Press TV – Interview with Dr. Shahid Qureshi, Political Analyst

The United States has blamed Pakistan that it has sheltered and supported militant groups like the Haqqani network, a charge that Pakistan denies.

Press TV has interviewed with Dr. Shahid Qureshi, Political Analyst, to share his opinion on this issue.

Press TV:  Given that in addition as Gareth Porter [the other guest of the program] mentioned there, get the Haqqani network is the message or the US is going to do that themselves? Now does this mean that if Pakistan doesn't, that the US would actually wage military action inside Pakistan?

Qureshi:  Well the question I understood from you is that if the US is thinking of taking a military action inside Pakistan I think that would be really unwise move . On the one hand the US would like to talk to Taliban to have a meaningful negotiation but on the other hand United States is also bombing Taliban. That is not making sort of any good results out of this whole problem.

At the same time if Taliban wants to come in the main stream they should also start talking to the forces who are occupying Afghanistan. I am looking into the future because in the past they were isolated because nobody recognized their legitimacy. Now if the Taliban or the people in Afghanistan want to have legitimacy, they need to become part of the negotiation process.

At the same time United States should not blame its friends for its failures. We know that the US is on the way out, and we also know that US wants honorable way out but that does not mean that they should blame the neighboring countries for its mistakes.

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At the same time the pressures on the ground, are the people's voices which are raising these concerns for the US and the Pakistani establishment should not be penalized either the journalist or the analyst who are giving their opinions on things. They should not be penalized or punished just because it does not suit the one part of the establishment of Pakistan or Afghanistan or the United States. They should take the opinion as an opinion and people can disagree and people can agree with that. So that is my analysis on that.

Press TV:  Dr. Shahid Qureshi, let's give it another angle here, looking at the future, Pakistan has supported militants, it has been sided specially giving influence among Afghanistan's Pashtuns, they make up to 42 percent of total population in Afghanistan and of course they maintain close ties with their Pakistani fellow tribes men. Now in terms of bringing India in here, do you think that Pakistan's powerful military is determined there should be no vacuum in Afghanistan that could be filled by its arch-foe India?

Qureshi:  Well the problem with the US policy makers is that they are more interested in what they want to hear instead of what they should know and I think British have a long experience in this region, dealing with the Pashtuns. They have written hundreds and hundreds of books about their tradition culture. I do not want to go into that detail. But what I would like to say is that those Pashtuns are going to be staying there even when the US is long gone.

As far as the Indian factor is concerned, if the Indians were quite clever they did not send their troops into Afghanistan but they did send their civilian operators or intelligence agency staff to conspire against Pakistan. That is what it is coming from the many sources that there are camps operating against Pakistani interests from inside Afghanistan. But in the long run, the problem with the United States is that something which they can get by simple adjusting their own policy instead of accepting that. They want the other side to adjust themselves simply which is not even possible for them to adjust simply asking the other side to do something which they don't even have.

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Press TV:  Let me jump in here, why would the United States do that? Pakistan is blaming United States for its failure in Afghanistan they have 150,000 troops, US and NATO soldiers there and of course Pakistan says you know they cannot do it themselves so they want to make Pakistan come into the picture. Is that correct?

Qureshi:  Well it is something which one of the NATO commanders said that they will need about more than 400,000 troops to stabilize Afghanistan so they do not have the number inside Afghanistan to stabilize the current situation.

Press TV: To deal with 5,000 Taliban 400,000 troops?

Qureshi:  Well it does not matter, the armed forces or the NATO forces are not designed to fight the Guerrilla warfare. You cannot fight with tanks, planes or bombing…

Press TV:  After 10 years?

Qureshi:  Maybe after 15 years. They cannot stop it. The regular forces will not be able to fight with the Guerrilla forces and that is the fundamental question. If they want to start Guerrilla warfare with the Guerrilla warfare that is another matter but a regular disciplined force cannot fight with the irregular, unseen, indiscipline force wherever they go and which they see them as an occupier. What they need to do is especially in the Pakistan case if they want the Pakistanis on their side, which they can easily do, they convene friends in Pakistan.

There are a lot of people who are not against the United States but they are against the United States policy. More than 35,000 Pakistanis have been killed, more than 6,000 troops have been killed in this war and there is no recognition for those sacrifices and you said that that they are giving billions and billions of dollars aid to Pakistan. No sir, the total number of the aid Pakistan has received in the last 60 years is about 28 billion dollars including the current which they offered. 1.5 billion dollar per year is the total aid which is linked to after the Kerry Lugar Bill.

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So it is not a huge amount and that is not also been released and I do not want to offend anybody my friend in United States and resulted in the killing of our any kind of deprecations for the journalists in Pakistan who are raising these kind of voices which are not soothing the establishment and specially the people in Pakistan who are part of this establishment who are running their own agenda in the name of the United States.

That should stop. I think the British role is very crucial because the Brits have a lot of experience in Afghanistan and they can assist the United States in terms of a suitable and smooth withdrawal from Afghanistan without losing its friends in Pakistan.