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NATO Forces will be defeated in Afganistan : Pakistani General ( Are Pakistanis our real Allies ??)

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Submitted by Kole (India), Dec 8, 2006 at 13:14

Much of the blame for the rising insurgency in Afghanistan has been blamed on Pakistan's inability to control its border with Afghanistan, allowing Taliban militants to travel freely between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

But the ex-chief of Pakistan's Intelligence Agency, Hamid Gul, says it's unreasonable to think that Pakistan can seal the border.

"This border is impossible to seal," he said. "The Russians could not seal it. The British could not seal it in 98 years of their rule over this area. The Russians stayed there for 11 years and they could not seal it. How can you seal a border that is 2,400 kilometres long. And it is very difficult geography, very difficult terrain."

Hamid Gul was trained by the CIA, and ran Pakistan's intelligence agency. Gul maintains a close relationship with Taliban militants. (CBC)
Real Audio runs :23 Thousands of Taliban fighters fled to Pakistan in the aftermath of the U.S.-led attacks on Afghanistan in 2002. Now Western military strategists widely suspect that the tribal areas within Pakistan are where Taliban members have been allowed to reorganize.

While Taliban fighters are known to go as they please through formal crossings between northern Balochistan and southern Afghanistan, Pakistani authorities complain it's difficult to identify the Taliban in a region where there are 1.2 million Afghans, many of them with Pakistani identity cards and passports.

But the constant flow of body bags returning from Afghanistan to be buried in Pakistani villages leaves little doubt the Taliban fighters are operating from within Pakistan's borders. And President Pervez Musharraf is caught between trying to appease Washington, as a partner of the U.S.-led war on terror, and contain rising tensions in Pakistan's tribal regions.

A cleric calls on Pervez Musharraf to cut his ties with the United States during a rally after Friday prayers in Islamabad. (CBC)
Real Audio runs 1:11 The Pakistani Army bombed a madrassa, a religious school, a few weeks ago after receiving American intelligence reports describing the site as a training ground for Taliban insurgents. But a list of victims compiled by a local political party described the people in the madrassa as students. Most of them were teenagers, a dozen of them were under the age of 12, and one of the victims was seven.

Nobody here is surprised that the United States was behind the bombing. Hamid Gul is convinced the attack was carried out by the United States.

"You know this particular event, I think it is a watershed, because this was done by the Americans, there were no terrorists there," he said.

Gul is convinced the Americans bombed the madrassa in order to stop the signing of an agreement that Musharraf brokered with local militants in the Bajaur district.

Pakistan's intelligence agency, known as the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), has a long history of courting rebel militias in the border regions. Gul believes the relationship, or the dialogue the ISI maintains with Islamic militants, has been an effective way for Pakistan to maintain some kind of control over the otherwise lawless tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. At least until Musharraf joined the U.S.-led war on terror, where under the Bush doctrine, negotiating with terrorists is no longer an option. And as a result, Gul says, American policies have pitted Pakistan's army against its own people. No other country has suffered as many casualties as Pakistan fighting America's war on terror.

"Pakistan army suffered about a thousand casualties, and they killed their own people," said Gul. "But then the Pakistan army came against a stone wall. I don't want to use the word defeated but in reality this was the end of the road. What choice did they have? What more can Pakistan do?"

Aslam Beg, the army chief between 1988 and 1991, was trained by the Central Intelligence Agency in the early 1960s as part of a stay-behind organization that would melt into the population if the Russians ever overran Pakistan. Beg and his fellow trainees went on to train jihadists to fight in Afghanistan. And those fighters, Beg says, trained their own, a process that ultimately transformed the entire region into a jihadi breeding ground.

Beg says the CIA estimated that about 60,000 jihadists came into Afghanistan to fight the Russians and up to 35,000 from Pakistan. As a result, there were thousands of "die hard, well-trained, hardened freedom fighters" who left Afghanistan after the Russians withdrew, but returned after the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Aslam Beg was Pakistan's military chief of staff between 1988 and 1991. Musharraf was under his command at the time. (CBC)
Real Audio runs 1:10 "They took roughly about two years to regroup to reorganize, to mend their ways with the old mujahedeen leaders," he said. "And gradually they came up to resist the foreign occupation."

Beg believes the jihadists are fighting a worthy cause, to protect the sovereignty of Muslim states occupied by foreign troops. He says the West is fighting a war they just don't understand.

"This resistance force of the Muslim world, which has grown slowly, emerging from 70 countries of the world, it is this force which has put a limit to the power of the most powerful," he said. He points to the 1980s with Russia's involvement in Afghanistan, the U.S.-led war in Iraq and the current situation in Afghanistan.

"It is part of the faith and belief of Muslims to resist, to deter, to defy aggression, aggression against the Muslim majority."

Aslam Beg, pictured, was one of Pakistan's most influential military strategists under prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
Real Audio runs :50 Gul agrees that the so-called holy wars being played out in Iraq and Afghanistan will not be won with military might and that that policy makers from the West should start considering political solutions.

"There is nothing more that the NATO or the ISAF or the Americans can do in Afghanistan. NATO will be defeated," he said "The time has come to cut a deal."

Gul says Musharaff is "absolutely right when he says look we have been defeated, we can't do anything more." Just like the Russians who used 120,000 troops during a decade in Afghanistan, Pakistan has now deployed 80,000 troops while the Western countries has contributed 31,000 (including Canada's 2,500).

"So how do you assume that with 31,000 you can win?" he said.

NATO has been unsuccessful in its attempts to increase its firepower. Most countries have been unwilling to send more troops to fight the insurgents in Afghanistan. It's also unlikely Western forces will take Musharraf's lead and start brokering deals with militants, the madrassa bombing last month proved that much. It all leaves a scenario that provides little comfort for those who are stuck in the middle of America's war on terror.

http://www.saag.org/BB/view.asp?msgID=27184

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Are these Pakistanis are real Allies or Backstabbers ????

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