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Indian Woman Jumps From Train

January 6, 2013 Leave a comment

A young woman is in hospital in critical condition after throwing herself off a moving train in an attempt to escape molestation. It’s the latest in a number of incidents that have exposed the vulnerability of women in India.

The 25-year-old woman jumped from the carriage of a moving train after allegedly being molested by a soldier. The attack occurred on Thursday while the train was en route from Darjeeling to Delhi. The man groped her after she had visited the lavatory. After pushing him back, the woman jumped from the Brahmaputra Mail line train. The mother of two is being treated in hospital in the city of Patna.

“Her condition continues to be critical. A team of doctors is treating her. She has suffered injuries to her head and legs,” a police official told the IANS news agency.

 

A member of the Assam Rifles paramilitary force has been arrested and charged in connection with the incident.

It comes just weeks after a 23-year-old medical student was gang-raped on a bus in Dehli, while her male companion was severely beaten. She later died from her injuries in hospital.

The male companion has revealed more details of the tragic event. He recounted that in the immediate aftermath of the rape, no one responded to their cries for help.

Police and passersby left the mortally injured female student lying naked and bleeding for almost an hour.

“We kept shouting at the police, ‘please give us some clothes’ but they were busy deciding which police station our case should be registered at,” the Zee News network reported on Friday.

The allegations were denied by Joint Commissioner of Police (South West range) Vivek Gogia. Citing electronic logs and data from GPS tracking devices, Gogia said that police had received a report about two people lying on the road in a pool of blood at 10:21p.m.

Less than ten minutes later, two patrol vehicles arrived at the scene, with one leaving to carry the pair to a hospital at 10:39pm, the commissioner said. It took the van 16 minutes to reach the hospital.

The police official also said that no argument over jurisdiction occurred between the officers at the scene.

The rape case has resonated with the population as hundreds of thousands took to the streets to voice their anger over the attack and the lack of police response. The crowd demanded punishment for those responsible, as well as new laws to protect Indian women.

The rapists have been arrested. Five of the men detained have been indicted with gang rape and murder, and are likely to face execution. They will face a specially-established fast-track court on Monday. A sixth male is under 18 and will be judged in a juvenile court, despite the victim’s family’s plea for an adult trial, as he is believed to been the most brutal of the attackers. The victim’s father has also demanded new legislation on sex crimes to be named in honor of his daughter.

In an effort to provide more protection on transport routes and deter gangs operating on trains, India’s inspector general said the railway police have stepped up patrols. In 2012, police apprehended nearly 15 gangs and recovered 15 weapons from trains.

The problem of sexual violence against women appears to touch all levels of Indian society, as on Thursday the ruling Congress party in Assam state suspended a politician accused of rape. Police claim that Congress leader Bikram Singh Brahma was visiting the village of Santipur when he entered a local house and raped a woman at 2am. The villagers later attacked the politician and captured the footage on tape.

New Delhi has an infamous reputation as India’s rape capital, seemingly confirmed by a report in the Hindustan Times that documents more than 20 rape cases in the city since December 16th, the day of the rape and brutal murder of the 23-year-old medical student.

Source: RT

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Categories: Central Asia, India

Afghans must open Wakhan corridor passes (Broghol, Irshad, Dilisang) to get trade deal

July 12, 2010 1 comment

Afghans must open Wakhan corridor passes (Broghol, Irshad, Dilisang) to get trade deal

While Kabul is very optimistic about a Trade deal with Pakistan, Islamabad is a bit more cautious. There are several points of contention. Afghanistan should not be allowed any access to the sea unless and until it promoses to open the border passes in the Wakhan corridor which have been lying dormant for decades. The road links between Bharat (aka India) and Afghanistan have been buried, to be resurrected after a comprehensive peace deal has been signed between Bharat and Pakistan and Kashmir resolved. Afghanistan has come to grips that Pakistan will not allow Tata trucks laden with arms rumbling to Afghanistan so that the Bharati agencies in Afghanistan can arm the mercenaries and send them down to Pakistan from the Western borders.

