The Million Dollar Questions in USA and Packistan By Lt Gen P R Shankar (R)

Also Read 

The Afghanistan Trilogy 

The Afghanistan Fallout in Pakistan

 The Afghanistan Fallout on China

The Afghanistrtan Fallout on India 


The Naya World Of Naya Taliban Created by Naya Pakistan 

Just days after the Taliban took Kabul, their flag was flying high above a central mosque in Pakistan’s capital. It was an in-your-face gesture intended to spite the defeated Americans. But it was also a sign of the real victors in the 20-year Afghan war.

Pakistan was ostensibly America’s partner in the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Its military won tens of billions of dollars in American aid over the last two decades, even as Washington acknowledged that much of the money disappeared into unaccounted sinkholes.

But it was a relationship riven by duplicity and divided interests from its very start after 9/11. Not least, the Afghan Taliban the Americans were fighting are, in large part, a creation of Pakistan’s intelligence service, the I.S.I., which through the course of the war nurtured and protected Taliban assets inside Pakistan

…. The New York Times


The million dollar question in Packistan is that what will USA do now.  The million dollar question in USA is that what to do with Packistan. From US commentary it appears that USA has been betrayed by its bosom friend out of the blue. That is weird since the bosom friend was a history sheeter and a certified rogue. Everyone knew about the untrustworthy cheater and kept cautioning USA. However USA remained unconvinced of its friends scheming and unfaithful ways. Strangely a wayward Packistan kept shouting from the top of the roof that it was a victim of terror when it was actually its perpetrator. It fooled USA to believe their story. It ended the only way it could. Packistan connived with its iron brother, new and old students(Taliban) to engineer the defeat of USA. It is high time that Packistan gets what it is due for. One can describe the entire relationship any other way one feels like. However , USA was very consciously sleeping with the enemy, eyes wide shut. 

‘Packistan’ has always been USA’s favourite and still a major non-NATO ally. The relationship dates back to Packistani independence. The country was the  frontline wedge,  created by  scheming British shopkeepers,  to thwart the outward spread of communism as also to control the vast oil reserves of the Middle East. It was expected to be a modern Muslim state beholden to the West. That it turned out to be a radical cancer which destroys the body on which it thrives is another matter. It did not matter if Packistan was a series of mishappen dictatorships with a genocidal trail which dismembered itself. It still was egged on by the West. That is another story for another day. It did matter that Packistan was the frontline Mujahideen hub created to defeat USSR. It also did matter that Packistan was the go-between which enabled the Sino – US coupling in the 70s when Kissinger did the famous hop to China via Islamabad to meet Mao. It does matter that this relationship created all the madrassa’s and seminaries along the Durand Line which spewed jihadi cadres for all known radical groups.  


It is necessary to understand this strange love affair. It started going hay wire when USA walked away from this region post the USSR demise and left  Packistan to its non-existent means. The jilted lover syndrome set in. However Packistan could live with it.  After all it had gained strategic depth vis a vis India. The Taliban- Al Qaeda-Taliban  combination had kept Afghanistan in stone age. The seminaries of Durand Line produced radicalised jihadis. Both enabled it to put India on the ropes in Kashmir and beyond through horrific acts of suicidal terror at least cost. In this period, the Zia ul Haq – Osama Bin Laden brand of radical ideology was seeping through the Packistani psyche. The character of the jilted lover was changing. When 9/11 happened, Packistan secretly rejoiced. That sentiment later surfaced with Osama Bin Laden being termed a martyr by Taliban Khan. When 9/11 happenned, Packistan was forced to resume its relationship with USA. That was OK too since the husband could now be milked to cough up moolah for services rendered. Economic revival and frontline duties were resumed. However American presence on Pakistani soil and a propped up regime in Afghanistan was unacceptable. It was unacceptable since India’s economy and regional influence were growing, the Indo-US relationship had become strategic, the Afghan regime was inimical, Kashmir had become an unattainable dream and the Indo Pak hyphenation vanished. This was reinforced by an economy hurtling into an abyss. The Packistan deep state elite apprehended and experienced an existential paranoia. USA had to be defeated, a friendly Taliban regime installed in Afghanistan and China brought into the picture to defeat India. The shrewd Packistani generals put the plan into action. The  results are evident. The cuckolded friend has been thrown out,  the salami slicer has entered the fray and a radical watch dog guards the backyard. Packistan is all set to face its eternal nemesis – India. No wonder its prime minister talks of breaking the shackles of slavery. Packistan defeated the USSR with the help of USA. It ensured that  the world’s greatest  power shed its blood and bled its money for two decades to put Taliban  back in power. Packistan now boasts that it has defeated the USA with USAs help. Packistan’s cup of strategic glory is overflowing.


