Author Topic: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan  (Read 616078 times)


ya

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 1156
    • View Profile
Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1951 on: March 06, 2022, 08:53:05 AM »

ya

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 1156
    • View Profile
Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1952 on: March 20, 2022, 06:15:34 AM »
The time has come for Imran Khan to go....

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 62817
    • View Profile
PTOP: Afghanistan's last finance minister
« Reply #1953 on: March 20, 2022, 07:25:51 AM »
Afghanistan’s last finance minister, now a D.C. Uber driver, ponders what went wrong
By Greg Jaffe
Yesterday at 2:24 p.m. EDT|Updated today at 7:00 a.m. EDT


Until last summer, Khalid Payenda was Afghanistan’s finance minister, overseeing a $6 billion budget — the lifeblood of a government fighting for its survival in a war that had long been at the center of U.S. foreign policy.

Now, seven months after Kabul had fallen to the Taliban, he was at the wheel of his Honda Accord, headed north on Interstate 95 from his home in Woodbridge, Va., toward Washington, D.C. Payenda swiped at his phone and opened the Uber app, which offered his “quest” for the weekend. For now his success was measured in hundreds of dollars rather than billions.

“If I complete 50 trips in the next two days, I receive a $95 bonus,” he said as he navigated the light Friday-night traffic.

The job was his way of supporting his wife and four children after he had exhausted his modest savings supporting his family. “I feel incredibly grateful for it,” said the 40-year-old. “It means I don’t have to be desperate.” It was also a temporary reprieve from obsessing over the ongoing tragedy in his country, which was suffering through a catastrophic drought, a pandemic, international sanctions, a collapsed economy, a famine and the resurgence of Taliban rule.

Senior U.S. officials had largely moved on from the Afghanistan war, which began 20 years earlier with high-minded promises of democracy, human rights and women’s rights and ended with an American president blaming Afghans, such as a Payenda, for the mess left behind.

“So what’s happened? Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country,” President Biden said as desperate Afghans rushed to the airport the day after Kabul fell, adding: “We gave them every tool they could need. … We gave them every chance to determine their own future. What we could not provide them was the will to fight for that future.”


The question of what happened and who was at fault haunted Payenda. He blamed his fellow Afghans. “We didn’t have the collective will to reform, to be serious,” he said. He blamed the Americans for handing the country to the Taliban and betraying the enduring values that supposedly had animated their fight. He blamed himself.

“It eats at you inside,” he said. He felt trapped between his old life and dreams for Afghanistan and a new life in the United States that he had never really wanted. “Right now, I don’t have any place,” he said. “I don’t belong here, and I don’t belong there. It’s a very empty feeling.”

He crossed the Potomac River into D.C. On his right, monuments to America’s democracy and its Founding Fathers shone against the night sky. His Honda rolled to a stop in front of the Kennedy Center, where two George Washington University students were waiting for him.

They settled into the back seat of his sedan and began talking about their day — the sudden drop in temperature, their plans for dinner, a mishap earlier that morning on the Metro train. “I dropped my phone, and it slid down the entire car,” one of the women was saying. “It was the worst moment of my entire life.”

After a few minutes’ drive, Payenda dropped the women at their apartment and quickly checked his phone.

“Four-dollar tip,” he said.

ya

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 1156
    • View Profile
Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1954 on: April 02, 2022, 06:21:15 AM »
The time has come for Imran Khan to go....

Its April...Inshallah, tomorrow.

ya

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 1156
    • View Profile
Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1955 on: April 03, 2022, 05:54:59 AM »
Imran Khan and Bajwa having a power struggle....something must give.
The time has come for Imran Khan to go....

Its April...Inshallah, tomorrow.

So the signs have been there for long. In the banana republic that is Pak, Imran Khan (IK) has lost the majority and yesterday a no-confidence motion was not allowed to be presented by the speaker. So the govt has now been dissolved and new elections will be needed. No PM in Pak has completed a full 5 year term and IK is no exception. Military-Imran relations have not been good. In recent times, IK made a Russia trip to butter up Putin, whereas the Military has decided that China no longer serves their interests and the US is being buttered up. The Chinese Belt and Road initiative (CPEC) has collapsed due to all the corruption, and Pak needs to pay the Chinese a huge debt.
Pak is also taking advantage of India's neutral position in the Ukraine conflict, which irks the USA. Last week Daleep Singh, deputy US NSA came to India and basically threatened India, PM Modi did not meet him. Being of Indian origin, he missed a huge opportunity to connect with Modi, instead he behaved just as India fears, with threats. Several other state representatives from European countries also made a bee-line to New Delhi re: Ukraine, and Modi did not meet anyone, incl. the Chinese Foreign Minister. But when Russian FM, Lavrov came calling the body language was very friendly and Modi met Lavrov.

New PM will likely be Shahbaz Sharif, brother of Nawab Sharif ex PM, who is exiled in the UK.


ya

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 1156
    • View Profile
Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1957 on: April 09, 2022, 01:32:50 PM »
Future PM of Pak. Pakis need to be emotional.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1512889808670314496

DougMacG

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 16773
    • View Profile
Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1958 on: April 09, 2022, 06:58:56 PM »
The time has come for Imran Khan to go....
.

I notice that ya has been consistently right on everything in this region.  )

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/pakistan-parliament-try-again-vote-oust-pm-khan-2022-04-09/

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 62817
    • View Profile
Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1959 on: April 10, 2022, 01:11:32 PM »
I too have noticed  8-) 8-) 8-)

ya

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 1156
    • View Profile
Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1960 on: April 11, 2022, 05:49:23 AM »
Future PM of Pak. Pakis need to be emotional.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1512889808670314496

Now the PM of Pak. Pakis are too predictable.

ccp

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 15546
    • View Profile
Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1961 on: April 11, 2022, 05:55:31 AM »
two of my doctors colleagues
were Pakistani

at least one was a Republican

it this new PM good for us?


ya

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 1156
    • View Profile
Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1962 on: April 11, 2022, 04:20:19 PM »
We have to give him some time. I dont have high hopes.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 62817
    • View Profile
Stratfor: Pakistan's new government
« Reply #1963 on: April 14, 2022, 01:12:11 AM »
Pakistan's New Government Will Struggle Amid Economic and Political Challenges
4 MIN READApr 13, 2022 | 21:30 GMT





Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif (R) in Islamabad on April 7, 2022.
Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif (R) in Islamabad on April 7, 2022.

(AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

Pakistan's new government will face mounting economic challenges and political instability as it tries to hold itself together and improve ties with the United States and traditional allies. Pakistan's National Assembly on April 11 appointed Shehbaz Sharif as the country's new prime minister after former Prime Minister Imran Khan lost an April 10 vote of no confidence. This happened after the Pakistani Supreme Court on April 7 overruled a decision by the speaker of the National Assembly to cancel the vote against Khan and dissolve Parliament.

Shehbaz Sharif, the brother of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, has been the chief minister of Punjab province three times. In 2018, he was elected to the National Assembly, where he was the leader of the opposition.

The new administration will face significant economic and political challenges in the short to medium term that will threaten the government's stability. The new government has inherited a fragile economy and an unstable social and political environment. The Pakistani economy is facing high fiscal and current account deficits and high inflation rates, in part due to the country's dependence on foreign oil, natural gas and other essential imports. The new government is expected to negotiate with the International Monetary Fund for the disbursement of the next tranche of a $6 billion bailout package. The IMF will likely require strict and unpopular economic reforms that will be difficult for the government to implement without generating social unrest. Additionally, Khan will continue to mobilize support for his party ahead of the mid-2023 general elections and will likely double down on his allegations that a foreign conspiracy caused his fall. Unpopular economic reforms could give Khan's party a window of opportunity for mobilizing supporters and bringing them to the streets. It will be difficult for Sharif to gain public support for his administration, because he was accused (though later acquitted) of corruption and belongs to a family that has faced similar accusations. Keeping his supporters together and finishing his term in office could also prove an uphill task, as his government will include different parties like the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and others that have competed before, and whose policy preferences and ideologies could still collide. Early elections could also be called if the different parties that form the government cannot work together, enhancing the country's political instability.

Pakistan's foreign reserves had dropped to $11.3 billion by April 1 from $16.2 billion in the previous month. Pakistan's projected current account deficit is 4% of gross domestic product.

The government is likely to work with the military on national security and foreign policy issues, and to strengthen relationships with traditional allies — including seeking to improve ties with the United States, albeit modestly so. Unlike his predecessor, Sharif is expected to work with the military establishment, which largely directs the country's defense and foreign policy and remains influential in domestic politics, to remain in power. Pakistan's relationship with China could strengthen because Shehbaz Sharif's regional government and Nawaz Sharif's former national government have been instrumental in China's Belt and Road Initiative projects in the country. China will likely be interested in preserving the strategic relationship with Pakistan, though security issues (including the regional militant threat to Chinese projects and workers) could affect the economic aspects of the partnership. Pakistan's relationship with Saudi Arabia is also likely to remain strong, as the Sharif family has a close relationship with the Gulf state, a strategic ally that remains an important development and military partner for Pakistan. Finally, the Sharif government will very likely seek to improve Pakistan-U.S. relations, which deteriorated recently due to Khan's allegations that the United States wanted to remove him from office. Since Pakistan's next general elections are in August 2023, the new government probably will not have enough time to deal with both domestic economic and political priorities, which could limit its reorientation toward the United States. Some form of rapprochement with India is possible under Sharif, as evidenced by recent talk from the Pakistani military about dialogue with India to resolve the Kashmir issue. The dispute over Kashmir will, however, continue to generate bilateral tensions, as could growing discrimination and violence against Muslims in India. ​​

Shehbaz Sharif's provincial government signed many Belt and Road Initiative developmental projects when he was a regional leader, and Pakistan entered the strategic China-Pakistan Economic Corridor deal during the Nawaz Sharif government.

The Sharif brothers enjoyed protection in Saudi Arabia, where they were exiled after a 1999 military coup in Pakistan, and still enjoy a close relationship with the Saudi royal family.

Turkey, China and India were among the first countries to congratulate the new prime minister of Pakistan.

On April 2, Pakistan's chief of army staff stated that all disputes with India should be settled through diplomacy.


Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 62817
    • View Profile


ya

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 1156
    • View Profile

G M

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 24511
    • View Profile
Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1968 on: June 02, 2022, 08:35:16 PM »
At least we have great leadership in the US to handle the implosion of a nuclear power!


Will Pak implode...

https://www.zerohedge.com/commodities/40000-factories-risk-closing-pakistans-capital-amid-fuel-crisis


Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 62817
    • View Profile

G M

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 24511
    • View Profile
Re: Coming soon- Afpakiastan
« Reply #1971 on: July 27, 2022, 11:53:51 PM »
https://andmagazine.substack.com/p/what-happens-when-the-taliban-gets

If you aren't horrified by this article, I'm not sure what will.

At least NYC has started nuke attack PSAs for some reason...

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 62817
    • View Profile
GPF: Pakistan-China
« Reply #1972 on: August 18, 2022, 03:19:11 PM »
Move faster. Pakistan will abolish the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority, pending Beijing’s approval, in an effort to accelerate implementation of CPEC infrastructure projects. Bureaucratic hurdles have slowed development of CPEC, which involves billions of dollars of transportation projects and special economic zones


Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 62817
    • View Profile
Stratfor: One Year of the Taliban
« Reply #1974 on: August 26, 2022, 06:51:43 AM »
Reflecting on the Taliban's First Year Back in Power in Afghanistan, Part 1: Exceeding Expectations
undefined and null
Ekta Raguwanshi
Analyst, Stratfor
undefined and null
Isaia Galace
Analyst, Stratfor
10 MIN READAug 25, 2022 | 21:01 GMT





Taliban fighters take to the streets during a national holiday celebrating the first anniversary of the group’s takeover on Aug. 15, 2022, in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Taliban supporters take to the streets in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 15, 2022, during a national holiday celebrating the first anniversary of the group’s takeover of the country.

(Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Editor's Note: This column is the first of a two-part series that explores where the Taliban exceed expectations since retaking control of Afghanistan on Aug. 15, 2021, and the many challenges that still lie ahead for the group as it enters the second year of its second reign over the country.

Although the Taliban have fared better than initially expected at managing certain aspects of governance since seizing power last August, the group continues to face a diverse array of challenges that it appears poorly equipped to resolve amid persistent disunity and the dominance of hard-liners in the movement. Just over a year ago, the Taliban seized control of Kabul following a rapid offensive across Afghanistan. The ensuing chaos saw the collapse of the former Afghan government and the frantic withdrawal of U.S. and U.S.-allied coalition forces from the country. In the immediate aftermath, many observers raised concerns about whether the Taliban would be able to maintain control over Afghanistan and, if so, if they would form a more inclusive and effective government compared with the prior Taliban regime that ruled over Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001. But while the group has exceeded expectations in managing certain political, diplomatic and economic issues over the past year, the Taliban face multiple constraints that will continue to threaten their hold on power, including persistent disunity and the continued dominance of hard-liners in shaping domestic policy.

The Taliban's Relative Successes
1. Securing overall political control

The Taliban have been able to successfully secure and maintain broad political control over Afghanistan by implementing the strategic lessons learned from their previous rule and by capitalizing on the current lack of strong resistance. As demonstrated in its 2021 military offensive that ended in the seizure of Kabul, the group recognized early on the importance of establishing and maintaining control of rural areas and border checkpoints, which enabled them to besiege (and eventually seize) government-controlled areas and force the surrender of the Afghan government.

The lack of major foreign support to anti-Taliban resistance forces, combined with the low morale among government troops, also helped the Taliban physically consolidate power. The former Afghan government was already exceptionally fragile, corrupt and widely unpopular, which left its military forces unwilling and unmotivated to stand up to the Taliban after foreign forces pulled out. Meanwhile, the resistance fighters who maintained control over pockets of northern Afghanistan during the Taliban's last reign also lacked the coordination and foreign financial support to put up a serious fight — enabling the Taliban to soundly overtake all of the north this time around.

Over the past year, the Taliban have also put loyal commanders and religious scholars in charge of all Afghan provinces. The big show of loyalty or control by the Taliban was during the so-called "loya jirga," or grand council, meeting in June 2022 in which about 3,000 clerics and religious scholars participated. Although the meeting did not yield any big political and social policy decisions, the event highlighted the Taliban's consolidation of power among community leaders in distant areas of the country.

2. Launching a sophisticated diplomatic campaign

Amid regional countries' interest in stabilizing Afghanistan, the Taliban have sought to legitimize their rule internationally by engaging in more sophisticated diplomacy, which has resulted in more meaningful and productive relations — at least with certain key countries. The Taliban's Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan remains unrecognized by the international community, including by their closer partners like Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia (all of whom recognized the Taliban as the leader of Afghanistan during the group's prior reign). But more countries have demonstrated a greater willingness to meaningfully engage with the current Taliban regime.

The Taliban have also more effectively crafted and managed their political messaging, at least with regional countries, including through the use of politically-savvy designated spokespersons. For instance, one of the Taliban's spokespersons, Suhail Shaheen, and Cultural Commission member Muhammad Jalal, have used Twitter for both domestic and external messaging over the past year, publicizing good governance and related social achievements, as well as the Taliban's diplomatic meetings and efforts to provide stability and security. According to an Aug. 15 report issued by the D.C.-based think tank Washington Institute, the Taliban have held about 400 meetings with 35 different countries since retaking control of Afghanistan last year, and have also attended several regional conferences. Over the past year, 16 countries have reopened their embassies in Afghanistan as well, and more countries (including Germany and Malaysia) are considering doing the same. The past year has also seen the Taliban reinstate Afghan embassies in China, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan.

From negotiating more favorable conditions for the withdrawal of Western forces to maintaining relatively cordial relations with many regional countries, including key partners China and Pakistan, the Taliban have been able to generate pragmatic interest among important regional actors to engage with the group politically and economically. While the West remains reluctant to deal with the Taliban due to the group's poor human rights standards and support for militant groups, regional countries have enhanced their cooperation with the Taliban. Pakistan, for example, has relied on the Taliban to mediate cease-fire negotiations between Islamabad and the anti-government militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP, also known as the "Pakistani Taliban"), which is based in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, China has begun economic engagement with the Taliban; private Chinese traders have taken several trips to Afghanistan over the past year to explore opportunities in the South Asian country's mining sector.

At the same time, Uzbekistan and Pakistan are keen on commencing a trans-Afghanistan railway project, while Iran has demonstrated interest in advancing energy cooperation with the Taliban. Finally, the Taliban and the United Arab Emirates are currently in the works of negotiating a contract that would be the Arab Gulf country to operate the Kabul International Airport. These examples suggest that some countries — particularly those with interests either near or in Afghanistan — are willing to strengthen relations with the Taliban. And over time, these countries may eventually be willing to officially recognize the regime.

3. Keeping the economy afloat and maintaining civil services

The Taliban have also been successful in some aspects of economic management (including enhancing revenue collection, continuing mineral exports and preventing a total breakdown of services in the country), despite the withdrawal of budgetary aid from the West that had previously comprised 75%-80% of the Afghan government's budget. The immediate fallout from the Taliban takeover in August 2021 saw Afghanistan's overall GDP contract by a third and pushed many Afghans (further) into poverty and unemployment. But the Taliban have since brought the economy out of total free fall, with the country's GDP stabilizing in recent months (albeit at a lower level than in the pre-Taliban period).

The Taliban claim to have collected an estimated $840 million in revenue from December 2021 to June 2022, with duties on exports accounting for over half (55%) of that revenue. The continuation of mining exports has proven to be particularly valuable, with revenue from Afghanistan's coal shipments to Pakistan having doubled since the Taliban takeover. The Taliban have also selectively enforced the ban on growing and selling opium they imposed shortly after coming to power, allowing opium cultivation to reportedly proceed in some areas as local Taliban officials seek to collect associated taxes and duties. In addition, the Taliban have demonstrated relative success in retaining civil workers and continuing certain government services, as the provision of electricity, water and humanitarian aid have largely continued over the past year.

That said, Afghanistan's economy is still far more fragile and internationally isolated than it was before the fall of Kabul, and it faces a number of significant challenges that will require substantial international assistance to meaningfully counter. Much of the population is experiencing near-extreme poverty and acute hunger, while persistent insecurity, lack of budgetary aid, and recent natural disasters portend a likely further deterioration of the country's economy. This past June, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck the central Afghan provinces of Paktika and Khost, killing an estimated 1,000 people and destroying thousands of homes. In recent weeks, flash flooding across the country has also caused widespread property damage, in addition to killing over 100 people.

But even in the face of these challenges (and the continued lack of Western aid), the Taliban have so far staved off a complete economic collapse. And that in and of itself is a success, as many international observers had feared the group's return to power would serve the final blow to Afghanistan's war-torn economy.

4. Creating relative security

The security situation in Afghanistan has generally improved over the past year, largely because the violence that previously plagued the country was driven by the Taliban themselves. But since taking power in August 2021, the Taliban have also effectively countered attempts by the National Resistance Front and several other armed groups to challenge its territorial control. This is partially due to the Taliban's months-long efforts to build out its security forces, which are now likely larger than the previously assessed 75,000 fighters the group reportedly maintained in the summer of 2021. The group has also repaired and utilized some of the aircraft left behind following the withdrawal of U.S. and U.S.-allied troops, which has likely helped the Taliban counter flare-ups of resistance activity by enabling more expedient transportation and deployment of troops and material. As a result, the Taliban have successfully limited the vast majority of resistance activity to northeast Afghanistan, notably the historically anti-Taliban Panjshir province. In the past year, some anti-Taliban resistance forces have occasionally tried to seize control of villages or districts in the northeast, but the Taliban have generally successfully resisted or quickly retaken contested areas.

Meanwhile, attacks by Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), currently the country's biggest security threat, have thus far proven to be more tactical than strategic threats. ISKP fighters have conducted a number of high-profile attacks — primarily against Taliban commanders and minorities in major cities — that have shown that the country is not completely internally secure. However, the group has not demonstrated the near-term intent or capability to challenge and hold large swathes of territory, and it is not a geographically-wider threat compared with the war between Taliban insurgents and foreign forces in the prior two decades. Indeed, a U.N. report published in July said "targeted [ISKP] attacks" accounted for the bulk civilian casualties in Afghanistan between mid-August 2021 and mid-June 2022, but also acknowledged an "overall, significant reduction in armed violence," as the United Nations recorded 2,106 civilian casualties during this period (which is fewer than in previous years).

Finally, the U.N. Security Council has assessed the Taliban will likely continue to constrain al Qaeda, at least in the near term, to reduce potential disruptions to the Taliban's consolidation of power in Afghanistan. Some level of cooperation and communication between al Qaeda and the Taliban is all but certain, as evidenced by the fact that al Qaeda's former leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, had been living in Kabul before he was killed in a U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle strike earlier this month. But the Taliban have largely sought to reduce the West's perception that their rule will result in an external terrorist threat, and thus curtail the potential for substantial foreign counterterrorism intervention that could threaten the Taliban's control. For now, al Qaeda also likely maintains a similar interest in allowing the Taliban space to govern and consolidate control unhindered, given that al Qaeda's long-term resurgence is significantly helped by having a relative safe haven governed by an ally in Afghanistan.

In the second part of this series, we'll explore daunting challenges that lie ahead for Afghanistan's Taliban leaders as they seek to maintain control over the crisis-stricken, diverse country.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 62817
    • View Profile
Part Two
« Reply #1975 on: August 26, 2022, 03:33:55 PM »
second

Reflecting on the Taliban's First Year Back in Power in Afghanistan, Part 2: The Challenges Ahead
12 MIN READAug 26, 2022 | 18:05 GMT





Hundreds of villagers desperate for humanitarian aid wait for hours outside a government center to register on Dec. 6, 2021, in Charikar, Afghanistan.
Hundreds of villagers wait outside a government center to register for humanitarian aid on Dec. 6, 2021, in Charikar, Afghanistan.

(Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Editor's Note: This column is the second of a two-part series that explores where the Taliban exceeded expectations since retaking control of Afghanistan on Aug. 15, 2021, and the many challenges that still lie ahead for the group as it enters the second year of its second reign over the country. The first part, which focuses on the group's relative successes over the past year, can be found here.

While the Taliban have effectively established themselves as the de-facto government in Afghanistan, they will face considerable challenges to their continued rule, making effective diplomatic partnerships for economic advancement and preventing security threats, both domestically and to external actors, essential. Notably, most challenges are closely related to the accomplishments discussed in the first part of this series — highlighting that what may have been relative successes in the Taliban's first year in power also present longer-term liabilities.

The Taliban's Top Challenges in Year Two
1. Mitigating economic and humanitarian crises

Despite keeping the economy from completely collapsing, the most critical challenge for the Taliban will be improving the country's still-dire economic and humanitarian crises, which recent natural disasters have only exacerbated. The Taliban's opaque budget and policy priorities make it difficult to decipher the group's current economic focus. But in the absence of foreign budgetary aid that made up about 75% of the country's prior budget, the Taliban will be increasingly desperate for financial help to plug a reported $500 million dollar budgetary gap. Meanwhile, about $9 billion belonging to the Afghan Central Bank remains withheld in Western banks — most of it in the United States. Despite calls to unfreeze the assets, these funds may remain unavailable due to the Taliban's hard-line domestic policies, including controversial limits on women's and girls' rights. The recent discovery that al Qaeda's former slain leader had been hiding out in Kabul also suggests a violation of the 2020 U.S.-Taliban agreement (in which the Taliban pledged to keep Afghanistan from again becoming a safe haven for Islamist extremist groups) — potentially further dimming the likelihood of Washington allowing the Taliban to access these frozen funds. Furthermore, Western sanctions on several Taliban leaders and the group's failure so far to gain international recognition have blocked the Afghan banking system from conducting transactions with other countries.

