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A trial of the Taliban criminals must occur before we leave

Alexander Athos

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Without a trial of the Taliban criminals, both Afghanistan and the failed nuclear state of Pakistan will be exposed to the resurgence of their evil rule and malign global influence.

 

 Islamo-fascism poisons not only physically but also mentally. Taliban criminals must be put on trial.

Some elements within the Taliban have committed terrible crimes and those men who committed those crimes must be held to account before NATO-ISAF leave. It is unlikely that justice will be served by having the trials proceed in Afghanistan and in any case there is talk of a blanket amnesty by the Afghan government.

However while the International community is there they need to see that justice is done.

“The Taliban pounded on the door just before midnight, demanding that Aisha, 18, be punished for running away from her husband’s house. They dragged her to a mountain clearing near her village in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan, ignoring her protests that her in-laws had been abusive, that she had no choice but to escape. Shivering in the cold air and blinded by the flashlights trained on her by her husband’s family, she faced her spouse and accuser.

Her in-laws treated her like a slave, Aisha pleaded. They beat her. If she hadn’t run away, she would have died. Her judge, a local Taliban commander, was unmoved. Later, he would tell Aisha’s uncle that she had to be made an example of lest other girls in the village try to do the same thing. The commander gave his verdict, and men moved in to deliver the punishment. Aisha’s brother-in-law held her down while her husband pulled out a knife. First he sliced off her ears. Then he started on her nose. Aisha passed out from the pain but awoke soon after, choking on her own blood. The men had left her on the mountainside to die.” {Time 29 Jul 2010]

Crimes against women like disfigurement, assault, starvation, “ rape, , sexual slavery, forced marriage, ethnic cleansing, the use of women to spread terror, particularly terror by threats of violence against women and/or their families…are crimes against humanity” [http://www.iccwomen.org/wigjdraft1/Archives/oldWCGJ/resources/cahreport.htm ]

What sickness of mind would allow or justify the Taliban’s execution by public hanging of a 7 year old boy which they did in Helmand province 2 years ago because they said he was a ‘spy’.

“I don’t think there’s a crime bigger than that, that even the most inhuman forces on earth can commit,” Hamid Karzai said . “A 7-year-old boy cannot be a spy. A 7-year-old boy cannot be anything but a 7-year-old boy” [NY Daily News 10 June 2010]

At the same time another Islam fascist fanatic detonated a suicide bomb at a wedding because there were Afghan police officers in the party. 40 Muslims were killed many of them small children another 77 were injured.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1285508/Taliban-execute-boy-seven-accused-spy.html

There are elements within Afghanistan that seek to grant a blanket general amnesty to all Taliban ‘fighters’ in an effort to promote reconciliation. This is a grave mistake. Fascists (whether Nazi’s or the Salafi/Deobondi-Takfiri-Jihadi kind) cannot be appeased nor rehabilitated. Giving them immunity only encourages even more outrageous acts of inhumanity because they know they are unaccountable. (When the democracies failed to stand up to the Fascists over Czechoslovakia it only emboldened them to commence wars of aggression against the rest of Europe and the slaughter of millions). Many parties and civil rights groups in Afghanistan oppose amnesty for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Taliban because it condones their extremism which is toxic for the Afghan society if it is to move forward.

The Islamo-fascists (both local Taliban, Pakistani Taliban and Arab Salafi-Takfiri Jihadi insurgents) have committed 75% of all civilian casualties in the Afghan War [see: UN Security Council reports as well as The Afghan Justice Project reports ] and continue to beat, poison and intimidate the ordinary Afghan people. Following on bombings in marketplaces, the Islamo Fascists also target schools.

Just this week in the Afghan province of Takhar the Taliban sprayed poison on 125 girls and three teachers, causing them to vomit and lose consciousness. This follows earlier equally horrific poisonings and killings including an incident in April in the same province when 170 women and girls were hospitalized when the Islamo- fascists poisoned their well because they refused to stop attending school and educating girls. Attacking girls and teachers who dare teach them has become a common tactic for the Taliban along with suicide bombings. Everyone must submit to their ideology or face the consequences.

This fascist tactic of extreme violence (just like the ongoing bombings in Iraq and throughout AF-PAK) to intimidate the population to force their rule has to be met with justice and not bullets.

Isalmo-fascism poisons not only physical wells but much worse ‘the well-springs of the mind’ of the poor people of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The terror they bring forces the population into subjugation mentally, physically and spiritually to the fascist tyranny.

