Following terms have been used in abbreviated form in this document. 4GW – Fourth Generation War CBM – Confidence Building Measure ERF – Extra Regional Force FAS – Federation of American Scientists FC – Frontier Corps HQ – Headquarter FMCT – Fissile Metrical Cut-off Treaty LIC – Low Intensity Conflict NSVA – Non-State Violent Actor NDN – Northern Distribution Network NATO – North Atlantic Treaty Organization NPT – Non proliferation Treaty NWA – North Waziristan Agency Psy-ops – Psychological operations START – Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty TTP – Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan US – United States WoT – War on Terror
The Master Stroke to Victory
Seizing NATO Supplies!
By Zaid Hamid/Shahzad Masood Roomi
Pakistan’s Threat Environment:
Pakistan is effectively surrounded by enemies in a “Triple Pincer” from East, West and from within right now! The simultaneous deployment of American Af-Pak, Indian Cold Start and the insurgent 4GW have created an existential security crisis for Pakistan on an unprecedented threat axis which is rapidly closing the strategic encirclement. The US doctrine of Af-Pak is designed to launch an invasion into Pakistan from Afghanistan after declaring it part of the battlefield in global WOT. The final phase of Af-Pak is now being deployed. The revelations of the infamous memo and the subsequent disclosures of US plans to attack and decapitate Pakistan army and its Command and Control systems should serve as the final wakeup call. The internally deployed 4GW is already keeping Pakistan army engaged in multiple low and high intensity conflicts which are decentralized, urban and asymmetric being fought within its own borders. 4GW is also causing the collapse of the national economy, governance and social fabric through a massively corrupt and compromised regime of PPP and a sold out media which acts as the fifth column in the information war. The Eastern flank is covered by the Indian Cold Start which is being aggressively developed and deployed by the Indians despite the farce of the peace talks, CBMs. These security challenges are unprecedented and can only be compared with the stratagem deployed in former East Pakistan by the Indians in 1971 where a similar “triple Pincer” had surrounded the Pakistan army. In 1971, the two Eastern and Western “pincers” were by the Indian army themselves while the internal rebellion was through the proxy militia of Mukti Bahini. Pakistan army has so far been fighting the insurgency aspect of the 4GW only, while the economic, political, diplomatic and information warfare axis of this ruthless war have not been countered as the current regime is treacherously corrupt and compromised.
Resultantly, in a catastrophic failure of the state organs, critical infrastructure and the national governance, the hostile forces have been allowed to continue their solid grip on national politics, economy and media creating more intimidating crisis for the country when its armed forces are already embroiled in a series of HIC‟s and LICs.
The American direct support to deployed 4GW against Pakistan reveals that the US wants more political and diplomatic concessions from Islamabad by bringing Pakistan Army under pressure through psychological tactics, coercive diplomacy, direct threats and covert support to hostile elements. Major areas where the US wants Pakistan to make compromise includes unquestionable access to any part of Pakistan, access within the core HQs of Pakistan Army, inclusion of Pakistan in NPT and FMCT nuclear control regimes, acceptance of Indian hegemony in the region, reduction in military and economic cooperation with China and Iran and most importantly compromising Kashmir. All these US objectives are intrinsically in conflict with Pakistan‟s national security interests. This also indicates the current ominous security threat matrix for Pakistan Army where internal threats of indirect and sub-conventional nature are as lethal as the high intensity external conventional threats.