These more macroeconomic headwinds coincide with others that present immediate challenges to the Afghan populace. For example, thousands of women have lost their jobs due to the Taliban's hard-line restrictions, while overall unemployment has increased due to lack of economic demand, which has caused disruptions in the delivery of essential services like healthcare and education in most areas of the country.

Food insecurity is also worsening in Afghanistan. An estimated 20 million people (50% of the population) are currently food insecure, with women and children being the most severely affected. The risk of crime related to poverty and hunger, as well as people turning to militant groups for monetary safety, thus remains high in the country. The growing humanitarian crisis is deepening Afghanistan's dependence on external aid and raises questions about the Taliban-led government's ability to effectively manage the economy in the long term.

2. Maintaining internal unity

As the Taliban attempt to transition from a violent insurgent movement countering a common enemy to engaging in national governance, internal disunity and hard-line dominance will remain a serious constraint. The Taliban have many internal divisions, including hardliners vs. moderates; local Taliban leaders and commanders vs. Taliban core members who have political power; and ethnic minorities within the Taliban vs. the majority Pashtun Taliban.

The abrupt revocation of the long-expected resumption of older girls' education in March was a particularly prominent example of continued disagreements between more pragmatic members of the Taliban and the group's more hard-line members. The incident highlighted the persistent dominance of hard-liners in shaping domestic policy, despite the subsequent costs to the group's international diplomatic efforts. Though the Taliban's ambitions for official recognition and further international assistance may eventually influence at least limited compromise on certain issues, the group has thus far failed to demonstrate a willingness to do so — even amid the country's deteriorating conditions, suggesting that, overall, hard-line governance and disunity will continue.

Internal discord has also been reportedly triggered by different Taliban elements fighting over control of resources and territory, particularly in high-earning mining regions. Take, for example, the Taliban's recent killing of one of their former commanders. In early July, the group's Kabul-based political leadership started to voice their frustration with Malawi Mahdi, a Taliban intelligence chief in Afghanistan's Bamiyan district. Mahdi, who was ethnic Hazara, had reportedly been locally collecting taxes as opposed to adhering to the Taliban's policy of central, monopolized control of resources. The conflict then took a sectarian turn and escalated into an uprising led by Mahdi, to which the Taliban reacted fiercely — ultimately defeating and reportedly killing the rebel commander in August as he was trying to flee to Iran. This example speaks to Afghanistan's complex geography and demography; the presence of valuable natural resources in ethnic minority-dominated areas could prove a dangerous future threat to the Taliban's power.

Meanwhile, the Taliban have demonstrated increasing distrust of ethnic minorities even within the movement. The group has reportedly replaced Tajik and Uzbek Taliban fighters with Pashtun fighters in certain key areas of Afghanistan. This, along with reported incidents of Taliban violence and discrimination against minority groups, will only likely further reinforce perceived alienation among these minorities, which risks fueling at least localized resistance to Taliban rule that could grow. In a more escalatory scenario, some of these aggrieved Taliban members could even defect to groups like ISKP or other anti-Taliban groups, not only undermining Taliban unity but also creating a security threat as they do so. ISKP has already been observed disseminating propaganda targeting Tajiks and Uzbeks, so there is not merely a notional concern.

One further potential medium-to-long term threat is the newly formed High Council of National Resistance. The anti-Taliban resistance council is comprised of exiled former warlords like Ata Mohammad Noor and Uzbek leader Abdul Rashid Dostum, along with several Hazara leaders, who have demanded ethnic minorities have meaningful influence in governing the country and threatened armed mobilization if their concerns are not heeded. It remains to be seen whether, despite living abroad, these individuals still hold sufficient sway in Afghanistan to influence events on the ground. But they remain well-known figures in the country and still have lots of international contacts, which could one day see some degree of foreign support for their ideas.

Ultimately, these combined challenges — driven by persistent internal disunity and the dominance of hard-liners in the movement — will make it increasingly difficult for the Taliban to effectively govern the diverse country. If the Taliban starts compromising on social and religious hard-line policies, the group would likely alienate many local level commanders, soldiers and others (including key leaders) who believe in the strict implementation of the Taliban's interpretation of Islamic governance. This could lead Taliban members to join groups like ISKP and anti-Taliban resistance movements, thereby fundamentally threatening the Taliban's control over the country.

3. Gaining more international aid and recognition

The continued dominance of hard-liners in the movement will likely continue to limit prospects for greater international assistance and official recognition of the Taliban, particularly by Western countries. Besides limiting women's rights and older girls' ability to access education, the Taliban have continued to limit press freedoms, engage in arbitrary detentions and suppress dissent — sometimes brutally. The Taliban have also failed to credibly demonstrate their intent to form a more inclusive government or draft a new constitution.

The group's hard-line governance has triggered persistent Western criticism of the Taliban and has occasionally driven delays and hesitance on providing more substantive assistance to Afghanistan. For example, after the Taliban banned older girls from returning to school in March, the World Bank temporarily suspended humanitarian aid projects worth $600 million for months that it had initially approved. In recent days, frustrations with the Taliban's hard-line governance (and the restrictions on girls' education, in particular) have reportedly also driven disputes among members of the U.N. Security Council on whether to exempt 13 Taliban officials from a travel ban. If the ban is not lifted, it would further complicate the Taliban's efforts to engage in international diplomacy.

Meanwhile, the Taliban's enduring relationship with al Qaeda may have diplomatic consequences as well. The recent discovery that slain al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was living in Kabul has reminded the world that the Taliban still retain ties with the notorious Islamist extremist group behind the 9/11 attacks against the United States, as well as many other deadly attacks in Europe and elsewhere. This will make it politically difficult for Western leaders to offer more near-term support to the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan — especially when coupled with the controversial hard-line policies it has enacted over the past year. Indeed, the apparent hosting of al-Zawahiri in the Afghan capital reportedly prompted the U.S. government to at least temporarily pause negotiations with the Taliban on unfreezing Afghan central bank funds.

The expected continuation of at least some of the aforementioned issues will sustain challenges to the Taliban's quest for further international assistance and recognition, particularly from Western countries, which in turn will limit the Taliban's ability to counter the country's ongoing economic and humanitarian crises or legitimize their de-facto rule. The continued absence of substantive economic aid that could potentially ease Afghanistan's humanitarian crisis could give space for social unrest or even drive some support for anti-Taliban resistance forces in certain areas of the country. As long as the Taliban remains unrecognized, it will lack the ability to officially represent Afghanistan and pursue the country's interests at the international level, risking the exacerbation of poverty, crime and instability.

4. Managing domestic and regional security threats

Despite consolidating territorial control, the Taliban face a significant legitimacy and security challenge due to domestic and regional threats. In February, the U.N. Security Council assessed that extremist groups generally enjoy significant freedom in Afghanistan following the Taliban's takeover of the country. This indicates the Taliban will likely continue to face challenges in constraining the actions of such groups, both domestically and regionally. Most significantly, ISKP has demonstrated the persistent capability to conduct lethal attacks primarily targeting the Taliban and religious minorities in Afghanistan, despite the Taliban's attempts to counter the group. Though reports about ISKP's recent concern regarding group infiltrations may suggest the Taliban are evolving its counter-ISKP approach from generally ineffective and brutal counterterrorism to a more targeted, espionage-based strategy, the Taliban have thus far failed to limit ISKP's ability to launch attacks. Further persistence of the ISKP threat will allow it to continually undermine confidence in the Taliban's claimed capability and intent to secure the country and protect Afghanistan's religious minorities.

Though the Taliban have demonstrated success in countering anti-Taliban resistance forces, the potential remains for such forces to more effectively coordinate their efforts and potentially gain international support, which could enhance their ability to challenge the Taliban's territorial control. The Taliban's alienation of ethnic and religious minorities may also drive recruitment and support for such groups or even the formation of new ones, which, if substantial enough, could similarly enhance their impact on Afghanistan's security.

In addition, the Taliban will likely continue to occasionally clash with the border forces of neighboring countries given heightened mutual suspicions and the irresolution of certain cross-border disputes — most notably over the legitimacy of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, known as the ''Durand Line.'' While the tactical impacts of these clashes will likely remain localized, their unpredictability and potential for escalation mean that clashes may drive occasional challenges to relations with neighboring countries. Neighboring countries' desire to maintain stability and prevent spillover violence from Afghanistan will likely constrain potential escalations, meaning consequent challenges to the Taliban's regional relationships will likely remain temporary and limited. But flare-ups in tensions with bordering nations could still create challenges for the Taliban, especially if they require the group to reallocate resources from other areas to strengthen border security.

Finally, despite generally securing the country, the Taliban will continue to face challenges constraining militant groups that threaten foreign countries, which will sustain international concern about threats emanating from Afghanistan. Besides ISKP and al Qaeda, other militants — including Pakistani TTP militants, along with Tajik militants and ethnic Uyghur fighters from China — continue to operate in Afghanistan. The Taliban's limited capability — and at times, intent — to constrain the diversity of threats based in the country will likely sustain risks to its diplomatic and economic efforts, particularly if any of these groups successfully conducts a major attack against a foreign country. Though different countries maintain different tolerances to the risks posed by Afghanistan-based militant groups, regional countries in particular (including Russia, China, India and various Central Asian countries) have all stated that their continued engagement with the Taliban is contingent on the Taliban constraining threats from Afghanistan to their countries.

Threats emanating from Afghanistan may also trigger foreign counterterrorism strikes, which risks undermining perceptions of the Taliban's control over the country. Demonstrating the challenges the Taliban face, ISKP has already claimed rocket attacks against Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, while the TTP has attacked Pakistani security forces primarily in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. In response, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan put their military forces on alert, while Pakistan reportedly conducted airstrikes against alleged TTP militants in eastern Afghanistan in April. Propaganda materials released by many of these militant groups have expressed their continued intent to threaten regional countries. Ultimately, the Taliban's failure to meaningfully constrain the activity of Afghanistan-based militant groups will pose a sustained threat to the Taliban's legitimacy and Afghanistan's security.

Going forward, the Taliban will face far more difficult challenges compared to its first year in power as it seeks to maintain control over the crisis-stricken, diverse country. Even given some improvements in stability, Afghanistan remains a cautionary tale.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 62817
    • View Profile
Stratfor: Pakistan's floods
« Reply #1976 on: August 30, 2022, 02:34:19 PM »
Pakistan's Floods: The Economic, Political and Security Fallout
5 MIN READAug 30, 2022 | 20:45 GMT


Unprecedented flooding and associated economic losses will worsen Pakistan's economic and political challenges, and potentially raise the risk of militant activity in certain areas. Pakistan is facing an unprecedented flooding disaster, with most of its provinces experiencing significantly higher than average monsoon rainfall in 2022. Inadequate physical infrastructure and poor disaster preparedness have exacerbated the crisis.

Three of Pakistan's four provinces, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, have been severely impacted by the flooding. As of Aug. 29, Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority reports that about 30 million people have been displaced, almost 950,000 houses have been destroyed and more than 1,100 people have been killed. Meanwhile, more than 3,450 kilometers (approximately 2,140 miles) of roads, nearly 150 bridges and more than 170 shops have been damaged.

