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writing for godot

Why India Manipulated the Ghazni Terror Attack of Afghanistan?

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Written by Sajjad Shaukat   
Monday, 10 September 2018 01:05

On August, this year, Taliban fighters attacked the Ghazni city of Afghanistan, killing at least 14 police officers and wounded dozens before the US-supported Afghan forces pushed them out of the city after a few days.

Afghan high officials revived the old blame game against Pakistan by accusing the security agencies of Pakistan regarding the Ghazni terror attack. Afghan defence minister Tariq Shah Bahrami allegedly said that Ghazni attack had been carried out by Taliban with the support of external elements, including Pakistanis.

Indian media availed the opportunity and manipulated the Taliban attack against Pakistan. In this regard, under the title, “India’s Afghan projects face higher risks after Pak Army, ISI role in Ghazni attack”, Indian business newspaper, The Economic Times allegedly wrote on August 23, 2018: “India-funded projects and programmes in Afghanistan face increased risk as Afghan officials have alleged that the recent attack launched by the Taliban in Ghazni involved presence of Pakistan Army and Pakistan’s intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in aid of the terrorist group. Senior Afghan officials told ET that evidence of ISI’s involvement in Ghazni attack would be shared with Pakistan soon even as the Pakistan Army chief has denied role of his men. Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) has accused the ISI of plotting the Ghazni attack. An NDS officer told ET that the ISI had tasked terrorist group Lashkare-Taiba with executing the attack.”

In this respect, under the caption, “Pak’s military plotted Ghazni attack”, Afghan-based website Tolonews allegedly said on August 29, 2018, “Spokesman of the Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior (MoI) Najib Danish said Pakistan’s military establishment planned and provided the necessary aid to Taliban insurgents to carry out the coordinated attack on Ghazni city”.

The fact of the matter is that Ghazni terror assault was manipulated especially by India to sabotage the trip of the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who along with the US Joint Chief of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford had arrived on an official visit to Islamabad met with Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on September 5, this year.

Prior to Pompeo’s, New Delhi wanted to spoil positive development between Pakistan and the United States. In this context, many programmes and news items have been seen in electronic and print media. Meanwhile, by exploiting the recent controversy between Prime Minister Imran Khan and the opposition parties about telephone call between the Prime Minister Khan and the US Secretary of State Pampeo, Indian media was leveling allegations on Pakistan by propagating that Islamabad was telling lie. In fact, New Delhi was worried over the surge in Pak-US relations and was undertaking media campaign to sabotage it in accordance with the instructions of the Indian Government.

Foreign Office Spokesman of Pakistan Dr Faisal stated on August 31, 2018: “Pakistan wants an end to the controversy surrounding a telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Imran Khan and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo…and move forward politically.”

However, the visit of the Mr. Pompeo was positive, as serious differences have arisen between Pakistan and the US. In this connection, a few days before the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s trip to Pakistan, the US cancelled USD 300 million in military aid (The so-called Coalition Support Funds) to Islamabad, accusing the latter for failing to rein in the terror groups operating from its soil in Afghanistan.

After having strong relationship with the United States for more than 60 years, a fissure has been occurred in Pak-US ties which have been moving on backtrack because of a number of reasons, and Pakistan has been further strengthening its relations with China. It has also inclined towards the Russian Federation which also needs the latter. Particularly, the US-led secret strategy which is part of Zionist-led American double game—being exploited by New Delhi, compelled Pakistan to fortify its relations with Russia.

In this respect, an agreement has been signed on August 7, this year between Pakistan and Russia for training of Pakistani troops in Russia, decided at culmination of first meeting of joint Military Consultative Committee (JMCC) in Islamabad. Pakistan’s defence ties with Moscow are growing strong with each passing day and this pact has opened new avenues of cooperation between the two countries. A desire from both sides has already been seen in the near past in boosting economic and political relation. Obviously, these moves are seen with suspicion by the US and India, including Israel. The fact of the matter is that American President Donald Trump’s pro-Indian strategy and anti-Pakistan policies have forced Islamabad to find new alliances.

