FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Afghanistan: Instead of better, it got worse
Posted:Jan 4, 2016
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
By Musa Khan Jalalzai
 
There has been much debate in international forums over the nature of the intelligence war in Afghanistan. Different intelligence organisations that engaged in unnecessary internecine conflict threatened and undermined all efforts of winning the war against the Taliban. As we have experienced in the last 15 years of the war on terrorism, all efforts and operations of the US and NATO intelligence failed to collect true information from the remote districts of the country. They used electronic technology like balloons, drones and helicopter surveillance, filmed and scanned houses, buildings and forests, but failed to reach the nests of insurgents. The standard mode of these operations has been passive and their information has not been Taliban and al Qaeda related. They spied on each other’s intelligence units and could not lead their commanders and decision makers in the right direction.
 
They also resisted intelligence sharing. No agency was ready to share its secret information with the other; everyone maintained their own secret network. European states were mostly reluctant to hear the CIA and Pentagon while Germany was ultimately alienated. The country refused to heed the NATO alliance’s instruction and ordered its forces to avoid confrontation with the Taliban and fire only in self-defence. However, some states, instead of their adherence to the alliance, established criminal militias and private intelligence units to protect their forces from Taliban attacks on one hand and collect intelligence information on the other. These militias and intelligence units misled their command and control authorities by providing them with low quality disinformation.
 
These consecutive intelligence failures and lack of a sharing mechanism prompted the emergence of Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan and Pakistan. An account of US intelligence failure, the rising power of IS in Afghanistan has posed a potential security threat to Russia. Against this backdrop, Russian intelligence (FSB) moved forward to fill the gap. The agency quickly reorganised its old contacts in Central Asia and Afghanistan. On October 28, 2015, the spokeswoman of the Russian foreign ministry said that Russia was working with the Taliban to gain intelligence information against IS networks in Afghanistan.
 
The NATO expansion in Europe close to the border of Russia, war in Syria and its military build up in Afghanistan forced President Putin to sign a new defence strategy document on January 1, 2016. “The build up of the military potential of NATO and vesting it with global functions implemented in violation of the norms of international law, boosting military activity of the bloc’s countries, further expansion of the alliance and the approach of its military infrastructure to Russian borders create a threat to national security,” the document warned. However, in view of the IS threat to their national security, Russia and China deployed their intelligence units along Afghanistan’s borders. On January 4, 2016, China adopted its first counter-terrorism law to control the emerging insurgent forces and IS influence in the Xinjiang region.
 
The NATO alliance also failed to train a professional army for Afghanistan. The consecutive bombardment of weddings, schools, homes and hospitals by the US and NATO, humiliation and torture, rape and urination over dead bodies, painted an ugly picture of western human rights and the democratic culture in Afghanistan. These unprofessional tactics and low-quality intelligence operations by the international community gave space to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), RAW and Iranian intelligence agencies to strengthen their networks across Afghanistan. The ISI and Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence (MI) restored their old contacts by using professional means and tactics. Consequently, the performance of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) was in shambles. It could not counter the ISI, MI, RAW, Taliban and IS networks within the Afghan army and police ranks.
 
In February 2015, the former president, Pervez Musharraf, told The Guardian that in President Karzai’s time, the ISI cultivated the Taliban after 2001. “We were looking for some groups to counter the Indian action against Pakistan,” Musharraf said. In 2015, the speed of the blame game slowed as diplomatic rapprochement began between the two states. President Ghani visited Islamabad twice. Islamabad showed it willingness to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table but Afghan leaders called its stance absurd and demanded a paradigm shift in Islamabad’s policy towards Afghanistan. These events occurred only in one year; government and politicians in Pakistan admitted that IS had established dozens of networks in Punjab and Balochistan provinces.
 