The province of Balochistan was completely cut off from other parts of the country when flooding closed or destroyed important roads and bridges.

Even though heavy rains have stopped in most parts of the country, the forecast calls for more heavy rainfall in September, which could lead to more damage.

The military has deployed in flood-affected areas for rescue and relief operations.

Ongoing floods come as Pakistan faces a severe economic crisis and brewing instability, and as underlying militant risks persist despite cease-fire negotiations between the government and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. On Aug. 29, the International Monetary Fund approved a resumption of its $1.17 billion bailout program after the government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who took office in April and has since enacted various fiscal measures like increasing fuel, electricity and tax rates and secured foreign financial assistance. Despite this financial lifeline, Islamabad still faces an array of major economic challenges, ranging from foreign exchange reserves at historically low levels ( or only enough to cover about a month of imports), high inflation (approximately 25% in July) and a growing current account deficit (currently at about $17.4 billion). Meanwhile, political polarization is growing as former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was removed from office after a no-confidence vote in April and replaced by long-time rival Sharif, gains popularity. Khan's inflammatory anti-government rhetoric coupled with the country's economic challenges have created great uncertainty in the political landscape and increased the risk of unrest. Meanwhile, although the frequency of TTP attacks has fallen due to ongoing negotiations and a potential cease-fire, sporadic attacks by Islamic State Khorasan Province and other militants have continued, primarily against security personnel in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

On top of other challenges, a shortage of liquefied natural gas means that the country has faced power cuts in several regions that have hampered economic activity and drawn popular ire.

In recent weeks, Saudi Arabia and Qatar pledged financial support for the ailing Pakistani economy, helping Islamabad satisfy the IMF demand that Pakistan secure external support to fill its financing gap assessed at $4 billion.

The government's attempts, with the military's support, to block Khan's political ascent through legal investigations and other institutional means have raised the risk of widespread social unrest. Authorities have opened an investigation into Khan for allegedly violating anti-terror laws, sparking protests by his supporters; tensions between the two camps could rise if authorities arrest Khan or take other measures to prevent his political activities.

The Afghan Taliban is currently mediating between the TTP and Islamabad, but a deal has not been finalized and the TTP members who reject negotiating with the government might carry out attacks in Pakistan on their own. Unconfirmed local reports also suggest the TTP may be using local militants as proxies to carry out sporadic attacks against Pakistani security forces in a bid to avoid blowback from Islamabad.

The economic damage of the floods will complicate the government's ongoing efforts to bring economic relief, which could bolster Khan's popularity and cause more political instability. Militants may take advantage of the crisis and exploit the likely slow pace of rehabilitation and resettlement efforts to recruit or conduct attacks. Despite the recent deal with the IMF, cash-strapped Pakistan's dependence on foreign aid will grow, as its precarious finances give it little ability to effectively respond to the flooding crisis. Economic growth will likely be truncated due to the impact of floods, deterring much-needed economic investment in the country. Damaged crops will lead to lower yields of important agricultural exports like rice and cotton, worsening food insecurity and endangering the livelihoods of millions of the country's people. The economic problems and the constraints on the government in dealing with them could bolster Khan's popularity at the expense of Sharif, leading to anti-government protests and potentially to early elections. While near-term security threats are driven by mass displacement, poorly organized and uneven governmental development assistance or redevelopment activity (especially in the restive provinces of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) will likely motivate separatist groups like Balochistan Liberation Army, the TTP and the Islamic State to exploit popular suffering to draw recruits and increase their attacks against the government and the military.

Pakistani Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Aug. 30 said redevelopment costs after unprecedented floods could amount to $10 billion.
The TTP on Aug. 26 released a statement criticizing the government's inadequate relief response and blaming it for popular suffering.
On Aug. 3, six commanders died in what Baloch insurgents said was their downing of an army helicopter during flood relief operations. Regardless of whether an accident caused the crash as the army argues, further flood cleanup operations will carry similar security risks.

G M

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 24511
    • View Profile
Re: Stratfor: Pakistan's floods
« Reply #1977 on: August 30, 2022, 03:38:04 PM »
Gosh, I sure feel bad about this!


Pakistan's Floods: The Economic, Political and Security Fallout
5 MIN READAug 30, 2022 | 20:45 GMT


Unprecedented flooding and associated economic losses will worsen Pakistan's economic and political challenges, and potentially raise the risk of militant activity in certain areas. Pakistan is facing an unprecedented flooding disaster, with most of its provinces experiencing significantly higher than average monsoon rainfall in 2022. Inadequate physical infrastructure and poor disaster preparedness have exacerbated the crisis.

Three of Pakistan's four provinces, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, have been severely impacted by the flooding. As of Aug. 29, Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority reports that about 30 million people have been displaced, almost 950,000 houses have been destroyed and more than 1,100 people have been killed. Meanwhile, more than 3,450 kilometers (approximately 2,140 miles) of roads, nearly 150 bridges and more than 170 shops have been damaged.

The province of Balochistan was completely cut off from other parts of the country when flooding closed or destroyed important roads and bridges.

Even though heavy rains have stopped in most parts of the country, the forecast calls for more heavy rainfall in September, which could lead to more damage.

The military has deployed in flood-affected areas for rescue and relief operations.

Ongoing floods come as Pakistan faces a severe economic crisis and brewing instability, and as underlying militant risks persist despite cease-fire negotiations between the government and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. On Aug. 29, the International Monetary Fund approved a resumption of its $1.17 billion bailout program after the government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who took office in April and has since enacted various fiscal measures like increasing fuel, electricity and tax rates and secured foreign financial assistance. Despite this financial lifeline, Islamabad still faces an array of major economic challenges, ranging from foreign exchange reserves at historically low levels ( or only enough to cover about a month of imports), high inflation (approximately 25% in July) and a growing current account deficit (currently at about $17.4 billion). Meanwhile, political polarization is growing as former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was removed from office after a no-confidence vote in April and replaced by long-time rival Sharif, gains popularity. Khan's inflammatory anti-government rhetoric coupled with the country's economic challenges have created great uncertainty in the political landscape and increased the risk of unrest. Meanwhile, although the frequency of TTP attacks has fallen due to ongoing negotiations and a potential cease-fire, sporadic attacks by Islamic State Khorasan Province and other militants have continued, primarily against security personnel in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

On top of other challenges, a shortage of liquefied natural gas means that the country has faced power cuts in several regions that have hampered economic activity and drawn popular ire.

In recent weeks, Saudi Arabia and Qatar pledged financial support for the ailing Pakistani economy, helping Islamabad satisfy the IMF demand that Pakistan secure external support to fill its financing gap assessed at $4 billion.

The government's attempts, with the military's support, to block Khan's political ascent through legal investigations and other institutional means have raised the risk of widespread social unrest. Authorities have opened an investigation into Khan for allegedly violating anti-terror laws, sparking protests by his supporters; tensions between the two camps could rise if authorities arrest Khan or take other measures to prevent his political activities.

The Afghan Taliban is currently mediating between the TTP and Islamabad, but a deal has not been finalized and the TTP members who reject negotiating with the government might carry out attacks in Pakistan on their own. Unconfirmed local reports also suggest the TTP may be using local militants as proxies to carry out sporadic attacks against Pakistani security forces in a bid to avoid blowback from Islamabad.

The economic damage of the floods will complicate the government's ongoing efforts to bring economic relief, which could bolster Khan's popularity and cause more political instability. Militants may take advantage of the crisis and exploit the likely slow pace of rehabilitation and resettlement efforts to recruit or conduct attacks. Despite the recent deal with the IMF, cash-strapped Pakistan's dependence on foreign aid will grow, as its precarious finances give it little ability to effectively respond to the flooding crisis. Economic growth will likely be truncated due to the impact of floods, deterring much-needed economic investment in the country. Damaged crops will lead to lower yields of important agricultural exports like rice and cotton, worsening food insecurity and endangering the livelihoods of millions of the country's people. The economic problems and the constraints on the government in dealing with them could bolster Khan's popularity at the expense of Sharif, leading to anti-government protests and potentially to early elections. While near-term security threats are driven by mass displacement, poorly organized and uneven governmental development assistance or redevelopment activity (especially in the restive provinces of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) will likely motivate separatist groups like Balochistan Liberation Army, the TTP and the Islamic State to exploit popular suffering to draw recruits and increase their attacks against the government and the military.

Pakistani Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Aug. 30 said redevelopment costs after unprecedented floods could amount to $10 billion.
The TTP on Aug. 26 released a statement criticizing the government's inadequate relief response and blaming it for popular suffering.
On Aug. 3, six commanders died in what Baloch insurgents said was their downing of an army helicopter during flood relief operations. Regardless of whether an accident caused the crash as the army argues, further flood cleanup operations will carry similar security risks.

DougMacG

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 16773
    • View Profile

G M

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 24511
    • View Profile
Re: Biden yet to release report on Afghan withdrawal
« Reply #1979 on: September 01, 2022, 08:23:15 AM »
We withdrew from Afghanistan? You wouldn't know that if you were watching the MSM.


Maybe it didn't go well.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/afghanistan-withdrawal-biden-yet-to-release-after-action-reports/

ccp

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 15546
    • View Profile
Elliot Ackerman on Margaret Hoovier
« Reply #1980 on: September 10, 2022, 10:22:43 AM »
https://www.npr.org/podcasts/1060877256/firing-line-with-margaret-hoover

very good interview without the usual Margaret Hoover leftist tilt who is not a conservative as far as I can tell.  it is 46 minutes but worth the listen .  I saw on cable last night.

Ackerman puts most of the blame on Biden .

He also gives an insightful view of not only of Afghanistan but  US wars in general past and future.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 62817
    • View Profile
First land container shipment from China arrives
« Reply #1981 on: September 24, 2022, 04:18:37 AM »
New route. The first shipment of containers using a new road and rail route through Central Asia arrived in Hairatan, Afghanistan, on Thursday. The corridor starts in the northwestern Chinese province of Xinjiang, passes through Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan and ends in Afghanistan. It’s an alternative to the traditional sea routes, which take longer to traverse.

ya

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 1156
    • View Profile
Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1982 on: September 24, 2022, 06:18:53 AM »
The amount that can be transported over the seas is huge and at very low costs.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 62817
    • View Profile
Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1983 on: September 24, 2022, 11:22:30 AM »
But is it subject to constraints by the US Navy and as such requires a Chinese Navy that breaks out of the South China Sea?

What I am seeing here is the beginning of the Belt Road Initiative and preparation for taking hold of Bagram AF Base.


ya

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 1156
    • View Profile
Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1985 on: October 23, 2022, 07:22:11 AM »
Pak out of FATF. Reward for getting Zawahiri ?
« Last Edit: October 23, 2022, 10:50:34 AM by ya »

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 62817
    • View Profile
TRANE (Stratfor)
« Reply #1986 on: November 02, 2022, 03:43:51 PM »
After a Rocky Few Years, Pakistan Tries to Mend Ties With the U.S.
7 MIN READNov 2, 2022 | 21:31 GMT





A delegation led by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) meets with a delegation led by Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 26, 2022.
A delegation led by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) meets with a delegation led by Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 26, 2022.

