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Why does Pakistan need F-16 to fight Taliban?

Discussion in 'Strategic & Foreign Affairs' started by Choppers, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. Choppers

    Choppers SENIOR MEMBER

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    WHY DOES PAKISTAN NEED F-16s TO FIGHT TALIBAN?

    Fighter jets and state-of-the-art missiles are some of the goodies that the US has lavished on Pakistan in the name of combating terrorism. No prizes for guessing who it might be used against

    Rajat Pandit | TNN


    Pranab Mukherjee is not given to sudden public outbursts on foreign policy matters. But just over five years ago, he angrily tore apart the American argument that the weapons it was supplying to Pakistan were meant to fight the al-Qaida and Taliban. “Nobody uses F-16 fighter planes and other weapons meant for big wars to fight terrorists,” Mukherjee, then defence minister, thundered. Uncharacteristic though the outburst was, it conveyed India’s grave concerns on the matter.

    Little, however, has changed since then. Pakistan continues to get sophisticated weapon systems, missiles, sensors and related equipment from the US, the majority of which are clearly meant more for waging conventional wars rather than combating militants.

    In the name of the ‘global war on terror’ since 9/11, Indian experts say, Washington has funnelled well over $10 billion in military aid and assistance to Islamabad to bolster Pakistan’s counterterrorism capabilities in the volatile border regions with Afghanistan.

    But, as independent international assessments have shown, not even onethird of this whopping assistance has been spent on the intended purpose of fighting the Taliban, which a section of Pakistan’s ISI-military establishment still covertly supports.

    A major chunk has been diverted to expand Pakistan’s nuclear and conventional military capabilities against India. “An F-16, for instance, can of course be used to let loose a missile on a cave or a militant stronghold but it’s mainly meant to wage war against a state, not stateless actors,’’ says a top Indian security establishment official.

    The US may have so far refrained from handing over the Predator drones, controlled by satellites and armed with Hellfire missiles, which are being used by American forces in the ****** region with telling effect. But it has opened the floodgates for a lot of other military hardware and software. These range from refurbished P-3C maritime patrol aircraft and Cobra helicopter gunships to thousands of missiles like Harpoons, TOW-2As and AIM-9M Sidewinders.

    The F-16 fighter programme, of course, is the showpiece of the American security assistance package to Pakistan. Under it, Pakistan is getting 18 spanking new advanced F-16 C/D Block 52 jets and mid-life upgrades for the 32 of the original 40 jets acquired by Pakistan Air Force in the mid-1980s, with advanced targeting, precision-guided munitions (PGMs), sensor and radar systems.

    That’s not all. The USAF has also transferred 14 F-16s, under its ‘excess defence article’ policy, to Pakistan since 2005. The entire F-16 programme also includes a deadly munitions package with AMRAAM (advanced medium-range air-toair missiles), 2,000-pounder bombs and JDAMs (joint direct attack munitions), which are guidance kits to convert gravity bombs into all-weather ‘smart’ bombs. “AMRAAMs are beyond-visual range missiles to take out enemy fighters in air combat. Does al-Qaida have fighter jets? They are obviously directed against India,” said a senior IAF officer.

    For that matter, al-Qaida or Taliban also do not have warships. But the Harpoons, which arm the P-3C aircraft, are potent all-weather, sea-skimming antiship missiles. Pakistan, in fact, has even modified the Harpoons, in contravention of US Arms Control Export Act, to expand its capability to strike land targets.
    Says a senior defence official, “The US knows very well that F-16s, P-3Cs or the other deadly toys it’s giving to Pakistan are not counterterrorism weapons. But it chooses to look the other way, much like it did when A Q Khan was helping build Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and proliferating to other countries like North Korea.”

    All this does evoke concern in India. Apart from the substantial upgrade of their combat and precision-targeting capabilities, Pakistani F-16s have been modified to deliver nuclear weapons. Pranab Mukherjee, in fact, told Parliament, “F-16s are nuclear capable...The range of F-16s would cover a number of civilian and military facilities in northern India.’’