Nature of Conflict / Threat
Impact On Pakistan Army Direct
NSVAs (TTP and other religiously motivated militant groups) Sub-Nationalists / Separatists (BLA/BRA)
Political Militant Wings Economic Meltdown
Extra Regional Forces (ERFs) in Afghanistan
Economic and Military Sanctions
Insurgency, LICs, Suicide Bombing, Subversion, Attacks on defence installations, kidnapping Political and ideological sedition, ability to sabotage the rail and road infrastructure at critical points in Baluchistan Violent fragmentation of civil society on sectarian lines, penetration of extremist ideology in lower ranks of Armed forces. Serious law and order situation in major urban cities Would impact Pakistan Army‟s ongoing anti-terrorism operations and future preparations. Can lead to a serious cut in funds for R&D and procurements. Media outlets with foreign funding and involvement presenting a hostile view of Pakistan Army‟s COIN operations. Military buildup in Afghanistan, Direct invasion/Surgical Strike inside Pakistan, Drone attacks, Destabilizing internal security by providing NSVAs with an excuse for their anti-state war behind the façade of Jihad, Psyops, US/NATO can impose sanctions under the pretext that Pakistan Army is accomplice in protecting terrorists‟ hideouts. Massive Psy-ops against Pakistan army to destroy the credibility as a professional defense force. Execution of Cold Start, Coercive diplomacy, media ops, supporting NSVAs against Pakistan Army,
Terrorism, Serious Law and Order issue
Urban Terrorism Non-Kinetic
Administrative Governance, Administrative
Direct & Indirect
Conventional, SubConventional, Non-Kinetic
Military, Political , Diplomatic
2012 –Threat Matrix for Pakistan National Security
Primarily, this threat matrix is manifestation of Pakistan‟s weak and submissive foreign policy and presence of corrupt and incompetent governments in Islamabad since the beginning of WoT. The security crisis Pakistan faces today are not mere law and order problems, as the government and the courts perceive them to be, but in reality are inter-connected and systematically executed covert war plans of the 21st century warfare to reshape the greater Middle East with Pakistan being the prime target under the Af-Pak/4GW/cold start doctrines to balkanize the country on Yugoslavia model. The „triple pincer” which is now already deployed in an advanced stage is designed to achieve exactly this catastrophic end for the Pakistani state.
NATO supplies, through Pakistan, remained the most efficient and functional covert source of weapons and arms for the NSVAs, political gangs and sub-nationalists. These actors pose the biggest threat to the national security on the internal axis and NATO containers have contributed significantly in aggravating this internal security threat. As per media reports, some 11,000 containers are missing overall containing NATO standard weapons, ammunitions and military equipment. These containers were emptied inside Pakistan and weapons and arms from these containers were sold or distributed among various militant groups across the country. An investigation in this regard has been set into motion but only after when Pakistan has suffered near 100,000 (both dead and injured) fatalities in so-called war on terror.
According to FAS (Federation of American Scientists), the militant elements within Pakistan are getting every kind of sophisticated weapons across the country through some corrupt and treacherous elements in Pakistan customs under the ministry of interior, a ministry with epically failed performance. It has been estimated that on the average, 1000 containers and 1500 oil tankers have been passing through Pakistani roads every month before entering into Afghanistan since the US invasion. Pakistan‟s road infrastructure has been damaged severely due to excessively loaded containers and oil tankers. Even according to the modest estimate, Pakistan could have earned US$ 30 billion by taxing NATO containers at US$ 10,000 each. Pakistan has lost approximately US$ 70 billion in American war on terror apart from losing 37,000 lives.
Roughly 3 million containers and tankers passed through Pakistan in last 10 years without paying any excise duty or tax. There exists no legal or international document, signed by Pakistan, to give this unprecedented facility to the US and NATO for indefinite time period. Corrupt politicians are fooling the nation that Pakistan is bound to provide this suicidal logistical supply route to the UN/NATO under the UN resolutions but always fail to mention that particular resolution and clause which they keep referring in their media debate on this issue.
NDN: A Feasible Alternate of Pakistan?