(KEVIN LAMARQUE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

While Pakistan's ongoing push to improve ties with the United States will likely result in a more pragmatic relationship after years of mistrust, cooperation will continue to primarily focus on security issues and a substantial U.S. economic involvement in the country is unlikely. Recent outreach between the United States and Pakistan indicates the two countries are trying to improve their strained diplomatic ties:

On Oct. 9, Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa wrapped up a six-day visit to the United States, where he discussed regional security matters in meetings with senior U.S. defense officials, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, National Intelligence Director Avril Haines and CIA Director William Burns.
On Sept. 26, Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also visited Washington, where he discussed humanitarian aid for flood relief and other regional issues with his U.S. counterpart Antony Blinken.
On Sept. 8, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden provided Pakistan $450 million to upgrade the country's fleet of F-16 fighter jets — indicating a policy reversal from its predecessor, which suspended military aid to Pakistan for failing to clamp down on terrorist groups. The same day, CIA Director William Burns visited Pakistan to discuss the situation in Afghanistan with the country's defense officials.
These developments suggest a mutual desire by both Pakistan and the United States to reset bilateral ties after a rocky few years. Washington's relations with Islamabad have hit several rough patches in recent years amid the latter's ongoing ties to the Taliban in Afghanistan. Throughout the 18-year Afghan conflict, Pakistan maintained support to both the militant group and the U.S. military. Over the years, this increasingly fueled concerns in Washington that Islamabad was playing a double game by nominally aiding U.S. troops in Afghanistan while simultaneously sponsoring the very enemy those troops were fighting against. Such concerns came to a head under the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump, who repeatedly accused Pakistan of being deceitful by providing a safe haven for the Taliban and other terrorist groups. In 2018, the Trump administration suspended $1.9 billion in U.S. aid to the country, which in turn made Pakistan all the more distrustful of the United States — worsening the bilateral relationship. Relations then hit another low earlier this year, when former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan accused the United States of orchestrating his ousting from power in April (claims that were never confirmed).

But despite recent political frictions, the two countries' security establishments have remained in close communication. For decades, the U.S.-Pakistan partnership has been rooted in military cooperation, due largely to Pakistan's strategic importance in mitigating threats in neighboring Afghanistan. Islamabad and Washington joined forces to arm the anti-Soviet mujahideen in Afghanistan in a proxy conflict of the Cold War. The two countries then resurrected their alliance in 2001 after the United States invaded Afghanistan to dismantle the Taliban-led government and destroy al Qaeda, the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks. The country's landlocked geography forced the United States to rely on Pakistan — the principal sponsor of the Taliban — to provide overland access for ferrying troops and military equipment into Afghanistan. And in exchange for that support, Washington gave Islamabad roughly $33 billion in aid over the next 15 years (until the Trump administration cut off those funds in 2018). Today, the United States and Pakistan's security institutions continue to cooperate in mitigating regional threats.

The CIA's July 31 drone strike that killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul was speculated to have been carried out in coordination with Pakistan, given a 2003 U.S.-Pakistan agreement that allows the United States to use Pakistani airspace to conduct flights into Afghanistan.
By increasing outreach to the United States, Pakistan is seeking to expand this largely security-focused relationship to other areas, such as trade and infrastructure. A combination of political and economic pressures is driving Pakistan to improve ties with the United States. For one, Pakistan's military holds significant influence over the country's security and foreign policy matters, and has been working with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's government to mend bilateral ties with the United States. In addition, Sharif's government is hoping to build a more comprehensive partnership with Washington that covers aspects like trade, infrastructure, technology and health at a time when the South Asian country is grappling with the economic fallout from the devastating floods that swept across Pakistan earlier this year, along with the ongoing global energy and food crises. Relatedly, improved ties with the United States could also increase Pakistan's chances of securing financial assistance from various multilateral lending institutions, like the International Monetary Fund, given Washington's influence over such organizations.

Pakistan has repeatedly requested bailouts from the IMF during volatile economic times. Islamabad is currently under a $6 billion IMF bailout plan from 2019 under which it received $1.17 billion in August this year after the seventh and eighth reviews of the program.
Between July and September, Pakistan was hit with a series of massive floods that left millions without homes or food and severely disrupted agricultural production.
Pakistan is also hoping to balance its foreign policy at a time of rising geopolitical tensions between the United States, China and Russia. Pakistan is a part of China's Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, which aims to extend China's influence over the world through economic diplomacy and partnership. Pakistan has also taken a neutral stance on Russia's war in Ukraine, which has enabled it to import cheap Russian oil at a time when Western nations are scrambling to find new energy supplies after sanctioning Moscow's exports. The United States cannot quickly replace China as a source of investment, or Russia as a source of energy. But Pakistan will nevertheless seek to establish an independent bilateral relationship with the United States in the hopes that it could eventually serve as a potential balance to Chinese and Russian ties.

But despite Pakistan's efforts to broaden the relationship, the United States will remain primarily interested in security cooperation. The United States will likely avoid reinstalling a direct military presence in the region after withdrawing from Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban takeover in August 2021 and realignment of its foreign policy objectives to counter Chinese influence. Instead, Washington will probably opt to keep some degree of operational capabilities to monitor and act on terrorist threats. But it will still rely on Pakistan's help to gain the access needed to maintain those counterterrorism and intelligence-gathering efforts, given that all of Afghanistan's other neighbors are either directly or indirectly hostile toward the United States. Indeed, the Biden administration's recent move to help upgrade Pakistan's fleet of fighter jets (despite India's protests) shows that U.S. leaders still very much see the country as an important security partner. Still, this continued interest in Pakistan is unlikely to result in a significant increase in U.S. financial aid or private-sector investment in the country. For one, Washington is also seeking to grow its partnership with India (Pakistan's regional archnemesis), which will likely limit the extent to which it can deepen economic cooperation with Islamabad — at least in the short-to-medium term. China's large presence in Pakistan, along with the South Asian country's perennial economic and political instability, will further deter U.S. businesses from getting too involved in Pakistan. The United States thus remains unlikely to significantly expand its relationship with Pakistan beyond the security realm, as the risks of doing so currently outweigh the benefits.

The three Central Asian states to Afghanistan's north — Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan — are heavily influenced by U.S. adversaries China and Russia. And to Afghanistan's west is Iran, which is itself a U.S. adversary. Pakistan thus remains the United States' only practical partner for land access to Afghanistan, which Washington needs to monitor (and prevent) potential threats, like the regrouping of terrorist organizations in the Taliban-controlled country.

ya

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 1156
    • View Profile
Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1987 on: November 06, 2022, 05:22:21 PM »
So Imran Khan (IK) ex PM was shot in the leg at a recent rally. IK has been bad mouthing the army and ISI, riling up the crowds against the army. Warning shots have now been fired. Either the army exerts dominance, or Pak implodes (non-zero probability). The army is the glue which holds Pak together. All this democracy is not working very well. Maybe we need a military coup :evil:
« Last Edit: November 06, 2022, 06:59:33 PM by ya »

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 62817
    • View Profile
WSJ: Paks pist off at China
« Reply #1988 on: November 23, 2022, 04:35:59 PM »
KARACHI, Pakistan—In April, a Pakistani mother of two blew herself up outside the gate of Karachi University’s Chinese language and culture institute, incinerating a minibus and killing three Chinese teachers and a Pakistani driver.

The attack—one of a growing number targeting Chinese nationals working abroad in Asia and Africa—was a sign of China’s deepening challenges as it pours money into the developing world with the aim of extending its influence.

China is the largest lender to the developing world, mainly through Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road infrastructure program. The country has worked to portray itself as a benevolent partner to the countries where it is spending money, in an attempt to draw a distinction with Western powers.

Still, as its global reach expands, China is increasingly grappling with the consequences of projecting power around the world, including corruption, local resentment, political instability and violence. For developing countries, China offers perhaps the best chance of quickly building major infrastructure.

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP

The 10-Point.

A personal, guided tour to the best scoops and stories every day in The Wall Street Journal.


Preview

Subscribe
China has faced Western criticism that it is pursuing lopsided lending arrangements that drive developing nations into heavy debt without necessarily delivering the desired local economic benefits. But Beijing also has confronted significant risks, from defaults to political unrest that endangers Chinese assets and workers in borrowing countries.

“The Chinese have to come to terms with the fact that these are unstable countries with fragile internal politics,” said Yun Sun, director of the China program at the Stimson Center, a Washington-based think tank. “If you are going to operate here, you are going to encounter these problems.”

Beijing accepts a degree of security risk in pursuing its Belt and Road program and is committed to working with partner governments, such as in Pakistan, to mitigate threats to Chinese personnel and assets, Chinese experts say.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We couldn’t possibly wait until all terror attacks cease before starting new projects,” said Qian Feng, a senior fellow at Tsinghua University’s National Strategy Institute. “We have to keep working, studying the issues, and undertake preventative measures at the same time.”


Passengers in eastern Lahore board a metro line that was built under China’s Belt and Road lending program and opened in October 2020.
PHOTO: ARIF ALI/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
Chinese businesses and workers in several countries where it is making investments have become favored targets. Chinese nationals are seen as wealthier than most locals and, in some cases, are perceived to be reaping too much of the economic benefits and job opportunities created by Beijing’s investments.

Gunmen in Nigeria abducted four Chinese workers in June during an attack at a mine in the country’s northwest. In October, unidentified “thugs” attacked a Chinese-funded business in Nigeria and killed a Chinese employee there, according to the Chinese consulate in Lagos. The consulate urged Chinese companies to hire private security and fortify their work areas.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Chinese investors dominate the mining industry, Chinese business groups and workers have sounded alarms about armed robberies and kidnappings in recent months. Beijing has urged local authorities to step up security for Chinese assets and personnel.

There were about 440,000 Chinese people working abroad for Chinese contractors in Asia and roughly 93,500 in Africa at the end of last year, according to the China International Contractors Association, a Beijing-based industry group.

How China Plans to Salvage Its Faltering Belt and Road Initiative
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE
How China Plans to Salvage Its Faltering Belt and Road Initiative
WSJ’s Shelby Holliday explains why China’s Belt and Road lending initiative is broken, what a Belt and Road 2.0 might look like, and the challenges such an overhaul could pose for China. Illustration: Adele Morgan
The Oxus Society, a Washington-based think tank, counted about 160 incidents of civil unrest in Central Asia between 2018 and mid-2021 where China was the key issue.

Beijing recognizes the rising threat to its workers in developing countries but doesn’t want to send in its army as it professes noninterference abroad, said Alessandro Arduino, author of “China’s Private Army: Protecting the New Silk Road.” Instead, China is deploying technology such as facial recognition and hiring more private Chinese security contractors, he said.

China chose Pakistan—one of its closest allies, with deep military ties and a common rival in India—as a showcase of its investment in developing nations. Beijing has spent about $25 billion here on roads, power plants and a port.

ADVERTISEMENT

This month, Pakistan’s prime minister, Shehbaz Sharif, made his first trip to Beijing since taking office in April. Both leaders committed to their countries’ partnership.

“China views its relations with Pakistan from a strategic and long-term perspective, and Pakistan has always been a high priority in China’s neighborhood diplomacy,” Mr. Xi said, according to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Xi also expressed concern about the safety of Chinese nationals in the country. Islamabad told Beijing it could import armored vehicles for protection and that Pakistan would increase its security at some Chinese projects, Pakistani officials said.


Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif meets Chinese President Xi Jinping during his November visit in Beijing.
PHOTO: PRESS INFORMATION DEPARTMENT/REUTERS
After the April attack at the gate of Karachi University, Beijing sought to bring Chinese private security contractors into Pakistan. Islamabad, which provides 30,000 Pakistani soldiers to guard the Chinese, denied the request, according to Pakistani officials.

The suicide bomber targeted a minibus of teachers returning from lunch to the university’s Confucius Institute, part of Beijing’s global network of schools teaching Chinese language and culture.

One of the teachers killed, Huang Guiping, helped establish the program about a decade ago and just a month earlier had returned for a second stint as director of its language institute.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Karachi is my second hometown,” Mr. Huang said at the time, according to China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency.

A Chinese teacher who survived but was badly injured, Wang Yuqing, was flown to China to recover. Another 11 teachers in Karachi, who taught at different colleges in Pakistan’s largest city and weren’t in the minibus attacked, returned to China.