  • Pakistan on Tuesday once and for all rejected Afghanistan’s demand of opening up its eastern borders to allow the landlocked state to trade with India, dimming prospects of an early agreement on a new transit trade treaty.
  • “The bone of contention is the language of the new draft agreement, as Afghanistan wants to insert a provision which would keep the door open for talks on the issue of trade with India,” explained an official of the ministry.
  • Pakistan’s official position on the matter was that the transit trade agreement is strictly between Islamabad and Kabul and that the issue of trade with India is a separate one. Express Tribune
  • APTTA 2010: Sea routes to Afghans, Central Asian access to Pakistan
  • The Wakhan corridor should be part of any Trade deal with Paksitan
  • Wakhian territory should be given back to Pakistan becuase it was illegally handed over to Afghanistan by the British.
  • Trade across the Wakhan corridor has languished because of neglect and incompetence. This was an essential part of the Silk route. Pakistan must have direct access to Tajiksitan.
  • Three of the passes  the Broghol pass, the Irshad Pass and the Dilisang Pass are in varying levels of disuse. Any trade deal must address the opening of these three passes

Following the Soviet invasion, the Kyrgyz  moved en masse into Pakistan, where they requested 5,000 visas from the US so that they could resettle in Alaska–that request was refused, and eventually they ended up in the Lake Van region of Turkey in 1982. The village of Ulupimar in Erciş on Lake Van was given to these Kyrgyz Turkic people.

The Wakhan corridor was the high road of the Silk Road, one of the main routes through the mountains separating western Eurasia and Pakistan from the markets of eastern Eurasia and China. Marco Polo used this routein the 13th century on his way to China and described the Pamir valleys.

Pakistan is ready to give Afghanistan access to the sea if Afghanistan allows free access to Pakistani truck to Central Asia. This deal is in the world, however the main stumbling block is the usage of Pakistani ports for exports and imports to Bharat. Whether Bharati goods and arms (meant for terrorists to be used against Pakistan) are transported via Torkham or via Karachi, Pakistan has a legitimate right to halt that proliferation.

Afghanistan under duress and under pressure from Delhi has been clamoring for access of Bharati goods for Afghanistan–which in effect would compete directly with Pakistani goods. Obviously this is not strategically good for the Pakistanis industry.

Afghanistan does not export much, except for fruits and nuts which are consumed in the border areas of Pakistan. Afghans import products which are transported to Afghanistan, and then sold in Pakistan. This hurts the local Pakistani industry–because the imported goods are sold without paying any taxes. Pakistani shop-keepers and legitimate businesses face stiff competition from the smuggled goods.

Pakistan wants this smuggling stopped which is so lucrative that the goods actually don’t travel to Afghanistan or smuggled back–the mafia ensures that the goods are pilfered in Karachi or en-route and the paperwork makes it look likes the goods were transferred to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan sees Pakistan border trade deal in weeks

Afghanistan expects to sign a trade agreement with Pakistan this month in a move which could boost stability, but only if its neighbour drops opposition to forward-traffic with India, business leaders said on Saturday.

A long deadlock over Afghan demands for transit of exports to India via Pakistan through the sensitive Wagah land route was close to ending, clearing the way for Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) within weeks, Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce director Abdul Qadir Bahman told Reuters.

“It is not yet certain, but we have very strong hopes differences have been overcome,” Bahman said.

Landlocked Afghanistan is dependent upon transit countries for its foreign trade, with Pakistan having the nearest seaport. More exports would help President Hamid Karzai counter a Taliban insurgency by improving economic conditions.

Almost 50% of Afghanistan’s trade is with its five neighbours Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan is worth more than USD 1 billion.

But trade is very one-sided, the World Bank says, consisting for the most part by imports from Pakistan, as compared to very little formal Afghan exports.