    Apart from the US help to enhance its conventional military capabilities, Pakistan has also used the last decade to work towards bolstering the number of its nuclear warheads as well as delivery systems. It has also stepped up efforts to supplement its ongoing enriched uranium-based nuke programme with a weapons-grade plutonium one.

    Some US nuclear experts, in fact, estimate Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal has now grown to around 70-90 warheads, with India slipping behind at 60-80. The fear is that if not the militants, hardliners within the Pakistan army may get access to enriched uranium, nuclear components or even actual warheads in the middle of the ongoing turmoil in the country.

    Despite protestations to the contrary, the US is reportedly keeping a hawk-eye on Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, with specially trained personnel on stand-by to swiftly intervene if a crisis erupts. At least that’s what the Indian defence officials hope. After all, a ‘dirty’ bomb in the wrong hands can lead to all hell breaking loose.

    MADE IN US
    F-16

    Fighters with advanced allweather and precision-strike capabilities
    P-3C

    Maritime patrol aircraft, with E-2C Hawkeye 2000 airborne earlywarning suites, for anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare
    Block-II Harpoon

    Anti-ship missiles, AIM-9M Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, TOW-2A anti-tank guided missiles
    AH-1F Cobra

    Refurbished attack gunships and Bell 407 helicopters
    M109A5
    155mm self-propelled howitzers
    Phalanx
    Close-in weapon systems for warships
     
  2. Choppers

    Choppers SENIOR MEMBER

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    Uncle Sam’s pet: Tail wags the dog

    They have little in common with each other. So what sustains the US-Pakistan relationship?

    Chidanand Rajghatta | TNN


    It is one of the most complex, vexing, perplexing relationships in the world. One is called a master, a patron, a benefactor. The other is regarded as a client, a vassal, a rentier state. Yet the client plays the master like the tail wagging the dog. Broke and crumbling, Pakistan still takes the US for a ride with astonishing regularity, milking it for billions and getting away with nuclear proliferation and terrorism sponsorship that has earned other countries censure, sanction, and even punitive wars.

    So what explains Washington’s long over-indulgence of Pakistan? One simplistic explanation — old habit and sentiment. The US just can’t let go of the prodigal client it lavished attention on for half a century after it served as a useful handmaiden/operating base during the Cold War. Alliances, military hardware and financial aid followed. It was an immoderate coddling that has enabled an anaemic state punch well above its weight — mostly against India.

    Hal Gould, a South Asia scholar at the University of Virginia, says America’s tragedy was its decision to nourish the megalomaniacal fantasies of Pakistan’s antidemocratic elites by sucking the country into its militarized Cold War grand strategy. Each infusion of anti-Communist armaments reinforced the power of Pakistan’s authoritarian ruling classes, fed their anti-Indian inferiority complex and resulted in wars and a perpetual pattern of military provocations, state-sponsored cross-border terrorism, and the development of nuclear weapons. Now the problem has become so huge that it can’t be resolved through punitive action.

    So why can’t Washington punish Pakistan financially and militarily and even de-nuke it — a favourite Indian fantasy? On the face of it, there is nothing that Pakistan offers that is of any value to the US. Not oil, not mineral wealth. In fact, Pakistan’s only export, goes the joke in Indian circles, is I-T — that stands for International Terrorism, not information technology. Well, sentiment apart, another reason
    U.S can’t or won’t take on Pakistan is that at 180 million people, it is not a small country. The US came to grief against much smaller opponents Vietnam and Iraq (both around 25 million at the time they were pulverized), and is leery of even taking on Iran (75 million). Beating up Grenada, Panama and Yemen is one thing; but taking on Pakistan, even without its nukes is quite another.