Pakistan’s Army chief Gen. Javed Bajwa arrived in Russia for two-day visit on April 24, this year. It was General Bajwa’s first visit to Russia.

The statement of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said, “Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa arrived in Russia…where he met with Commander of Russian Federation Ground Forces Colonel General Oleg Salyukov at the Kremlin Palace…During the meeting, the Russian ground forces commander acknowledged achievements of Pakistan Army in fight against terrorism and contributions for regional peace and stability. Colonel General Salyukov said that Pakistan is a geo-strategically important country and Russia is keen to expand its existing bilateral military-to-military cooperation…The COAS thanked the Russian commander and said that Pakistan reciprocates desire of enhanced bilateral military engagements. General Bajwa said that Russia has recently played a positive role to help resolve complex situations in the region.”

Russia has offered Pakistan counter-terrorism equipments. The package includes 10 MI-17 helicopters of unarmed configuration. When Russian military Chief Col-Gen. Alexander Postnikov visited Pakistan in May 2011, he discussed with the former Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani—the possibility of expanding defence ties by holding joint military exercises, exchanging trainees and trainers and selling and buying weapons. Moscow has also offered to sell Sukhoi Superjet 100, a modern aircraft with a capacity of up to 95 passengers, while upgradation of Pakistan Steel Mills by Russia is being finalized. In the recent past, it was the first time that joint military exercises were conducted between the two countries in Pakistan.

In 2011, Putin publicly endorsed Pakistan bid to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and remarked that Pakistan was a very important partner in South Asia and the Muslim world for Russia. Now, Pakistan has joined the SCO. In the recent years, besides, various annual summits of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation which includes Russia, China and four Central Asian states including Pakistan and Iran, on 16 August 2007, in their summit, the leaders of the SCO displayed strength against the US rising dominance in the region and military presence in Afghanistan, near the region of Central Asia.

Islamabad, Moscow and Beijing share common opinion that the presence of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan failed to restore stability in the country. China and Russia also support Pakistan’s role towards reconciliation, stability and peace in Afghanistan, which could bring peace and stability to the whole region.

In this context, to bolster its strategic contest with China and Russia, the US is moving towards a military alliance with India. America which is backing Indian hegemony in Asia, especially to counterbalance China is supplying New Delhi latest weapons, arms and aircraft.

During ex-President Barack Obama’s second visit to India, the Washington and New Delhi had announced a breakthrough on a pact which would allow American companies to supply India with civilian nuclear technology, as agreed upon in 2008. During Indian Prime Minister Modi’s first visit to America, President Obama had strongly assured him to favour India’s membership in the coming meeting of the Nuclear Supplier Group. Earlier, Washington also pressurized the International Atomic Agency (IAEA) to sign an accord of specific safeguards with India. America had already contacted the NSG to grant a waiver to India for starting civil nuclear trade on larger scale.

During his trip to the USA, Prime Minister Modi’s first meeting with the American President Donald Trump held on June 27, 2017. Both the leaders pledged to work together to boost their respective economies and other fields. Besides, President Trump and Prime Minister Modi pledged to deepen defence and security cooperation, building on the US’s recognition of India as a major defence partner. The president also thanked India for seeking a $2 billion arms deal with the United States for 22 naval surveillance drones.

Trump said, “The relationship between the United States and India is very, very strong and very, very powerful.” While, ignoring ground realities that the US-led Israeli Mossad and Indian RAW are sponsoring terrorism in Asia and Western countries, in the joint statement, Trump hailed pledges of closer cooperation between India and the United States, especially in the fight against the Islamic State group (Also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh).