Bahman said both sides would hold an eighth round of talks before an international conference in Kabul later this month in which donor countries and Karzai’s government will try to chart a path forward for the conflict-torn country.

“The main point is access to the sea for exports to India,” he said, promising a deal would also help combat the current thriving blackmarket trade between the two countries.

“If we sign this agreement, it will decrease that because we will have found a way for everyone to carry out business without any problems,” Bahman said.

Afghanistan, due to its strategic geographic position, hopes to become a regional transit hub for trade with Central Asia as well as South Asia, the Middle East and China, if the security situation in the country can be stabilised.

US and NATO forces are currently preparing a major offensive against the Taliban in its southern strongholds, although the danger of the eastern border was underscored on Saturday when 11 Pakistanis were killed by insurgents as they entered Afghanistan.

Transit to Afghanistan through Pakistan is currently governed by the 1965 Afghan Transit Trade Agreement which specifies ports, routes, transport and customs transit procedures.

Both Afghanistan and Pakistan have agreed on the need for a new agreement to give Afghanistan sea access and provide Pakistan with direct routes to Central Asia.

But Pakistan says Afghanistan is refusing to agree to customs duty on Afghan cargo in Karachi and other measures to combat illegal smuggling such as compulsory licencing, bank credit guarantees and quarantine restrictions. Money Control

Afghanistan should make territorial adjustments with Pakistan giving Pakistan the Wakhan corridor for some land in Balochistan or Khyber Pakhtunkhawa. The Wakhan corridor separates Paksitan from Tajikistan and was created by the British as a separation of British Colonial territories and Tzarist Russia. Both empire have now gone from the  scene, so Afghanistan should hand over the Wakahan corridor to Pakistan.

The Wakhan Corridor or Wakhan Salient is often called the Afghan Panhandle and was created by the British in 1895–a progeny of the Great Game between Britain and Russia.

The corridor is a long and slender land corridor that forms the eastern part of Afghanistan. It is situated in the Pamir Mountains. It is roughly 210 kms (100 mi) long and fluctuates between 20 kms (10 mi) to 60 kms (40 mi). Named after the Wakhan region of Afghanistan’s Badakhshan Province the boundary was marked by Russian-​Afghan Boundary Commission of 1884-1886 resulted in mapping by Major A. St H. Gibbons and his assistants in 1895-1896 and 1898-1900 .

The British conspiracy separates Tajikistan from Pakistan. The British-Russian Boundary Commission of demarcated the land as a buffer between the British Empire and the Russian areas of Central Asia. This happened in 1895-1896 and Lenin took over the Central Asia Republics right after the October revolution of 1917. It was an integral part of the Silk Road. Pakistan wants to build roads and rials through it to Tajiksitan and Uzbekistan. The route has to opened if Afghanistan wants any trade package.The corridor is sparsely populated with only 10,600 Wakhi farmers and Kyrgyz herders.

Kyrgyzstan turmoil: Only the ECO can save Central Asia

Kyrgyzstan turmoil: Only the ECO can save Central Asia

News reports from Kabar the Kyrgyz news agency are announcing that the opposition has declared an alternate government announced on the seized TV stations. An emergency has been declared. Opposition leaders are reporting a 100 dead and 400 injured.

The war in Afghanistan is spreading to the Central Asian Republics–namely Kyrgyzstan and also Uzbekistan. The news from the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek is not good.

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  • “Large-scale protests appear to have overthrown the government of Kyrgyzstan, an important American ally in Central Asia,” The New York Times is reporting.
  • Russia’s RT news agency writes that Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev “has fled” the capital, Bishkek.
  • Reuters reports that “the Kyrgyz government agreed on Wednesday to resign and President Kurmanbek Bakiyev flew to the southern city of Osh,” according to a senior opposition party official.
  • 100 dead and as many as 400 injured. This is not a riot–its a revolution in the making.

CNN is reporting that:

The fighting erupted amid political unrest between opposition forces and the government in the cities of Bishkek, Talas and Naryn. Russian state media reported that the Bishkek unrest was triggered by clashes that took place in Talas where some opposition leaders were arrested.