The year 2016 began with the statement of army chief General Raheel Sharif that this would be the year that terrorism would be eliminated in Pakistan. However, the operations in Sialkot and Karachi proved that IS remains the strongest challenge in the four provinces of the country. IS offers Rs 50,000 per month to its new members and sends them to Afghanistan. The Punjab counterterrorism department arrested an alleged commander of IS in Islamabad and his fighters from Sargodha, Okara and Gujranwala districts in Punjab. The Safoora Goth killing was also claimed by an IS-affiliated terrorist group in Karachi. Despite numerous operations across the country, the Pakistan army is still fighting the unending war against terrorism.
 
IS maintains a big intelligence network in Jalalabad and has established four prisons there, in which 300 civilian and military personnel have been incarcerated. The NDS has lost key districts in the province to the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Islam and IS. In fact, the Afghan government has no power to extend the authority of the state to all parts of the country. Afghan security forces lack coordination, are fighting without salary and sell weapons to the Taliban. On January 1, 2016, the former governor of Kunduz, Muhammad Omar Safi, told ToloNews that he was representing two presidents and received different directions from their offices. He regretted that in spite of his request for military support, President Ghani, General Campbell and the defence ministry did not react positively to save the province. Mr Safi said that both the presidents were powerless and had no authority to act independently. The unity government needs to introduce security sector reforms and reorganise its military services and intelligence on modern lines.
 
 
The writer is author of The Prospect of Nuclear Jihad in Pakistan and can be reached at zai.musakhan222@gmail.com
 
Daily Times, January 5, 2016
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Relations between India and Morocco go back a millennium with the first recorded links dating to the 14th century, when the famous traveller and writer from Tangier, Ibn Batuta, travelled to India.
 
read-more
Stepping up action against terrorists attacking India, President Donald Trump's Administration has declared Hizb-ul Mujahideen (HM) a “global terrorist organisation” in an attempt to choke off financial and other support to it.
 
read-more
On 14 August 1947 Pakistan, consisting of East and West Pakistan, celebrated its independence. The 14th was chosen for the ceremony because Lord Mountbatten who came to Karachi as the Chief Guest had to later leave for Delhi where ot the midnight stroke India was to declare its independence.
 
read-more
The Doklam stand-off and a variety recent opinion pieces in magazines and newspapers draws attention to the poor state of defence policy preparedness and the lack of meaningful higher defence control in India. 
 
read-more
The two ideologically divergent ruling partners - the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - in Jammu and Kashmir are headed for a showdown as the debate over the abrogation of Article 35A of the Constitution of India heats up.
 
read-more
At the root of the present Doklam crisis is China’s intrusion into Bhutanese territory for its road building projects. These connectivity projects are integral to President Xi Jinping’s dream project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). India and Bhutan were the only two countries that did not participate in the first forum
 
read-more
It wasn’t so long ago that the whole world watched as Donald Trump sashayed on to the Riyadh red carpet and stole the show with his tough talk on Iranian-sponsored terrorism.
 
read-more
A vehicular attack to maximise casualties and spread panic is now a well-tested terrorist strategy in European cities.
 
read-more
It is a privilege to be invited to this most prestigious of law schools in the country, more so for someone not formally lettered in the discipline of law. I thank the Director and the faculty for this honour.
 
read-more
Column-image

As talk of war and violence -- all that Mahatma Gandhi stood against -- gains prominence across the world, a Gandhian scholar has urged that the teachings of the apostle of non-violence be taken to the classroom.

 
Column-image

Interview with Hudson Institute’s Aparna Pande, whose book From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India’s Foreign Policy, was released on June 17.

 
Column-image

This is the continuing amazing spiritual journey of a Muslim man from Kerala who plunged into Vedic religion after a chance encounter with a Hindu mystic under a jackfruit tree in the backyard of his house when he was just nine. It is a story w...

 
Column-image

History is told by the victors but in our modern age, even contemporary events get - or are given - a slant, where some contributors soon get eclipsed from the narrative or their images tarnished.

 
Column-image

Humans have long had a fear of malignant supernatural beings but there may be times when even the latter cannot compare with the sheer evil and destructiveness mortals may be capable of. But then seeking to enable the end of the world due to it...

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive