India-Pakistan: The Pawns Gambit


December 21, 2021: The current OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) meeting in Pakistan is one the best attended ever, with government officials from all 57 member nations attending as well as the UN and United States, Britain, France Russia and China. These five are only UN members with a permanent veto power in the UN. There were also representatives from the Taliban IEA (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan) government, who wanted to challenge membership by the IRA (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) government the Taliban deposed in August. So far, no foreign country, including Pakistan, has officially recognized the IEA as the new government of Afghanistan. Many countries are quietly discussing the matter with IEA officials but this has not led to any changes in recognition.

This OIC meeting is all about Pakistani efforts to get the IEA recognized as the government of Afghanistan. If that happens, Pakistan is prepared to make a lot of promises they can’t keep in order to get foreign aid for the IEA. Getting the IEA recognized as a legitimate government is subordinate to getting foreign aid. Saudi Arabia is the current head of the OIC and does not agree with how Pakistan has used the Taliban to gain control of Afghanistan. The IEA is controlled by officials who take orders from Pakistan. After decades of lies, Pakistan has lost the support of most Islamic nations, especially when it comes to Afghanistan. Pakistan created the Taliban from young Afghan teenagers and men attending Saudi-supported religious schools to go fight in the Afghan civil war that followed the departure of Russian forces by 1989. This was a disaster because their Taliban gained control of most of the country and supported Islamic terrorists that attacked Iran as well as the West and triggered a response that has been a disaster for the Islamic world, especially in the Middle East. Pakistan is bankrupt because of its decades of support for Islamic terrorists. The Pakistani military, which now controls the Pakistani government, is behind this self-destructive behavior that is opposed by most elected Pakistani officials.

To make matters worse the situation inside Afghanistan is worse now than it was during the 1990s. The Pakistani military now has nuclear weapons, something they achieved by 1998 and believed it would make Pakistan immune from foreign threats about their Afghan policy. After September 11, 2001 the Pakistani generals realized their puny nuclear arsenal had become a liability when the Americans told Pakistan they could either help suppress the Taliban and Islamic terrorism in Afghanistan or go to war with the United States. Pakistan agreed to cooperate but lied to and deceived a growing list of foreign allies, including major Islamic nations like Saudi Arabia and Iran while continuing to support useful Islamic terrorist and criminal groups.

After 2001 Pakistan discovered that they could not control the entire Taliban organization. Back then the Taliban leadership was enjoying sanctuary in Pakistan and the Taliban gunmen inside Afghanistan supported themselves by serving as hired guns of the heroin cartels. Pakistan became known as the Moslem country most responsible for Afghanistan becoming the source of most (over 90 percent) of the world’s heroin supply. For neighboring nations this was a disaster because the cheap Afghan opium and heroin turned over ten million Moslems in nations bordering Afghanistan into addicts.

Carrying all this deadweight into the OIC meeting, Pakistan is asking for Islamic nations to provide food and other aid for the IEA. Twenty years of relative peace and very real prosperity followed the 2001 Taliban defeat. The Pakistani-backed effort to get the Taliban, as the IEA, back in power turned out to be an economic disaster for Afghanistan because 80 percent of its government’s budget and all emergency supplies came from foreign aid, most of it American, and that stopped when the IEA took over. Pakistan was unable to help, nor was anyone else. Worse, the IEA does not have much control over the many Taliban factions that dominate various parts of Afghanistan. Many of those factions’ support Taliban control but oppose Pakistani interference. Most factions recognize that the drug cartels are not popular inside Afghanistan or among any of the neighboring countries. The drug cartels depend on Pakistan to provide vital supplies of industrial chemicals needed to turn opium into heroin. Pakistan also provides heroin smugglers access to Pakistani ports and other transportation facilities to distribute the heroin worldwide. For this the Pakistani military received large fees, something most Pakistanis do not support.

Replacing the missing foreign aid in Afghanistan is not a popular project for Islamic countries, who have become dependent on Western countries to carry most of that load worldwide. Now Pakistan brings all of this out into the open in order to save Afghan people, or maintain Pakistani control of Afghanistan, or to maintain the control the Pakistani military exercises over Pakistan, or all three. Pakistan has a weak hand but without foreign support for the IEA government Afghanistan will become an economic and human disaster as well as a sanctuary for even more Islamic terrorist groups.

