Plan E for Afghanistan - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Monday 4 October 2010

Plan E for Afghanistan

A rough alignment (circled) of the road built by India, which connects Zaranj in Iran with the town of Delaram, on Afghanistan's main Kabul-Kandahar-Herat garland highway.

by Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 5th Oct 2010

Robert Blackwill, former US ambassador to India and later New Delhi’s lobbyist in Washington, has stirred up a heated debate with his now famous Plan B for Afghanistan. This involves effectively partitioning the country, with Pashtun-predominant southern Afghanistan ceded to the Taliban and, by proxy, to Pakistan. A US-Nato force of some 40,000 soldiers, down from 150,000 today, would confine itself to northern Afghanistan. Throwing one child to the wolf, Blackwill apparently believes, might save the other.

Plan B, or so the argument goes, would satisfy everyone who counts: the Taliban, which would re-establish control over their homeland; Pakistan, because its proxy control over southern Afghanistan would satisfy its quest for “strategic depth”; the US, which would remain a significant power in south and central Asia without a crippling price in blood and treasure (currently 700-1000 soldiers dead and $100 billion spent each year); Nato, because of its namby-pamby preference for stationing European soldiers in non-combat or low-combat areas; and India, because of Pakistan’s reduced capacity to extract US tolerance for India-directed terror.

While acknowledging that Plan B has its drawbacks — notably the abandonment of non-Pashtun groups, non-Taliban militias, and womenfolk in southern Afghanistan to the mercy of the Taliban — Blackwill points out that Plan A, i.e. the current surge of US troops, has changed little in Afghanistan. Therefore, by summer 2011, with US elections looming, Congressmen will be debating the even more disastrous Plan C: the withdrawal of all foreign troops within a couple of years.
Even as the US policy debate centres on a minimally damaging withdrawal, India’s moribund strategic community remains in denial, chanting the mantra that if the US does ever pull the bulk of its forces out of Afghanistan, it will be too far in the future to worry about presently. This delusion stems from New Delhi’s self-defeating apprehension that it would be left without options in a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

This illusion of Indian helplessness, paradoxically, enjoys greater currency in India than it does abroad. While Pakistan realises how much India’s influence is expanding, New Delhi focuses on the negatives: there is no Ahmed Shah Masood, around whom anti-Taliban forces can coalesce, 1990s-style, nor for that matter a coherent Northern Alliance. With the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) controlling swathes of northern and central Afghanistan, India has little opportunity for resuscitating Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara militias. And while Moscow and Teheran still share India’s revulsion to a resurgent Taliban, they are less willing now to work jointly in undermining the Taliban. 2010, New Delhi concludes, is very different from 1996.

This unnecessarily gloomy Indian view of Afghanistan springs from our traditional view of influence as a function of hard power, of bayonets and boots on the ground, the more the better. In Afghanistan, however, this last decade has delivered one unmistakeable lesson: hard power is not the answer. In the alternative currency of soft power, India’s nine-year-long, $1.3 billion humanitarian and development aid programme has created a powerful equity in Afghanistan.

Indian confidence in this intangible, but nevertheless real, asset must guide our strategy in Afghanistan. Our alternative to Blackwill’s Plan B is Plan E — Exit Now. Counter-intuitively, India has more to gain than lose from an immediate US withdrawal.

America’s pullout from Afghanistan will immediately deprive the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, Al Qaeda, and a smorgasbord of other radical groups of the glue of a common enemy. Inevitably, driven by the contradictions within their unholy alliance, they will turn their hostility upon one another. A key loser in this fratricidal game will be the traditional referee, the Pakistan Army.

As the Taliban imposes its writ across Afghanistan and Pakistan’s noose tightens, resentment will start to build. In the 1990s, Taliban-imposed order seemed preferable to many Afghans than the outright anarchy and indiscriminate killing and destruction that characterised the post-Soviet “mujahideen” power struggles. The Karzai government, despite its corruption and ineffectualness, would contrast favourably with the Taliban’s religious totalitarianism. As for the “foreign domination” that Afghans cite while railing against the ISAF, none of those free-spirited citizens have any illusions about the Taliban’s dependence on Pakistan. The traditional Afghan resentment of Pakistan would bubble up to the surface.