Notably, since the occupation of Afghanistan by the US-led NATO forces, the country has become center of the intelligence agencies such as CIA, RAW and Mossad which are in connivance to obtain the covert designs of the their countries and some Western countries against Russia, China and Pakistan, including Iran. Under the cover of fighting terrorism, these foreign agencies which are also in collaboration with Afghan intelligence agency NDS support the militants of ISIS and Afghanistan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), including their linked outfits which have been conducting terror-assaults in Afghanistan and Pakistan as part of the secret strategy of the US-led countries, particularly India. Besides, these terrorist groups are weakening Tibetan regions of China and Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan through subversive activities.

Apart from Islamabad, the US has also accused Iran and Russia of assisting the Taliban in Afghanistan. The main purpose of Washington is not only to pacify their people and justify the unending war in Afghanistan, but also to fulfill the secret strategic designs of the Zionist Jews and Fundamentalist Hindus against Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran. Trump has so far focused on outreach to China, India’s strategic rival, as he also initiated a trade war with China.

It is of particular attention that India was openly opposing the CPEC and China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative; the US also joined New Delhi. In this connection, on October 3, 2017,  the then US Defence Secretary James Mattis told the Lawmakers, “The United States has reiterated its support for India’s opposition to China’s One Belt, One Road initiative…the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a part of which traverses Pakistan-Kashmir.”

Islamabad strongly rejected the statement from the American defence chief that the multibillion-dollar road and rail network CPEC which is part of China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative, passes through a disputed territory of Kashmir, urging the international community to focus on blatant human rights violations and ‘heinous crimes’ committed by Indian occupation forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), and reminded the US that Washington had also participated in an OBOR summit.

Earlier, a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry also dismissed Mattis’ statement, saying that the OBOR plan was backed by the United Nations and that CPEC was an economic cooperation initiative. Russia also supports the OBOR and CPEC.

It is worth-mentioning that Washington and New Delhi do not want to see peace and prosperity in the region. Sadly, Pakistan’s dominant role in Afghanistan’s peace process under the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) has, deliberately, been sabotaged by killing of the Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansur in CIA-operated drone attack in Balochistan. After the incident, Afghan Taliban leaders refused to participate in the US-sponsored talks with the Afghan government. While, in the recent past, with the help of Pakistan, a series of meetings were held in Islamabad and Kabul among the representatives of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the US to develop an understanding for the earliest possible resumption of stalled talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban with view to ending nearly 17 years of bloodshed in Afghanistan.

During the sixth Heart of Asia Conference which was held in the Indian city of Amritsar on December 3 and 4, 2016 proved fruitless in achieving its goals due to secret diplomacy of the US, India and Afghanistan owing to the blame game, especially of New Delhi and Kabul against Islamabad. In his opening remarks, following American secret diplomacy in Asia, in his frenzy and ferocious speech, Indian Prime Minister Modi had lashed out at Pakistan on terrorism as the central subject of the moot.

Speaking in the Indian tone, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also accused Pakistan of providing sanctuary to terrorists and cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan.

Addressing the conference, Russian envoy Zamir Kabulov had rejected the Indian and Afghan allegations against Pakistan. He stated that Afghanistan is the pivot of the conference and the agenda of the conference should not be hijacked. He added that being friends and supporters, we should avoid the blame game and work together. He also said that Pakistan’s Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz’s speech at the conference was friendly and constructive.

Earlier, due to the double game of the US and failure of the QCG, China, Russia and Pakistan held secretary-level trilateral talks in Moscow on December 27, 2016 and discussed regional stability, including the restoration of peace in Afghanistan. The meeting also discussed anti-terrorism cooperation amid growing influence of the ISIL in the region and a peace process between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

It is mentionable that the American President Trump has withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal and is following war-mongering diplomacy against Tehran by toughening sanctions, while Israel is also doing the same against Iran. Therefore, Iran could abandon the US-backed India-Afghanistan Chabahar project and could join the CPEC project.

