China’s Carrier Killer Missile Complicates US Navy Plans

Chinese missile could shift Pacific power balance

By ERIC TALMADGE (AP) – 6 hours ago

ABOARD THE USS GEORGE WASHINGTON — Nothing projects U.S. global air and sea power more vividly than supercarriers. Bristling with fighter jets that can reach deep into even landlocked trouble zones, America’s virtually invincible carrier fleet has long enforced its dominance of the high seas.

China may soon put an end to that.

U.S. naval planners are scrambling to deal with what analysts say is a game-changing weapon being developed by China — an unprecedented carrier-killing missile called the Dong Feng 21D that could be launched from land with enough accuracy to penetrate the defenses of even the most advanced moving aircraft carrier at a distance of more than 1,500 kilometers (900 miles).


EDITOR’S NOTE — The USS George Washington supercarrier recently deployed off North Korea in a high-profile show of U.S. sea power. AP Tokyo News Editor Eric Talmadge was aboard the carrier, and filed this report.


Analysts say final testing of the missile could come as soon as the end of this year, though questions remain about how fast China will be able to perfect its accuracy to the level needed to threaten a moving carrier at sea.

The weapon, a version of which was displayed last year in a Chinese military parade, could revolutionize China’s role in the Pacific balance of power, seriously weakening Washington’s ability to intervene in any potential conflict over Taiwan or North Korea. It could also deny U.S. ships safe access to international waters near China’s 11,200-mile (18,000-kilometer) -long coastline.

While a nuclear bomb could theoretically sink a carrier, assuming its user was willing to raise the stakes to atomic levels, the conventionally-armed Dong Feng 21D’s uniqueness is in its ability to hit a powerfully defended moving target with pin-point precision.

The Chinese Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to the AP’s request for a comment.

Funded by annual double-digit increases in the defense budget for almost every year of the past two decades, the Chinese navy has become Asia’s largest and has expanded beyond its traditional mission of retaking Taiwan to push its sphere of influence deeper into the Pacific and protect vital maritime trade routes.

“The Navy has long had to fear carrier-killing capabilities,” said Patrick Cronin, senior director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the nonpartisan, Washington-based Center for a New American Security. “The emerging Chinese antiship missile capability, and in particular the DF 21D, represents the first post-Cold War capability that is both potentially capable of stopping our naval power projection and deliberately designed for that purpose.”

Setting the stage for a possible conflict, Beijing has grown increasingly vocal in its demands for the U.S. to stay away from the wide swaths of ocean — covering much of the Yellow, East and South China seas — where it claims exclusivity.

It strongly opposed plans to hold U.S.-South Korean war games in the Yellow Sea off the northeastern Chinese coast, saying the participation of the USS George Washington supercarrier, with its 1,092-foot (333-meter) flight deck and 6,250 personnel, would be a provocation because it put Beijing within striking range of U.S. F-18 warplanes.

The carrier instead took part in maneuvers held farther away in the Sea of Japan.

U.S. officials deny Chinese pressure kept it away, and say they will not be told by Beijing where they can operate.

“We reserve the right to exercise in international waters anywhere in the world,” Rear Adm. Daniel Cloyd, who headed the U.S. side of the exercises, said aboard the carrier during the maneuvers, which ended last week.

But the new missile could undermine that policy.

“China can reach out and hit the U.S. well before the U.S. can get close enough to the mainland to hit back,” said Toshi Yoshihara, an associate professor at the U.S. Naval War College. He said U.S. ships have only twice been that vulnerable — against Japan in World War II and against Soviet bombers in the Cold War.

Carrier-killing missiles “could have an enduring psychological effect on U.S. policymakers,” he e-mailed to The AP. “It underscores more broadly that the U.S. Navy no longer rules the waves as it has since the end of World War II. The stark reality is that sea control cannot be taken for granted anymore.”

Yoshihara said the weapon is causing considerable consternation in Washington, though — with attention focused on land wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — its implications haven’t been widely discussed in public.