A popular argument from India’s strategic elite is that Afghanistan would provide a training ground for India-bound terrorists. This is outdated; today, Pakistan is the terror training academy not just for India-focused jehadis, but for a wide assortment of Islamist radicals with grievances against the US, Europe, Russia, Central Asian countries like Uzbekistan, even China. A resurrected Taliban regime could hardly offer better-located training grounds than those around Sialkot and Peshawar.

An American pullout from Afghanistan would free the US military to strike at Pakistan-harboured terrorist groups, something that Pakistan’s control over logistical routes into Afghanistan prevents today. A key element of Blackwill’s Plan B is the retention of US troops in northern Afghanistan for strikes into Pakistani tribal areas; paradoxically, though, America’s continued logistic dependence on Pakistan would hold back effective action. This conundrum would only be resolved through a major American diplomatic breakthrough with countries (Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan) that could offer alternative supply routes or bases. For differing reasons, that seems unlikely to happen.

“The Pope”, Joseph Stalin once sneered, “How many divisions does the Pope have?” But that was in a different era. Today, New Delhi would exercise influence in Afghanistan, even without a physical presence. The heavy lifting for that has already been done; it is time now to act with confidence.


  1. Hi Ajay, wonderful analysis, however one key assumption in your post "A key loser in this fratricidal game will be the traditional referee, the Pakistan Army"... considering how high the stakes are for Pakistan, they would just about do anything to retain their influence and this may very well include heavy funding and open supply lines to their traditional allies - the Taliban; resulting in a situation that seems eerily similar to the power vacuum after the soviets left?

    Besides, Indian political sensitivities mean we can't afford to display hard power in Afghanistan. Instead a UN backed force mandated to "enforce peace" with a large Indian contingent sounds more appealing to me.

  2. It might also be a golden opportunity for Iran and US to repair their relationship with India as the peace-broker. It might take a few years but the effect will be dramatic indeed.

    - Manne

  3. Taliban are an ISI proxy besides having their own sinister agenda of making money. Islam is just an excuse. Ceding Southern Afghanistan to Pashtun Taliban would set a dangerous precedent. How are we to know that Iran won't jump into the fray and start supporting the Sunni groups just to rid North Afghanistan of Western, particularly US presence?
    Did ceding territory to Pakistan and Bangladesh put a stop on Islamic terror? How much bhai-chara did it create? The more you give, the more they demand. This is something we have to learn from neo-converts. Someone has to weild the stick and tell them - tum ek maroge, hum 1000 marenge. Barbarians only understand the language of absolute bloodshed. Nothing else will bring them to the negotiating table. Besides, this no go zone would become even more inhospitable as it will become the epicenter of Islamic terror with zero or little presence of foot soldiers on the ground. The US and NATO are free to pull out. It is their war. We just have to stay well entrenched, keep our powder dry and wait for the barbarians to show up at our borders.
    The situation will get far worse once US and NATO step out of the zone. One just has to read a few history books related to Islamic conquests of the last 1000 years to understand the gravity of the situation and how it is most likely to unfold after in the years to come.

  4. Interesting line of reasoning. But this assumes:

    1. The "smorgasbord of radical groups" will fight each other - don't see why this should happen. The Afghan Taliban had a good hold on the country while they were in power.

    2. "The Karzai government ... would contrast favourably with the Taliban" - Don't see how anyone will wish for a non-functioning, corrupt regime to comeback. Both will be equally reviled.

    A complete American pullout will make it harder to hit at any group in AfPak. Where will you conduct your missions from? All countries around the region are unfriendly. Pak will be the only country which could be bribed into accepting US forces (Drones/Planes/Special Ops personnel). But Pak public opinion will not tolerate this for long.

    Blackwill's Plan B has a supporter in me. Divide and conquer. It will be cheaper to let the Taliban come out into the open in South Afghanistan, then strike at them. A strong North Afghanistan will be more effective in changing public opinion in the Taliban areas.

