Thursday, April 9, 2009

Seven years after 9/11 BY Masood Sharif Khan Khattak - Former Director General Intelligence Bureau‏

Mr Masood Sharif Khan Khattak, Former Director General of The Intelligence Bureau, Government of Pakistan

Seven years after 9/11 BY Masood Sharif Khan Khattak

[Courtesy - The News International]‏

By the evening of 9/11 President Bush had begun to make his initial outbursts about being at war, without having ascertained who the enemy was, and that this was a "crusade." Although he almost immediately retracted the word, his inner thinking had been revealed.

The American response to 9/11 was not well thought out. Apparently, it was more emotional than pragmatic. Knowing, beyond any doubt, that the American Establishment is certainly not naïve the only conclusion that can be rightfully drawn is that the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq had motives other than those openly stated. The 9/11 incident itself has been widely disputed and documentaries contesting the events of that day have been made.

I quote from my 2001 article captioned "The American Reaction": "There are many powers in the world that will love to watch USA getting stuck in quicksand for years to come and the USA, most of all, should not forget that Afghanistan is worse than quicksand for all invaders...Super Powers of various eras have vainly tried to subjugate Afghanistan…each time every new invader, hoping to go against the dictates of history, has been humbled by Afghanistan, it's terrain and it's proud and rugged people."

The American establishment at the time of planning the Afghanistan invasion had probably gone wrong in estimating a walkover. It was a world totally dominated by the USA itself with no rivals. Has that equation changed? Have not China and Russia come a long way since 2001? What are now the chances that the Russian establishment may contemplate clandestine measures to keep the USA bogged down in Afghanistan as long as possible in order to limit the US military option of manipulating Russia's energy-rich neighbouring states? What are now the chances that the world may soon witness the shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) phenomenon once again in Afghanistan with the US Stinger missiles being replicated by similar missiles produced in Russia, China and other places? We must not lose sight of the fact that the world has a very lucrative gun-running business infrastructure.

In my article written prior to the Afghanistan invasion I had written "Pakistan's support can only be time oriented and not indefinite because an indefinite deployment of US forces in Pakistan or the indefinite use of its airspace can only rekindle the fundamentalists in Pakistan into staging a very sharp and violent reaction. These fundamentalists who are stronger, richer and better equipped than those in Afghanistan will then certainly retaliate and no regime, military or non military, will be able to stop them. The world will then have two Taliban countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan."

What is happening in the north of Pakistan is clearly visible to even the blind student of political and military affairs.

A huge initiative needs to be taken by Pakistan to prevent widespread civil war and an eventual break up. A grand and immediate ceasefire has to be brought about if Pakistan has to survive in its present shape. Yes, this is achievable and once achieved the rest will follow if the intentions are there to truly find the ultimate solutions.

This is how I had ended my article written in the period between 9/11 and the Afghanistan invasion: "Let me condemn in the strongest of terms all terrorist activities that take place anywhere in the world whether sponsored by individuals or States. We must condemn such terrorist activity irrespective of whether they result in the loss of one precious life of any caste, creed or color or in that of thousands of lives of multiple castes, creed and colour…Let us all resolve to help make the world a peaceful place. Let us do it by deeds that support professed beliefs. America has to lead the way in this by bringing about drastic foreign policy changes." Seven years down the road this still holds true.

Being the enviable democracy that the US is, the American people must never allow their administrations to wage unwarranted wars in their name.

The writer is a former director-general of the Intelligence Bureau and former vice-president of the PPP Parliamentarians. Email:

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