    But the more pertinent reason is danger from its errant, self-destructive client “going splat” — to paraphrase commentator Jim Hoagland’s memorable expression. For more than a decade now, Pakistan has been making a living by threatening suicide — the only country in the world that negotiates with a gun to its own head, as another US scholar famously said. The Pakistani mantra: Touch us and we will collapse and let the jihadis take over, nukes included. “Oppose or ignore us at our — and your — peril is the unofficial national motto of Islamabad,” according to Hoagland.

    It is a ploy that has worked to deadly effect as each week seems to bring America’s worst fears closer to realization. The threat of jihadi takeover is the ultimate American nightmare and the Pakistanis are adept at playing it, while camouflaging the fact that many jihadis are actually in uniform. In the Indian diplomatic community, long used to Pakistani bluster and blackmail and more familiar with the neighbour’s psyche, it is common to hear — in part admiration — that Islamabad really knows how to play the Americans for suckers.

    Then there is the small matter of trade secrets. Washington and Islamabad have been in bed for so long that there are many skeletons in the closet going back to the Cold War, especially the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan where Pakistan served as the errand boy. Although conspiracy theory is the staple of present-day Pakistan, there are abundant stories about how the CIA was in cahoots with Osama bin Laden and other “mujaheddin” types long before they morphed into al-Qaida.

    Forget bin Laden, even on a relatively small fry as Dawood Ibrahim, Washington is afraid to put the screws on Islamabad even though it has declared the Mumbai don a terrorist. According to one theory, this is because Dawood worked with the U.S to help finance the mujaheddin in the 1980s before turning “rogue” — as with many other former allies. In fact, the theory that men like Dawood, Omar Saeed Sheikh, and even A Q Khan were all western intelligence assets at one time or another is proffered as explanation why the US has been reluctant to seek their custody.

    While there are several other smaller reasons for continued US patronage of Pakistan (including keeping Lockheed Martin humming during an economic downturn with supply of F-16s), one major, immediate reason is that Pakistan remains the most convenient logistical lifeline to US troops in Afghanistan. In effect, Pakistan has its foot on the American jugular in the region — every time Washington gets tough, all Pakistan has to do is allow mobs to disrupt the supply route from Karachi to the Afghan front. The US will simper and fall in line.

    While it may be argued that the U.S has an even stronger card (Pakistan’s existence as a state), and often disregards Islamabad’s complaints (on the drone issue, for example), the fact is Pakistan is willing to play the game of brinkmanship better than others, certainly better than Washington. It’s a brazen tactic that enables Islamabad to get away with continued support to the Taliban elements, even as the US fulminates helplessly.

    Western reporters, including a journalist from Canada’s Maclean magazine and Taliban-captured New York Times reporter David Rohde have written graphically in recent weeks about the Pakistan army’s open ties with the Taliban and the continued existence of terrorist camps. The accounts haven’t particularly agitated Washington, where there are periodic certifications about Pakistan’s good behaviour aimed at mollifying public agitation and lubricating the flow of aid.

    Last week, as Pakistan was down to two weeks of fuel stocks and a nationwide power shortage, the country was still snorting defiance, demanding that Uncle Sam rush the $1.6 billion it owes Islamabad in Coalition Support Funds (for which Pakistan’s bills are being more tightly audited), delink Pakistan from Afghanistan and rehyphenate it with India, grant it the same civilian nuclear deal as with India, stop drone attacks on its territory and/or give it drone technology, and stop special screening of Pakistani travellers to the US, among other things.

    For a country in the throes of an existential crisis, the checklist — and the chutzpah — was breathtaking. But that’s pretty much how Pakistan approaches its affairs, and so far it has worked. Some things never change, and for now at least, despite its apparent irritation with its client state, Washington does not look like changing either.