  5. Very perceptive analysis Col. Shukla!

    A hastened US exit will give strategic depth to Pakistan, whereby it can sink itself faster than it already is doing. The factions you mentioned will jostle for power and influence and money... More games for the ISI to play and "invest" aid dollars in. Thankfully, even the Pakistani Pashtuns have no love lost for the Punjabi ISI, and given the chance will bite right back. Eventually, Blackwill's plan hopefully can come true... with the addition of the Pashtun regions of Pakistan... for what would Pahstunistan be without all the Pashtuns together?

    Colonel, one thought though... what would the Chinese with so much money sunk into Aynak do? They dont like to see their chips not being cashed. Wont they start their own "operation touchy-feely" aided by a few prominent tribal leaders whose pockets would be well lined? Hospitals, highways, bridges...made by the Chinese perhaps?

    As you mentioned sir, the time for apologetic inaction is over.... confidence coupled with decisiveness is what we need to do in Afghanistan..

  6. I do not subscribe to this idea. It already assumes everything will be managed badly by pakistan and lot many other assumptions. We may also say it is a defeatist approach. Plan E simply means that you are giving pakistan a strategic depth they were always looking for, does not matter that they may not use it for terrorist training/recruitment as they used to do till before 9/11.

  7. Your plan-E sounds logical. If Pakistan cannot govern itself properly, then how can it govern additional burden of Afghanistan. They will keep the Afghans in the dark ages, and use them as cannon fodder for Jihadi purposes. What Indians need to realize is the fact that, stop becoming too diplomatic about ground-reality, stop beating in the bush. When the whole world knows where the snakes nest (epicenter of terrorism) is, bring this conflict to its logical conclusion. Capture Islamabad and rename it Indraprasth. BTW how far is Islamabad (future Indraprasth) from Punjab border. A Blitzkrieg "now" would be our best bet in unraveling this evil once and for all, when the US is minding the western border of Pakistan, we should strike from the eastern border and annihilate everything in our path. Setup concentration camps for anything that walks or crawls with weapons in enemy territory. Only once Pakistan is cleansed and purified can we take the fire out of the dragon's breath.

  8. Very interesting take on the issue. Modeling what would happen in Afghanistan after a complete ISAF pullout is difficult no doubt, but the general broad brush strokes regarding the fallout within the insurgent groups seems credible. I also agree that the presence of ISAF in Afghanistan has the strange effect of making Pakistan a crucial ally in the WoT.

    The question is, what can India do in a fractured Afganistan, and what exactly should be India's goals post pull out. Basically, I buy the presumption that a pull out will deny Pakistan the strategic depth they want and reduce America's dependence on Pakistan. But what I am not sure is how soft power can be used effectively to further India's other interests in that region.

  9. The U.S has produced the No.1 idiots in the world. And all these idiots make the life of other ordinary people hell. Stupids first provide all money to the Pakistanis to fight the U.S troops. Then they cry they are not winning the war. How stupid can one get? I don't understand why the U.S politicians don't have a brain the size of a small child? Now they want to dissolve Afghanistan to create more terrorists, so that these terrorists can do multiple 9/11'S across the world. God (I'm a non-beliver but after seeing the U.S leadership is wishing god exists) please these U.S politicos, atleast a brain the size of a bird.

  10. Good analysis, Ajai. a few questions for you - do you think the Karzai government will last, if the ISAF exits or will we see a replay of what happened to Najibullah? If the Karzai government will not last, then your point about the Afghans getting to compare the Taliban with the Karzai becomes moot.

    Also if ISAF exits, would the Islamists and their assorted brethren be emboldened by the fact that earlier they defeated the Soviets, then the Americans, so what is going to stop them from taking on and beating India, so do we expect more attacks like Mumbai 2008.



  11. my dear sir instead of marking roads in paint get a correct map.

  12. Afghanistan is not a state like others where the brain in the centre controls everything. There has never been a central brian. The state exists in the culture, way of life, in the tribe and to put it simply Islam. There is something you need to understand about the Afghani and Pakistani culture, they never forget an insult until it is repaid in kind. Afghans remember very well who sided with the soviets and NA. Money and development they will accept but they know who their kith and kin are. Indians are only able to survive there now because of over 150+K US and NATO forces and afghans know this (if you understand their culture you will know what this means!). Once they leave indians will be running back to delhi with or without their heads. Just wait another few years.