Protesters want detained opposition leaders to be released, and Interfax is reporting that opposition supporters have seized control of Naryn, Talas and others towns, such as Tokmok, Karakol and Cholpanata.

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev sent a decree to parliament for the imposition of a curfew as demonstrators clashed with police in Bishkek.

The rioters stormed the parliament building under the leadership of the opposition leader Omar Tekab (Russianized into Omurbek Tekebayev). Russian News (rian.ru) agencies are reporting that Kyrgyz “authorities have imposed a state of emergency in Bishkek and Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev has signed a decree imposing a curfew as clashes continue between rioters and police in the capital. At least 21 died with over 140 injured in riots.” The Christian Science Monitor is reporting that “The Kyrgyzstan protests also took place in other cities”. Reuters reports that “Taimur Sariy [Russianized name Temir Sariyev]Temir Sariyev, an opposition party leader, told The Associated Press that a coalition of politicians had agreed on a new prime minister as well as a new interior minister and new security chief. Officials say 40 people have been killed and more than 400 wounded Wednesday in clashes with police trying to quell the anti-government uprising.”

This has serious implications for China, Russia and the region. The SCO was created to assist the Central Asian Republics to maintain their status quo–however the ISAF presence and the NATO supply routes through Kyrgyzstan have brought the war to Kyrgyzstan.

The US base brought the war to Kyrgyzstan.

America relies on Manas Air Base (renamed the “Transit Center at Manas” as 2009) an alternate NATO supply route to Afghanistan. Therefore the US will be all over Bishkek. The Kyrgyz people and the Bakiyev’s parliament voted to throw out the base in 2009–and it remains a demand of the Kyrgyz people–and a bone of contention. Kyrgyztanis see growing Anti-Americanism because of the base.

The alignment of land locked countries to the warm waters of the Arabian Sea will help the Central Asian Republics open up to the world. Dedicated freeways from Dushame and Fergana are being built to Gwader and Port Qasim with the help of the Russians and the Chinese. This economic integration and the SCO block is the future of Central Asia.

We predicted that the Afghan war would move Westward and Northwards. This has not just happened now–it has been happening for years.

Graveyard of Empires: AfPak-TurkTaj-UzbKaz-AzKyr -istan

For years we have shed light on the pull and push theory. Can the $80 Billion Think Tank industry not comprehend the simple truths described by Peter Senge in his seminal book “The 5th Discipline“. They theory goes as follows. When the Police cracks down on drug dealers on 42nd street, the drug dealing does not disappear, it simply moved to 52nd street or gets dispersed over a bigger area out of reach of the police raids. Similarly when the US bombs the insurgents in East Afghanistan, it is but obvious that they will find shelter and hideouts on the Duran Line and beyond. As the US drones bomb FATA, areas in Pakistan are affected destabilizing parts of the NWFP.

The conflict was broadly fought between government forces and the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) – a coalition of Islamists and secular reformists. Al Jazeera

We strongly believe in the Push Theory is in action. In this case, the fear is that because of the actions of the Pakistan Army in Swat, some of the Uzbek militants belonging to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) may have moved back to the Tajikistan and Uzbekistan where they have been active for more than a decade.

The Taliban won the war against the USSR by cutting off their supplies from the same routes that the US will use. The Taliban attacked the supplies coming via Pakistan. According to Russian estimates only about half the supplies made it to Afghanistan. Now the raids on the supplies may be moving to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The Christian Science Monitor reports:

Mr. Bakiyev took power in the so-called “Tulip Revolution” of 2005, raising hope for democratic reform. But, as the International Crisis Group put in in 2008, “instead of opening up politics Bakiyev… is creating a system whose hallmarks are overweening control by the ruling family, widespread corruption and, most significantly, a monopoly over economic and political patronage.”