Some think by NATO and its allies training the Afghan army and leaving the country everything will be all right. It won’t be. It has nothing to do with Non-Muslim soldiers leaving ‘Muslim’ lands. The Islamo-fascists are not Muslims just as Hitler’s devotees were not Christians; they are fanatics who inflict any cruelty and commit any crime to advance their politico-social agenda of subjugation of society to their ideology of hate.

Indeed it is likely that the Islamo-fascists will again attempt to gain control of the country by bombs, violence, threats and intimidation of the population, the majority of whom are Muslims no less than they do on the Pakistan side of the border.

The leadership and ideologues of Islamo-fascists in AF-PAK have committed and continue to commit crimes against humanity no less heinous than the Nazis between 1935 and 1945 and they do so against Muslims as well as people of other faiths.

Before NATO-ISAF leaves they must arrest and put on trial in the International Court of Justice or the International Criminal Court all those leaders including ideologues in Pakistan who created the Taliban as accessories (and insist that Pakistan Government deliver them over notwithstanding the opposition that will come from ISI). If he hadn’t committed suicide (which he did at the same time he killed his own 6 children) should Goebbels have escaped Nuremberg trials just because he used his tongue instead of a rifle to lead the Nazi state to disenfranchise, enslave and murder millions of people in 10 short years?

If these criminals are not brought to justice now, when NATO-ISAF leaves, what do you think the  Islamo-fascists will do? Of course they will together with their masters in Pakistan and beyond, reassert their terrible oppression mentally and physically over the people of Afghanistan as well as continuing to do so in Pakistan.

The fledgling army of Afghanistan will be ill equipped ideologically and sociologically to deal with the organized and extremely well financed Islamo-fascist machine orchestrated from within and without Afghanistan.

Drone attacks are not the answer against this evil because it too is an instrument of brutality in that many innocent people are sometimes killed and wounded and more importantly there is no trial to assert what is right and punish that which is wrong.

The Taliban criminality, (no less than the Einzatsgruppen criminality in imposing the Nazi ideology in Eastern Europe in World War II), has to  now be judged in open international court so the people can see that justice exists and have the strength to fight the Taliban darkness with the light of God and  a decent civil society free from the violence and barbarity of brainless fascist thugs whether they wear boots or sandals because both trample basic human rights underfoot and cover truth in the blood of innocents.

The people of AF-PAK deserve a ‘Kandahar’ Nuremberg style trial against the barbaric crimes of the Taliban which cannot be left unpunished if they are to be stopped.

In addition (just as they should be supported in our homelands when they speak out against similar Islamo- fascism), true religious leaders in AF-PAK have to be supported and protected when they come out and welcome the fact that those members of the Taliban who committed crimes against humanity are judged and condemned. Normative values of universal justice must be supported or the people will not be strong enough to stand against the rise again of the surge of the Islamo- fascists.

It must be dealt with by justice so that Afghanistan has at least a chance to steer away from the edge of madness again not just for the sake of the women and children but also our collective global security. You cannot leave the wasp nest in tact if you don’t want to be stung again.

NATO-ASAF have sacrificed too many men to leave the wells of AF-PAK poisoned.

NATO-ASAF may have cleaned up most of the top leadership of Al Qaeda (which is unfortunately just the tip of the Islamo-Fascist iceberg) but they have largely lost the war to the insurgent’s masters. They have failed because they have just been fighting the foot soldier insurgents (many of whom are not even Afghani) and have not gone after their masters. As with Vietnam, the allies had to fight with one hand tied behind their back and you cannot win a war that way. However not all is lost if the source of the enemy’s power is neutralized and that is the doctrine of Islamo-Fascism itself and the crimes against humanity it encourages (indeed demands) their devotees commit.

Without a trial of the Taliban criminals, both Afghanistan and the failed nuclear state of Pakistan will be exposed to the resurgence of their evil rule and malign global influence.

NATO-ISAF UNAMA still have the opportunity to redeem something out of the resources and sacrifices that have been poured into the region over the last ten years and leave a positive legacy for the people (not the least of whom are the poor women and girls) and an abiding security assurance for our homelands.

That legacy will not come with bullets, drone attacks or wishful thinking that the Afghan Army won’t be turned into an instrument of terror by the Islamo fascists when they return to power but with justice.

This will then give ordinary people in Afghanistan (including the Afghan Army) and also the suffering Muslims in Pakistan the moral and spiritual courage to face Islamo-Fascists when they come (and they surely will come) and clean out the poison from their wells and rebuild their society on foundations based on true Islam, human dignity for all peoples of all faiths including women and children.

