India and Russia still haven’t found a way to continue trade because Russia has been cut off from the international banking system and free access to dollars. China has a more powerful (internationally acceptable) currency, its yuan, Because of that Russia can continue trade with China but at less favorable currency exchange rates than before. The change is not so great to make trade unprofitable. India and Pakistan have weaker currencies and would have to accept an even less favorable exchange rate buy or sell from Russia. India also has a problem because Indian firms are currently owed several hundred million dollars for goods sold to Russia and not yet paid for. India and Pakistan want to continue trading but without an adequate substitute for the dollar it is difficult to so at affordable prices. Chinese firms have offered some relief for India but only for items each nation is willing to buy or sell more of using dollars or the slightly less effective yuan to make or receive payment. Sometimes barter deals can be worked out.
Last year Pakistan got what it wanted in Afghanistan, with the Pakistan controlled Taliban back in charge. This has now worked out as Pakistan expected. Growing violence inside Afghanistan has become a major problem for eastern/southern neighbor Pakistan but much less a problem for Iran and the northern neighbors. This escalating chaos is directly related to the 30 percent increase in Islamic terrorism related deaths in Pakistan compared to 2020. So far, 2022 appears headed for twice as many Islamic terrorism deaths in Pakistan. This is not just about what is going on in Afghanistan, but some closely related activities in Pakistan. During the last few years, the Pakistani military has managed to terrorize or influence enough politicians and political parties to give the military control of the government without a coup. That control is running into trouble because misbehavior by the military is responsible for the mess in Afghanistan, where the Afghan Taliban is now in charge as the IEA (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan). That was made possible by the Pakistani military, which created the Taliban in the mid-1990s. Despite losing power in late 2001, the Taliban once more took over in August 2021. Despite the presence of known Pakistani agents in key government positions of the new Taliban IEA government, there is more anti-Pakistan violence coming from Afghanistan than when the U.S. backed IRA (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) government was in charge. IEA-run Afghanistan is more tolerant of Islamic terrorism than the IRA and tolerates the presence of the TTP (Pakistani Taliban) that seeks to impose a religious dictatorship on Pakistan. The IEA appears to have made a similar deal with ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), or some of the ISIL factions in Afghanistan, because the number of ISIL attacks in Pakistan have increased this year and these attacks are often coming from ISIL factions based across the border in Afghanistan. The Pakistani military apparently underestimated the degree of anti-Pakistan attitudes among IEA leaders and the Afghan population.
Pakistan’s role in the Taliban gaining control of Afghanistan was portrayed by the international community as a criminal act in support of Islamic terrorism as well as protecting the world’s main source of heroin. Foreign nations are slow to recognize the new IEA government. Initially, not even Pakistan did so because being first to recognize the new government would be a further admission of guilt for the role Pakistan has played in making it happen. Pakistan, like several other Islamic nations, has established unofficial diplomatic relations with the IEA via the use of “diplomatic missions” where the people working in these missions do not have diplomatic or any official recognition.
Pakistan also finds itself under attacks by IEA security forces because of an unresolved border dispute, as well as the TTP. Both Afghanistan and Pakistan now have more violence on their Iranian borders because of drug smuggling and separatist rebels in Pakistan. Iran is also angry at the new Afghan government because of increased attacks on Afghan Shia. The Taliban victory that Pakistan made possible is seen more and more as a mistake because Afghanistan has become a major problem for Pakistan and a growing problem for other nations.
The IEA has an urgent need for an organized, disciplined force to deal with its escalating internal security problems. This includes Islamic terrorist groups who see the IEA as an enemy rather than an ally and provider of sanctuary. There are also problems with some ISIL factions. A larger threat is posed by the non-Pushtun (Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazara) resistance groups, and a growing number of Afghan Taliban factions that oppose Pakistani control of the IEA. In many ways the IEA faces more internal resistance than the original Taliban government that lasted from the mid-1990s to late 2001. The American intervention after September 11, 2001 allowed the non-Pushtun Northern Alliance to go on the offensive and drive the Taliban out of the country by the end of 2001.
