Open Letter to General Munir, Chief of Staff of the Army of Pakistan
Open Letter to General Munir, Chief of Staff of the Army of Pakistan
January 27, 2024
His Excellence Mr. General Asem Munir,
As per the Express Tribune, in a gathering of students from civil and military universities, you made hostile remarks against Afghanistan by claiming that “Pakistan has provided bread to 5 million Afghan migrants for 50 years.” Because your derogatory insinuation is directed towards Afghan migrants and, in reality, all the people of Afghanistan, the Federation of Afghan Organizations in Europe feels obligated to refute your claim based on historical facts.
Before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, as a result of a humiliating defeat in 1971 against India, the coup led by General Zia-ul-Haq against the People’s Party of Pakistan in 1977, and the persecution of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on murder charges, which was orchestrated by military government and could have sparked social unrest, Pakistan was in a state of confusion and international political isolation, coupled with severe economic poverty. Could a country in such a predicament afford to provide bread to 5 million migrants from a neighboring country? Off Course Not.
The military coup in April 1978 in Afghanistan, the onset of resistance against the coup, the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet army, and the forced migration of the Afghan people to your country marked the beginning of an endless tragedy for Afghanistan. However, for Pakistan, it presented a golden opportunity to emerge from isolation and assume the role of a facilitator for the United State, in its efforts to change the direction of the Afghan war of independence from Soviets to American-led war for making Afghanistan the Vietnam of its Cold War rival, the Soviet Union.
While the honorable people of Pakistan welcomed Afghans as brothers and neighbors, the Pakistani military and intelligence viewed Afghan immigrants as a resource to exploit. To better explain this, we draw your attention to the following points:
a. America’s strategic interest in the Afghan people’s resistance and the presence of hundreds of thousands of Afghan migrants in Pakistan compelled Western countries, international institutions, and the US to engage with Pakistan, which had been isolated and sanctioned in the years prior to 1979. Consequently, Pakistan’s political isolation came to an end, and international financial institutions were willing to lend to Pakistan again. The aid from the United States, given in the aforementioned deal, breathed new life into Pakistan’s economy, which was on the brink of collapse.
b. According to historical documents and books written by Western researchers, after the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Pakistan, in the course of a deal with the United States and its allies, stipulated the transformation of its country into a logistical-educational base, providing military training, and becoming a distribution center for sending weapons to anti-Soviet fronts. In return, Western countries assisted Pakistan militarily and financially. This allowed Pakistan’s intelligence agencies, including the ISI to divert funds and arms to their affiliated Islamic parties, steering the independence-seeking and freedom-loving resistance of the Afghan people away from its original path and turning it into a war of Islam against disbelief.
Pakistan’s military, with the help of generous aid from Western and Arab countries for Afghan immigrants, employed tens of thousands of its nationals by offering them dollar salaries to support its own economy. Through these Pakistani employees, The ISI took charge of overseeing and directing affairs in the direction of Pakistan’s strategic interests, which involved turning Afghanistan into a strategic depth for your country.
c. Since 1980, billions of dollars in financial and food aid were sent annually to Afghan migrants in Pakistan by international institutions, Western countries, the United Nations, and Arab nations. This aid was funneled into ISI’s safehouses. Only a fraction of it was distributed to migrant camps for contributing in war by giving at least one fighter from each family, within one of the organizations under ISI’s umbrella, while the rest was misappropriated and used by the Zia-ul-Haq government. Perhaps your notion of providing bread refers to this small portion of Western food and medical aid distributed by ISI to Afghan migrants.
d. The Pakistani military would relocate newly purchased and modern weapons, granted for Afghan warriors by the United States and its allies, China, and Arab countries, into its arsenals. In return, the Pakistani army provided a limited number of used and outdated weapons to the proxy organizations under their control to send to Afghanistan. These organizations would then sell the mentioned weapons to the internal forces of resistance against the Soviets.
e. The acquisition of F-16 fighter jets was a long-standing desire of the Pakistani military. However, after the military coup by Zia-ul-Haq, negotiations for the purchase of these fighter jets from the United States had come to a halt. Once Pakistan provided its territory and access to Afghan migrants for American intelligence operations against the Soviets in Afghanistan, the US government agreed to include the first batch of F-16s in a military aid package in 1982.