Athos

June 2012

 http://articles.nydailynews.com/2010-06-10/news/27066837_1_suicide-bomber-helmand-taliban

 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/10/world/asia/10afghanistan.html?_r=1

 http://www.afghanistanjusticeproject.org/

 http://www.scribd.com/doc/36261386/The-Taliban-s-Crimes-Against-Humanity-and-the-Women-of-Afghanistan

Alexander Athos is a writer and businessman.He was awarded a Bachelor of Arts (European History) Personal background Alexander was christened Orthodox brought up Catholic and now Evangelical Christian with an acceptance of the best in Christian tradition and a respect for genuine people of faith from other cultures. Political inclinations: Christian intellectual who has an eclectic predisposition to understanding global and national political and social trends and seeking to influence them for good by thoughtful and persuasive discourse.

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South Asia

Questioning the Novelty of India’s New Normal

Haris Bilal Malik

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In recent years Indian notions of Pre-emption and so-called surgical strikes have been referred to as the ‘new normal’ by many in India. These have contributed to further affecting the security, stability and strategic equilibrium in the South Asian region. This is evident in how the top-brass within the Indian military has repeatedly asserted that India reserves the right to punish Pakistan with such notions of preemptive strikes across the Line of Control (LoC) under its limited war doctrines, which themselves belie a desire to wage a low-intensity conflict across the border. At the doctrinal level, India has been planning for this for quite some time as evident from its 2004 Cold Start Doctrine (CSD)as well as its more recently released doctrines such as the 2017 Joint Doctrine of the Indian Armed Forces (JDIAF) and the 2018 Land Warfare Doctrine (LWD). These doctrines are all based upon proactive strategies and indirect threats of preemptive strikes against Pakistan. Based on the current patterns of Indian aggression these ideas hold immense significance when considering the latest rounds of tensions over the disputed territory of Kashmir as witnessed in the short-lived military engagement between the two countries in February 2019

Inspired by such notions and in typical fashion, the new Army Chief of India Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane wasted little time in blaming Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism in India. The same day he took charge of his new appointment he claimed that India reserves the right to respond in the same way it had previously done through its so-called ‘surgical strikes.’ Moreover, he openly asserted to physically taking control of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) if his government ordered him to do so.

However, such assertions from the Indian political and military leadership are simply repetitions of the same statements that have been made by Prime Minister Modi, Mr. Rajnath Singh, and former Army Chief Gen. (R) Bipin Rawat in the recent past. Representing the same aggressive and jingoistic posturing, there is not much novelty in these statements. In fact, even in this so-called ‘new normal’ which these leaders have repeatedly described over the last few years, there is nothing new at all.

Even the oft-quoted notion of a preemptive ‘splendid first strike‘ is not new for Pakistan as it had already formed a key part of the discourse surrounding the Indian and international strategic community since the years 2016-2017. According to this, if in India’s assessment, Pakistan was found to be deploying nuclear weapons, as a contingency, India would likely resort to such a splendid first strike which it has always hinted as being a nuclear strike. As such all this does is prove Pakistan’s pre-existing doubts over India’s long-debated ‘No First Use’ (NFU) Policy. Yet, what’s worth noting here is that this overt shift towards declaring a more offensive doctrinal posture from India represents a more focused attempt at undermining the deterrent value of Pakistan’s own nuclear posture, thus ultimately destabilizing the South Asian region.

Instead, the only thing new to come out from all these assertions from Indian leaders is the prevailing fascist mindset within India that is being fueled by a false sense of racial superiority and hatred against Muslims. This was clearly stated by Prime Minister Imran Khan in his tweet when he attributed the cause of such provocations to the RSS’s extremist ideology. Hence, Pakistan perceives the recent statements from India’s top military brass as also being wholly politically inspired and as a routine attempt to divert attention away from the rampant domestic socio-economic issues currently plaguing India. The fact remains that Pakistan’s response to this Indian self-proclaimed ‘new normal’ which was on full display during the Balakot crisis itself set a clear example of its full spectrum deterrence. Contrary to the notion that a conventional asymmetry of sorts exists between the two countries, Pakistan had responded conventionally and more befittingly while holding its own toe to toe. In other words, Pakistan proved that it can also restore deterrence via conventional means despite the quantitative edge of India’s conventional forces and military hardware.

It is also worth noting that while India is spending billions of dollars on its military modernization program both in terms of its conventional and unconventional acquisitions; allocating billions for defence spending does not necessarily guarantee military supremacy. Especially if the adversary is determined to thwart any such attempts right from the outset. India’s actual capabilities still differentiate widely from what its political and military leadership inspires and projects itself to be. In fact, there is a huge gap between the Indian leadership’s expectations and what its military can actually deliver. As apparent not only in the absurdity of Gen. Naravane’s statement but also in Prime Minister Modi’s and others, the credibility of such threats already remains highly questionable.