    If the NATO/US forces widthdraw from the south and the east guess what will happen? Now stop thinking like an indian. Put on an Afghani/Pakistani hat. Do you think they will allow another nation to control the north and sit there comfortably? These people do not think like indians or softly diplomats. There will be a rush to head north for jehad, all the way from karachi to kabul. Guess what this will do to pakistan? Remember fighting jehad is honour for these people and not fighting their own people. See the latest opinion polls from Pakistan's tribal region and you will begin to understand what i mean. Pakistan will be empty of these people. (off course there is the next generation to consider)

    Can i ask you how many afghans, those that you write about, you have spoken with lately, that they will resent the taliban? Ask them how the law and order is now compared to before? ask them what they want the most? and no schools for girls is not on their list. By the way taliban don't grow on trees and they are not all pakistanis. Remember around half the population of afghanistan has either lived in Pakistan or have had family living there over a period of time. Afghans will tell you openly that they owe pakistan a debt of blood. Do you know what this means?

    As to US attacking Pakistan. Think what will US gain by it and what it will lose by it. If US does attack Pakistan, US's position will be the same as india's in central asia (helpless), and you know casulties are not good for business. What leverage will US have then with Pakistan? Indian's problem's with pakistan cannot be wished away i am afraid, they have to be dealth with in a constructive manner.

    I am sure you know the saying "Who dares wins".

  13. Ajaiji, I do not agree with the entire analysis but the gist of your article does make sense. In true sense, Afghanistan is a snake pit from which nothing can come out alive. Afghanistan is too fragmented, corrupt and violent to give any benefit to anyone. British, Russians, Americans, Pakistanis, Chinese and Indians all are going to get their noses rubbed in the ground. Even as we talk about Pakistani domination in the Afghanistan, there are hundreds of crazed fighters and groups that have no central leadership or control. Pakistan is reeling with hundreds of thousands of Pakhtun immigrants that are involved in illegal and violent activities in Pakistan. If and when NATO leaves, Afghanistan becomes Pakistan'problem. A problem so big that they have no means to resolve. Infact it will be a blackhole into which Pakistan will get sucked into and spiral downwards into darkness.

    India should continue with it's civilian aid and build trust with Afghans. We do not share a boundary with Afghanistan so it is less of a problem for us, even a remote controlled aid can help.

    The saddest part in all this is that the whole world is treating Afghans like puppets. An entire generation has been lost to power struggles not making of their own.

  14. Pakistan is sitting on one seriously strategic piece of real estate. USSR knew this. US knows this. The Chinese know this. When will india know this? Pakistan is becoming the gate keeper of central asia, that iran could never become (read shia here). Pakistan's hand will only become stronger. What choices does india have?

  15. In describing Plan E you neglect to mention that the biggest losers will be the ordinary people of Afghanistan. The post pull-out situation will probably be very similar to the post-Soviet time, with power struggles rolling across the moving fronts and the innocents getting crushed by the way.

    You draw the comparison with respect to the fighting, but seem not to carry this through to the effect on innocents, which you seem to imply will be different this time.

    (While I am here, thanks for a very interesting blog.)

  16. @SherKhan, Who said Indians are against Afghans or Islam, we are against Pakistan Army and ISI. And if you so simply paint Afghans as Islam, then I am sad to know that they are hosts to inhuman terrorists such as Al-Qaida and Taliban, albiet with Pakistani support. It makes me even more distrustfull of Islam and Muslims in general. No wonder, whole world is fighting the scourge of Islam in modern times. If people such as yourself, do espouse the madness called Islam as righteousness, then God-promise some Indians also have not forgetten history, and they are more than willing to reclaim all lands lost to Islamic invasions and its people and push mughals back to mongolia where your barbaric horde ancestors originate from. After all Afghans are only humans and there is a limit for all inhumanity. Pakistan is making a big mistake of thinking Indians lack the concept of revenge or our hatred of Pakistan is any less. Given the right geo-political order, we won't hesitate to exterminate everything to our western border. You are mistaking our restraint as cowardice, and its a big mistake which your people will regret you made.