Pakistan‟s decision to block the NATO supplies after gratuitous and devastating attack on Salala check post has halted most of the US/NATO operations in Afghanistan and has dented their covert operations inside Pakistan under Af-Pak as well. The US/NATO forces are suffering due to severe shortage of fuel and spares. Ammunition stock pile is also receding fast as the blockade has entered in the second month. The US planners were desperately weighing the other routes through the various road and rail links across Russia and Central Asian states. Commonly known as Northern Distribution Network (NDN), these routes are irksome for the sustainable logistical support due to multiple political, geographical and economical factors. Neither these routes can become a long term alternative of Pakistani routes nor the US would abandon Pakistani routes for other strategic reasons. Economy of
the NDN routes is the most challenging aspect. US debt crisis and collapse of Euro-zone has forced many NATO countries to shelve their previously planned military programs just to sustain this expensive war in Afghanistan. Ever before February 2011, when Russian parliament allowed the military supplies through NDN, 100% military supplies would go through Pakistani roads or air corridor.
South NDN:- It is the smallest route starting from Georgia‟s all weather port of Poti but it is also
the most expensive one due to on and off loading of supplies on ships to get them across the Caspian Sea. Northern NDN:- Starts from Estonia, passes through Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan before entering into Afghanistan. It is safer but is too long and expensive. It cannot be used in all weathers.
Main NDN:- A small portion of northern NDN which only involves Russia, Kazakhstan and
Uzbekistan. Major problem is poor road infrastructure in Uzbekistan. Presence of Uzbek militant groups in the region is also a threatening factor. Eastern NDN:- Cannot be used as it connects Russia and China with Afghanistan. Apart from being 10 times more expensive in terms of the financial cost and time involved to get the supplies in Afghanistan, all NDN routes connect central Asian „Stans‟ with Northern Afghanistan and from there Salang Highway is the only road inside Afghanistan connecting to the Eastern and Southern parts of the country. This highway often gets chocked in winters due to heavy snow falling.
Political challenges are also there to put a big question mark on sustainability of these routes as the Russians are getting upset with the US over Missile Defense Shield program for Europe. Implementation of START agreement, signed in 2008, is also a bone of contention between the two. Though the Russians have allowed the NDN routes for now but certainly this willingness is not unconditional.
Despite shifting one third of their supplies on NDN in last two years, the state of the US/NATO forces is precarious in Afghanistan and their supply lines are still blocked inside Pakistan. There are almost 3000 military vehicles, trucks, armored cars and heavy equipment stranded inside Pakistan. Additionally, around 5000 NATO containers with ammunition, small arms, sensitive communication and C4I military equipment and non-military goods have been stuck inside Pakistan.
This equipment is enough to support at least 5 armored infantry divisions of the US/NATO forces in Afghanistan. This is just one lot of supplies which is stranded. More were in the pipeline and have been held back as supply route is still choked. The US is building an invasion army in Afghanistan. Target is not within Afghan theatre but on the east – inside Pakistan. The US/NATO are claiming that Al-Qaeda is finished in Afghanistan. US is also engaging Afghan Taliban for peace talks. Then why would they need these threatening levels of military buildup in Afghanistan when they plan to leave by 2014? Obama is pledging to reduce the US military engagement in Afghanistan but why still there is a military buildup which includes raising armored strike units equipped with Tank battalions in the provinces of Helmand and Kandahar with M1A1 Abram tanks?
M1A1 Abram heavy duty Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) are being transported through C-17 cargo planes using Pakistani air space!
Pakistan army is now in the most commanding position against the US/NATO and has the opportunity to destroy the entire Af-Pak doctrine without even firing a shot – by seizing the stranded NATO supplies. Pakistan army can seize the military hardware as compensation for last 11 years of free transit without taxes, death and destruction caused to Pakistan. This seizure of military hardware would stop the entire war against Pakistan into its tracks as without the required military hardware, the US army is in no position to roll into Pakistan. The equipment is stuck in Pakistan and now the entire Af-Pak is in tatters and a major supply route for foreign funded VNSA‟s has also been choked. Needless to say, if Pakistan allows this stuck up armored infantry divisions to enter Afghanistan, this equipment would be deployed against Pakistan and Pak army will find itself on the receiving end of these weapons, along with the resurgent insurgency of the TTP and the threat of Indian Cold start from the east. That would be a fatal war of annihilation completing the triple pincer against Pakistan. The stakes and the risks of such a folly are simply unimaginable. According to Shoshana Bryen of Cutting Edge Magazine, the US will wage a war inside Pakistan from Afghanistan and drones operations would be carried out from the bases inside Afghanistan. The Af-Pak strategy would remain effective until ERFs are ousted from the region. Other factors like the strategic shift in the US policy after ongoing dialogue with Taliban would also contribute in extension of the US presence in Afghanistan but Islamabad‟s decision to resume the NATO supplies would be the primary reason for ERFs‟ extended stay in the region. Pakistan must eject the ERF from Afghanistan now. All military, diplomatic, political and media resources should be mobilized to achieve this grand strategic objective.
