Pakistan, Afghanistan, Taliban discussed on FP's The Editor's Roundtable (The E.R.)
Thousand one after the attacks of September eleventh understand the genesis if that war I spoke with Hussein Connie who served as Pakistan's ambassador to the United States from two thousand eight to twenty eleven our interviews first aired in February of this here. Okay so we're going to try and get the whole picture of Coniston. What do you think I can I can do it? In thirty seconds. Americans know nothing about Afghanistan. They've been trying to understand it and they haven't succeeded so it's time time for them to come home good less than thirty seconds really good all right so first of all. Thank you for coming in pleasure being Kim. I'm actually curious before we even start. Where did you grow up? Could argue bucket son Tommy and tiny bit about your childhood. Well I mean. I wasn't born to a very rich or prosperous family My family were immigrants from India Pakistan partition of the subcontinent. They were housed in these British military barracks which had been transformed into temporary housing for families a fresh veggies. Today's speaker partition growing up. Oh yeah everybody's book about partition partition. Was it a trauma carried or yeah I mean my father was somebody who never wanted partition and didn't want to move to Buxton. My mother was somebody who believed in Bahrain and Shen and wanted to move to Pakistan so therefore we had a lot of kitchen table Debate about whether the party should have been something. I think that has stayed with me. A- An intellectual level. Even to this day how right now people in Buxton don't want to think of what might have been if there had been no oh partition and people in India always sort of think about the people who created Pakistan. Are the ones responsible for partition from my own childhood childhood debates. I understand that there was a far more complex situation at that time and that they could have been ways in which it could have been avoided. I'm curious how that affects affects how you perceive the relationship between Pakistan Afghanistan on the Taliban and one of the things that's remarkable but the Taliban is that over the last eighteen years the the Taliban is hung on and if anything they've gone stronger. Where does the relationship begins between Pakistan and tally first of all one has to understand what the issue is is on the part of Pakistan that makes interested in Afghanistan Pakistan as people don't always understand is a new country There was no Pakistan in history. The the name Pakistan is an acronym that was contrived by students Muslim students from the subcontinent Cambridge University in the late thirties. So the very idea Pakistan is no more than eight years old and the country is no more than seventy seventy one years old that said because Pakistan choose to be a western ally in the Cold War it got got a lot of benefit from American and European support of Aniston on the other hand because it was a neighbor of the Soviet Union from inception. Older country just didn't get involved in the Cold War and then of course. American awareness of Ghanistan goes only as far back as the Soviet invasion of nineteen. Seventy nine for of guns and what is today. Pakistan comprises a large tract of territory that was historic Ernestine and that was sticking by the British and eighteen ninety-three resentment and more important than resentment is a feeling that The Durand Line the border between Pakistan Afghanistan today divided ethnicity that Bush dunes do I did tribes. Do I cleanse so pucks constantly have always had a relatively open the border The hundreds of points of crossing etcetera. That was taken advantage off by the United States and everybody else who supported them which I then against the Soviets at the Mujahideen were of guns who were essentially people who resented communistic of Ghanistan came to Buxton got recruited trained etc Pakistan. Had A different goal than America did and other countries did in the war against the Soviets everybody else was interested in Soviet. I leaving Afghanistan Bucks was interested in ensuring that whatever succeeded the Soviet occupation was so behold into Pakistan that they would never question the Durand Line and the 1893 loss of territory until Pakistan ended up supporting some of the most hardline fundamentalist groups because they were closer to Pakistan's military and intelligence services then the more secular or pro-soviet all for that matter Less religiously stringent groups. When the Soviets left civil war broke out of Ghanistan Pakistan supported? The hardliners has situation went out of control the US redrew from the region took no interest in the civil war Pakistan decided to support this group called the the Taliban which was basically those hidden who were not willing to listen to their leaders and so punks John was present at the creation of the Taliban. The Taliban have almost always had a very strong relationship with Pakistan security services who has ever supported the Taliban accept them and for on Pakistan's point of view who else has supported Pakistan's would we want Afganistan that have gone should actually consider Pakistan in religious terms as Islamic country rather than as the country that deprives traditional of of their historic homeland part of their historic dot com. Land that is where the differences comes to the Taliban have consistently been supported from Pakistan. The the reason why. The Taliban are strong is because President Bush's comment made a big mistake. The Bush administration defined their job in Afghanistan. Very Natalie. The thought that their job was just getting rid of either before you get to President Bush and we're talking about George W W motion take us. I in nine eleven. How did Pakistan view the attacks on nine eleven but first of all we must understand