Hence at the present, it seems that India is more keen on simply projecting military supremacy vis-à-vis Pakistan as opposed to actually attaining it, as reflected in the statements of its political and military top brass. Its favored notions of preemption at the doctrinal and strategic levels are evidence of such aspirations. As such the increasingly provocative posturing against Pakistan in the form of this so-called ‘new normal’ seems to represent simply a jingoistic approach to manipulate Indian public sentiment in the ruling government’s favor. However, the fact remains that Pakistan has already nullified such notions of preemption in the recent past and has proved it time and again. As such India’s aggressive posturing seems to be collapsing on itself with its self-proclaimed ‘new normal’ unlikely to pose any serious challenges to Pakistan’s strategic posture at least for the time being.

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South Asia

From Scapegoat Back to Key Ally: Pakistan and the Perils of US Maximalism

M Waqas Jan

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In the two years since President Trump accused Pakistan of giving nothing but deceit and lies, relations between both countries seem to have undergone a dramatic turnaround. This is evident not only in the official narrative being put forth by both countries with respect to one another, but also in how this growing sense of cordiality has culminated into a series of high-level visits and meetings between key representatives. For instance, the icy indifference with which US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was greeted with in Islamabad back in September 2018 now stands in stark contrast to the frank more amicable meetings that have been held between Prime Minister Khan and President Trump thrice since then. Not to mention the back to back visits from Alice Wells, the current US government’s focal representative for South Asia, that have further accompanied a steady yet gradual thawing of tensions.

Signs of this turnaround are further evident in how last month’s resumption of military education and training programs for Pakistani Officers marks one of the first steps towards renewed strategic cooperation. This represents an important milestone since President Trump had announced the cancellation of all forms of US military aid to Pakistan in early 2018. Similarly, acknowledgments of the progress made as per the requirements of the FATF review, as well as the ‘concern’ expressed over India’s recent actions in Kashmir are all signs aimed at placating some of Pakistan’s most pressing interests. Thus, hinting at what more cordial relations with the US could look like for Pakistan, while just stopping short of making any concrete commitments.

Yet, to say that Pak-US ties have begun to ‘normalize’ or ‘revert’ towards a mutually beneficial status quo would be ignoring the age-old complexity that has characterized relations between both countries. Especially for a relationship that has been long described as blowing hot and cold, on and off, as a rollercoaster ride, or simply a love-hate one. History has borne witness to the fact that US foreign policy towards Pakistan has more than often been based on a ruthless pragmatism and maximalism. This all or nothing approach has brought immense amounts of aid and funds for Pakistan which have been always cut off just as abruptly as they were initiated. Often without any long-term assessment or appreciation of what such actions are likely to lead to beyond the US’s more immediate goals.

None of this has been more evident than in US expectations from Pakistan regarding Afghanistan and the Taliban. It’s no secret that the very inception of the Taliban came from US funds and training during the waning stages of the Cold War for which Pakistan played the role of an indispensable intermediary. Yet following the 9/11 attacks, US policy towards the Taliban changed overnight when the US in lumping the Taliban together with Al-Qaeda brought down its military might on the entire Afghan State. What’s more it forced Pakistan to join its War on Terror almost at gunpoint. The infamous statement attributed to then US deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage where he allegedly threated ‘to bomb Pakistan back to the stone age’ stands as a stark reminder of how even labeling this relationship as ‘complex’ is simply an understatement.

This aspect is further reinforced in the damning revelations of the Afghanistan Papers that were released just last month. Representing a cache of candid interviews of key officials responsible for formulating and implementing the US’s Afghanistan policy, these interviews have been used to piece together crucial mistakes at the strategic and policy levels made by successive US governments over the last two decades.  One of these mistakes has been highlighted as ‘trusting Pakistan as a friend’ where Pakistan has been repeatedly accused of providing sanctuary and support to certain militant groups. Hence, accusations of Pakistan playing a double game, as well as the confusing distinctions between good and bad Taliban all contributed to a narrative that Pakistan was doing more to upend US progress than support it. This had caused much of the resentment and mutual distrust specifically during the Obama years which starting from calls to ‘do more’ resulted in the US unilaterally and covertly taking out Osama Bin Laden deep inside Pakistani territory. As ties worsened, the advent of the Trump presidency brought with them an overt sense of finality in the form of his new year tweet that was referred to in the beginning of this article.