Pakistan came out of the OIC meeting with a compromise that enabled Pakistan to declare victory while leaving the IEA without diplomatic recognition or instant relief. This came in the form of having the IDB (Islamic Development Bank) manage a trust fund for nations to use to send relief money to individuals or organizations in Afghanistan. This is not a win for Pakistan or the IEA because of the FATF (Financial Action Task Force), an anti-money-laundering organization established in 1989 by the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan. In 2001 FATF added financial support for terrorism to their continued efforts against money laundering. The FATF itself does not impose any punishments and is more like a credit rating agency. There are only three ratings; no evidence of supporting money-laundering, the gray list (some evidence of money laundering or financial support for terrorist activity) and the black list (much evidence and no efforts to deal with it). Currently only two nations are on the black list’ North Korea and Iran and both considered outlaw states and no place to send financial aid. Currently 23 nations are on the gray list, including Pakistan and Turkey. The next step is the black list and most nations spend a short time on the gray list, just long enough to clear up the criminal activity that got them gray listed. Pakistan has long been a few steps away from the black list. Pakistan has been on the gray list since 2012, except for three years off the list that ended in 2018 when they were put back on. The IDB has had problems with the FATF because nations getting financing or aid via IDB were found to be diverting some of that aid money to Islamic terrorists. This has been a favorite financing method for Islamic terror groups but now that the FATF is monitoring financial institutions for this sort of thing legitimate lenders or aid providers stay away from any charity associated with gray list level behavior.

Therefore, the Pakistan’s success at the OIC conference is a sham. With FATF scrutiny on the IEA donation portal, any donors using it must be very certain that whoever is getting the aid in Afghanistan will not misuse it.

The Chinese Method

China has a very different relationship with Pakistan and Afghanistan. China sees major economic opportunities in Afghanistan but questions the degree to which its Pakistan client controls things there. China has warned Chinese companies sending teams or individuals to Afghanistan to check out potential opportunities, that they must obtain permits from the IEA, and expect to pay large fees to IEA for this and even larger bribes to local tribes and Taliban factions who occupy areas containing some of the trillions of dollars’ worth of mineral resources. China has been trying to get at these mineral riches for decades but has been put off by the heroin cartels, Taliban factions and tribal militias all demanding payment for access and violence if they are not paid. Unlike elsewhere, especially central Africa, Chinese bribes and ruthless business practices will not succeed in Afghanistan. Not until the IEA truly controls the country, or at least those portions containing the natural resources and the exit (to China) routes from landlocked Afghanistan. That sort of national control has never existed in Afghanistan.

Pakistani generals told China that the new IEA government was controlled by Afghans who were veteran Pakistani agents. This included a senior member of the Haqqani Group who has been running the Taliban for several years and is now a senior member of the IEA government. Despite all that Afghanistan is still a violent, unpredictable place. The IEA and Pakistan were dismayed to find the government Afghan treasury empty (or nearly so) when they took over. The corruption Pakistan, the Taliban and heroin cartels encouraged to weaken the former IRA government had done its job too well and the corrupted officials either moved their illicit fortunes to foreign banks or invested in property and other assets in Afghanistan, where there were few buyers able or willing to purchase them from the IEA. This was discovered when the IEA sought to auction off some of these assets to pay overdue bills for electricity imported from northern neighbors.

There is no money to pay skilled government personnel that the IEA wants (and often needs) to keep their new government going. Over $10 billion in foreign aid was kept in foreign banks by the donor nations and disbursed as needed but often delayed because of the continued corruption in the IRA government. The heroin cartels never represented more than ten percent of the GDP and were already “taxed” via the bribes paid to IRA officials to leave alone heroin production and smuggling to foreign markets via Pakistan. The leaders of the 1990s Taliban understood how this worked and some Taliban leaders of the current generation do as well, and that is one reason why the IEA leadership has so many factions that disagree with Pakistani control and how that is keeping foreign donors away.