  17. Pakistan and Taliban are heading towards their doom irrespective of whatever happens to all others. Hamid Karjai has failed completely to obtain the support at Kandhar or anywhere else.

    Presently US and Nato are on the verge of defeat and withdrawal of their troops from Afghanistan and this shall confirm the earlier statement of the terrorists that they have defeated the Soviet Empire and now they will defeat the other i.e. the US Empire.

    Meanwhile, howsoever divided is the Northern Alliance, it is still the only friend of India in the existing scenario. Northern Alliance may have a strong potential, will and need to regroup around Mohd Fahim Khan and/or Dr Abdulla Abdulla against the wickedness of Taliban. So if the Nato withdraws completely or stays at the north of South Afghanistan, then in both cases India should thoroughly support the Northern Alliance to oust Taliban and their mentor Paki through direct incursions or through popular rebellions.

    The fear of ascending Taliban may keep the erstwhile southern Soviet republics in some type of bondage, which may be further helpful to India.

    If the above does not turns in to a reality, then there shall always be a risk that Paki may get enough of the additional Talibani leverage to incite the items more and more at Kashmir and onwards. To get the things out of proportion, they may even get the backup of Sino Red Dragon.

  18. This is in response to Sher Khan, all the rhetoric about Afghaans fighting for thier honour and their so called legendary skills somehow vanished when the taliban came sweeping in, in such a short time the entire country was taken over.As far as regimes go the curious case of Bamiyan buddha is still fresh in memories.Pak fighting qualities have been seen in 3 wars that they fought with India. Not surprisingly, we judge ourselves by what we think we can do, instead of what we have done in the past.

  19. Nice article. Acknowledged that soft power is important. But it can never yield results without hard power. Case in point insurgency. The population may generally support you or be neutral to you. But, they can be terrorized into denying you that good will because you are unable to protect them. India lost it chance by not deploying troops in Afghanistan. If we get a chance, we still should. The US would jump to that opportunity. The frontier defense of India continues to start at the Khyber in 2010 as it did in 326 BC (Alexander)

  20. Col. Shukla: I will sincerely try to keep this short, but incase it exceeds your limit, please excuse me..and do publish. Thank you.

    You are spot on about Afghan culture. Absolutely. And trust me, we know it better than you can imagine.

    However, do not tie "Pakistani culture" with Afghan culture. Accept the facts about Pakistani culture, and try not to stick to some dream fable about what you would like to imagine Pakistani culture to be. Unless you are saying that the Punjabis in Pakistan accept Pashtun/Hazara culture as their own?? Sadly, this acceptance is nowhere to be seen in Pakistani society..

    Indians wont run, because the Afghans are many things, but not psychopaths like the Taliban or the ISI. They very clearly know that the Pakistanis did not "aid" the Mujahideen against the Soviets out of brotherhood or altruism.The last thing the Afghans want (maybe with the exception of the Taliban) is to become the kind of fractured, yet delusional country todays Pakistan is.

    I am actually NOT surprised that you are trying so hard to couple the Afghan and Pakistan people as a homogeneous cultural group. "These people" indeed. Are you talking about the Talibs springing out of Pakistans excellent educational system of madrassas? The average Afghan wants a decent life, free of a foreign(Pakistan included) yoke. And Pakistan to them, was and remains a suitor who believes in rape as courting. A debt of blood, as you so eloquently phrase it, does not mean becoming Pakistans North Korea. Yes, you are right, the Taliban did not grow on trees. They are the uncontrollable result of careful nurturing by the ISI, whose psychological manipulation of the more vulnerable sections of society is well documented and understood by the world.

    Afghan's dont like foreign masters, and to them, Pakistanis are as foreign and with worse intentions than the rest of us. It is the "kadwa sach", believe it or not.