Analysts note that while much has been made of China’s efforts to ready a carrier fleet of its own, it would likely take decades to catch U.S. carrier crews’ level of expertise, training and experience.

But Beijing does not need to match the U.S. carrier for carrier. The Dong Feng 21D, smarter, and vastly cheaper, could successfully attack a U.S. carrier, or at least deter it from getting too close.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned of the threat in a speech last September at the Air Force Association Convention.

“When considering the military-modernization programs of countries like China, we should be concerned less with their potential ability to challenge the U.S. symmetrically — fighter to fighter or ship to ship — and more with their ability to disrupt our freedom of movement and narrow our strategic options,” he said.

Gates said China’s investments in cyber and anti-satellite warfare, anti-air and anti-ship weaponry, along with ballistic missiles, “could threaten America’s primary way to project power” through its forward air bases and carrier strike groups.

The Pentagon has been worried for years about China getting an anti-ship ballistic missile. The Pentagon considers such a missile an “anti-access,” weapon, meaning that it could deny others access to certain areas.

The Air Force’s top surveillance and intelligence officer, Lt. Gen. David Deptula, told reporters this week that China’s effort to increase anti-access capability is part of a worrisome trend.

He did not single out the DF 21D, but said: “While we might not fight the Chinese, we may end up in situations where we’ll certainly be opposing the equipment that they build and sell around the world.”

Questions remain over when — and if — China will perfect the technology; hitting a moving carrier is no mean feat, requiring state-of-the-art guidance systems, and some experts believe it will take China a decade or so to field a reliable threat. Others, however, say final tests of the missile could come in the next year or two.

Former Navy commander James Kraska, a professor of international law and sea power at the U.S. Naval War College, recently wrote a controversial article in the magazine Orbis outlining a hypothetical scenario set just five years from now in which a Deng Feng 21D missile with a penetrator warhead sinks the USS George Washington.

That would usher in a “new epoch of international order in which Beijing emerges to displace the United States.”

While China’s Defense Ministry never comments on new weapons before they become operational, the DF 21D — which would travel at 10 times the speed of sound and carry conventional payloads — has been much discussed by military buffs online.

A pseudonymous article posted on Xinhuanet, website of China’s official news agency, imagines the U.S. dispatching the George Washington to aid Taiwan against a Chinese attack.

The Chinese would respond with three salvos of DF 21D, the first of which would pierce the hull, start fires and shut down flight operations, the article says. The second would knock out its engines and be accompanied by air attacks. The third wave, the article says, would “send the George Washington to the bottom of the ocean.”

Comments on the article were mostly positive.

AP writer Christopher Bodeen in Beijing and National Security Writer Anne Gearan in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

EU Seeks Caspian Gas Accord to Cut Russian Dependence

[The EU, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan go outside Nabucco channels to attempt trans-Caspian pipeline.]

EU Seeks Caspian Gas Accord to Cut Russian Dependence

By Nicholas Comfort and Stephen Bierman
Ilham Aliyev, president of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan has yet to receive a concrete proposal from Turkmenistan, holder of the world’s fourth-largest gas reserves, Aliyev said by phone from Baku. “We are ready to provide transit for Turkmen gas,” he said. Photographer: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg

The European Union is seeking an agreement on a natural-gas pipeline between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan as the 27-nation bloc aims to import Caspian fuel and reduce its dependence on Russia.

The EU regulator’s energy unit drafted a document that the parties could use as the basis for a deal on building at least one pipeline across the Caspian Sea, according to a copy of the non-binding paper obtained by Bloomberg.

The EU, seeking less reliance on Russia, wants Turkmen gas for the proposed Nabucco pipeline. Turkmenistan, where foreign investment was held back until the 2006 death of isolationist President-for-Life Saparmurat Niyazov, ships gas to Russia and Iran, and opened a pipeline to China last year. Plans to build a link across the Caspian Sea have been frustrated by unresolved marine borders and opposition from Russia and Iran.

“Without Turkmen gas, Nabucco wouldn’t make sense,” said Alexander Rahr, a Russia and Eurasia expert at the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin. “The EU is trying to get this pipeline through, but they’re running out of time as the Turkmen are sending more gas to China.”