Recent Development and Future Dynamics:
Though, the US has agreed to create a Taliban office in Qatar (opposing the Pak/Turk offer for Taliban office in Turkey) as a confidence building measure but the real motives of the US for a prolonged stay in the region is a major hurdle in success of these talks. Taliban have a strong precondition for the success of peace talks i.e. removal of all occupying forces. This should be now be the Pakistani demand also. It has been established now that TTP enjoys complete support and protection of ERFs within Afghanistan from where TTP insurgents carry out attacks on Pakistan army positions. On the other hand, Afghan Taliban and other resistance groups are fighting the ERFs. CIA created the bogey of TTP in 2007 to push the Afghan war into Pakistan after desterilizing the major urban centers of Pakistan. TTP always claim that they are Pakistani chapter of Afghan Taliban but latter party always denied any association of TTP with them. In 2009, President Obama announced Af-Pak doctrine which formally declared Pakistan part of the battlefield in global WoT. TTP is following a violent anarchic ideology of Takfir and according to Islamic law are called Kharjee heretics whereas Afghan Taliban, on the contrary, are fighting a genuine war of freedom against western occupation ERFs. A deliberate campaign to prove ISI a rouge intelligence agency, a threat for world peace, is already being run in global media. ISI is accused of helping the militant groups who attack inside Afghanistan against the ERF. Sanctions are being proposed against Pakistan for not preventing IED attacks on the ERF!! Certainly, the implications of these media onslaught would be worrisome for the security managers in absence of an aggressive media policy and strategy but if Pakistan does allow NATO supplies again, the result would be a complete security nightmare as not only it would ensure the prolonged stay of ERFs in Afghanistan but the destabilization of Pakistan‟s urban center would also continue, TTP would launch their fresh attack after getting regrouped and reorganized in Afghanistan under the protection of the US/NATO. Indians would also continue their support to BLA and Baluch subnationalists. The Pressure on Pakistan army for conducting military operations in NWA and other parts would also prevail and current meddling into Pakistan‟s internal affairs by the Americans would also continue. Under the current threat matrix, only way forward for Pakistan is to bring the US war on terror to its logical end to secure all the legitimate security interests including ousting the Indian military and intelligence setup from Afghanistan. Blockade of NATO supply lines has dented the Af-Pak strategy and 4GW affectively but the danger is still there and would remain so until Pakistan seize the NATO supplies and then demand a clear withdrawal time table of the US forces. Pakistan holds the key in the entire Great Game and this moment has come after the sacrifices of finest citizen and armed forces personnel and must not be wasted under any circumstances. US is desperate to get back its stuck up equipment and is willing to bend backwards in unprecedented moves to convince Pakistan army that it was a mistake which led to the attack on the Pak army post.