“The motherland has brought us back,” said a teacher who flew home in May with the ashes of their deceased colleagues, state-run Xinhua reported.

The Baloch Liberation Army, the deadliest separatist group in Pakistan’s westernmost province of Balochistan, claimed responsibility for the attack.

In September, a gunman raided a dental practice in Karachi run by an ethnic Chinese couple who had grown up in Pakistan. The assailant shot and injured the dentist and his wife, both in their 70s, and killed their ethnic Chinese cashier. The attack was claimed by a militant group.


A gunman shot and injured an ethnic Chinese couple who had grown up in Pakistan and killed their ethnic Chinese cashier in September at a dental clinic in Karachi.
PHOTO: IMRAN ALI/REUTERS
Pakistan is in the throes of a political clash between the current government and its recently ousted prime minister, Imran Khan. The country is facing inflation running at 25%, plus devastating floods, and it recently secured a bailout from the International Monetary Fund as its foreign exchange reserves dwindle to dangerously low levels. China’s investments in Pakistan were supposed to lay the foundation for an economic takeoff, according to both countries.

Prime Minister Mr. Sharif pledged to resume China’s Belt and Road program, after it stalled under his predecessor. Mr. Khan’s ministers questioned the value-for-money of power projects and whether bribes had been paid for some of the road-building—accusations angrily denied by Beijing.

Pakistan’s province of Balochistan is home to the port of Gwadar, a focus of Beijing’s infrastructure program in the country. There are plans to add an airport.

ADVERTISEMENT

Only three ships call a week and 28 Chinese nationals, including two chefs, live there, said Zhang Baozhong, chairman of China Overseas Port Holding Company, which runs the port, part of the state-owned China Communications Construction Co. Ltd.

Locals, who don’t have sufficient electricity and drinking water, say they haven’t benefited from the port. Hidayat ur Rehman Baloch, a religious cleric whose party swept local elections this year, led a yearslong and ultimately successful push to convince authorities to drop a plan to expel residents and bulldoze part of the town for a port expansion.

“What does development mean?” he asked, adding that he holds the Pakistani government responsible for what he sees as the lack of local benefits from China’s investments. “We have no electricity, no healthcare available. We are thirsty.”


The port of Gwadar is a focus of Beijing’s infrastructure program in the country. There are plans to add an airport.
PHOTO: AHMAD KAMAL/XINHUA/ZUMA PRESS

Locals, who don’t have sufficient electricity and drinking water, say they haven’t benefited from the port.
PHOTO: ASIM HAFEEZ/BLOOMBERG NEWS
Islamabad is hoping to entice the Chinese private sector to follow in the footsteps of state-owned firms and set up factories in the country. After the April bombing in Karachi, many Chinese entrepreneurs interested in bringing industry to Gwadar canceled their plans, said Mr. Zhang.

“The effect is very negative,” the port chief said in an interview at the new U-shaped office complex he built at the port, complete with marble floors and domes. “We still believe that Pakistan is a safe place for Chinese investors, provided you follow guidelines.”

Raffaello Pantucci, co-author of the book “Sinostan,” about China’s influence over its Muslim-majority neighboring nations, said Belt and Road was designed to help countries develop economically and lead to greater stability.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT by Advertising Partner
Sponsored Video
Watch to learn more
LEARN MORE
“The truth is, this doesn’t always resolve peoples’ anger,” Mr. Pantucci said. “Pakistan is a toxic brew for China where they have become enemy No. 1 for an array of militant groups on the ground due to their proximity to the Pakistani state.”

The Baloch Liberation Army are secular insurgents who say the province’s natural resources are being exploited by the rest of the country and often target the Pakistani military. Jihadists from the Pakistani Taliban also have attacked Chinese nationals.

Many insurgents in Pakistan see Beijing as working arm-in-arm with the government they are fighting. “President Xi, you still have time to quit,” a Baloch Liberation Army video released after the Karachi University attack warned.

Last year, in northern Pakistan, militants rammed an explosive-laden car into a bus carrying Chinese construction workers being taken to the site of a dam they were building. The bus was blown off a mountainside, killing nine Chinese and four Pakistanis. This month, authorities said two men belonging to the Pakistani Taliban, a group close to al Qaeda, were sentenced to death for their role. The group hasn’t claimed the attack.

The Pakistani Taliban also tried in 2021 to assassinate the Chinese ambassador, whose car was about two minutes away from arriving at a hotel that was bombed, Pakistani security officials say.


The Pakistani Taliban tried in 2021 to assassinate the Chinese ambassador, whose car was about two minutes away from arriving at a hotel that was bombed.
PHOTO: FAYYAZ AHMED/EPA/SHUTTERSTOCK
In Karachi, the Baloch militants have attacked the Chinese consulate and the stock exchange, in which Chinese investors have a controlling interest.

“Chinese confidence in our system has been shaken up,” said Mushahid Hussain, a lawmaker with close ties to Beijing, and chairman of the Senate Defense Committee. He said Pakistan has deployed enough security personnel, but needs better intelligence to prevent attacks on the Chinese.

Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan’s planning minister, said that China’s projects in the country were “not dependent on one or two odd security incidents.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“It reflects a broader understanding between the two countries to forge a long-term economic partnership,” Mr. Iqbal said.

Shari Hayat, also known as Shari Baloch, was a 31-year-old with a master’s degree in zoology. Moments before she blew up the minibus, she recorded a message for her family: “Be strong. This is a hard path but we have to walk it.”

Baloch is a common surname in the province, especially in separatist circles where it is taken to denote closeness to the struggle.

Ms. Hayat’s family said she had no contact or grievance with the Chinese.

“No one expected anything extreme from her,” said her father, Mohammad Hayat, a 74-year-old retired civil servant.

Human-rights groups say thousands of Baloch men have been picked up by security forces as terrorist suspects under Pakistan’s crackdown on the insurgency, with many tortured or executed. Pakistani authorities acknowledge there are missing Baloch, but deny torture and extrajudicial killings.

Ms. Hayat’s husband, a 32-year-old dentist named Habitan Bashir, also known as Habitan Baloch, said his wife told him two years ago that she would carry out a suicide attack. He is being sought by the Pakistani authorities for alleged involvement in the attack.

She was greatly affected by the Pakistani military’s abduction of youth in the region and the anguish of their families, he said. “She took this step to show Pakistan that not only Baloch men but Baloch women are also ready to sacrifice in defense of their motherland.”

Rachel Liang, Joyu Wang and Waqar Gillani contributed to this article.

Write to Saeed Shah at saeed.shah@wsj.com and Chun Han Wong at chunhan.wong@wsj.com

ADVERTISEMENT

ya

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 1156
    • View Profile
Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1989 on: November 24, 2022, 09:50:45 AM »
Lt.Gen Asim Munir is the new Pak Chief of Army. He is known to be a Koran thumping general, has it all memorized. This has happened 2 times before in the past, both times pak army did special ops in India. India was last month appointed as President of the G20, next G20 meeting is in Nov 2023, at which time, world leaders will likely visit Indian Kashmir to see the peace in that region and will be advised about India's claims to POK. After that India has major elections in May 2024, when Modi will seek a new 5 yr term.

Based on these timelines, India will not make the first move in 2023, as it would be inconsistent with leading the G20. Similarly the first half of 2024, will go in electioneering, but once Modi gets a new 5 y term, it will be game on. A big hint will come from the BJP (Modi's party) election manifesto.

Ofcourse Chinese action on Taiwan could change these timelines, as well as any aggression/terrorism by Pak. Many Indian commentators including current military commanders have started to say they are ready to take back POK, just waiting for govt permission to do so.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2022, 09:53:05 AM by ya »

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 62817
    • View Profile
GPF: Pakistan and Afghan Taliban are headed for a fight
« Reply #1990 on: December 21, 2022, 07:53:55 AM »


December 21, 2022
View On Website
Open as PDF

    
Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban Are Heading Toward a Fight
Islamabad cannot defeat its own Taliban rebels without fighting its former proxies on the other side of the border.
By: Kamran Bokhari

Pakistan and Afghanistan cannot coexist. As competing models of Islamic statehood, the two are engaged in a long-term struggle to shape each other through a process of ideological and territorial osmosis. Pakistan, which is in the throes of an unprecedented political and economic crisis, is especially vulnerable now that the Taliban is back in power in Afghanistan. And the government in Islamabad cannot defeat its own Taliban rebels without fighting its former proxies on the other side of the border.

Inevitable Attacks

On Dec. 20, Pakistani security forces launched a nine-hour military operation to retake a counterterrorism facility in the northwestern city of Bannu seized by militants belonging to the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant group. Four security forces personnel died and 18 were wounded, while 25 militants were killed and 11 surrendered. This is just the latest incident in a sharp uptick in attacks after the TTP ended a cease-fire agreement on Nov. 28. Even the Afghan Taliban have been engaged in cross-border attacks on Pakistani soil. The truce, which lasted a little less than six months, was the outcome of behind-the-scenes talks between Pakistani military officials and the TTP and was mediated by the Afghan Taliban. It followed a rise in militant activity after the Afghan Taliban returned with the departure of U.S. forces in August 2021.



(click to enlarge)

Attacks were all but inevitable. From 2007 to 2015, the TTP waged a ferocious insurgency against the Pakistani state targeting major law enforcement, military and intelligence facilities across the country. Pakistan’s security forces were able to defeat the Taliban rebels and retake large swathes of territory along the border with Afghanistan, but it cost the country 80,000 lives and $150 billion in economic damages. Many TTP militants were either killed or captured in Pakistani counter-insurgency operations, but a great many were forced to sanctuaries across the border.

At the time, Pakistan’s was a complex political and militant landscape. It was home to the country’s own Taliban rebels and a safe haven for Afghan Taliban insurgents fighting U.S.-backed NATO forces in Afghanistan whom Islamabad supported. Pakistan opposed Afghanistan for being allied with its historical rival India – which explains its support for the Afghan jihadists, even as it was fighting their comrades at home. To counter Islamabad’s support for the Afghan Taliban, Kabul was supporting the Pakistani Taliban.

By the time Pakistan realized it could no longer control the Afghan Taliban, it was already too late. As early as the 1970s, Islamabad sought regime change in Kabul to break what it saw as strategic encirclement by India in the east and a pro-New Delhi government to the west. Afghanistan has never recognized the border between them, and for decades the Pakistanis feared the threat of Kabul-supported Pashtun ethno-nationalism in their own northwest. To counter this threat, Pakistan promoted Islamism – both domestically and abroad – a strategy that gained momentum after the Soviet military intervention in 1979. By the early 1990s, with massive military and financial support from the United States and Saudi Arabia, Pakistan had defeated the Marxists in Afghanistan and weakened left-wing Pashtun nationalists on its side of the border. But this only made things worse, geopolitically speaking. Pakistan was no longer flanked by a hostile regime but by a massive power vacuum in which Islamist factions struggled for power.

When the Afghan Taliban emerged from this struggle in 1996, Pakistan thought it had finally gotten the strategic depth it wanted against India when, in fact, the opposite was true. The Taliban ideology was quickly gaining ground in Pakistan, even as al-Qaida’s particular brand of international jihadism took root in both countries. In no small part, this was due to Pakistani authorities enabling the flow of foreign fighters to Afghanistan as a force multiplier for the Taliban’s efforts to consolidate power.

9/11 laid to rest any doubt that Pakistan had created proxies it could no longer control. Pakistan’s perennial political and economic problems only got worse, sandwiched as it was between its ally in the United States, which had given it some $20 billion in assistance, and its premier Islamist proxy in the Taliban. By the time Washington withdrew its forces, Pakistan was critically unstable, while the Taliban had gone from a proxy force to a major national security concern. It was a natural consequence of a strategy of cultivating non-state proxies whose ideology challenged the national identity and narrative of the patron state.