that? There's a difference between how Pakistan Gaston security services view something and how the people of Pakistan something The people of Pakistan have one hundred views but the specs in security services have only one objective suggest to try and be equal in part to India. That's the historic goal. So the way this nine eleven was that it disrupted their little plan. They had installed the Taliban in par of Ghanistan the Mujahideen groups at all fallen by the wayside. The Taliban were so beholden to Pakistan. That now there was no question that any tune in Afghanistan will ever question the border or even Pakistan's right to dictate to Afghanistan. That was disrupted by nine eleven because now the Americans got involved until another superpower as well not only that not only that it's Pakistan's ambitions have been taught it the the Pakistani ambition of having a Afghanistan that is beholden completely to Pakistan because I've gone assigned his landlocked Pakistan. Is the the only access to the sea. Box is bigger much stronger. Military much more connected with the rest of the world suboxone could dictate to Afghanistan. And now if America's GonNa to come and install a new regime in Afghanistan that regime will not be beholden to Pakistan has has been the case so therefore all the Taliban leaders evacuated and we found out many years later in two thousand eleven And been other than was founded buck Sunday draws on just the Taliban leaders even some al Qaeda leaders ended up in Pakistan. Where were you on on nine eleven? I was in Pakistan. I was ironically. I was about to leave his llamas for Karachi on a flight in which on both sides I had to former Pakistan intelligence chief sitting in coach class on a light throws Lama but to Karachi the flight got cancelled in the nine eleven news game and so I had to stay the night in Islamabad before going on to Karachi. What was the reaction like in the airport that day mode important than the reaction of the general public? I'll tell you what the to through intelligence chiefs and they thought that the Americans had been taught a lesson and so it was interesting Because I was of course one one of those who taught that no this is going to become a lesson for global terrorism America will retaliate and will react bucks. Any public. Opinion has often been very anti-american American. So half of Foxton population was probably anti-american but there are also a lot of people like myself who resented the Jihadi extremists and terrorists. In fact within a couple of days of nine eleven I wrote an op Ed that appeared in the New York Times and which I made this argument that Pakistan me now have to choose friendship with the United States or continued support of the jihadis unfortunately eighteen years. I have the feeling that they really never ever had. Because the Americans allowed them the opportunity to carry on support for the jihadis wiping America's allies. Let's go into that a little further because Pakistan nominally was US ally as a US enters into this conflict but at the same time they have their own interests in Afghanistan. John can you explain that difference so for one thing. Pakistan had a military dictatorship at the time General Pervez Musharraf was in charge and the American sort of the old habit of trying to find you. You know what FDR used to say about Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua that he's my he's sob but he's my sob. So all of a sudden Americans thought. Okay Sheriff who was by the way at that time. Pariah and the Americans had thought that he he had toppled the civilian elected democratic government. Be He had been responsible for the war with India just a few months before his takeover and see hypoxia. John was not conforming to American expectations in relation to its nuclear program so Pakistan within the sanctions before nine eleven and after nine eleven eleven which turns around and says okay. What you need what you need help you and the Americans if we found out SOB so we should have helped the US in finding several alka figures? A lot of people who ended up in Guantanamo were found by Pakistan's intelligence service but he never dealt a final blow to the Jihadi groups that Pakistan itself had created for influence in Afghanistan that just Afghan Taliban Taliban and then these various jihadi groups that were waging war in a indian-controlled parts of Kashmir and even in India so soon after nine eleven when there was an attack on India's parliament which caused a lot of friction between India and Pakistan and the US decided to tilt in favor of Pakistan to try and tell India not to react act and the Americans would somehow bring stability. The Pakistani game continued well until two thousand and six before the US reacted between Immediately after nine eleven and two thousand six the American policy seemed to be to say the Taliban are not enemy enemy. Al Qaeda and Pakistan is helping us with al Qaeda but by two thousand six al Qaeda number twos threes They won't any left oft for Buxton tourist and handle to the Americans and lots of intelligent started coming of how the Taliban had regrouped in Pakistan and had had now started attacking American troops in honest son so Pakistan was now seen as both being American ally helping America in certain ways but also helping America's enemies the Taliban attack Americans in Afghanistan. How is that support provided to the Taliban don well the Taliban were equipped trained and host in Pakistan? And I think there's plenty of evidence of that I mean right now. The president off the United States is kind of set his goals as drawing from Afghanistan. So he doesn't want to be attention to any of that but if you remember he himself pointed out out that All evidence was that the Taliban would not have been the first became if they did not have a safe haven across the border in Pakistan..