Pakistan squeezed by pact

The new Afghan-Indian security pact could inflame Pakistan’s proxy war against India and threatens Islamabad’s regional ambitions in South Asia as its ties with Kabul and Washington hit rock bottom.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. AFP Photo.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. AFP Photo.

Pakistan has been on the defensive as Afghanistan has cosied up to India. Kabul claims the recent murder of its peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani was plotted in Pakistan, and has accused Islamabad of hindering the investigation.

Pakistan has been terse about the burgeoning India-Afghanistan alliance. “Both are sovereign countries and they have the right to do whatever they want to,” Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said in brief response.

Right-wing newspaper The Nation said the “very disturbing” pact would “create further misunderstandings” that would help neither Pakistan nor Afghanistan “if he (Karzai) wants his country to progress and prosper.” Pakistani military affairs analyst Ayesha Siddiqa went further. “This pact will definitely lead to a more intense proxy war between India and Pakistan in Afghanistan, because India will be training the Afghan military and Pakistan does not consider this in its interest,” she said.

Hundreds march against US invasion

Afghan intelligence officials meanwhile said they had broken up a cell that plotted to kill President Hamid Karzai, arresting six people in Kabul who they claimed were affiliated with al-Qaeda and the Haqqani militant group. Intelligence service spokesman Latifullah Mashal said Wednesday that the cell included one of Karzai’s bodyguards, as well as a professor at Kabul university and three college students.Mashal described the cell as the “most sophisticated and educated group in Kabul,” and said that it had assisted Pakistani militants sent to the Afghan capital to carry out terror attacks.

Hundreds of people marched through the streets of the Afghan capital on Thursday, demanding the immediate withdrawal of international military forces ahead of the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion.

The peaceful demonstration in downtown Kabul was meant to mark the Oct. 7 invasion of Afghanistan 10 years ago, following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks against the U.S. The demonstrators chanted “no to occupation,” and “Americans out” as they marched through the streets.

Compiled from AFP and AP reports by the Daily News staff.

Thursday, October 6, 2011
ISLAMABAD / KABUL