Toward Open Conflict

Perhaps the larger problem for Pakistan is that the Taliban is no longer just a security threat. Afghanistan’s new Taliban regime promotes itself as a model of Islamic governance. This makes it a competitor to Pakistan’s Islamic republic, which was founded on the basis of Muslim nationalism, and which evolved into a hybrid of military authoritarianism, democratic politics and Islamism. Pakistan’s problem of religious extremism stems from the fact that there is a broad array of Islamist factions in the country that have long sought to transform the state along theocratic lines.

And now that the Afghan Taliban have recreated their emirate, Islamist forces in Pakistan feel emboldened to achieve their own ideological goals. The TTP is the most dangerous such faction because it is very much an extension of the original Afghan Taliban movement. It also has extensive experience in controlling large swathes of territory on the Pakistani side of the border. With the Pakistani government weak and with the Taliban's support, the TTP is gearing up for a major campaign against the state.

Local conditions in the northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province are also similar to what they were before the TTP launched its first insurgency in the late 2000s. At the time, it benefited from the fact that an alliance of Islamist parties ruled the province for five years. Today, it is reemerging in the same area after opposition leader Imran Khan’s party has been ruling the province for a decade. Though not an Islamist group, Khan’s PTI, given its own right-wing religious nationalist bent, has championed a soft approach toward the Taliban rebels as well as their parent organization ruling Afghanistan.

The Pakistani government’s method of dealing with the TTP has been to rely on the Afghan Taliban to rein the group in. But the Afghan Taliban have neither the capability nor the will to stop the TTP from attacking Pakistan. Pakistan had hoped that if it helped the Afghan Taliban gain international recognition, they would stop encroaching on Pakistan. That, of course, is impossible. There are simply too many close tribal, ethnic, ideological, political and economic interests that bind the two together.

Worse for Pakistan is that the Afghan Taliban have even less reason to contain some of their more extremist elements, for they also face a challenge to their power from a transnational jihadist movement called the Islamic State-Khorasan Province. The ISKP has been taking advantage of the chaos of the U.S. withdrawal to reestablish its own caliphate and has thus been engaged in an extensive campaign to portray the Afghan Taliban as a faux jihadist movement, exploiting the group’s internal tug-of-war between pragmatism and ideological purity. Under these circumstances, the Afghan Taliban regime cannot risk muzzling the TTP since doing so would undermine its Islamic bona fides, leaving it vulnerable to accusation and defection.

More, the Afghan Taliban have an interest in promoting Afghan nationalism to counter the view among their subjects that they are nothing more than Pakistani lackeys. This is why they, like their predecessors, have refused to recognize their country’s international boundary with Pakistan.

Last, until now, the goal of the Afghan Taliban, which has long been marked by factional infighting, has been to avoid internal problems. But they understand that they cannot hope to keep their emirate next door to the Pakistani republic one whose long-term influence could undermine their hold over power. It is thus in their interest to have a buffer of sorts in the Pashtun-majority areas in western Pakistan.

Indeed, a TTP presence there could insulate the Taliban regime from the Pakistani state, but this is antithetical to Pakistani objectives of strategic depth. It would leave the government susceptible to more militant attacks and, as important, leave it vulnerable to an increasingly powerful India.

Aware of the limits of cooperation, the Pakistanis have thus already begun to engage in cross-border strikes against TTP facilities in eastern Afghanistan. What this does is slowly but surely push Pakistan closer to an open conflict with its longtime proxy. Of course, Islamabad would want to avoid one, but geopolitical realities rarely leave room for subjective preferences.


ya

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 1156
    • View Profile
Food shortage in Pakistan
« Reply #1992 on: January 10, 2023, 04:39:21 AM »
Food shortage in Pak. We in the west have likely never experienced this.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1612726626609135619
« Last Edit: January 10, 2023, 07:04:14 AM by Crafty_Dog »

ya

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 1156
    • View Profile
Pakistan in death spiral?
« Reply #1993 on: January 23, 2023, 04:14:11 AM »
And now no electricity in Pak for many hours. They have no money to buy coal to generate electricity. Also talks of a cyberattack. Country is in a death spiral.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1733207/govt-says-power-to-be-fully-restored-by-10pm-as-major-outage-hits-pakistan
« Last Edit: January 23, 2023, 07:32:37 AM by Crafty_Dog »

ya

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 1156
    • View Profile
Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1994 on: January 24, 2023, 04:59:12 AM »
Pak PM doing his nursery routine in english
https://twitter.com/i/status/1617786613752528896

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 62817
    • View Profile
RANE: Whither Pakistan?
« Reply #1995 on: January 25, 2023, 01:33:46 PM »
Where Is Pakistan's Economic Crisis Headed?
10 MIN READJan 25, 2023 | 21:11 GMT


Pakistan's economic crisis will worsen in the coming months as structural deficiencies and policy uncertainty raise recessionary risks in the country, which will exacerbate political instability and security challenges. Pakistan's high foreign debt has caused a severe financial crisis and speculations of default. The country's foreign exchange reserves are at a nine-year low, leaving the government unable to purchase essential imports like oil, gas, fertilizers and food items. Additionally, Islamabad has experienced persistent high inflation through most of the past year, with food inflation hovering around 30%. This is adversely affecting economic activity and causing hardships for millions (and particularly low-income people) in Pakistan. In 2022, the government imposed import restrictions on various commodities to save dollars, which has modestly lowered the current account deficit. But this has also slowed industrial operations across Pakistan, and has even caused shutdowns and layoffs in some sectors.

Persistent current account and fiscal deficits and widening debt payments over the years have eaten into the State Bank of Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves, which totaled $4.3 billion as of Jan. 12 (down from around $18 billion at the start of 2022). Theoretically, the central bank only has enough reserves to fund four weeks worth of imports. This has negatively impacted Pakistan's credit rating and investor confidence.
For the fiscal year 2023 (July 2022-June 2023), Pakistan had $23 billion in debt repayments. Of that, about $6.5 billion has been repaid and $4 billion has been rolled over. Of the remaining $12.5 billion, about $8.3 billion are bilateral commercial loans that are expected to be rolled over, $3.5 billion is owed to multilateral bodies, with the rest being owed to commercial foreign banks. Pakistan's current account deficit is estimated to total around $10 billion for this fiscal year, as exports and remittances have remained lower than import bills.

Pakistan's external debt is roughly $99 billion, which includes some $42 billion owed to international financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and some $38 billion owed to the Paris Club, the G-20 and other organizations (and includes a $23 billion exposure to China.)

To save money on energy imports, the Pakistani government has enacted a plan that aims to reduce the country's electricity consumption by forcing markets to shut down early and reducing power usage in government buildings. The plan also aims to increase Pakistan's production of energy-saving lightbulbs and imposes import restrictions on inefficient bulbs.

Since August 2022, food inflation in Pakistan has remained above 30%. Various provinces in the country are facing wheat shortages due to reduced imports, along with the ongoing domestic economic fallout from high prices and low productivity caused by last year's devastating floods.

Pakistan's crucial textile sector (which accounts for 11% of the country's GDP and employs about 40% of its workforce) is also facing shutdowns and layoffs, which disrupt production and thus further eat into Islmabad's export revenue. 50% of Pakistan's cotton crops were lost in the historic floods that swept over the country in 2022. Pakistani textile producers have also struggled to import critical raw materials, as banks refuse their letters of credit due to a shortage of funds in the country. The shortages of raw materials have severely reduced exporters' operating capacity, which has so far forced factories to lay off about 7 million people.

The rise in global commodity prices over the past year has hit Pakistan's import-dependent economy particularly hard. Most of Pakistan's energy supplies are imported (including natural gas for electricity production and oil for transportation). The country is also largely import-dependent for other essential items like fertilizers, food products (like edible oil) and many basic raw materials needed for most industrial production. This became particularly problematic in mid-2022 when prices of such commodities rose, which worsened food and energy shortages across the country by making imports all the more unaffordable for cash-strapped Islamabad. As a result, many households have struggled to heat their homes this winter, find gas for cooking, and feed their families. Operators in gas-intensive industries have also struggled to keep the lights on at their factories amid the ongoing energy crisis, further harming exports and the country's production capacity. The devastating floods in August-September 2022 — which caused an estimated $16 billion worth of damage to property, public infrastructure and farmland — have only exacerbated these problems.

Global natural gas prices have skyrocketed over the past year amid Ukraine-related surges in European demand. Pakistan's natural gas imports fell by 17% year-on-year in the first five months of the fiscal year 2023.

Pakistan's current economic crisis has been exacerbated by the government's continued failure to impose much-needed structural reforms. In addition to the recent global market shocks, many underlying factors are also contributing to Pakistan's economic malaise. The government's extensive electricity and fuel subsidies, for example, have significantly expanded Islamabad's debt levels, as well as its fiscal and current account deficits. But Pakistani leaders have lacked the political will to implement the unpopular economic reforms needed to address such structural problems and, in turn, secure the country's long-term economic stability. Instead, recent governments have pursued short-term solutions, which has seen Islamabad continue to seek bailouts from the IMF (as it did in 2019) and friendly creditor nations (like Saudi Arabia and China). The current review of Pakistan's IMF program is held up due to the government's inability to reduce the primary deficit and minimize circular debt in the energy sector. The IMF has demanded that the government scale back its energy subsidies and increase tax collections, but Islamabad has delayed enacting these austerity measures, which would risk triggering popular backlash by further increasing the cost of living at a time when many Pakistanis are already struggling to make ends meet.

Pakistan will likely secure enough financial assistance from friendly creditors and multilateral institutions to avoid a default in the short term, but the economy could enter a recession. The Pakistani government is currently trying to convince the IMF to resume its bailout program. It is also expecting financial help from friendly creditors like Saudi Arabia and China, both of which have rolled over their maturing deposits with central banks in the past (and are likely to do so in the future due to Riyadh and Beijing's close strategic relationship with Islamabad). In addition, the humanitarian aid Pakistan has received following the 2022 floods will likely augment the government's reconstruction efforts in the months ahead. This external support — along with the fact that Pakistan's next commercial bond payment isn't due until 2024 — means the country will probably avoid a default in 2023. But while financial aid may grant Islamabad temporary debt relief, the underlying problems contributing to Pakistan's high current account and fiscal deficits remain. Within this context, Pakistan could still enter a recession later this year, as inflation continues to dampen domestic consumption and economic activity by increasing the cost of both living and doing business in the country.

Pakistan's foreign debt servicing for the remainder of 2023 is around $4.7 billion. Commercial loans make up $1.1 billion of that total, with multilateral loans comprising the rest. China is Pakistan's closest ally in the region. Beijing has poured billions of dollars into energy and infrastructure projects in the South Asian country, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — the flagship project of China's Belt and Road Initiative.

Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, has a close military relationship with Pakistan. The two countries' Muslim-majority populations are also closely interconnected, with about 2 million Pakistanis working in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is reportedly now considering investing about $10 billion in Pakistan (primarily in real estate and other development projects), up from the $1 billion worth of Pakistani investments the kingdom pledged in August 2022. Saudi Arabia has also agreed in principle to donate $1 billion worth of oil imports to help ease Pakistan's energy crisis. In December, Riyadh rolled over $3 billion in deposits in Pakistan's central bank. The United Arab Emirates has also agreed to roll over $2 billion deposits in Pakistan, on top of another $1 billion deposit.
The humanitarian aid following floods has not been completely delivered. On Jan. 9, various multilateral financing institutions and countries made about $10 billion worth of financial aid pledges to help Pakistan's flood reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts. However, most of this aid will be in the form of project loans, which will likely trickle in slower than expected as the government identifies various projects for these investments — thereby delaying the impact of these extra funds on Pakistan's economy.