Azerbaijan attended an EU-hosted meeting in Brussels with Turkmenistan and no agreements were signed, said Vagif Aliyev, head of investment at The State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan. Marlene Holzner, a spokeswoman for the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy, declined to comment on the document.

UN Talks

Phone calls to Turkmenistan’s department of foreign economic relations went unanswered. Officials from a state hydrocarbon agency and the Foreign Affairs Ministry will visit New York to hold talks with the United Nations on developing recommendations to draft an “international legal document on energy transit,” according to a statement the government posted on itswebsite yesterday.

Azerbaijan has yet to receive a concrete proposal from Turkmenistan, holder of the world’s fourth-largest gas reserves, Aliyev said by phone from Baku. “We are ready to provide transit for Turkmen gas,” he said.

The EU must get “serious” about Nabucco to compete with Russia’s OAO Gazprom for Caspian natural gas, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said in January. Nabucco lacks a clear leader able to attract the necessary financing or hold talks with suppliers and transit countries, Aliyev said.

‘Tangle of Countries’

“The European Commission is showing that a way can be navigated through this tangle of countries and we actually are in the course of doing so,” EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said in a copy of a July 27 speech the regulator posted on its website. “We may need extraordinary measures to achieve success, such as the Caspian Development Corporation or the building of a trans-Caspian pipeline link.”

Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan would have to assure that the owner of the link maintains optimal use of the asset subject to market conditions, according to the draft document. The owner wouldn’t be able to refuse to offer free capacity or reject requests to use available volumes, according to the paper, which does not specify the size or route of the pipeline.

The two governments would have to consult one another before designating entities that can request to use the pipe, according to the draft. The link could be used to transport gas in either direction, according to the document.

‘Political Issue’

“It isn’t a long distance, the water isn’t very deep, it’s more of a political issue,” Werner Auli, a management board member at OMV AG, the company leading the 7.9 billion-euro ($10.4 billion) Nabucco project, said today at a press conference in Vienna. “That’s why Brussels has started a project and is working very intensively to solve these legal issues we consider solved so that the Azeris and Turkmen can start on this pipeline.”

After Niyazov’s death, governments from the EU to Asia jostled for access to Turkmenistan’s gas reserves, estimated at 8.1 trillion cubic meters by BP Plc. That’s enough to meet current German demand for more than a century.

Russia wants Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to build a new gas pipeline along the Caspian coast to keep control over the former Soviet republics’ energy exports. Iran has presented an alternative plan envisioning a network of shipping routes and pipelines that would turn the country into a regional hub for Caspian energy exports.

East-West Link

Turkmenistan is building a $2 billion East-West pipeline that will carry about 30 billion cubic meters of gas from the country’s biggest fields toward the Caspian coast when opened in June 2015 as it seeks to increase fuel exports.

Nabucco is planned to stretch more than 3,300 kilometers (2,050 miles) from Turkey to Austria to send gas to Europe and reduce the region’s dependence on Russia. Nabucco is also seeking to source gas from Azerbaijan and Iraq.

The Nabucco partners, which also include Essen, Germany- based RWE AG, Budapest-based Mol Nyrt., Bulgargaz EAD, Romania’s Transgaz SA and Ankara-based Botas, have said they’ll decide on the investment by the end of this year. Construction is set to begin in 2011 and shipments may start at the end of 2014, according to the venture’s website.

While Nabucco welcomes increased support from the EU for a southern gas corridor, the venture doesn’t have any formal knowledge of efforts to push for an Azeri-Turkmen deal on a pipe between the countries, spokeswoman Gabriele Egartner said in an e-mailed response to questions.

Sub-soil Jurisdiction

The proposed framework isn’t to be interpreted as affecting Azerbaijan or Turkmenistan’s jurisdiction over sub-soil resources or their sovereign rights under international law to the Caspian Sea, according to the document.

The delineation of the Caspian Sea became an issue after the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, when Iran found itself with four neighbors on the body of water instead of one.