    1971 | BESOTTED with Pak’s military leadership, Nixon slept through the genocide in East Pakistan, ignoring cables about the butchery from his own mission in Dacca. Nixon disdained India’s non-aligned leadership and was driven by Cold War considerations

    1972 | ROUTED in the conflict with India, Z A Bhutto invited Pakistani scientists to Multan to urge them to make a nuclear bomb (well before India’s 1974 Pokhran test). The US ignored it. Washington would largely wink at Pakistan's nuclear pursuit for the next 15 years while punishing India

    1984 | ALERTED by the Dutch about nuclear theft by A Q Khan, the US spurned their offer to apprehend him, advising them to let him be. When Pakistan crossed the nuke threshold in 1984, Reagan, caught in a Cold War mindset, ignored it and kept pumping billions in military aid

    1989 | BEGINNING of crossborder terrorism in J&K left Washington unconcerned, even while it repeatedly cautioned India about human rights violations in the state. It slept though China's help for Pakistan's N-programme through the ’80s & ’90s, afraid to take on the dragon

    1993-96 | SPONSORED by Pakistan, the Taliban captured Afghanistan and brought it under a medieval form of Islamic rule, but Bill Clinton was not alarmed. Taliban leaders were even invited to the US as state guests

    92e1b1f3f1f6695c9926d5e3d0ce8784._.jpg
     
  3. amarnath

    amarnath BANNED

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    Hey comeon, Its non of our business, Let them go ahead with it, it might be there new anti-terrorism strategy to conduct sophesticated air raids on Taliban and LET. But no one does that when there is army to do that, but yeah, strange.... well its the need of every country to secure itself from those whom they consider as threat. Well We have no business in there needs unless therwise it turns up against us... anyways we are buying 10 times more than what they are buying....
     
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  4. TOPGUN

    TOPGUN PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    A bs thread once again why does any country need anything ?? f-16's are the only wepon that can fire precison giuded wepons with point point acuracy and is war proven by the PAF although other aircrafts have also been used but more or less f-16 was used the most as a choice by PAF to make sure talban / terrorist hide out were taken out . Don't use this thread to ask why we get this and that .
     
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  5. remarker

    remarker BANNED

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    nice cartoon

    what is famous 2% in Pakistan i just forgot
     
  6. Goodperson

    Goodperson SENIOR MEMBER

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    Thats a no brainer, Pakistan needs F-16s only to counter India.
     
  7. mjnaushad

    mjnaushad SENIOR MEMBER

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    All things we asked to fight against taliban are used against taliban. F 16 for missile strike. (See the videos on youtube). Gunships to attack taliban. Artillery is playing key role in countering terrorism in FATA. When did we asked for P3 to counter terrorism. P3orions are commercial deal.
     
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  8. Goodperson

    Goodperson SENIOR MEMBER

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    What commercial ? its for military purposes to be used primarily against India. Agreed countries should procure defense equipments as per their needs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010
  9. SMC

    SMC PDF VETERAN

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    Yes, it's most likely for use against india. Now what's wrong with that? I don't think anything is wrong with that. So shut up about it.
     
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  10. TOPGUN

    TOPGUN PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    Stop trolling ... plzz it is none of your our your countires business wat we need and for wat . Do we ask your country wat they and for wat stop it act matture and dont hate :hitwall::devil:
     
  11. Awesome

    Awesome RETIRED MOD

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    We need F-16s to fight against India. Simple as that.
     
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  12. TOPGUN

    TOPGUN PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    And all the wepons your country buys perhaps is primarily to use agaisnt Pakistan so do you have a answer for that one or u would still like to go back to trolling :blah::cheesy:
     
  13. mjnaushad

    mjnaushad SENIOR MEMBER

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    Where did i said its not for military use. Read the post again and then reply. And yes it is to be used against india.
     
  14. Choppers

    Choppers SENIOR MEMBER

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    I agree its none of our bussiness as to what pakistan buys.

    BTW the second article is quite intresting.
     
  15. DaRk WaVe

    DaRk WaVe RETIRED TTA

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    ohh my Gos, something is burning....

    anyways Indians can't do anything in this case, after all Americans knew that 500 AIM-120Cs are not for Taliban Air Force
     
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