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Monday, June 22

Question for our dear British allies: So how's that Pakistan peace initiative working out for Afghans?

From The Times of India (full report below), June 3:
As a damage control, [Afghan President] Ghani took recourse to some hardline rhetoric against Pakistan, by accusing it of waging an "undeclared war".
"The Taliban have declared their spring offensive, massive terrorist attacks have been carried out," he said in a letter released to the media at an international security conference in Doha.

"The public is asking whether there has been any return from President Ghani's efforts to secure enduring peace and cooperation with Pakistan?" the letter states.
***

"[O]ne clause in the agreement states that the intelligence agencies of Afghanistan and Pakistan shall not criticize each other in public." 

"There is information that this controversial agreement was prepared with the help of the UK."

"An official in the Intelligence Bureau in India says that it is hard to understand what the UK stands to gain out of this exercise." 


June 3, 2015 
ISI-Afghan agreement: An undeclared war on India
by Vicky Nanjappa
One India

[...]

The curious clauses in the Af-Pak agreement

Recently the intelligence agencies of Pakistan and Afghanistan entered into an agreement aimed at improving ties and cooperation. Among the various clauses that are part of the agreement, the one which states that the intelligence agencies of both countries shall not cooperate with hostile nations comes as a surprise to India.

India had built a rapport with Afghanistan and had been indulging in intelligence sharing. A large part of the Afghanistan establishment saw Pakistan as the hostile nation. However now India suspects that some meddling done by the United Kingdom was a result of this agreement being reached. Since Ashraf Ghani took over as the President of Afghanistan, he has tilted more towards Pakistan.

Moreover Indian officials suspect that he could have been coaxed by the British to go ahead with such an agreement. India however wonders what interest the UK could have in having such an agreement signed between the intelligence agencies of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

ISI has already started feeding false information

The Taliban had recently launched its spring offensive. The spring offensive is launched every April by the Taliban and as part of this operation they carry out a spate of attacks. One got to witness a series of attacks that were carried out by the Taliban.

However it was the ISI which fed the Afghanistan intelligence with information suggesting that it was India which was behind these attacks.

Knowing fully well that the Taliban carries out attacks with the help of the ISI, the Afghan intelligence remained mute. This is largely due to one clause in the agreement that states that the intelligence agencies of Afghanistan and Pakistan shall not criticize each other in public.

Moreover the ISI is trying to ensure that for Afghanistan, India becomes the hostile nation.
 If Afghanistan is to go forward with the agreement with the ISI, then there will be no intelligence sharing with India. 

For India the intelligence from Afghanistan is very crucial since most of the activities carried out by terrorist groups there affects India.

Did UK play a role?

Since the agreement became public, there have been voices of dissent in Afghanistan too. Ashraf Ghani who was supporting this agreement had to backtrack under pressure and keep the agreement at bay. Indian suspects that there was a hand of the United Kingdom in putting together this agreement. India is watching closely these developments. An official in the Intelligence Bureau in India says that it is hard to understand what the UK stands to gain out of this exercise.

There is information that this controversial agreement was prepared with the help of the UK.

[END REPORT]



June 3, 2015
India suspects British backing of Pak-Afghan intel cooperation
Indrani Bagchi, TNN via The Times of India

NEW DELHI: India suspects British involvement in putting together a controversial agreement between Pakistan's ISI and Afghan intelligence service, NDS. India's annoyance could impact a possible visit to the UK by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, tentatively being planned for the end of the year.

While the MoU itself has not yet been made public, a couple of clauses which have leaked out have added to India's anger. One of them is that each spy service would "refrain" from criticizing the other in public, among other things. More important, they agreed to "refrain" from cooperating with "hostile foreign agencies". For years, that was Afghan description for ISI itself. Post the agreement, the "foreign agencies" said sources, indicate India.

Pakistan, sources said, has already started a steady flow of reports to Afghanistan about alleged Indian "hand" in recent violent incidents, many of which though bearing clear hand of the Taliban, have not been claimed by anybody. 

This is in addition to a sustained media campaign within Pakistan blaming the Indian agency, RAW, for blasts and killings in the country. Over the past decade, India has built significant ties with Afghanistan's security establishment, which the MoU seeks to actively destroy, Indians believe.

A second inclusion is even more curious - asking Afghanistan to present Pakistan and the ISI in a "favourable" light. Sources here said countries routinely engage in intelligence cooperation with other countries, but they don't involve MoUs, nor do they involve a public relations activity.

If implemented, India fears it would mean that the NDS would have to engage in domestic political activity in the same way the ISI does inside Pakistan. Many in the security establishment here are joining the dots - and coming up with some uncomfortable conclusions that much of this is intended to target India itself. 

The question Indians are asking is what does the UK or other "external" forces hope to get out of this exercise? The MoU has created a popular backlash inside Afghanistan forcing President Ashraf Ghani to backtrack after it became public that even the NDS chief had opposed it. It has lowered his standing both inside Pakistan (because he will not be able to deliver on the MoU) and inside his own country. It has also brought his predecessor Hamid Karzai out of a self-imposed silence to become a powerful opposition voice.

As a damage control, Ghani took recourse to some hardline rhetoric against Pakistan, by accusing it of waging an "undeclared war". 

"The Taliban have declared their spring offensive, massive terrorist attacks have been carried out," he said in a letter released to the media at an international security conference in Doha. 

"The public is asking whether there has been any return from President Ghani's efforts to secure enduring peace and cooperation with Pakistan?" the letter states.

While publicly India has maintained a stoic front, New Delhi has privately been very critical of the Afghans for allowing themselves to be conned by Pakistan in this manner. 

Modi met Karzai, who stopped by New Delhi en route to Beijing for a CICA conference last week, indicating India's continued support for him, and even a silent endorsement of his criticism of Ghani's actions.

[END REPORT]

More on that letter written by Ghani, from the Wall Street Journal, June 1:
[...] In the letter, the Afghan government asks Pakistan to prove its commitment to peace by taking eight steps. They include a request to place under house arrest members of the Taliban’s leadership councils who are based in the cities of Quetta and Peshawar.
It also asks Pakistan to go after the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network, whose militants were largely spared during Islamabad’s offensive in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal areas.
U.S. and Afghan officials suspect the group was behind many of the bloodiest attacks carried out in Afghanistan.
On Sunday, Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security said it seized 16 tons of explosives that belonged to the Haqqani network. They were hidden under firewood in a truck that crossed the border from Pakistan.
Islamabad acknowledges it has some influence over the Taliban insurgency, but it has repeatedly said it doesn't control it. [...]


Comments:
Quid pro quo for intelligence sharing on British nationals in Pakistan, liason work quid pro quo, an attempt to focus America back on NATO or the mideast ad in, Afghanistan and India don't matter, placate Saudis or Chinese or British Pakistan business interests, etc. There was clearly some propaganda work to shrink the issues down to the Pashtun insurgency by a variety of influence agents, Saudi, ? British, Pakistani and others?
 
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