Way back in 2001, in a wargame in Higher Command, we concluded that USA was in the wrong battle field. This was reinforced in 2009 in NDC in a situational analysis. USA was wasting its time in Afghanistan and Iraq when its real enemy was Packistan! What about USA? The Packistani connections to 9/11 were glossed over. The chillingly televised beheading of Daniel Pearl and his murderer being set free by Pakistan’s judiciary  did not convince it. Osama Bin Laden being found a stone’s throw from the PMA at Abbottabad ( where he probably gave guest lectures) did not enlighten it. Constant double crossing did not awaken it. How could it? It had leaders like U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen who visited  Packistan 27 times and was seen as its closest friendin Washington. Result? An embarrassing withdrawal from Afghanistan. The pinnacle of humiliation was evacuation as per conditions and time plan laid out by a rag tag force aided and abetted by a conniving Packistan. Where does it leave the US of A? Forget the humiliation and its accompanying recrimination. Look  at facts. At present USA has two main geopolitical concerns. How does it prevent an attack on its home land? How does it contain China?  Just dwell on these. 


Why did USA go into Afghanistan in the first place? The global war on terror was to stamp out terrorists who could potentially attack the homeland and create another 9/11. How has USA come out? Defeated and forced to leave behind a conglomerate of terrorist organisations intact in Afghanistan – all inimical to USA. All these are embryonic to  Packistani seminaries. The threat is alive and healthy being duly mothered by Packistan to produce more. Just wait.  The next 9/11 is bound to happen. The homeland lies truly  undefended.    


America’s retreat is a strategic boon for China. Taliban is laying out the red-carpet to its most important partner to exploit the mineral-riches of  Afghanistan duly facilitated by Packistan. The American void will be filled by a new geopolitical axis  of China- Pakistan- Taliban with Russia and Iran on the fringes. China is set to control the Central Asian heart land through Packistan.  Its two ocean dream is now turning into a reality.  China has promulgated a new maritime law in which foreign vessels will have to submit details to Chinese authorities when transiting through its ‘territorial waters’. This is the next slice of the salami in the South China Sea. It has been done when USA was busy withdrawing. Overall ramifications? China one step closer to superpower status and USA many steps down. Containing China? Ha ha. 


How does USA reverse this twin predicament? The crux of USA’s future ambitions lie in recognising and accepting that Packistan is their mortal enemy.   Packistan is key to contain China and secure the homeland. It has to simply focus on Packistan. To state the obvious. In seven decades if USA has not seen through Packistan, it is difficult to imagine that it will do so now. There are enough Mullens in USA who think that Packistan is gods gift to USA. However no harm in trying to make some sense with the forlorn hope that someone will listen. In this context it is necessary to see the Packistani assessment and  expectation.



Packistan faces a dilemma. Will the West turn its back on it to walk away as it did earlier?  Will Pakistan still  be relevant to the USA ? However Packistani assessment is that it remains an indispensable power in the region.  It feels that the Sino-Pak  friendship will  ensure its relevance to USA, which will endeavour to keep China’s influence in check. They also assess that are huge opportunities for collaboration in areas not related to security. They know that  the USA and the West will always like to be reassured about security of Packistan’s nuclear arsenal. Lastly, the ace up Packistans sleeve is the Taliban and company of jihadi terrorists are in its hip pocket. They can be used to export terror to attack USA in its homeland. Packistan hopes that when interests align in future, cooperation can resume. Packistan’s stated position is that it has stopped responding to carrots and sticks from USA. It now seeks strengthened ties rooted in geoeconomics. What is geoeconomics? A diplomatic name for a begging bowl I guess. Packistan will always deal with the world with a gun pointing to its head. Hence diplomacy based on  nuclear and terror blackmail will continue.   


Given the above context, how should USA deal with Pakistan? It should put in place an overarching policy which recognises the centrality of Packistan as an enemy and deal with it accordingly. Remember Hilary Clinton’s famous statement of snakes in the back yard?  USA must clean up Packistani snakes in its backyard – the Mullens and Fais of this world.  Packistan boasts that it used USA to defeat USA. Repay the gift. Use Packistan to defeat Packistan. While doing so, run with the Packistani hare and hunt with the Packistani hound. Most importantly Packistan and China will be least troublesome if they are forced to look inward.  