“We think that defining the borders is not the main problem blocking such a project,” Vagif Aliyev said. The main issue is coming up with a commercial project that will be profitable to investors, he said. “We, as investors, are not ready at this moment.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Nicholas Comfort in Frankfurt Stephen Bierman in Moscow at

Russian/Armenian Agreement That Commits Russia To Armenia’s Defense

The tenure of the Russian military base in Armenia last twice

08/05/2010 9:46

The term of the Russian military base in Armenia will be extended by almost half, said Secretary of the National Security Council (NSC) of Armenia Arthur Baghdasaryan.

According to him, the Russian government proposed to the President of Russia signed a protocol with Armenia, associated with the activities of the Russian military base. “Russia is extending its military presence in Armenia. Instead of the 25 years after its entry into force of the term military base in Armenia was 49 years with a possible extension with the consent of the parties”, – A. Baghdasaryan, in an interview with Armenian Public Television, reports ARKA .

102-I am a Russian military base deployed since 1995. near the town of Gyumri, in accordance with international treaties on the basis of compounds of the Red Banner Transcaucasian Military District. In December of 2005. after the signing of Russia and Armenia, a number of bilateral documents was announced the expansion of the Russian military base in Armenia. According to documents, Armenia gave 102 base number of land plots and real estate. The base is subject to the Group of Russian Troops in Transcaucasia, North-Caucasian military district of Russia.

According to Mr. Baghdasaryan, provides that Russia will provide security of Armenia and Armenian armed forces. “We are talking about throughout the country,” – said National Security Council Secretary. He noted that it is about border security, modernization of border infrastructure. A. Baghdasaryan underlined that such an interaction with colleagues from Russia have already implemented and it will grow and develop. “We have agreements with our Russian colleagues to work together around a comprehensive package for developing the concept of border security and the modernization of border infrastructure,” – he said.

Protection of state borders of Armenia on the border guard station in accordance with the requirements of current legislation of Russia and Armenia and the contract signed in 1992. “On the status of border troops of Russia, located on the territory of Armenia in conditions of their functioning, as well as additional agreements to this contract. On the territory of Armenia are 58 pogranzastav border FSB of Russia.

5 August 2010.

Source – RBC

Kyrgyz Govt. Calls For Vigilante “Peoples Patriots” Assistance In Latest Unrest

In Bishkek, declared “emergency mobilization of all the vigilantes’

08/05/2010 11:36

In the capital of Kyrgyzstan People’s squad Patriot announces emergency mobilization of all the vigilantes

“In the capital of Kyrgyzstan People’s squad Patriot announces emergency mobilization of all the vigilantes,” – told IA “” leader MAN Daniyar Terbishaliev.

According to him, the situation in a complex, members of the DND is not enough. “We ask for retainers and all comers to join the joint patrols and public order to apply to the brigade headquarters at: Gorky Street, 192 at the intersection of Novosibirsk. For more information, call 0 (312) 54-47-60, – said Daniyar Terbishaliev.

08.05.1910 11:32, Bishkek – Irina Pavlova

Source – IA “”,

Siloviki Kyrgyzstan accused unknown person in the preparation of “violent and armed seizure of power” (statement)

08/05/2010 14:10Coordinating Council of law enforcement agencies: The situation in the city under control and we will not allow its destabilization

The current situation in the city under control and we will not allow its destabilization. This claim in the Coordinating Council of law enforcement agencies.

As the interior minister, was preparing to violent and armed seizure of power. It was found that crushed the weapons: grenades, rifles, pistols and more. K is also known that in organizing today’s rally attracted criminal elements – members of criminal groups, “- reported to the Coordinating Council.

