India, Pakistan and Afghanistan

By Geoffrey Cook, MMNS

The bombing, on July 7th of the Indian Embassy by a suicide attacker in Kabul was the worse single act of violence since 2002 in that capital. (The day before [the sixth] the United States Airforce mistakeningly identified a large wedding party for Taliban insurgents – slaughtering forty-seven men, women and children in the high dry landscape. Earlier that week the U.S. Air Force, also, had made a similar error although appalling, fortunately, it was not as disastrous.)

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on July 8th conveyed the fact that “New Delhi has been one of the pre-eminent of Asian donors to the Hindu Kush nation!” The Delegation Building sits directly across from the Afghanistani Ministry of the Interior. Toronto asked whether this attack could in actuality have been against the Afghans, or, even, if it could have been conducted by Rawalpindi’s intelligence, which accusation Bharat made immediately as they do out of habit continually since 1947 in any violent encounter against them! On a broadcast of the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) of the twelfth, relayed that the Kabul government in no uncertain terms accused Rawalpindi’s ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) of participation in the act. Hamid Karzai’s government, of course, only “confirmed” Pakistan’s connection to the assault against the Deputation of the Subcontinent’s dominant power there. Today (14th), the former power, especially, directly accused the latter’s ISI of being behind (political) crimes all over the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan! Kabul’s Cabinet passed a formal Resolution of Accusation of numerous murders of both Afghanis and foreigners, especially – including the Embassy bombing and the attempt upon the life of the President of the Republic!

Pakistan had had a tremendous amount of influence in the Mountains with the Taliban government before 2001 although it was “more unofficial than official.” In an interview by the CBC with the (Canadian) retiring General in charge of NATO (North Atlantic treaty Organization’s) Central Command in Brussels on the eleventh, the General stated that, despite widespread charges against the Pakistanis in the West, Islamabad is most committed to the security of their borders and loyalty to their allies in the region and to the NATO forces across the Durand Line. (By the way, the Canadians have the third largest contingent of NATO troops in the South of Afghanistan, and have taken the third highest casualties within the Northern Atlantic Alliance who are attempting to suppress the neo-Taliban resistance in the South.)

The United States has been upset at Islamabad’s new Government seeking peace with the Taliban and their (Pakistan’s) tribal citizen allies. Karachi is afraid of a massive attack. Incursions in the Province ruled from Peshawar are resented nationwide – only “creating a backlash”! The Governor of the Northwest Provinces that such criticism and saber rattling from the District of Columbia made it harder for him to fight militancy in his part of the Hindu Kush.

The North American network made aspirations against the Pakistani’s ISI involvement. The Canadians assumed the Taliban were responsible, yet the “Students [i.e. the Taliban]” deny it, and in the New York Times on the tenth, a reporter posted in that country insisted it was a militant tribal group in the (Pakistan’s) Northwest Province allied to the Taliban but not the latter assemblage itself.

Newsman on CBC English service stated (on the 8th) that the Taliban “…cannot defeat Canadians on the ground; therefore, they’ll attack ‘softer’ targets;” i.e., the Embassy, etc.

The BBC relayed an account of a fierce firefight last weekend (the thirteenth), wherein nine American soldiers were killed. What is most significant is that the incident may have happened on the Pakistani side of the border in Warizistan. The Pakistanis are most sensitive to their sovereignty!. Further, the U.S. has threatened to increase their military operations contiguous to the Frontier. Islamabad has warned the Coalition (NATO) not to make border raids in hot pursuit. Although Pakistan has suffered a significant number of casualties (well over 1500 deaths!), Washington has continually demanded an increase in their military aggression against their own (tribal) citizens while the new Islamic Republic of Pakistan’s (Parliament) new Government wishes to solve their internal problems in the Northwest Provinces (NWP) hopefully through the application of diplomacy peace!

The announcer in Ontario concluded, “The next few months will be critical!”

Nationalists like the Taliban claim authoritatively that they are better. To understand the Taliban, it is good to remember that they are Nationalistic but, at the same time, Stateless actors, and their strategy are to recapture Kandahar. Thus, the discourse of the nation that opposes these Nationalistic sub-State actors degenerates into that of security. A Nationalist (of the State or one striving to acquire hegemony over the Nation on both sides of the debate maintains the standard argument(s).

After the rise of the Karzai Administration began in Afghanistan, India gained influence among the Afghanis at the shrinkage of Islamabad’s political sphere with the defeat of their allied Taliban. Disesh Anand spoke on the Hindu/Muslim tension in India late last April in Berkeley. I see the possibility that the episode in Afghanistan may re-ignite the internal Hindu/Muslim within India itself. The split in fact reflects the larger international Indo-Pakistani divide even found now within the Hindu Kush Mountains and elsewhere – especially over Kashmir. The occurrence in Afghanistan may ignite a new front to the Indo-Pakistani struggle.

The Hindu Nationalists assert that New Delhi is under attack by terrorists; and, thus, their allegation of ISI participation in the assault upon their Legation has ignited their national media that, strangely enough, has been “totally secularized” into white and black. This incident in Kabul will only open old wounds amongst the Hindu Right, for them India is under attack by terrorists. This occurrence proves to be the totally irrational accusation. Along with the worldwide Global economic crisis, threatens the moderate Congress Government, and the treatment of Muslims within India as well as the Indo-Pakistani confrontation.

Indian Muslims are not comfortable within their habitat. To the Hindu fundamentalists, Muslims appear backward. Also, for them, their religion is backward. Further, this attitude can be seen in New Delhi’s foreign policy. To New Delhi’s right wing, the Islamic countries are rigid and fanatical. Thus, some of Islamabad’s runagate intelligence services would see the growth of the Indian presence above their Northern border as threatening, and could have worked with the Taliban, but I doubt it was made from the Center of the Government or even the Army, itself.

For Karachi, India’s new found influence across the Durand Line is threatening, for strategically, this opens a potential new martial front. Pakistan has done much to defuse the tension on the LoC (the Line of Control) that divides Kashmir.

The problem with the July 6th episode is that it may awaken Hindu violence upon Muslims in the Homeland. (India, incidentally, has the third largest Islamic population in the world.) Psychologically, certain Hindu men have to prove their masculinity in the backdrop of Medieval Muslim conquest through violence. For this group, foreign militant Islamic violence may trigger aggression against innocent Indian Muslims.

Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail!


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