Nevertheless, in the recent years, unbridgeable trust deficit existed between Pakistan and the United States owing to America’s double game with Islamabad. But, President Trump’s flawed strategy in South Asia, based upon anti-Pakistan moves, has taken the Pakistan-US ties to point of no return.

During the heightened days of the Cold War, despite Pakistan’s membership of the US sponsored military alliances SEATO and CENTO, including Pak-US bilateral military agreement, America did not come to help Pakistan against India which separated the East Pakistan in 1971.

After the end of the Cold War, the US left both Pakistan and Afghanistan to face the fallout of the Afghan war 1. By manipulating the nuclear programme of Islamabad, the US imposed various sanctions on Pakistan. But, after the 9/11 tragedy, America, again, needed Pakistan’s help and President George W. Bush insisted upon Islamabad to join the US global war on terror. Pakistan was also granted the status of non-NATO ally by America due to the early successes, achieved by Pakistan’s Army and country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) against the Al-Qaeda militants.

Within a few years, when the US-led NATO forces felt that they are failing in coping with the stiff resistance of the Taliban in Afghanistan, they started accusing Pak Army and ISI of supporting the Afghan Taliban. They constantly insisted upon Pakistan to do more against the militants and continued the CIA-operated drone attacks on Pakistan’s tribal areas by ignoring the internal backlash in the country. India also shared America’s double game against Pakistan.

Reviving the double game as part of anti-Pakistan strategy, President Donald Trump stated in his tweet on January 1, this year, “The US has foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

Weeks earlier of this tweet, while, unveiling national security strategy, Trump had said, “We make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help.” In his speech on August 21, 2017, while announcing the US new strategy regarding Afghanistan as part of the policy in South Asia, President Trump, particularly, singled out Pakistan for criticism. Using tough words against the US ally Pakistan, Trump revived the old blame game of his predecessors Bush and Obama regarding the cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan by saying Washington could “no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations”, and threatened to target the terrorists’ sanctuaries in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Trump stated, “We have been paying Pakistan billions of dollars, at the same time, they are housing the very terrorists we are fighting...that must change immediately.”

Regarding Pakistan’s regional rival India, Donald Trump added, “We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan…We want them to help us more with Afghanistan.”

Meanwhile, on January 5, 2018, the US suspended $255 million of military aid to Islamabad as a condition to do more against terrorism.

Taking cognizance of the latest tweet of the President Trump, Pakistan’s civil and military leaders, including all the mainstream political parties united against the US aggressive stance against the country and offered a stark response to Trump’s false accusations. The then Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif remarked, “Terrorist sanctuaries are present in East Afghanistan. It is from these safe havens inside Afghanistan that terrorist attacks are being launched on Pakistan…The claim by Trump regarding the funds, if we account for it, they include reimbursements too for the services rendered by Pakistan…Our land, roads, rail and, other different kinds of services were used for which we were reimbursed.”

According to the earlier statement of the ISPR, “Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa stated that “Pakistan was not looking for any material or financial assistance from USA but trust, understanding and acknowledgement of our contributions…peace in Afghanistan is as important for Pakistan as for any other country.”

Meanwhile, America announced to stop military training programmes with Pakistan. In this regard, Western media said: “The U.S. has stopped financing military training in the U.S. for Pakistani soldiers…The effective suspension of Pakistan from the US government’s International Military Education and Training program (IMET) will close off places that had been set aside for 66 Pakistani officers this year.”

On August 3, this year, the US Congress had approved a $716 billion defence authorization bill to cut Pakistan’s defence aid from $750 million to $150 million. The Senate passed the conference report on National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill then was sent to president Trump seeking his assent. Last year, US defence bill had authorized a significant aid of $700 million for Pakistan under Coalition Support Fund that had been reduced afterwards. The defence policy bill backed President Donald Trump’s call for a bigger, stronger military and sidestepping a potential battle with the White House over technology from major Chinese firms. Pakistani officials warned it could push their military to further look to Russia and China.