Since 2011 Pakistan has become dependent on China for weapons, economic investment, and protection from foreign (including UN) economic sanctions. This support disappears, or greatly diminishes, if Pakistan cannot deliver an Afghanistan stable enough for Chinese firms to operate in. China always demanded a similar performance from Pakistan when it came to terrorist violence against Chinese in Pakistan. That violence still occurs and appears to be increasing because there are more attacks in Pakistan by Islamic terrorists or Afghan resistance groups based in Afghanistan. China sees the IEA situation more clearly than the Pakistani generals do and agrees with potential foreign donor nations that the IEA is a bad place to send aid or investment money.

Several recent conferences by neighboring nations to discuss the IEA situation seem to agree that the IEA will be less successful than the 1990s version, which was expelled from Afghanistan shortly after September 11, 2001, when the Americans backed the opposition in northern Afghanistan and got Pakistan to back off, for a while. The Pakistani military saw the recent takeover of Afghanistan by the IEA and heroin cartels as a great victory. Everyone else, including the political opposition in Pakistan and all potential donor nations are less optimistic.

China is seeking to dominate the region by using Pakistan, a Pakistan controlled Afghanistan and an isolated Iran as violent but obedient partners in Chinese efforts to dominate South Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East. While China is now a military and economic superpower, something that China was not back in the 1980s. China is now powerful enough to exercise the kind of control it needs to get what it needs out of all three regions. China does not seek allies, but dependent client states. The Pawn Patrol of Pakistan, Iran and the Taliban are the best China could get. China will cut its losses if it must but would rather not and is willing to take chances to keep those three pawns in play.

December 19, 2021: As the end of the year approaches India finds that despite all the renewed Pakistani efforts to generate more Islamic terrorism in Kashmir, 2020 and 2021 were the least violent ever. Fewer than 300 deaths from Islamic terrorist and rebel activity throughout India. Most of the deaths have nothing to do with Islamic terrorism and occur in eastern India where communist and tribal rebels are fading but still fighting. Most of the deaths from Islamic terrorist and rebel violence occur among the terrorists and rebels, the rest of the deaths shared by the security forces and the least number of deaths are civilians. Pakistan, or at least the Pakistan military, seeks to get the most out of each violent incident in Kashmir to vilify India for defending itself from Pakistanis sponsored violence.

December 18, 2021: In northwest India (Punjab and Kashmir) border forces detected and shot down a 23 kg (51 pound) Chinese quad-copter entering Indian Punjab from Pakistani Punjab. This one was a hexa-copter, a quad-copter design with six propellers and a 10 kg (22 pound Since 2019 Indian troops in Kashmir have been detecting Pakistan using UAVs to deliver small quantities of weapons and other supplies to Islamic terrorists operating on the Indian side of the border. There were 167 sightings in 2019 and nearly as many this year. The failed use of tunnels under the border apparently led to trying UAVs to carry smaller quantities of supplies to Pakistani terrorist operatives in Kashmir. This urgent supply effort is a response to the heavy casualties the infiltrators suffer because of the improved border security. In July of this year later India announced a major program to issue UAV (mainly quad-copter) jammers to troops in border areas where unidentified UAVs were observed crossing the border. The order was caused by a June 27 incident where an air force base suffered two explosions which turned out to be from explosives carrying UAVs (drones). The base is only 14 kilometers from the Pakistan border.

In northwest Pakistan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) soldiers raided a suspected TTP safe house and found a mid0level TTP leader called Ghafoor, who refused to surrender. During a brief gun battle Ghafoor was killed and a soldier wounded.

December 16, 2021: In northwest Pakistan, across the border in Afghanistan (Kunar province), a senior leader of the TTP (Pakistani Taliban) was the target of a laser guided rocket fired from a UAV above the village he was staying in. The missile failed to detonate. Two TTP gunmen were wounded. No pictures of the missile wreckage were made available so it is difficult to determine where it came from. Pakistan has been using Chinese UAVs since 2009 and by 2015 had armed them and used them against Islamic terrorists, including TTP, in 2015. In September 12015 a Pakistani Burraq UAV, armed with Pakistani Barq laser guided missiles, to kill three Islamic terrorists in North Waziristan. This was a first for Pakistan. While Pakistan has, for nearly a decade, officially condemned and opposed similar strikes by American UAVs in North Waziristan, it never outright banned the American use of armed UAVs in certain parts of Pakistan. The U.S. refused to sell Pakistan UAVs that could carry laser guided missiles, mainly because the Americans didn’t, and still don’t, trust Pakistan. There were other suppliers and eventually Pakistan bought a similar (to the U.S. Predator) UAV from China in 2009 and began building their own. and calling the larger one Burraq.