Neighboring countries, with the exception of Pakistan, believe the IEA will collapse after a few years because of internal unrest and growing poverty which most Afghans will note is in sharp contrast to the previous two decades when per-capita GDP nearly tripled. Under the IRA massive foreign aid took care of most government expenses and that led to a lot of foreign investment. This foreign aid and investment averaged over a hundred billion dollars a year since 2002 and, even though most of it was not spent in Afghanistan, there was enough being spent in Afghanistan to keep the IRA government in power and the GDP expanding.
The IEA ‘s security forces aren’t large enough to deal with all the local unrest and the only source of help is the Pakistani military. The heroin cartels are a major source of income for the Pakistani military because the Pakistani generals provide export of most of that heroin via the port of Karachi and several major airports. Then there are the vital chemical imports needed for the conversion of opium to heroin. There are twice as many Pushtuns in Pakistan than Afghanistan and in 2022 these Pakistani Pushtuns are getting organized to oppose the Pakistani military and its control over the elected Pakistani government and the unelected IEA in Afghanistan. Because of this, getting troop reinforcements from Pakistan is not a practical solution to the inadequate size of the IEA army and security forces.
April 16, 2022: In northwest Pakistan the army used helicopter gunships and artillery (rockets) to attack TTP camps in Afghanistan (Kunar and Khost provinces). TTP casualties were not disclosed, but Afghanistan reported that there were 47 dead and many wounded, including women and children. The Afghan IEA government protested, as Afghan governments have been doing for a decade.
At the end of 2021 the IEA threatened Pakistan because of resumed use of rockets and artillery fire from Pakistan into eastern Afghanistan (usually Kunar province) against TTP camps. Pakistan has been doing this for years. The deposed (in mid-2021) IRA (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) government would contact Pakistan and the Pakistanis usually apologized and said they would halt the attacks. The attacks kept happening. Back in early 2019 the IRA government sent the UN a letter complaining about nearly a decade of similar Pakistani border violence. The Afghan letter detailed incidents from 2012 to early 2019 in which Pakistani troops fired 28,849 rockets, mortar or artillery shells into eastern Afghanistan. Much of this firepower is directed at Kunar province and has been going on since 2010 in an effort to hit real or suspected TTP bases there. These incidents increased to the point where the Afghans began keeping track of them in 2012. Since then, this violence has killed or wounded nearly 300 people that the Afghan government knows about. The shelling occurs against rural areas that are often unpopulated so it is unclear if the Pakistanis have hit many Pakistani Taliban. The Pakistani government propaganda insists that these Taliban Islamic terrorists are based in eastern Afghanistan and regularly cross into Pakistan to carry out attacks. The 2019 letter to the UN detailed how the situation was getting worse and that in 2018 there were 161 of these incidents that involved at least 6,025 Pakistani projectiles landing in Afghanistan. The letter pointed out that several elected Pakistani leaders have pledged to halt these border violations but those pledges are ignored by the Pakistani military. There was a large scale (neatly 200 shells and rockets) Pakistani attack in late 2019 but since the UN was notified and the Pakistani habit of cross border attacks became news, there have been fewer of these Pakistani attacks, and they have not stopped, even as the Pakistan-backed IEA government replaced the elected IRA one. The Pakistani military is also sending its missile armed UAVs to look for TTP leaders living in Afghanistan and kill them. The TTP bases in Afghanistan are real but Afghan governments are not willing to find and attack them if only because the TTP are usually guests of local tribes that agree with the TTP that the Pakistanis are hostile to Pushtun people who dominate both sides of the border. The IEA, like the IRA before it, is demanding that the UN do something about the Pakistani attacks.
In northwest India (Kashmir) soldiers found and neutralized a five kg (11 pound) Islamic terrorists bomb placed next to a road near an army base. Apparently, this was part of an effort to attack a military convoy or a vehicle with key personnel.
