ADMIRAL MULLEN AND PAKISTAN: A COMMENT
"WASHINGTON (Reuters)- U.S. officials said there was mounting evidence that Pakistan's powerful intelligence agency had encouraged a guerrilla network to attack U.S. targets, while a Senate committee voted to make aid to Islamabad conditional on fighting the militants.
The decision by the Senate Appropriations Committee, which did not specify any amount of aid for Pakistan in fiscal 2012, reflects growing anger in Washington over militants operating out of Pakistan and battling U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Some U.S. intelligence reporting alleges that Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence directorate (ISI) specifically directed, or urged, the Haqqani network to carry out an attack last week on the U.S. Embassy and a NATO headquarters in Kabul, according to two U.S. officials and a source familiar with recent U.S.-Pakistan official contacts. The Haqqani network is one of three, and perhaps the most feared, allied insurgent factions fighting U.S.-led NATO and Afghan troops under the Taliban banner in Afghanistan.
However, U.S. officials cautioned that the information that Pakistan's spy agency was encouraging the militants was uncorroborated. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he had pressed Pakistan's army chief for Islamabad to break its links with the militant group.
'We covered ... the need for the Haqqani Network to disengage, specifically the need for the ISI to disconnect from Haqqani and from this proxy war that they're fighting,' he said in a speech to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on Tuesday. 'The ISI has been doing this - working for - supporting proxies for an extended period of time. It is a strategy in the country and I think that strategic approach has to shift in the future.'"
Mark Hosenball & Susan Cornwell, "U.S. Blames Pakistan agency in Kabul attack." Reuters. 22nd September 2011, in www.reuters.com.
"Pakistani officials snapped back at the U.S. for saying its spy agency was aiding a militant group that targets Americans, warning Washington that such accusations could sink their alliance. Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani called the charges by Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, "very unfortunate and not based on facts."
Earlier Friday, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told an Indian news channel that "pointing fingers at each other will not help." Ms. Khar was in the U.S. for the United Nations General Assembly. 'We've never ventured into the blame game.'"
Tom Wright, "Pakistan Knocks Back U.S. Accusation of Militant Ties." The Wall Street Journal. 24 September 2011, in www.wsj.com.
"Pakistan is poor; politically unstable; in a state of religious turmoil (the mullahs have large tho' rather uncertain power) without a 'political' class - without so large an ICS [Indian Civil Service] tradition as India, and practising corruption on the grand scale....The one stable element in this situation is the Army --- the Air Force and Navy are also reliable."
Harold Macmillan, Diary entry on the 19th of January 1958, in, The Macmillan Diaries, Volume II: Prime Minister. edited by Peter Cattrell. (2011), p.90.
The facts as outlined by the outgoing American Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen, last week in testimony to the American Congress speaks for itself. The allegations are obviously correct. The Haqqani network is merely another auxiliary arm of Pakistan's military intelligence agency ('ISI'). Just as the Afghanistan Taliban was (and perhaps still is?) au fond, in origins an arm of Pakistan's ISI. And there are of course a number of other terrorist groups operating in Indian Kashmir, who have in the past not only operated in Kashmir but in India proper (AKA the infamous 2008 terrorist bombing). Given the fact that the authorities in Pakistan are unwilling or unable of controlling these networks when operating abroad, that presents the American government with a very difficult problem. As in the past, I myself strongly urge that the only way of dealing with this problem is by putting as much pressure, hard pressure as possible. Cutting off, military assistance, cutting off, economic assistance. Increasing cross-border raids, both in terms of size and scope. Massively increase drone attacks on any and all targets in Pakistan proper. And if need be, prepare to adopt economic sanctions on Pakistan. As a major American expert on the country, Daniel Markey, in essence the Americans have de facto issued a sort of ultimatum on Islamabad 1. Having issued the ultimatum, there are no via media available in this affair. Only compliance or harsh retaliation on Pakistani targets. The problem of course is (as outlined by Harold Macmillan more than fifty years ago, and underlined more recently by Anatol Lieven in his book on Pakistan), that the army is en faite the only, repeat the only stable institution in this rather horrid country 2. Sans that and there is every possibility of the entire state apparatus collapsing like tin pins. And in any American escalation the Pakistani army will be a prime target.
1. "Tougher U.S. tack on Pakistan." The Council on Foreign Relations. 26 September 2011, in www.cfr.org.
2. Anatol Lieven, Pakistan: A Hard Country. (2011).