f. In the 1980s, when Pakistan, due to its facilitating role in the Afghan-Soviet war, enjoyed privileges from the United States, the US agreed to turn a blind eye to Pakistan’s activities in the Atomic Energy Commission. This allowed Pakistan to accumulate enough enriched uranium for the production of several atomic bombs by 1988. The US only raised objections when news surfaced in the late 90s about the sale of scientific and informational secrets regarding enriched uranium production and the procurement of necessary components for atomic weapons in the black market by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s atomic bomb, and its sale to Iran, Libya, and South Korea.
After the horrific events of September 11, the U.S. military’s invasion of Afghanistan and the fall of the Taliban, the government and military of Pakistan could not tolerate the West’s efforts to rebuild Afghanistan politically and economically. The Pakistani military and intelligence aim to keep Afghanistan in a perpetual state of war, instability and unrest. The reorganization of the Taliban, hidden in Pakistan since 2001, and the provision of their necessities to initiate another war against Afghanistan, were initiated by the ISI. The goal of this decision was to prevent the reconstruction of Afghanistan and create a political ground for extracting military and financial benefits from NATO nations. The United States paid a staggering $7 billion to Pakistan only for securing the logistic caravan of NATO, which is more than twice the annual expenses the U.S. allocated for the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Current U.S. President Joe Biden is a receptive audience to lobby interests in Pakistan. The pretext of fighting terrorism is Pakistan’s tactic to extract billions of dollars from the U.S. White House knows that the ISI is the mother of terrorist groups in the region and has complete control over them. Still, for the sake of convincing citizens and Congress, it sends its joint intelligence project expenses with the Pakistani military under the label of “counterterrorism” to the Pakistani government.
The current propaganda campaign launched by the interim government of Pakistan, connecting terrorist attacks within Pakistan to Afghanistan, alleging the use of weapons provided by the United States to the Afghan armed forces in these attacks, and accusing Afghan migrants in these attacks, is part of the same tactic. In 2022, the Pakistani military managed to convince Joe Biden to sign a contract for the transfer of updated F16 fighter jets, using the pretext of counterterrorism. Now, the Pakistani military aims to politically pave the way for financial aid from the United States using the same pretext. Meanwhile, it wants to convey to the world that the presence of American weapons in Afghanistan poses a security threat to Pakistan.
In the initial years of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the United States wanted to give the heavy weapons used in Afghanistan, which transporting back to the U.S. was expensive, to Afghan army. Still, the lobby of the Pakistani military intervened. Mr. Asim, you want to repeat the same experience and once again leave Afghanistan without defense facilities.
You have no issue with the Afghan Taliban. They are your friends. Mullah Hibatullah has issued a fatwa that war against the Pakistani government is forbidden. The leaders of all terrorist groups in the region are your friends, and your foster children. We believe that you have provided bread to them and the Afghan jihadist proxy organizations under ISI’s umbrella in 1980s. Their accounts are completely separate from the accounts of the people of Afghanistan.
We, Afghan refugees in Europe, were eyewitnesses to the miserable conditions of our fellow countrymen during Afghan war in de deserts of Pakistan. We have also seen who Afghans living in their own country in the past 20 years, were killed by strong explosive materials used only by the armies, brought by the Taliban from Pakistan. The UN registered at least 60.000 civilian deaths who left their families without protection. ISIS Khorasan still crosses the imaginary Durand line and enters Afghanistan, killing part of the poor but resilient people due to their religious or ethnic affiliations. The terrorist attacks taking place today in Afghanistan or Pakistan are a direct result of the policy of using proxy terror groups as instruments for achieving foreign policy goals implemented by the Pakistani military and military intelligence. Our recommendation to you, Mr. Asim Munir, and other Pakistani generals, is to find the courage to accept this political madness and work towards rectifying it. If you do not stop nurturing terrorist religious schools and maintain a part of your soil as a center for training, producing, and exporting terrorists to neighboring countries, it will not be long before you witness the disintegration and collapse of your country at the hands of the very terrorists you have nurtured.
“Foreign Relations Committee of FAROE”