The 2009 US State Department Human Rights report, released this March, listed a litany of abuses by Bakiyev’s government:

Mr. Bakiyev faces a real problem–which could become a horrendous issue for the US. The failed policies of the Bush Administration are fast making Kyrgyzstan another Afghanistan. Unless the US learns from its mistakes from Afghanistan, many Americans will have to learn names of cities that they don’t even want to know about–Bishkek, Namamgan, Tashkent, Andijon. Unless sagacious and sane policies are implemented in the region these names will become household names like Falujah, Helmand, and Mazar e Sharif.

The world does not want to learn new names with atrocities and violence tied to them.

As it is the governments in the Central Asian republics face an onslaught of attacks from the disenfranchised and poor populations. The IMU is a major factor in trying to overthrow dictatorial regimes in the capitals of the Central Asian Republics.

There is another way–economic development and regional groupings to facilitate progress and prosperity in Central Asia.

(Reuters) – Kyrgyz riot police fired tear gas and flash grenades to disperse protesters in the capital Bishkek on Wednesday, witnesses said, the second day of unrest linked to mounting public anger over a weaker economy and corruption.

The Economic Cooperation Organization

Iran Nabs Top NATO Terrorist With Pakistan Help

February 26, 2010 Leave a comment

PakAlertPress

By Webster Tarpley

On Tuesday Feb. 23, Iran announced the capture of Abdulmalek Rigi, the boss of the terror organization Jundullah, which works for NATO. The capture of Rigi represents a serious setback for the US-UK strategy of using false flag state-sponsored terrorism against Iran and Pakistan, and ultimately to sabotage China’s geopolitics of oil. The Iranians claim to have captured Rigi all by themselves, but the Pakistani ambassador to Teheran is quoted in The Dawn as claiming an important role for Pakistan. The Iranians say that Rigi was attempting to fly from Dubai to Kyrgystan, and that his plane was forced to land in Iran by Iranian interceptors. This exploit recalls Oliver North’s 1985 intercept of the accused Achille Lauro perpetrators, including Abu Abbas, forcing their Egyptian plane to land at Sigonella, Sicily. But other and perhaps more realistic versions suggest that Iran was tipped off by the Pakistanis, or even that Rigi was captured by Pakistan and delivered to the Iranians.

Jundullah, otherwise known as the Rigi organization, is a clan-based Mafia organization that has long infested the Iran-Pakistan border. The Rigis are traditionally smugglers and drug pushers of royalist persuasion, and now they have branched out into terrorism. Jundullah is mounting a Sunni rebellion against the Shiite Iranian regime in Iranian Baluchistan. They have blown up a Shiite mosque, killing 25, and managed to kill 50 in a bombing in Pishin last October, where their victims included some top commanders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, against which Mrs. Clinton has now declared war. There is no doubt that Jundullah is on the US payroll. This fact has been confirmed by Brian Ross of ABC News, the London Daily Telegraph , and by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker. Hersh noted that Jundullah has received some of the $400 million appropriated by the US Congress in the most recent Bush-era regime change legislation targeting Iran.

Jundullah is a key part of the US-UK strategy of fomenting ethnic and religious civil war in both Iran and Pakistan. Jundullah is a twofer in this context, since it can help destabilize both sides of the Iran-Pakistan border. Baluchistan has special importance because any oil pipeline linking Iran with China must go straight across Baluchistan. Jundullah’s false flag jihad is a means to make sure that strategic pipeline, which would help solve China’s energy problem, is never built.

There is also no doubt that Jundullah functions as an arm of NATO, a kind of irregular warfare asset similar in some ways to the KLA of Kosovo. Rigi is reported by the Iranians to have met with Jop de Hoop Scheffer when he was NATO Secretary General. Rigi has also met with various NATO generals operating in Afghanistan. Who knows — he may have met with McChrystal himself, a covert ops veteran from Iraq.