April 14, 2022: In northwest Pakistan (North Waziristan) seven soldiers were killed when ambushed by Islamic terrorists. Four of the attackers were killed. No one took credit for the attack but it was believed to be TTP (Pakistan Taliban). There was another clash in the area, leaving one soldier dead. So far this year Pakistani forces have killed 128 Islamic terrorists in clashes near the Afghan border. Nearly a hundred Pakistani troops have been killed.
In northwest India (Kashmir) soldiers, responding to tips from locals, encountered and killed four members of Pakistani Islamic terror group LeT (Lashkar-e-Toiba). The international community, including the UN, recognized LeT as a terrorist organization as far back as 2001 and that is one reason for efforts to declare Pakistan a "terrorist state." That would be interesting, as Pakistan has nuclear weapons and is constantly in danger of falling apart.
April 12, 2022: In northwest Pakistan (South Waziristan) TTP gunmen ambushed a group of soldiers, killing two of them while two of the TTP gunmen were also killed.
April 3, 2022: In Pakistan, PM (prime minister) Imran Khan is removed from office by a no-confidence vote by a parliamentary majority. He was the first PM to be removed this way. Most PMs are removed by the president of Pakistan, which is another, less messy, form of no-confidence vote. Since the founding of Pakistan in 1947, no PM has completed their five-year term. The main reason for Khan’s political allies to turn against him was economic. High unemployment and inflation plus increasing Islamic terrorist violence and some diplomatic disasters were the reasons. Kahn embarrassed Pakistan by arriving in Russia on a state visit just before the Ukraine invasion began and praising Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Before the Russian invasion began Putin assured Khan that it would be over quickly. All this led to his loss of popular and parliamentary support for Kahn. After the no-confidence vote Khan appealed to the Supreme Court to get the removal effort annulled and it took a week to get a ruling because his appeal arrived on the first day of Ramadan (the annual Moslem month of prayer and fasting). The court found the no-confidence vote proper and Kham was out with parliament electing a new PM the next day (the 11th).
Khan accused the United States of orchestrating his ouster but there was no evidence of that and the military openly agreed the U.S. was not involved. The military, which long supported, and often controlled Khan, refused to act because Khan had recently tried to exercise his legal authority against the military. Khan had also been feuding with some Islamic parties, which contributed to the number of parliament members backing his ouster. The new PM inherits an escalating economic disaster and many other problems, none of which have an easy solution. The new PM must win the next scheduled (every five years) parliamentary elections in mid-2023. His current majority exists mainly to remove Khan so there will probably be another new PM next year. Kahn is still a member of parliament and has the support of many members, who advised him that the conspiracy accusations about the military and the Americans were counterproductive. Pakistan needed more help from the United States and cooperation from the Pakistani generals in order to fix economic problems and the continuing corruption crisis. Khan took that advice and played down or renounced most of his accusations.
April 2, 2022: In Pakistan, the head of the military criticized Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Pakistani military has had good relations with Russia but the Ukraine operation is seen as a major mistake, something China, the largest trading partner and investor in Pakistan agrees with.
March 29, 2022: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) a peacekeeper helicopter crashed leaving eight foreign peacekeepers, six from Pakistan, dead. The helicopter was provided by Pakistan, which is one of the largest sources of personnel for UN peacekeeping operations. In the last sixty years over 200,000 Pakistani troops have served as peacekeepers with 257 of them killed on duty.
March 23, 2022: India continues to buy and sell in Russia. So does China, which is going along with the Russian effort to get around the banking sanctions by putting the ruble on the gold standard while doing business with major trading partners in their local currency. In the case of China that’s the yuan, which is seen as a possible candidate for eventually replacing the dollar as the primary international trade currency. The Americans are helping by taking on over $7 trillion of additional debt in the last four years, raising its debt load from 3.5 percent of GDP to 12.1 percent. This has caused major inflation in the United States and loss of confidence in the stability of the dollar worldwide. Despite that, China is still very dependent on trade with the West, especially the United States. Russia has a much smaller economy that was number ten worldwide before the latest Ukraine-related sanctions and appears headed for 20th place or worse.