So far, Pakistan army is firm in blocking the supplies but must also start to seize the NATO equipment. This US desperation is a clear sign of the panic which is now haunting the US military strategists. Now Pakistan can not just destroy the Af-Pak but also the 4GW completely and thus neutralize the cutting edge of the Indian Cold start as well by focusing on this single historical foe in the region after securing the Western front. In one master stroke, Pakistan can break the pincer encirclement which was rapidly closing the loop. When the Geneva accord was signed in 1988 between the Pakistan government and the Kabul regime, the entire Afghan resistance was kept out of it and was abandoned. Despite having fought for 10 years and sacrificing over a million Afghans, the entire resistance was betrayed and left in the lurch. The result was a bloody civil war in Afghanistan for the next decade. The Geneva accord was a blunder of historic proportions which completely compromised Pakistan‟s entire stakes and interests in Afghanistan. Despite supporting the resistance for 10 years, Pakistan could never have a friendly government in Kabul while Afghanistan remained in a catastrophic condition of state failure. It was only during the Taliban era, from 1996 to 2001, that Pakistan had some form of a friendly government in Afghanistan despite the civil war inside Afghanistan. There were no insurgencies in Pakistan during that period and the Taliban had ousted all Indian assets from the regions under their control. But the civil war that raged in Afghanistan was later exploited by the western forces and the United States to invade Afghanistan once again. Now Pakistan must NOT repeat the blunder of the Geneva accord and the post Soviet war era. The Bonn Conference is the “Geneva accord” of the 21st century where the US is trying to win the war diplomatically which it has lost on the battle field. We emphasize again that the Americans and the NATO have already become hostile to Pakistan and would be posing direct and existential threat to Pakistan as long as they are based in Afghanistan. Despite the grievances and betrayals, our Afghan neighbors, with whom we share our faith, history and destiny, are our permanent allies. Pakistan must never forget this. While Pakistan fights multiple insurgencies within its borders which are all being sponsored by CIA and RAW from Afghanistan, it also has two mammoth challenges at hand now for which the entire strength of politics, diplomacy and military must be deployed with full force and wisdom: o Force the foreign forces to leave Afghanistan within the shortest possible time. o Make sure that Afghanistan gets a stable friendly broad based government having representations of all Afghans from all ethnic segments. Only a stable and peaceful Afghanistan can assure stability in Pakistan and in entire Asia.
Americans do not want to leave Afghanistan. They are simply buying time. In fact, they are planning an invasion of Pakistan now. Pakistan will have to force them to destroy their plans and to force them to exit and also make sure that they do not leave a mess behind them. This is the real challenge. Pakistan cannot abandon the Afghan resistance now under any form of exit plan of the foreign forces and must make sure that a friendly and cooperative government is placed in a stable Afghanistan. The Afghans themselves do not have the capacity to resolve their differences. They need help of friendly and Muslim nations from within the region. This is where Pakistan has to take the lead role. The fate of Afghanistan is in the hands of regional countries which are neighbors of Afghanistan. Pakistan, Iran and China hold the key to Afghanistan. These three nations must act in unison and with firm resolve. This immediate block can be expanded to include Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey as well. The mission would be to bring peace in Afghanistan and to bring all Afghans on board, even forming a Muslim peacekeeping force to replace the western crusaders till the time situation stabilizes in Afghanistan. Bringing the Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras together would be a great challenge but can be done by the regional countries. Pakistan has no other option. Another civil war in Afghanistan would be catastrophic especially for Iran and Pakistan. India is planning a strategic role in Afghanistan. They are aggressive, pro-active and already present on ground. Pakistan must snatch Afghanistan from them. India has no business to be in Afghanistan and Pakistan must powerfully deploy all means to make sure that Indian presence is totally eliminated from there. There cannot be any compromise on this. This is NOT post 9/11 scenario. The Americans have been defeated in Afghanistan. Their economy at home is in shambles. Their military is humiliated and is in no position to wage another war. Pakistan can now fully stand up to the Americans and ask them to leave. If the American leadership has any sense, they should read the writings on the wall and learn from the Soviet humiliation and leave this land while they can. Pakistan and Iran must not let the Americans destroy our lands, people and faith. Else, we must do with them what we did to the Soviets. We have done it before. We can do it again. To start with, Pakistan must start raising its own armored infantry divisions – from the God sent NATO Maal-e-Ghaneemat we have in our custody! Failure to do so would be a catastrophic mistake which will not be forgiven by the Providence, history and the nation. The window of opportunity is open now, within our grasp but would not remain open for long. The moment to seize the glory has now arrived.