Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pak military, Taliban unite against India

Jihadi Militia Could Help Army Protect Borders In Case Of War
Indrani Bagchi | TNN

New Delhi: “We are all Taliban now’’ is what Pakistanis may soon be saying. With Baitullah Mehsud of the Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) openly ranging himself and his suicide fighters on the side of the Pakistan army, the distinction between the army and the jihadi militia has significantly blurred. The danger of ‘Talibanisation’ becoming mainstream in Pakistan is now a proximate reality.

On Tuesday, Mehsud, whose TTP is one of the biggest Taliban terror groups in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), offered his bombers to the Pakistan army to fight India. In the immediate aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, Mehsud and Maulana Fazlullah (Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammad) in Swat had both offered their terror groups to “help’’ the Pakistan army.

The aggressive noises against India were designed to signal that they meant business and to extend their appeal beyond the sections which have already embraced them.

In the process, however, the lid may have been blown off the tacit alliance that the Pakistan army was always suspected to have with the Taliban even when the two were fighting in FATA and the North West Frontier Province.

Bill Roggio, a US counter-terrorism expert, wrote, “Baitullah’s commitment to back the government confirms the policy of the Pakistani military and government of creating strategic depth by supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan and a host of Islamist terror groups inside Pakistan and Kashmir. The Pakistanis believe that the terror groups will provide manpower and support in case of war with India, and that Afghanistan and the NWFP will serve as an impenetrable fortress in the rear in case of an Indian invasion.’’

Kayani, the real power wielder

The 26/11 strikes have made one fact crystal clear—army chief Gen Ashfaq Kayani is the real boss in Pakistan. Gen Kayani, who has so far maintained a low profile, was the person who nixed Pak PM Yousuf Gilani’s proposal to send the ISI chief to India following the demand by PM Manmohan Singh. A veteran of the 2001-02 face-off, Kayani has vowed to respond “within minutes’’ if India should strike. P 10

Zardari, Sharif change tune

With army chief Ashfaq Kayani calling the shots in Pakistan, moderate leaders like President Asif Zardari and former PM Nawaz Sharif are suddenly singing a different tune. While Zardari on Wednesday vowed to defend the country till the “last drop of his blood’’, Sharif warned India not to make fake allegations. P 10
Kasab’s police custody extended

AMumbai magistrate’s court on Wednesday remanded Ajmal Amir Kasab to police custody until January 6 for his role in the hijack of a Skoda car on Marine Drive on November 26. Ajmal and his aide Ismail Khan, who had hijacked the car after the Qualis they were in was punctured by the police, had threatened the car owner with an AK 47. P 3 West still ignores Pak’s Taliban link

New Delhi: Taliban’s open support to Pakistan has exposed the secret alliance between the Pakistan army and the terror groups. In public, the Pakistan army, which has fattened itself on assistance from the US to fight the Taliban, naturally protests against the suggestion of a clandestine nexus. But a senior Pakistan army official told journalists soon after the Mumbai attacks that the military and Taliban were fighting in FATA due to “misunderstandings’’. “We have only some misunderstandings with Baitullah and Fazlullah. These misunderstandings could be removed through dialogue,’’ he had said. It was later revealed that the army officer was a corps commander.

It seems that the alleged threat from India will serve as the excuse or justification to resolve these “misunderstandings’’. While this will not surprise India or the US which have viewed the Taliban as Pakistan’s proxy, an open alliance has reinforced the fear that the creeping Talibanisation of Pakistan’s establishment has gathered pace.

Fanatical jihadi troopers are moving determinedly out of FATA and into the settled areas of western Pakistan. A US Congress report in November said the”so-called settled areas’’ of Pakistan beyond the tribal regions had come under attack from pro-Taliban militants. Indeed, the “Talibanisation of western Pakistan appears to be ongoing and may now threaten the territorial integrity of the Pakistani state’’.

While India is a lot more cognizant of this reality, anti-India rhetoric of Tehrik-e-Taliban’s Baitullah Mehsud should serve as a wake-up call for Western governments which still prefer to look at the thin sliver of army leadership that appears to be moderate. They are neither innocent about Pakistan’s sponsorship of the Taliban nor of the fact that the collaboration has continued even after Islamabad signed up for the ‘war on terror’. They have, however, winked at evidence of continued camaraderie because of Pakistan’s promises of a new beginning and because of their dependence on the Pakistani army for success in Afghanistan. A few weeks ago, the British press revealed that the UK had hushed up its success in a significant anti-Taliban operation in Afghanistan’s Helmand province in 2007 after discovering that the jihadi commander killed was a serving senior level officer in the Pakistan army. His military ID was found on him.

Another US officer, Chris Nash, went on record recently to say Pakistani forces flew repeated helicopter missions into Afghanistan to resupply a Taliban base camp. TNN

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