Follow this, attempts were made by 3 staff Ulovnogo investigation, one of whom is in serious condition. They are forced to select three units of military weapons.
It was found that organized armed combat troops, who were waiting for the signal command to start actions aimed at destabilizing the situation in the country. Detachments mainly consisted of young athletic build, “- said the council.
Also, according to his information, from 2 August was trim some criminal elements who heard the money.
“All those who took part in an attempt to seize power, and criminals are apprehended, as already has the offense. All the powers of state law enforcement agencies concentrated on the spot. We call on citizens not to succumb to provocations and do not accumulate in the appeals to take part in mass rallies. Do not stay in town until late. We personally coordinate and monitor the situation not only in the capital, but also in other regions “, – say in the coordination.

“We have set up operational headquarters which received all the information about the situation in the capital and all the data on the determination of criminal elements. We will take firm action against those involved in the unrest,” – added to the council.

Press Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic
Obtained from –
Press office of President of the Kyrgyz Republic [>

Source – CentrAsia

Female protesters pile on pressure in Indian Kashmir

Dealing with female protesters is a challenge for the police and paramilitary troops

Female protesters pile on pressure in Indian Kashmir

Hundreds of women and girls have joined the anti-India protests on streets

The protests began when a 17-year-old male student was killed by a police tear-gas shell in Srinagar on June 11

By Izhar Wani (AFP) – 8 hours ago

SRINAGAR, India — “We are out on the streets with a message — kill us before you kill our young boys and girls,” says Rehana Ashraf, a female teacher in Indian Kashmir.

It is a stance which makes the security forces deeply anxious as they battle to suppress a surge of violent protests against India’s rule of the Muslim-majority region.

An increasing number of women have been involved in the demonstrations, during which at least 45 people have been killed in the last eight weeks.

Most of the victims are young men who have died in gun fire as security forces try to enforce curfew orders that have brought ordinary life to a halt.

Each death — particularly those of two women so far — has triggered further angry protests and an equally strong response from Indian paramilitary troops and police.

“Under such circumstances, you can’t expect us to remain silent,” said Ashraf, 49, who lives in the region’s main town Srinagar with her two young daughters. “We want to send out a message that we are not weak.”

Young men have always led the street protests and stone-throwing in Kashmir during 20 years of rebellion, but that is changing.

“We have lost our patience. They have killed our sons and brothers. How do you expect us to be mute spectators?” 41-year-old Mehbooba Akhter, a mother of three teenage sons, told AFP.

Akhter, a Srinagar resident, said she has been taking part in the wave of anti-India protests, which began when a 17-year-old male student was killed by a police tear-gas shell in Srinagar on June 11.

Hundreds of women and girls, many in colourful salwar kameez dresses, have since been regularly out on the streets chanting “we want freedom!” and “blood for blood!” Some carry sticks and stones.

Dealing with female protesters is a fraught challenge for the police and paramilitary troops struggling to control the protests, which India says are instigated by hardline groups supported by Pakistan.

“Putting women and children in the front of rallies is a deliberate attempt by separatists to put us on back foot,” Prabhakar Tripathi, spokesman for paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), told AFP.

“They know we won’t confront them,” he said.

Many women who do not directly take part in rallies carry drinking water to the protesters and also direct youths down escape routes as they flee from baton charges, tear-gas and gunfire.

“It is not the responsibility of men alone to protest against injustice. We women have to be in the forefront to fight it too,” said Shamima Javed, 38.

“I am joining protests to express my solidarity with those women who lost their sons and daughters.”

Other women believe they should not become involved.

“I am against protests. They affect education and the livelihoods of thousands,” said Haleema Akhter, a retired woman in the southern town of Pampore. “But even my own 40-year-old daughter and her children are not willing to listen.”

Syeda Afshana, a leading columnist and lecturer in the main Kashmir university, says the increasing female presence reflects the sense of injustice felt by Kashmiris.

“Out on the streets, women are making their minds felt,” Afshana told AFP. “By pelting stones, they are expressing their collective anger.”

The Prevailing Western View On Pakistan

Balkanizing Pakistan: A Collective National Security Strategy

Breaking Pakistan To Fix It

Michael Hughes, Geopolitical Journalist

The argument for Balkanizing Pakistan or, more specifically, fragmenting the Islamic Republic so it’s easier to police and economically develop, has been on the table since Pakistan’s birth in 1947 when the country was spit out of a British laboratory.