Operation enduring turmoilClick on map to see larger version

This capture comes at a moment when Baluchistan is the object of intense US-UK exertions. The current US-NATO offensive in southern Afghanistan targets Marjah and the rest of Helmand province, which directly faces Baluchistan. Many observers were puzzled when the US and NATO publicized the Marjah offensive in advance. Militarist talking heads like General Barry McCafferty responded that the main goal of the Marjah offensive was not to destroy the Taliban, but to drive them out of the province. It was thus clear from the beginning that the real goal was to drive the Helmand Taliban fighters into Pakistani Baluchistan. Why?

A statement from the Afghan Taliban covered on the RIA Novosti web site suggests that the real goal of the US-NATO offensive in Marjah-Helmand is to attack Chinese economic interests in Pakistani Baluchistan, and especially the port of Gwadar, one of China’s largest overseas projects. If the US can push the Taliban into Pakistani Baluchistan and into the area around Gwadar, they will have a pretext for militarization ­ perhaps through Blackwater mercenaries, who are already operating massively in Pakistan, or perhaps through direct US military involvement in the zone. US jackboots on the ground in Baluchistan would interfere mightily with Chinese economic development plans. They would also allow the US to commandeer Gwadar as the home port of a new NATO supply line into southern Afghanistan, allowing the avoidance of the Khyber Pass bottleneck. The US could also use Baluchistan as a springboard for bigger and better terror ops into Iran, electronic surveillance of Iranian activities, and so forth.

The US and NATO had evidently planned a double envelopment of Baluchistan, with Taliban fighters from Helmand arriving from the north, while the Jundullah escalated their own activity on the ground. Now that Rigi has joined his brother in Iranian jails, Jundullah has been decapitated, and the NATO strategy has consequently been undermined. Iran has bagged a dangerous terrorist foe. Another winner is Pakistan, where The Dawn celebrated the capture of Rigi as “a godsend” and “a lucky break” for Pakistan. By helping Rigi to fall into Iranian hands, Pakistan may have finally found an effective way to counter the US-UK strategy, which notoriously aims at the breakup and partition of Pakistan. The coming Iranian trial of Rigi may go far towards exposing the real mechanism of terrorism in today’s world, with the CIA sitting in the dock next to Rigi.

Pakistani PM speaks highly of bilateral relations ahead of China’s lunar new year

February 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Daily.Pk

Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Saturday wished China and the Chinese people a lucky traditional new year, hoping the bilateral relations between Pakistan and China will be further strengthened.

In an interview, the prime minister said the friendship between the two countries is time-tested and long- standing, and the cooperations are multi-dimensional.

“Our friendship is now entering into many years and I wish this new year will add more strength to our relation,” Gilani said.

The prime minister said Pakistan and China have been cooperating in economy, defense, agriculture, culture, education and many other fields, including infrastructure and energy sector as well.

He said Pakistan wants to have more exchange of culture, youth, parliamentary delegation, and more people-to-people contact between the two countries.

“The governments may come and go, but the love and affection between the two countries will remain forever,” said the prime minister.

Referring to China’s role in international summits, Gilani said China plays an extremely important role in the world economy. He said Pakistan supports China on all international forums, on climate change, on inter-parliamentary unions and on Asia-Europe cooperation.

In the global economic recession, Gilani said he appreciates what China has done to stabilize the economy and to help other troubled economies. He said Pakistan is grateful for China’s timely assistance.

“China is performing really well and we wish them good luck in the coming new year,” said Gilani, adding that he has been impressed by the tremendous development in China and the Chinese students who can speak fluent Urdu, the national language of Pakistan.

Talking about the forthcoming Shanghai World Expo, the prime minister said it is a great opportunity for China to showcase its development, culture, tradition, history and local products and a good chance for Pakistan and China to better mutual understanding.

As to the recent London summit on Afghanistan, Gilani said Pakistan wants to maintain good relations with the neighboring country and it will focus on the fight against extremism and terrorism to help bring in the stability of Afghanistan.

Expressing his passion for architecture and gardening, the prime minister said he would have become an interior designer or an architect if he is not a politician.