December 15, 2021: The United States released its annual Country Reports on Terrorism, covering nations the U.S. considers as bases for international terrorists. Pakistan is still on the list, mainly for the Islamic terror groups the Pakistani military has been supporting for decades as long as they carry out attacks the Pakistani generals designate and cause no problems inside Pakistan. Official documents like this, which many countries compile and often publish, tend to result in nations being sanctioned, or worse, for not halting this form of deadly aggression against foreign enemies, real or perceived. Pakistan does receive credit for its counterterrorism efforts, but this is largely for suppressing Islamic terror groups that consider the current Pakistani government an “enemy of Islam” and in needs of extermination. These groups would attack Western targets if they could but they can’t because they are stuck inside Pakistan and attack what is available.

December 14, 2021: In southwest Pakistan (Baluchistan) a group of gunmen, apparently Baluchi separatists, attacked an army checkpoint and killed a soldier and escaped with no losses of their own. The other source of such attacks are Iranian Sunni Islamic terrorists, who often establish camps in Baluchistan and will attack Pakistani security forces in some circumstances.

December 12, 2021: In northwest Pakistan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) there were two attacks on polio vaccination teams, one today and one yesterday. Each attack, by two gunmen on a motorcycle, left a policeman dead while the attackers sped away quickly. The TTP (Pakistani Taliban) said they were responsible for one of the attacks. This the third such attack this year. Officially, the major Islamic terror groups oppose such attacks but there are plenty of fringe members of Islamic terror groups who will disregard their leadership and attack anyway. These three attacks come two years after Pakistan launched a media campaign against those who oppose polio vaccination and vaccinations in general. Despite strenuous efforts, Pakistan has been unable to eliminate polio via vaccinations. For a long time, the main opposition were Islamic conservative clerics who called the vaccinations an attempt by Western nations to poison Moslem children. While few of those clerics remain, there are now more Pakistanis agreeing with Western anti-vaccination groups and insisting there are harmful side effects. Numerous controlled studies have not demonstrated any evidence of this but it has become a popular cause. There are other problems unique to Pakistan. For example, polio is making a comeback among refugees on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border. This came after another major effort in 2017 to vaccinate vulnerable Afghan and Pakistani children against polio. In 2016 there were 20 cases of polio in Pakistan and 13 in Afghanistan. There were four in Nigeria, a country declared free of polio in 2020. In Pakistan and Afghanistan there are still religious problems with vaccination. The Afghan Taliban have openly supported the vaccination program but there are still some rural areas where local Moslem clerics or teachers still denounce the vaccinations. There is a similar situation in Pakistan, where some fringe Islamic groups will still try and kill members of the vaccination teams. Since 2008 over a hundred vaccinators and police escorts have been killed. This year there are a quarter million vaccinators and nearly as many security personnel seeking to vaccinate 40 million young (under five) children.

December 11, 2021: In a major embarrassment to Pakistan and the Pakistan backed IEA government in Afghanistan, several hundred TTP (Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan) members openly traveled in a convoy through northwest Pakistan. TTP is a Pakistani Taliban group that is much smaller than the IEA, in part because it opposes the drug cartels that finance the Afghan Taliban. TTP is perpetually poor and gets by anyway it can. The TTP wants to establish an Islamic government in Pakistan and eliminate the current corrupt Pakistani military leadership, something most Pakistanis can agree with, The TTP later distributed an hour-long video of this road trip and showed TTP leaders giving speeches in mosques, where the TTP leaders claimed that they have many members who also work, or worked, for the IEA but left because of the dependence on drug money and control the Pakistani military exercises over the IEA leaders. Since November 9 the TTP has had a ceasefire with the Pakistani military to facilitate negotiations. Yesterday the TTP withdrew from the ceasefire, accusing the Pakistan military of being uncooperative and not willing to negotiate.

December 8, 2021: In southern India, (Tamil Nadu) an Mi-17 military helicopter carrying General Bipin Rawat was killed. He was the Indian military senior general who was the first CDS (Chief of Defense Staff) of the Indian Armed Forces. He died in a helicopter crash and was accompanied by his wife and eight other passengers and four crew. The helicopter crashed in foggy weather, killing all but one of the passengers on board. Rawat held the CDS job for 23 months and had made a lot of progress implementing long-overdue reforms. Recent reforms created this new command structure.

The sole survivor of the crash, an air force Group Captain (colonel) who commanded jet fighter units, died after a few days of intensive care.

December 3, 2021: In Pakistan a local reformer (Idris Khattak) was charged with espionage and sedition, convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison. Three retired army officers faced similar charges, but not in connection with Khattak, who was kidnapped by the military in 2019 and was expected to just disappear, or show up dead. The military is trying to improve its image, Khattak was held and questioned about his sources. Some of them are in the government and military. Retired officers often go public with illegal acts they witnessed and are usually arrested and prosecuted, rather being “disappeared”.

November 29, 2021: Pakistan is making an extraordinary effort to rehabilitate the reputation of Islamic terrorists that have thrived because of sanctuary in Afghanistan and Pakistan. There is some popular support for this in Pakistan and even pro-democracy politicians will appeal to voters who generally oppose Islamic terrorism, especially if it endangers them, but still appreciate politicians who will praise well-known leaders of Islamic terror groups. Pakistani prime minister Imran

Two months before the Afghan Taliban took control in Afghanistan Khan declared that Osama bin Laden was a martyr for Islam. This is seen as another example of Kahn doing the bidding of the military, but portraying bin Laden as a hero while condemning his followers who killed Moslems, especially Pakistani Moslem civilians is acceptable in many Moslem countries. For Kahn, it was military support and media intimidation that got him elected and now Kahn is joining the military in defending bin Laden as well as the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan. This very public move by Kahn cost him a lot of support inside and outside Pakistan. Kahn was always seen as beholden to the Pakistani military for helping his election campaign via military supplied vote rigging, and further support via growing military control of Pakistani media via intimidation and when that does not work, murder. Kahn did not seem comfortable explaining to Westerners or even some Arab leaders, why he called bin Laden a “martyr” and excused it as a slip of the tongue, or, more privately, seeking to avoid becoming a martyr.

Since 2011 the Pakistani military has had less popular support because of the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden in his Pakistani hideout and left with the bin Laden corpse and massive amounts of documents, many of them detailing how the Pakistani military had lied to the world about secret support for al Qaeda and many other Islamic terror groups. After 2011 the military made a few changes like going to war with Islamic terror groups that carried out unauthorized (by the military) attacks inside Pakistan. There is still Islamic terrorist violence inside Pakistan but most of it is done without permission from the military. What Islamic terrorism the military still used inside Pakistan had a specific purpose. Case in point is the growing use of blasphemy charges by Islamic religious parties against those who threaten military power. Most of these parties are either allies of the military or literally on the army payroll. This program includes the new Islamic political parties formed by Islamic terror groups that have long worked for the military to carry out attacks inside India. The Pakistani military wants to protect these Islamic terror groups and turning them into political parties is the latest ploy. The covert violence against foreign (Afghan and Indian targets) is against Pakistani and international law and the Pakistani military continues to claim that it is not involved.

Meanwhile Kahn presides over a bankrupt economy, which is largely the fault of military corruption. Misbehavior by the military has played a major role in fewer countries willing to lend Pakistan money, or even do business with them.

September 28, 2021: In southwest Pakistan (Baluchistan) someone firing across the border with Iran killed a Pakistani soldier patrolling the border. The usual suspects are Iranian Sunni Islamic terrorists, firing across the border from Iran at border guards.

November 27, 2021: In northwest Pakistan (North Waziristan) gunmen from Afghanistan attacked an army outpost and killed two soldiers. It is unknown if the attackers went back to Afghanistan or continued into Pakistan.




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