    As for the USA's strategy, I cant speak for it, and I bow to your superior knowledge about it. I just know that they are not as foolish as you'd like to imagine. And they know for sure, irrespective of whether they stay on in Afghanistan or not, that the Pakistan of today is a very malignant tumour. Heck, even the Chinese know it!! And everyone knows that attacking Pakistan wont help the average Pakistani... as long as there are educated yet delusional folk like you in your army. You all need true democracy and some secular education first, before telling the world about "blood debts" and "jehad in the blood".

    We dont want to wish away the problems with Pakistan, ideally we'd like to continue building our country despite the constant itch that a festering sore like the "Pakistan problem" causes.

    Your quoting "Who dares wins" is out of context, and shows your lack of respect for that motto. Besides, what has Pakistan ever dared and won? ..... oh I get it, the "World Fanaticism & Misusing Humanitarian Aid" award!!

    As for Col. Shukla's article, it is perceptive & thought provoking, even if it may be hard to materialise... despite your outstanding display of all that is wrong with Pakistans military thought.

    Oh, I forgot, you must have read Lt. Gen. Javed Hassan's amusingingly & amazingly bigoted and wishful "India: A Study in Profile", during your academy days! Sigh, no wonder!

  21. I have a different take on this. It is time we stop thinking about "other's welfare".

    I want the US to stay... and bled really hard in the WOT drama directed by it's buddy PA.

    It should bled so hard that US must remember the bite of the snake it feed.
    It should bled so hard that in future it US must be more eager than India to whack PA, if there is a terror attack in India, not a attack in US .. in India.

    Let's look PA's perspective. It has three God fathers. US, China & Saudi's. The Chinese will fight to the last Pakistanis. The Saudi's will rent the last Pakistanis for Jihad and nukes.

    The biggest elephant in the room is US. Not because it has money.It is because both India & Pakistan LISTEN to US and do as US wants to.

    We need to take the US out of the equation.And what better than US bleeding at the hands of PA.

    It's time we realise that we need to make our enemies fight to their last man. Let US & PA bled. We need to break US & PA's "all weather friendship"

    Now the Chinese. We all know US and China will be each other's throat sometimes in the further. So let them fight!

    We will watch the fun. Spend money in buying arms around the countries like South Korea, Russia, Israel.
    This will ensure that we have a really powerful force, which the Chinese will feel increasingly frustrated not able to dominate AND will keep most of the countries on our side.

    Nothing makes better friends than buying stuff to kill others!

    As time goes on the Pakistanis, given their urge to fight non-Muslims will start sending freedom fighters in to Xingang(whatever it is called!) province.


  22. There is a reason US is careful in its dealing with Pakistan. US understands that Pakistan is the tiger in the room. It plays by its own rules and can be cajoled but ultimately it is a dangerous animal. This animal has let it be know its desdain for indians and set its red lines clearly. US has understood this, it is for this reason alone and nothing else that india has been frozen out of central asia (this is also why Russia keeps india out of CAR). Its only downhill for india now. Money is not the main currency here but something more basic, blood and guts. China understands that having a tiger on its side will keeps it safe in the region. It is for this reason it will do anything to get closer.

    India should be in the position of china here but isn't. Why?

    If india can be ignored in its own backyard, do you think rest of the world will ever give it a damn. The dream of Indian superpower will die here. Without this it be no more than japan. A country with lots of money, shiney weapons and no real power!

    Question is how can india cajole this tiger or get it on its side like china?

  23. Should India cut its losses in Afghanistan as it is barely in the scene especially in view of Karzai Taliban talks and intransigence of Pakistan in strangulating US ??

  24. Anonymous @ 2024

    Please check and understand the meaning of the word "Hubris". Then try hard to look yourself in the face without conning yourself.

    1) Comparing Pakistan to a Tiger is plain weird even in terms of flights of fancy. A more apt comparison is as follows:

    Imagine a beggar(sadly,by choice), with a highly communicable,easily spread and very dangerous disease, standing at the entrance of a busy road. Now, this beggar has a HE grenade with the pin removed and lever depressed. This beggar yells at everyone, give me food, medicines and money, or else I will blow myself up; killing not only those standing nearby, but also infecting people farther away thanks to them being splattered by the infected pieces of body parts landing on them..