Yet, even now as both countries come full circle with the US asking for help in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table, one fears that the US may still not have learnt anything from its adventurist debacles. As the Afghanistan Papers themselves testify, Pakistani officials have remained quite  candid in their desire to hedge their bets against the US by maintaining limited ties with the Taliban. This was made clear to Ambassador Ryan Crocker who had served as the US ambassador in Islamabad from 2004-2007. In one of his interviews in the Afghanistan Papers, the former ambassador directly quotes a conversation he had with Gen Ashfaq Kayani who was then the DG ISI.As Mr. Crocker himself recounts, the general had quite explicitly made clear his reservations against an abrupt US withdrawal that would force Pakistan to once again pick up the pieces while having made the Taliban a mortal enemy. Hence justifying the reasons behind Pakistan’s so-called duplicity.

But considering how it is in fact the US now that is pressing Pakistan to use those same ties to help extricate itself out of the Afghan quagmire, Pakistan’s strategy against the Taliban seems to have stood wholly vindicated. In fact, it appears downright visionary considering how in hindsight, Pakistan had repeatedly called on the US to consider negotiating with the Taliban – especially when the US had the upper hand following its initial successes back in the early 2000s.However,the US after squandering its own reputation and credibility and already having missed multiple chances to engage with the Taliban are now ironically banking on Pakistan to help secure an exit. A kind of exit that not only allows the US to perhaps save face at the international level, but also offer something palatable to the American people during an election year. Thus, once again reeking of the reactionary maximalism that has so often brought into question the US’s reliability and trustworthiness as an ally. Not to mention President Trump’s own ‘America First’ policy, which already risks squandering whatever little credibility the US has been left with in the first place.

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South Asia

India’s Modi: Messiah or Menace

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

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When the Hindu sages developed their way of life, they divided people into four castes:  Brahmins, the thinkers, scholars and priests at the top for they were the guides; Kshatriyas, the soldiers including the king second for they protected and governed society; Vaishyas the merchants third with their commerce facilitating daily living; and Shudras who were the laborers and service workers at the bottom.

Well, the world has changed as it should but perhaps they had a point as there is a Vaish — not one at the top of the class but a tea-seller from a shop that would be at the other end of the spectrum from those charming English tea shops in Devon — now running the country.  Of dubious education that has been challenged and a beginning in the ultra-nationalist RSS (once outlawed by India’s founding prime minister and known also for producing Gandhi’s assassin) Narendra Modi is at India’s helm.  His BJP party’s rise is linked to stoking up tensions between Hindus and minority Muslims, whose suffering has been well documented.  Police powers have been increased and Muslim Kashmir is now under direct rule from Delhi, while new laws are disqualifying Muslims from citizenship.  So reports The Economist in its special issue, The State of the World in 2020 (p. 53).

Better known is the pogrom of Muslims in Modi’s Gujarat when he headed the provincial government there, and his party’s role in the destruction of a 500-year old mosque built by Babur so that the fictitious birthplace of Ram would be holy to both religions.  Having overthrown the Muslim Lodi dynasty and with a tenuous hold, Babur was seeking friends among Hindu Rajas who generally owed fealty to the Delhi sultans.  The Mughal Emperors also started the custom of marrying Hindu royalty to cement relationships and ensure loyalty.  And this Mughal openness to other religions reached its apex under Emperor Akbar who founded a new religion, Din-i-Ilahi, attempting to incorporate the best from all faiths but which, lacking roots, died with him.

After the Indian rebellion against British rule, the British saw advantage in fostering division among communities in the infamous divide-and-rule maxim, now changed by Modi into suppress-and-rule, as the left-over Muslim community is poor and weak after the emigration of many to Pakistan following partition and independence in 1947.

Gandhi and founding prime minister Nehru’s vision of a secular India is enshrined in its constitution, which Modi and the BJP’s Hindu nationalist agenda subverts.  Its Hindutva, a Nazi-like ideology holding Hinduism supreme, wants India to be an exclusively Hindu nation noting that Hindu and Muslim cultures are different, without regard to the similarities.  As a video demonstrating the new ideology in practice points out, it is safer to be a cow than a Muslim in Modi’s India.

It is what one can expect when an ill-educated, charismatic tea-seller takes over the world’s largest democracy offering cultural superiority and its false pride, hare brained schemes like a deadline  declaring old high denomination banknotes illegal causing chaos at banks.  Poorly managed plans like toilets and gas cookers for the poor are touted as successes.  But the toilets are not used because the plans did not include maintenance, and gas cooker distribution is riddled with corruption.  Meanwhile, the economy suffers and the country ranks 102 out 117 on the Global Hunger Index (between Sierra Leone and Niger) and far behind Bangladesh.  So much for the hype.

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