It is notable that in an interview with CNBC television on July 30, 2018, the US Secretary of State Pompeo had warned on that any potential International Monetary Fund bailout for Pakistan’s new government should not provide funds to pay off Chinese lenders. Pompeo explained that the United States looked forward to engagement with the government of Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan, but there was “no rationale” for a bailout that pays off Chinese loans to Pakistan.

Islamabad has dismissed America’s concerns that any new International Monetary Fund bailout for the nation would be used to repay Chinese debt as “totally wrong”.

It is mentionable that soon after the victory of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the general elections of 2018, China agreed to further US$ 2 billion loan to aid its foreign currency reserves, something which cites trust in the new government. The then Chairman of PTI, Imran Khan emphasized close ties with Beijing and the implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). This came timely, as Pakistan has continued to face strained relationships with the US government, and did not want to rely on the IMF for a bail-out. Chinese announcement caused Pakistan’s rupee to jump the most in nearly a decade, as Khan was likely to take power with an economy in chaos. Beijing has stepped up to reinforce a geopolitical alliance which shapes the South Asian nation’s policies towards the US and India which are following a secret strategy of Israel against Islamabad. The gesture showed to Pakistan’s overwhelming reliance on China as a source of financial, diplomatic and military support at a time when US President Donald Trump has cut military aid to Islamabad.

Besides China, Prime Minister Imran Khan is also strengthening Pakistan’s relation with Russia, Iran and Turkey which are facing the US sanctions.

While, encouraged by the US President Trump, Indian Prime Minister Modi is flowing aggressive diplomacy against Pakistan, and India has continued shelling in Pakistani side of Kashmir which remains a nuclear flashpoint between both the neighbouring countries.

And various other developments such as Russia-Iran-Turkey alliance to fight the ISIS, and US decision to dispatch more troops in Afghanistan etc. are equally notable.

Nonetheless, taking note of the Zionist-led US double game, which is being manipulated particularly by New Delhi, the new government of Pakistan led by Prime Minister Imran Khan is further fortifying country’s relations with Beijing, Moscow, Tehran and Ankara. Especially, he will prefer Russia and China over America.

It is also of particular attention that two days after the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s transit visit, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi reached on September 7, 2018 on a three-day visit. He also met his Pakistani counterpart; Prime Minister Imran Khan and Gen. Bajwa with whom he have discussed bilateral issues with focus on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects.

It is noteworthy that due to the US double game which is being exploited by India, Pak-US relations had reached point of no return. Hence during the negotiations, the US Secretary of State State Mike Pompeo gave a positive message to Islamabad.

In a statement, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said that during the meeting, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Qureshi highlighted that the priority of the new government was socio-economic development and for the success of people centered agenda and economic reforms, an enabling regional security environment was imperative. He said improving relations with neighbours was a priority, in an apparent reference to strained ties with India and Afghanistan, which often accuses Pakistan of providing safe havens to terrorists to conduct cross border attacks. Qureshi also reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to continue efforts for promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

The statement elaborated: “The two sides agreed that present conditions in Afghanistan were conducive to intensifying efforts for a political settlement. They underscored the need for the Taliban to seize the opportunity for talks in response to the Afghan President Ghani’s offer for an unconditional dialogue…Mr Pompeo stated that US fully supported the reform agenda of Prime Minister Khan and wished the government success in its implementation…Mr Pompeo conveyed the US desire to work with Pakistan in furthering the shared objectives of peace and stability in Afghanistan.”

By dispelling the disinformation of the Indian and some foreign media, Mr. Quereshi also clarified that Mr. Pompeo did not ask Pakistan to do more against terrorism and did not revived old blame game against Pakistan regarding cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan.

We can conclude that prior to the visit of the US Secretary of State Pompeo, Indian media manipulated the Ghazni terror attack in order to sabotage the visit of Mr. Pompeo and to create obstacles in the optimistic development of Pak-US ties.

Note: I have updated my similar article.

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