Feb 5th Kashmir Liberation Day: After Iraq and Afghanistan–its Kashmir and Palestine

February 7, 2010 Leave a comment

RupeeNews

February 5th is being observed as Kashmir Solidarity Day, which is a yearly practice since 1990 as a day of protest against the unjust occupation of Kashmir. The day is marked with renewed firm resolve to continue the struggle for the achievement of the birthright of Kashmiris to self-determination through getting the valley liberated from the Indian yoke of tyranny. Kashmiris observe the solidarity day every year not only to renew their deep-rooted love and affection with Pakistan, but also to reiterate their commitment and dedication to their liberty from the Indian occupation. Kashmiris have been struggling since 1947 to secure their freedom, which was assured by the UN Resolutions; however, subsequent Indian governments have not only remained oblivious to the UN Resolutions, but also continued to subject the Kashmiris to their reign of terror. Pakistan’s endeavours to resolve the issue through dialogue have also been spurned by India.

The Palestinians too continue to suffer atrocities inflicted upon them by Israel, which was created unjustly after evicting the Palestinians from their territory in 1948. Since then the Palestinians have struggled to regain their homeland but have failed despite extreme sacrifice and war against Israel by its Arab neighbours to liberate Palestine.

Two other Muslim countries, Afghanistan and Iraq, which were occupied by the US/NATO forces during the 21st century, are close to being liberated from the tyranny of their invaders. Afghanistan was conquered by USA and its allies, following the 9/11 debacle. The US declared Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda group responsible for the attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon and demanded the then Taliban regime in Afghanistan to hand over purported culprits for trial. Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader demanded proof of Osama’s complicity to the 9/11 attack. The Taliban query was interpreted as refusal and Afghanistan was subjected to one of the most ferocious attacks in history and occupied by US and its allies.

Iraq was attacked in 2003 by a US-led coalition force under the plea that Saddam Hussain’s regime possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), which would pose a threat to the rest of the world. That is another aspect that the WMDs were never found during the seven years of occupation.

A number of conspiracy theories were floated to the rationale behind occupying Afghanistan and Iraq. In the case of Iraq, control of its oil reserves is the apparent reason for subjugating Iraq and installing a pliable and malleable regime there. The case of Afghanistan is slightly different. Michael Klare, author of the book Resource Wars, which has a major focus on the Caspian region, and Ahmad Rashid, Pakistani journalist and author of Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, opine that in the 10 years, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been a new great game between Russia, the United States, China, Iran, the European companies, for control of the new oil and gas resources that have been discovered in the Caspian Sea and in the Caucuses and Central Asia. They deduce that “because Central Asia is totally landlocked, distances are huge, and the US strategy has been essentially to keep, new oil pipelines not to be built through Russia or through Iran or China.”

They quote US government Energy Information fact sheet on Afghanistan dated December 2000, which reveals: “Afghanistan’s significance from an energy standpoint stems from its geographic position as a potential transit route for oil and natural gas exports from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea. This potential includes proposed multi-billion dollar oil and gas export pipelines through Afghanistan” which is the shortest route to the Pakistani coastline on the Indian Ocean. To achieve this Afghanistan had to be conquered and a pliant regime installed there.

After tremendous bloodshed and financial losses, the US administration is now considering ways and means of exiting both Iraq and Afghanistan. President Obama, in his maiden State of the Union Address on January 27, presented strategies for reviving the sick economy of USA. What he failed to mention, but has been disclosed by the Information Clearing House Newsletter of January 31, 2010 that a number of Iraqis slaughtered since the US invaded Iraq so far is “1,366,350”, while the number of US military personnel sacrificed (officially acknowledged) In America’s War on Iraq is: 4,692. On the other hand, the number of International Occupation Force Troops sacrificed in Afghanistan is 1,611, while the civilian casualties in Afghanistan since 9/11 range between 11,760 and 31,357. To top it all, the cost of war in Iraq and Afghanistan is a whopping $955,465,013,902. No wonder plans for the egress of the US and other international forces from Afghanistan and Iraq are underway.