In the medium term, however, Pakistan will face complex debt restructuring talks, a new stringent IMF program, and policy uncertainty due to domestic politics. While Pakistan is likely to avoid a default in 2023, its debt woes will persist in the coming years. Political calculations will continue to influence economic policy, which means the government is unlikely to enact needed structural reforms before the next general elections (which should take place no later than October, but could happen sooner if the country's socio-political situation continues to deteriorate). Additionally, although Saudi Arabia has moved to roll over its debt in Pakistan, the kingdom has also recently expressed plans to prioritize providing financial assistance to countries with politically stable governments that are enacting needed economic reforms. Pakistan, however, has a history of political instability and weak governments, as evidenced by the fact that no prime minister has ever finished a full term. This, along with Pakistani leaders' low appetite for enacting unpopular policies that improve the country's long-term outlook, creates a recipe for policy uncertainty. Following through with the IMF's current program through June 2023 would require Islamabad to enact reforms that'd lead to higher taxes and energy prices. But given its worsening economic situation, Islamabad will probably need another IMF package in the future that forces it to impose even more painful policy changes, creating further social and political turmoil. A new IMF program could also necessitate debt restructuring from bilateral and multilateral creditors, which would further degrade investor confidence in the country.

IMF data shows that Pakistan's annual external funding gap will exceed $35 billion through 2027, mainly due to large debt payments starting in 2024. Thus, even if the country avoids a default in 2023, debt restructuring will still be needed in the coming years.

Pakistan's economic crisis will feed into political instability and exacerbate security risks. The economic crisis and public discontent against the government will deepen the political turmoil in the country. The government that emerges after the general election will probably be unstable as the underlying structural problems with the economy cannot be resolved in the short term. The reduced confidence in Pakistan's political stability will continue to deter private investment. Pakistan's economic dependence on strategic partners like Saudi Arabia and China, meanwhile, will only increase. Political and economic instability will intensify the security risks in the country. Pakistan is already facing an increased threat from extremist militant groups like Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which has pledged to increase its attacks against security personnel and infrastructure in the country. Separatist groups like Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) may also intensify attacks against the government and infrastructure as economic grievances of Baloch people, allegedly deprived of the region's development gains, bolster their resolve. It's possible that Pakistan's political turmoil could eventually create a power vacuum that enables the military to assume an even greater political role (either directly or indirectly). But for now, this scenario remains unlikely due to former President Imran Khan's popular rhetoric against the security establishment. Signposts for a military intervention include consistent economic and security deterioration that manifests as riots, protests and significant violence and a significant escalation in militant activity.

ya

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 1156
    • View Profile
Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1996 on: January 27, 2023, 05:08:52 AM »
Pak has no food, money or electricity. Soon inshallah no water. India's ex PM Nehru who was a pacifist, gave Pak an unfair advantage with respect to water sharing of the Indus river waters. Now India is piling on the pressure. It would seem to me that India's POK takeback program will rely on Pak collapsing internally, with citizens of POK demanding that they join India (as they are doing now). The Indus water treaty will take a long time to renegotiate, but the first steps have been taken after 60 years. Pak will be given an option, to handover POK peacefully, or to have massive cuts in water. The treaty is quite unequal as it stands with sharing of water, since the rivers originate in India (India is the upper riparian).

https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/other/intransigence-india-notifies-pakistan-of-plans-to-amend-indus-waters-treaty/ar-AA16NliN

ccp

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 15546
    • View Profile
Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1997 on: January 27, 2023, 05:17:47 AM »
India take back Pakistan

 :-o wow

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 62817
    • View Profile
GPF: Pakistan's meltdown
« Reply #1998 on: February 01, 2023, 08:59:19 AM »
YA:

Working from memory, several years ago you posted here an Indian intel piece suggesting a strategy for dismembering Pakistan.  IIRC it suggested erasing recognition of the Durand Line and acknowledging the Pashtuns as a country of their own.  One of the benefits of this idea it was argued is that the rest of Afghanistan could organize into a coherent whole without fear of being dominated by the Pashtuns.

It also suggested fomenting separatists in Baluchistan, with India peeling off relevant pieces from Pakistan's east

All while seizing the nukes, , ,

Or something like that.

Reading the following reminds me of that piece.

If we were still in Afghanistan we might have been in a position to back the creation of Pashtunistan , , ,

=======================================================================



February 1, 2023
Pakistan’s Meltdown
The country is too big to fail, but no one is rushing to its aid.
By: Kamran Bokhari

Decades-old political economic problems in Pakistan are coming to a head. The South Asian nation needs billions of dollars in financial assistance to avoid a default at a time when its usual patrons are disinclined to bail it out. The International Monetary Fund is insisting on tough reforms that the fragile coalition government cannot institute without taking a major political hit in an election year. Even if Islamabad dodges this particular bullet, it will have to massively overhaul the way it has managed the world’s fifth-most populous country. If it cannot, then it will further push Pakistan toward a systemic breakdown, which has major consequences for security in the world’s most densely populated region.


(click to enlarge)

Out of Options

An IMF team is visiting Pakistan from Jan. 31 to Feb. 9 to continue discussions on the release of $1.18 billion in assistance, part of a $6 billion aid program that was agreed on in 2019 (and increased to $7 billion in 2022) but that has since stalled. Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves have slumped to about $3.68 billion, barely enough to cover three weeks of imports. Inflation was already at 25 percent when the government announced on Jan. 29 a 16 percent hike in gasoline and diesel prices that will likely rise much further. Three days earlier, the Pakistani rupee fell 9.6 percent against the dollar, the biggest one-day drop in over two decades, after the government removed unofficial caps and allowed the currency to move toward a market-based exchange rate.

Earlier in the month, the country’s civil and military leadership traveled to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to secure the funds needed to avert a financial meltdown. Reports surfaced that Riyadh and Abu Dhabi would provide several billion dollars. In sharp contrast with their past behavior, they aren’t willing to write a blank check; the Saudi finance minister said Jan. 18 that the kingdom was no longer providing “direct grants and deposits” to debtor nations without seeing reforms. The Saudis, the Emiratis and others who could provide the cash want to first see the Pakistanis accept an IMF program. Besides, the beleaguered South Asian nation’s financial needs far outstrip the global appetite to assist.

Islamabad, however, has been struggling to finalize what would be the country’s 23rd IMF arrangement since it first knocked on the lender’s doors in 1958. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, which heads the fragile and increasingly unpopular coalition government, has a lot to lose by agreeing to IMF terms that are bound to exacerbate harsh economic conditions. As it is, the PML-N and its allies are facing an uphill electoral battle against the populist opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party of former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Still, Pakistan’s political instability is the result of a much deeper malaise. Since the end of Pakistan’s fourth military dictatorship in 2008, the country nominally has experienced its longest stretch of civilian governance. 2013 marked the first time one democratically elected government transferred power to another. But the army continued to encumber both governments, and in 2018 it engineered the rise to power of Khan’s PTI in hopes that it would finally have a pliant civilian actor. That experiment was a colossal failure. It has weakened the military politically and has thus plunged the country into uncharted territory.

A similar situation has emerged on the economic front. Pakistan has always had financial problems, which over the decades continued to worsen. The country got by only because of a periodic influx of U.S. assistance, made possible by the broader global geopolitics of the time. There have been three such long periods – 1958-69, 1977-88 and 1999-2008 – each under a different military regime and coming at the height of the Cold War, the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan, and the post-9/11 war on terror, respectively. In today’s changed circumstances, Pakistan is facing an unprecedented financial crisis because it never developed a viable economy and is without external bailout options.

The Nightmare Scenario

Without a major reform process – which is unlikely given the acute state of social and political divisions – Pakistan’s situation is likely to worsen. Its annual population growth rate is 1.9 percent, which is 237 times that of the global rate, and its fertility rate exceeds the global rate by 157 percent. At this pace, in another 10 years the country will have added 50 million people, increasing its population to 275 million. There is already a massive youth population. Sixty percent of Pakistanis are under the age of 23. As many as 44 percent of all Pakistani children between the ages of 5 and 16 do not attend school. Females make up almost half the population, and literacy among them is at 48 percent.

Dealing with the multiplicity of crises plaguing the country requires a political consensus. This is extremely difficult in the current highly polarized political climate, which is unlikely to abate anytime soon. Pakistan’s powerful military establishment, which has intervened in politics for much of the country’s history, is in an unprecedented dilemma. After the failure of its latest attempt to shape the country’s political economy, which ended with the April 2022 ouster of Khan, the top brass publicly committed to keeping the army out of politics. Rationalizing the economy, however, will take a long time – assuming the country’s tumultuous politics can be brought under control (a big if).

In moments like these, when normal politics produces only more chaos, the pressure (or temptation) for the army to hit pause or reset on the constitutional process is high. However, the general staff has been down that road many times, only to end up exacerbating the problems it aimed to solve. When problems are such that degradation is happening much more quickly than is the realistic efforts to fix them, stalling the political process could be akin to an out of the frying pan and into the fire type situation.

The only other option is to continue the slow path toward recovery, which is fraught with perils. As large swathes of the population suffer under the weight of debilitating economic conditions, intra-elite political struggles intensify. These are precisely the conditions that Islamist militants – both Taliban rebels and Islamic State militants ensconced in the neighboring emirate in Afghanistan – hope to exploit. A resurgent jihadist insurgency will likely force an already weakened Pakistani state into a new major military campaign – one that has serious potential to spill over across the border.

It is this nightmare scenario – a cash-strapped Pakistani state whose security is compromised on its western flank – that will eventually result in Arab Gulf states, China and the United States gaining greater influence in the country. Washington cannot allow Pakistan to descend into chaos, especially with Afghanistan under a Taliban regime. Likewise, China, which has pumped tens of billions of dollars’ worth of Belt and Road funds into the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, is not going to sit by and watch its investment sink. Pakistan is thus going to become an even bigger arena for the U.S.-Chinese competition. Meanwhile, the Saudis and the Emiratis, who have long played a major role in periodically mediating intra-elite power struggles in Pakistan, will likely have greater influence over Pakistan’s internal workings. In India, which only months ago surpassed the U.K. to become the world’s fifth largest economy, there is immense concern over how a financially collapsing Pakistan could affect New Delhi’s upward trajectory.

While it is too early to speak with any specificity on how external powers will behave, Pakistan can’t continue to chug along as it has. It may not always appear this way, especially in chronically fragile states, but long-term dysfunction adds up. Major fissures have emerged that outstrip Pakistan’s available resources, disrupting the status quo in which it was able to get by for so long.

ya

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 1156
    • View Profile
Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1999 on: February 01, 2023, 05:58:26 PM »
Pak is fighting TTP, who is killing a lot of paki soldiers, almost on a daily basis. They get shelter by the Afghan Taliban. Slowly the Durrand line is being erased. Afghan Talibs hate pakis. Baluchistan is a hot mess, a lot of paki soldiers getting killed there. Sindh is looking to separate, but is not violent as yet. POK will be lost over the next few years. Only the rump state of Punjab, which will be land locked will remain. The army has become unaffordable to maintain, the people cannot be provided, food , electricity, medicines. Its loans are not payable. They will soon have to sell their nukes, or territory to China. IMF wants stringent loan conditions, their Muslim friends are no longer giving out free money. They produce essentially nothing, how can they survive ? Their prime minister's main job is to go begging to every country (and now they even admit it!).

Current thinking in India is to let them implode internally and to help them implode. 2023 India has the G20 and SCO Presidency, 2024 is the big election, so if India makes a move, it would be after the summer of 2024. India is also raising its defense spending, #3 after China, 2.7 % of GDP. This (2.7%) is quite high for India, in past years it was below 2% as I recall.



« Last Edit: February 01, 2023, 06:00:44 PM by ya »