Peter Galbraith, the former United Nations’ deputy special representative for Afghanistan, raises a pertinent point regarding the White House response to WikiLeaks documents: “The Wikileaks documents, splashed in the Guardian and several other papers, provide useful confirmation of what is readily discerned from public sources: the Afghanistan War is going badly, the Taliban are exceptionally brutal, US forces have not always attacked the right targets and elements in Pakistan continue to support the Taliban.
“Of all this information, the most troubling concerns the duplicitous double dealing by Pakistan’s powerful spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI. While some of the intelligence seems wildly implausible, the Wikileaks documents show a continued relationship between the ISI and the Taliban. This is not surprising.
In the 1990s, the ISI helped create the Taliban and Pakistani support was decisive to the Taliban’s capture of Kabul in 1996. The US has known since 2001 that Pakistan did not break its ties with the Taliban as President Pervez Musharraf had promised President Bush. After all, Mullah Omar and his close associates have been in Pakistan since 2001 and it is not plausible that Pakistan did not know where any of them were.
“President Bush could have forced Pakistan to break the ISI-Taliban nexus but did not. He was dealing with Musharraf who, as the country’s military dictator, presumably did control the ISI. Bush, who liked to talk tough but rarely was, preferred to accept Musharraf’s false assurance that Pakistan was not supporting the Taliban connection to the unpleasant task of having to put pressure on an ally.
“President Obama is dealing with an elected civilian government that is, as its leaders admit privately, in office but not always in power. President Asif Ali Zardari has tried to make the war on terror the centrepiece of his administration… But Zardari does not control the ISI…” More here…
The Indian government has repeatedly pointed out about this dangerous Pakistan-Taliban nexus during the past two decades. The US administration has continued to maintain a mysterious silence on this subject. A few days back Ms Hillary Clinton announced a huge aid package for Pakistan during her visit there without any fool-proof assurance from the country about its dealings with militant/terrorist elements.
The Guardian’s editorial sates: “In these documents, Iran’s and Pakistan’s intelligence agencies run riot. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is linked to some of the war’s most notorious commanders. The ISI is alleged to have sent 1,000 motorbikes to the warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani for suicide attacks in Khost and Logar provinces, and to have been implicated in a sensational range of plots, from attempting to assassinate President Hamid Karzai to poisoning the beer supply of western troops.
“These reports are unverifiable and could be part of a barrage of false information provided by Afghan intelligence. But yesterday’s White House response to the claims that elements of the Pakistan army had been so specifically linked to the militants made it plain that the status quo is unacceptable. It said that safe havens for militants within Pakistan continued to pose “an intolerable threat” to US forces.
“However you cut it, this is not an Afghanistan that either the US or Britain is about to hand over gift-wrapped with pink ribbons to a sovereign national government in Kabul. Quite the contrary. After nine years of warfare, the chaos threatens to overwhelm. A war fought ostensibly for the hearts and minds of Afghans cannot be won like this.” More here…
Australia has established a taskforce to examine the publication of tens of thousands of US military documents that may affect Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. More here…
WikiLeaks has not identified the source of the documents it obtained but suspicion has fallen on Bradley Manning, a US Army intelligence analyst who is currently being held in a military jail in Kuwait. Manning was arrested in May following the release by WikiLeaks of video footage of a US Apache helicopter strike in Iraq in which civilians died and has been charged with delivering defense information to an unauthorized source. More here…
Swaraaj Chauhan describes his two-decade-long stint as a full-time journalist as eventful, purposeful, and full of joy and excitement. In 1993 he could foresee a different work culture appearing on the horizon, and decided to devote full time to teaching journalism (also, partly, with a desire to give back to the community from where he had enriched himself so much.)
Alongside, he worked for about a year in 1993 for the US State Department’s SPAN magazine, a nearly five-decade-old art and culture monthly magazine promoting US-India relations. It gave him an excellent opportunity to learn about things American, plus the pleasure of playing tennis in the lavish American embassy compound in the heart of New Delhi.
In !995 he joined WWF-India as a full-time media and environment education consultant and worked there for five years travelling a great deal, including to Husum in Germany as a part of the international team to formulate WWF’s Eco-tourism policy.
He taught journalism to honors students in a college affiliated to the University of Delhi, as also at the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication where he lectured on “Development Journalism” to mid-career journalists/Information officers from the SAARC, African, East European and Latin American countries, for eight years.
In 2004 the BBC World Service Trust (BBC WST) selected him as a Trainer/Mentor for India under a European Union project. In 2008/09 He completed another European Union-funded project for the BBC WST related to Disaster Management and media coverage in two eastern States in India — West Bengal and Orissa.
Last year, he spent a couple of months in Australia and enjoyed trekking, and also taught for a while at the University of South Australia.
Recently, he was appointed as a Member of the Board of Studies at Chitkara University in Chandigarh, a beautiful city in North India designed by the famous Swiss/French architect Le Corbusier. He also teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students there.
He loves trekking, especially in the hills, and never misses an opportunity to play a game of tennis. The Western and Indian classical music are always within his reach for instant relaxation.
And last, but not least, is his firm belief in the power of the positive thought to heal oneself and others.