Af-Pak Woes-Begotten

January 28, 2011

In the last couple of years, the US foreign take on the disaster in Afghanistan is to junk on another acronym, ‘Af-Pak,’ in an apparent effort to link Pakistan with the war being lost in the region.
And Af-Pak is more than a mouthful.

Despite dumping some $1.5 billion a year in aid to Pakistan, the peoples populating that country pretty much hate our guts, creating a wonderful recruiting tool for the Taliban or any other insurgent operation whose aim is to kick American ass.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari are two putrid peas in a pod — neither is worth a shit, both ineffective, corrupt and widely disliked.

(Illustration found here).

An independent media company and Web site based in Brooklyn, New York, Vice, and its broadband TV network, VBS.TV, made a recent fact-finding trip to Pakistan to check out how really bad it is, and came away with a view that it’s worse.
Via CNN:

In a recent trip to Pakistan to report on the recent spike in the region’s violence and bloodshed, I heard over and over the same sentiment from people on the ground; America’s war on terror is falling flat on its face.

Heroin is now actually cheaper than hashish in cities such as Lahore.
The Kalashnikov culture, the foundation of which was laid 30 years ago when the CIA financed the mujahedeen, is all-consuming.
According to the Pakistanis I spoke to, it’s all taken a devastating toll on the country and created the next generation of militants at the same time.

(In an interview with Rahimullah Yusufzai, one of Pakistan’s most respected journalists).

“People have suffered, and they are willing to take revenge,” he said. “All villages have been attacked, women and children have been killed. So the Taliban can very easily motivate these families to supply suicide bombers.”
Today’s anti-West tide in Pakistan boils down to reactivity, retaliation and revenge.
“In Pashtun society, taking revenge is very important,” Yusufzai said.
“You know, there is a saying in Pashto: ‘Even if you take revenge after 100 years, it’s not too late.’
And most of these I believe are retaliation attacks.
Suicide bombings and the use of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) are the two most effective means of weaponry that the militants can use in this part of the world.”

In Peshawar, I also tracked down Shabir Ahmed Khan, the provincial secretary of Jamaat-i-Islami, a multimillion-member Islamic movement widely considered in Pakistan to be al Qaeda friendly.
As soon as we sat down, I could tell he was pissed.
“The problems surrounding us here are not caused by Taliban or al Qaeda,” he said. “It’s the Western policies. If Westerners are going to kill and murder us, then we will have to fight back.”
He continued, uninterrupted: “There’s a saying: ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend.’ America is playing the role of an enemy, and al Qaeda is the reaction to it. People need to realize this. No one has the right to dictate over a free country. They force their political and social policies on us, which they have no right to.”

Not very pretty, huh?

And yesterday (Thursday) another piece of shit to plug up the toilet.
According to the New York Times (h/t antiwar.com):

An American official shot and killed two men on a motorcycle who apparently threatened to rob him at gunpoint while he was driving his car in the city of Lahore on Thursday, according to senior police officials there.
The official, Raymond Davis, who was posted to the United States Consulate in Lahore, called the consulate for help during the episode, and a four-wheel-drive vehicle that tried to come to his rescue hit and killed a third man, said the senior superintendent of police, Faisal Rana.
Later, Lahore police officials filed murder charges against Mr. Davis on Thursday night in the deaths of the two men on the motorcycle.
The police indicated that they were no longer convinced that there had been an attempted robbery.
The deaths of three Pakistanis in a case involving an armed American official at midday in a busy metropolitan area could heighten anti-American sentiment, which already runs high in Pakistan. Many here distrust and disapprove of the United States’ support of the fight against Taliban militants in the country.

Even within the uppy-up financial gathering now ongoing in Davos, Switzerland, the Af-Pak bullshit hits the fan.
Pakistani politician Imran Khan said the war on terror took a wrong turn very shortly after Sept. 11, 2001.
Via Fox News:

“This war on terror is a disaster for the people of the U.S.
It’s a bigger disaster for the people of Pakistan.
It is causing more radicalization, more polarization in the society.
The war is perceived by the vast majority as a war against Islam and because it is perceived as a war against Islam there is no shortage of people willing to die for it.”

Imran Khan says mistakes in what was originally dubbed the “War on Terror” were made early on. Al Qaeda, he says, the perpetrators of 9/11, should have been isolated, and attacked as criminals, terrorists.
The Taliban, actually, were not the problem, according to Khan.
“The invasion of Afghanistan was all wrong because the Taliban were not terrorists. They were religious fundamentalists.
There is a big difference between militant extremists and religious fundamentalists. They were just fundamentalists reacting to the violence of the Afghan warlords.”

Khan says that the United States squandered goodwill in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
“You see, the whole Muslim world on 9/11 was willing to help the United States. Why not co-opt the Muslim world to go after these few criminals?”

Khan says watching events in Tunisia and Egypt, he warns that Pakistan is even more vulnerable.
“Things are much worse in Pakistan than in Tunisia. Every now and then you have riots in Pakistan — not at the same level, but you get the feeling that any time something could happen.”

The operative words there are ‘any time,’ which means yesterday.
Add all that crap compounded into this: The United States is at risk of wasting roughly $11.4 billion unless it comes up with a plan for constructing and maintaining nearly 900 Afghan National Security Forces facilities, according to a new report by a top federal watchdog.

When will reality take hold of Washington?

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