General Viktor Yermakov, the Commander of Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s, while talking to CNN after the proposed troop surge in Afghanistan, commented that the “US is repeating the Soviet blunder of adding more troops in Afghanistan.” He stated that at the height of the Soviet-Afghan War, there were 300,000 Soviet troops deployed in Afghanistan, out of which 15,000 Soviets were killed, 469,685 got wounded while 500 are still missing. What he did not say was that the invasion contributed to the demise of USSR.

It is ironical that during the London Conference, General Stanley McChrystal’s despite being a fighting general, pronouncement that “there’s been enough fighting,” and Robert Gates, the US secretary of defence, proclamation: “The Taliban…are part of the political fabric of Afghanistan,” are being used to bolster Hamid Karzai’s plea that negotiations must be opened with the Taliban. The London Conference went a step ahead and approved a multi-million integration fund to lure the Taliban fighters to join the political mainstream.

We hope and pray that peace returns to Iraq and Afghanistan, but what a pity that Kashmir and Palestine continue to bleed since they neither have oil nor are situated on the oil-gas trade route. May their predicament be over and the simmering trauma gets resolved at an early date. Kashmir, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Indian role in Afghanistan needs to be spelt out: US

January 28, 2010 Leave a comment

By: DAWN

In a report sent to the White House in September, Gen Stanley McChrystal, who commands US and Nato force in Afghanistan, warned that “increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani counter measures.”

At a briefing at the Pentagon, spokesman Geoff Morrell also discounted Indian role in training Afghan security forces.

The Pentagon press secretary said that US Defence Secretary Robert Gates had discussed the Afghan situation with Indian leaders, including the issues that concerned Pakistan, when he visited New Delhi last week.

“We did discuss Afghanistan with the government in Delhi and discussed the need for the Indian government to be as transparent as they can be with the Pakistani government about their activities in Afghanistan,” he said.

Asked if the United States would like India to train Afghan security forces, Mr Morrell said that the international community was not contemplating any such role for India.

“They clearly have contributed much in the monetary sense, financial support to the government in Afghanistan and that is greatly appreciated by us, by the Afghans and, I think, by the international community,” said the Pentagon spokesman.

“But beyond that, I think, you saw him (Secretary Gates) speak to this talk of perhaps the Indians providing training to Afghan forces. And that is not something that we, that I think, anybody is pursuing at this point.”

Secretary Gates told reporters in New Delhi last week that India and Pakistan had deep suspicious about each other’s activities in Afghanistan and stressed the need for “full transparency”.

Pakistan complains that India is using its influence in Afghanistan to stir trouble in Balochistan and had also provided weapons and financial assistance to the militants in Fata.

Islamabad also sees India’s strong presence in Afghanistan as a threat to its own security, fearing that New Delhi is trying to bring pressure on Pakistan from both its eastern and western borders.

Initially, US policy-makers ignored Islamabad’s complaints. Instead, they continued to remind Pakistani officials that the militants, and not India, were their main enemy and they should focus on fighting the militants.

But attitudes in Washington began to change after a realisation that US efforts to persuade Pakistan to stop fearing India had not worked. In recent congressional hearings such senior US military officials as Admiral Mike Mullen and Gen David Petraeus admitted that Washington needed to be receptive to Islamabad’s concerns.

In a report sent to the White House in September, Gen Stanley McChrystal, who commands US and Nato force in Afghanistan, warned that “Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan” and “the current Afghan government is perceived by Islamabad to be pro-Indian”.

The general also warned that “increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani counter measures”.

The McChrystal report also noted: “Stability in Pakistan is essential, not only in its own right, but also to enable progress in Afghanistan. While the existence of safe havens in Pakistan doesn’t guarantee ISAF failure, Afghanistan does require Pakistani cooperation and action against violent militancy, particularly against those groups active in Afghanistan.”