristan killed several civilians — she said Washington and Islamabad were in talks but nothing had been finalised as yet.

  • You want to get the dollars, cultivate the Taliban, and hate the Kffar.

    Nice deal you have going with infidel US of A. I guess the greenbacks, F-16, Tomahawks, Bombs and guns are are absolutely halaal whereas the white man is haraam.

    You got a good thing going. It just proves that in the land of the pure, one CAN have the cake and eat it too.