    Gross image right? But so true... No tiger for sure, not even a cat :(

    2) China has not befriended Pakistan because it is afraid of Pakistan. Most Chinese look down on Pakistan for not even trying to develop as a nation. They are excellent at not showing it. Because Pakistan, is a means to 2 broad ends for China: 1) Keeping India occupied, 2) Logistics.

    Dont fool yourself into thinking China needs Pakistan to be "safe". You are comparing half a rotten peanut to a gigantic water melon!!

    3) India is not in the "position China is in", becasue Pakistan does not have the sense or self-confidence to co-exist with India peacefully, and use India to grow economically(not geographically). Pakistanis have much more in common with Indians (genes included), than with the Chinese.

    4) And frankly, dont show your ingratitude to Japan in public. You are forgetting how much money Japan has given Pakistan in the hopes that your superbly senseless army would use it for the betterment of the average Pakistani on the street.

    And do stop worrying about India :), we'll manage.

  25. Heberian,

    You are funny...seriously i had a genuine laugh at that. It is good to exchange views with someone who sees things differently, may be i will learn something. You are rare among indians i will tell you that. You sure you don't have some pakistani genes in you? Now i will explain something to you. When i said tiger you saw this magnificant did, admit it. What are the attribute of the tiger, does he obey the standard (like most other animals) law of the jungle, or does he do what he likes? I.e. you cannot judge him like the elephant or the monkey. When tigers are together they fight each other. They are causing mischief all time...doing things that are out of order. Now what does it take to do this. Madness you will say or courage (this is same to some), a dis-regard for ones self. What Pakistan does takes guts or madness. Attributes of a tiger. Also don't forget they have a violent culture. Your problem is that you are preconditioned and cannot see. With regards to genes, all of us in the world have pretty much the same genes but it doesnot make us the same.

    Ps. I am not a pakistani. but i know both indians and pakistani#s.

  26. India/n given respect:

    This is the real world not make belief.

  27. Anonymous @ 1944 -

    I am glad I was able to provide a good laugh for you.. I do try :)

    As for my genes, though I am from the southwestern side of India, I dont think it would be a shame to have Pakistani genes in me. Our venerated Prime Minister could be considered Pakistani, if you look at where his family's roots are. Th average Pakistani is not an idiot, its just the establishment & system there.

    And about the tiger...

    At the risk of generalizing (you are the first exception I have met even virtually), when most cultures describe people as tigers.. its got a positive connotation. In India and Pakistan, calling someone a "Sher" is quite cool. Accentures defunct ad "Go be a Tiger" was not only about Mr Woods, but also a postive play on his first name "Tiger".

    And in China, the Tiger is quite revered too, see:

    So, forgive me for thinking that you were describing Pakistan in the positive way a tiger is seen by most of the world!! I have learnt something today.

    Have a good one mate!

  28. Ajai, I really enjoy reading your posts. Your blog is the only one on my RSS feed list. But I have to completely disagree with you on this one.

    These people do have a common enemy to fight even after the Americans leave. Us. The situation in Kashmir today complicates things more than ever before. Where once operation Gibraltar failed spectacularly before because a significant majority of the Kashmiris were against it, things may not work out so well for us now.

    As for India's soft power, I would say that Chairman Mao may have been an asshole but he knew what comes out of the barrel of a gun.

  29. I also agree with what Vinz says. Couldn't have said it better myself. Or I would have.

  30. A very risky proposition Ajai, what you're saying...

  31. why does ur map show gilgit as part of PAKISTAN sir??? it's PoK, and intergral part of Bharat

  32. Ideal thing to do is for US to reduce troops by having a UN peacekeeping force in Afghanistan without Indian or Pakistani participation. The NATO forces should focus on Southern Afghanistan and have UN forces in the North. I think President Obama has enough "International" clout to have UN send peacekeeping forces in there.

  33. You can be sued in the court of law for publishing a map like this.

  34. Anonymous 11:17

    Wow! I'm crapping my pants!

    Why don't you sue me since you're so het up over this map?


  36. it is showing gligit as part of pakistan.


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