While the USA will have many options, I can only think of a few. The non-NATO ally status of Packistan can be revoked. It can be pressurised through multilateral institutions like the IMF Fund and the United Nations. Pakistan will be shortly seeking to resume its IMF programme. It has a $1 billion Eurobond maturing in Oct. The FATF is also to meet shortly. Packistan apprehends international isolation. USA has enough leverage to ensure all this goes wrong for Packistan. USA can initiate many unilateral actions. As per the State Department, USA is  one of the largest sources of FDI in Pakistan. It is Pakistan’s largest export destination country, while China is Pakistan’s largest source of imports.USA remains  one of the top investors in Pakistan over the last two decades in all sectors. USA has been the primary destination for military aid and education. Let me recount an anecdote. Long back when I was combating insurgency, I accosted a FMCG executive. He had come to the insurgency area to oversee his distribution networks. I inquired from him as to how he managed all the militants and their coercive demands. He said he had no problems since all the children of militant leaders were being educated in residential schools in the South at the expense of the firm. As much as the education could be deemed to be a bribe, the children in a private residential school were captive! There are enough Packistani Papa Johns in USA to keep the nuclear button safely tucked away. The real terrorists sit in uniform in Rawalpindi with tawny properties in London and New York. Need I say more?


How can Packistan be forced to look inward? The CPEC is the prime front to concentrate on. From Gilgit Baltistan to Gwadar, the CPEC is a river of opportunity which enables killing two birds with one stone. The Durand Line Universities of holy warriors and Taliban have to be set out on Packistan. The hare will run even without the hound. Of course the salami slicing paramour will rush in to defend his partner. Just ensure he cooks his overstretched noodles in his five instabilities. There is news that Packistani boots are in Afghanistan ground. Entice some Chinese boots to also join in. Just ensure they stay there in the Afghanistan quagmire. There is enough opportunity going around.  Even if I was a janitor in White House,  Capitol Hill or Pentagon I would be thinking 24×7 on these lines as to how does USA redeem its honour! Is there no honour left in the land of the free and home of the brave?       


Where does it leave India? Whether the jilted lover seeks retribution or not. Whether the new paramour comes to the rescue or not. India has to live with this neurotic harlot next door whose sole mission is revenge on India and its existential identity is being ‘Not India’. To a large extent, Packistani ways are well known. India also has the confidence to sort out the harlot if it tries anything funny. There are ways to do it. We have demonstrated it in all fields from cricket to battle. With internal revisionism gripping the salami slicer, there are opportunities opening up which will keep China at bay. India is the pivot of sanity, growth and stability in the region despite its many splendored inconsistencies. It remains a great democracy. Ask the Afghans. Even the Taliban will vouch for it. India and USA can join up to sort out issues based on  mutual respect and trust. Otherwise India must prepare itself to go alone.

Where does it leave USA? It leaves them to ponder over what is outlined above. To reiterate. USA gave Packistan a long rope. Packistan used the long rope to hang USA. USA has to reverse this…however…it is their choice…their neck… their homeland and…their stature in world affairs. All the best USA. 

HAVE FRIENDS IN USA ? Please pass it on to them…

 PS :- I acknowledge and thank all those who have created these wonderful cartoons. It has been a pleasure even to plagiarise them. Fantastic reality depicted.


8 responses to “The Million Dollar Questions in USA and Packistan By Lt Gen P R Shankar (R)”

  1. Good reading. Lot of concepts are cleared > Thanks

  2. As usual a well analysed article…

  3. Very interesting read. My compliments

  4. A good look at the boiling cauldron that is Afghanistan. Interesting observations, sir.

  5. All the expenditure bu USA has been made up by printing brand new greenback. The problem with USD is that they can be minted with no back up at all and yet it is real money and capable of playing havoc with other countries money and stock markets.Weaker nations are just slaves of rich nations. There is no physical colonisation now, but in reality we see bondages of different shades around the world. Customers are protected. After the end of Soviets, India had to shift shop to USA. Now if you dont give them business, you are screwed.Modi could not refuse Trump and had option of committing Military or non Military support in Afghanistan. Could Modi afford to refuse both? No.Biden did well to stick to his decision and refused to be boxed in by the military, a possible replay of Obama- Biden era.Biden I feel has looked after the US interest.जो कहा वो करा, जो नहीं कहा वो होगा, wait and watch!!

  6. Very interesting analysis! Enjoyed reading it.

  7. Col Bhagavan PrasadA very perspicacious analysis of the Geo-Political scenario. The options too have been discussed very pragmtically.The unconscionable vicious mind stands exposed. Heartiest felicitations to Gen Shankar for his forthright views !!

  8. COL R Hariharan Thank you for a thought provoking article with your signature punch lines in full flow. I liked your Packistan jibe 😉

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