And lately, the concept is looking more appealing by the day, because as a result of flawed boundaries combined with the nexus between military rule and Islamic extremism, Pakistan now finds itself on a rapid descent toward certain collapse and the country’s leaders stubbornly refuse to do the things required to change course. But before allowing Pakistan to commit state suicide, self-disintegrate and further destabilize the region, the international community can beat them to the punch and deconstruct the country less violently.

To quell any doubts about Pakistan’s seemingly uncontrollable spiral into darkness, just recently, Foreign Policy Magazine ranked Pakistan as the tenth most failed state on earth and it would seem its leaders are hell bent on securing the number one slot – an honor it can add to their already dubious distinction as the world’s largest incubator of jihadist extremism. Afghanistan will never see peace or prosperity with a neighbor like Pakistan and the U.S. will always be threatened by terrorist plots spawned in Pakistan’s lawless regions – like the most recent Times Square bombing.

The most popular approach to fragmentation is to break off and allow Afghanistan to absorb Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which would unite the Pashtun tribes. In addition, the provinces of Balochistan and Sindh would become independent sovereign states, leaving Punjab as a standalone entity.

Balkanization is based on the premise that the weak central government in Islamabad is incapable of governing Pakistan’s frontiers, which have become the number one source of regional instability. The governing Punjabi elite have neglected the other three major ethnic groups – the Sindhis, Pashtuns, and Baluchis, primarily because a majority of Pakistan’s budget is spent on the military rather than economic development, schooling or infrastructure. Only 2% of Pakistan’s GDP, for example, is spent on education despite the fact Pakistan’s literacy rate stands at 57%.

Minority groups have also been underrepresented in institutions such as Pakistan’s military – which is the country’s most powerful entity. Punjabis who represent 40% of the population constitute 90% of the armed forces. Pakistan’s own history provides a prime case study of what happens when an ethnic group can no longer tolerate political and economic disregard. After a quarter century of strife the Bengalis rebelled, seceded and founded Bangladesh in 1971.

If the Balkanization solution is ever put in motion, accusations will surely fly that it’s yet another example of U.S. imperialism and neoconservatism run amok. However, this would be a diplomatic and multilateral effort, plus, it is more about reversing the iniquities of British colonialism than it is building some new world order.

Inherent Instability
Pakistan’s problems began when the British drew its boundaries haphazardly, which was primarily a product of incompetence and haste than maniacal design. According to an article in the New York Times last year, British colonial officer, Sir Cyril Radcliffe was given six weeks to carve a Muslim-majority state from British India although he had never even been there before. Radcliffe’s private secretary was quoted as saying that Sir Cyril “was a bit flummoxed by the whole thing. It was a rather impossible assignment, really. To partition that subcontinent in six weeks was absurd.” It would be a comical anecdote except for the fact that hundreds of thousands of people died in the ethnic cleansing that followed as a direct result of British carelessness.

Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan – the poorly-marked Durand Line – had been drawn in 1893, also by the British, but it was never meant to be a long-term legally-binding boundary. The faux demarcation split the Pashtuns in half. By reinstating the original natural boundaries, Pakistan’s western provinces would be returned to Afghanistan and the Pashtun tribes would be reunited. Such a move would also remove a strategic advantage for the Afghan Taliban, who can easily blend in amongst fellow Pashtuns on the Pakistani side of the border today.

The British did not only gift Pakistan with lethal boundaries, according to renowned Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid, Pakistan inherited a “security state” from British rule, described by scholars as “the viceregal tradition” or “a permanent state of martial law”. Intellectual Christopher Hitchens asserted Pakistan has been a fiefdom of the military for most of its short existence. As was once said of Prussia: Pakistan is not a country that has an army, but an army that has a country. Hitchens also said the country was doomed to be a dysfunctional military theocracy from day one – beginning with the very name of the country itself:

But then, there is a certain hypocrisy inscribed in the very origins and nature of “Pakistan”. The name is no more than an acronym, confected in the 1930s at Cambridge University by a NW Muslim propagandist named Chaudhri Rahmat Ali. It stands for Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir, and Indus-Sind, plus the suffix “-stan,” meaning “land.” In the Urdu tongue, the resulting word means “Land of the Pure.” The country is a cobbling together of regional, religious, and ethnic nationalisms, and its founding, in 1947, resulted in Pakistan’s becoming, along with Israel, one of the two “faith-based” states to emerge from the partitionist policy of a dying British colonialism. Far from being a “Land of the Pure,” Pakistan is one of the clearest demonstrations of the futility of defining a nation by religion, and one of the textbook failures of a state and a society.

Pakistan deteriorated throughout the decades because of its focus on building the military and developing Islamic extremist groups to use as weapons in their eternal obsessive struggle against India. It’s true the U.S. helped Pakistan build these groups since the beginning of the Cold War, but America learned on 9/11 they had created a Frankenstein monster that now needed to be slain.

Many analysts have suggested India is less of a national security threat to Pakistan than its homegrown terrorist groups, many of which have openly declared their mission to topple the state, which would allow jihadists to secure nuclear materials. Yet, based on its strategic decision to foster extremism and its recent public support for Taliban rule in Afghanistan, it appears the biggest existential threat to Pakistan is its own political and military leaders.

The Last Straw
With that being said, Balkanization does seem like an extreme step at first blush, and perhaps Pakistan should be given another chance. Yet, after considering Pakistan’s historic and current relationship with Al Qaeda – it becomes much easier to justify.

Since the war began in 2001 the U.S. has asked Pakistan to root out extremists from sanctuaries in a Rhode Island-sized area called North Waziristan, chief among them being the lethal Haqqani Network. However, Pakistan’s army chief General Ashfaq Kayani asserted his forces were too bogged down fighting the Pakistani Taliban elsewhere in places like South Waziristan, Orakzai Agency and various districts across the NWFP.

I contacted an Afghan intelligence analyst about this and he assessed General Kayani’s claim with one single word: rubbish. The Pakistan army consists of 500,000 active duty troops and another 500,000 on reserve. If Pakistan truly wanted to capture the Haqqani Network they would be able to drag them out of their caves by their beards within a few days.

In a movement that should have floored U.S. policymakers, Kayani was brazen enough to try and inveigle Afghanistan to strike a power-sharing arrangement with the Haqqanis. And Kayani, apparently the spokesperson for the Haqqani group, said they’d be willing to split from and denounce Al Qaeda, which is President Obama’s primary rationale for the war. However, there is a higher probability of General Kayani converting to Hinduism than there is of the Haqqani Network ever being decoupled from Al Qaeda.

According to the Long War Journal, Siraj Haqqani, their leader, sits on Al Qaeda’s decision-making body. Haqqani’s friendship with Osama bin Laden dates back to the war against the Soviets in the 1980s and it was Haqqani that ensured safe passage into Pakistan for many Al Qaeda figures after the collapse of the Taliban in 2001. An Institute for the Study of War analysis concluded that Haqqani was “irreconcilable” and negotiations with him would actually strengthen Al Qaeda and would undermine the raison d’etre for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan over the past decade.

In other words, the Haqqani Network is Al Qaeda.

Pakistan has had a close relationship with the Haqqanis for over 30 years, who are still seen as a crucial anti-Indian asset. So, for nine years the Pakistanis protected the Haqqanis and claimed ignorance as to the whereabouts of Mullah Omar, Osama bin Laden and the Quetta Shura. Nine years, nearly $300 billion dollars and 1900 dead coalition soldiers later, the U.S. has officially verified that the entire war effort has been focused on the wrong side of the mountains.

A stable Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s best interests, but this message has been preached time and again with little to no results, and the U.S. has waited long enough for Pakistan’s leaders to uproot the extremists that orchestrated 9/11. But now, it appears as if the international community will have to do it for them.


Michael Hughes writes similar articles as the Geopolitics Examiner and the Afghanistan Headlines Examiner for