Admiral Mullen: Pakistani ISI sponsoring Haqqani attacks


During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing today, Admiral Michael Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, highlighted the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence Agency's role in sponsoring the Haqqani Network - including attacks on American forces in Afghanistan.

"The fact remains that the Quetta Shura [Taliban] and the Haqqani Network operate from Pakistan with impunity," Mullen said in his written testimony. "Extremist organizations serving as proxies of the government of Pakistan are attacking Afghan troops and civilians as well as US soldiers."

Mullen continued: "For example, we believe the Haqqani Network--which has long enjoyed the support and protection of the Pakistani government and is, in many ways, a strategic arm of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Agency--is responsible for the September 13th attacks against the U.S. Embassy in Kabul."

"There is ample evidence confirming that the Haqqanis were behind the June 28th attack against the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul and the September 10th truck bomb attack that killed five Afghans and injured another 96 individuals, 77 of whom were US soldiers," Mullen continued.

During his oral testimony, Mullen reportedly reiterated his concerns about the ISI's role in sponsoring Haqqani Network attacks.

"With ISI support, Haqqani operatives planned and conducted (a Sept. 10) truck bomb attack, as well as the assault on our embassy," Mullen said, according to Reuters. "We also have credible intelligence that they were behind the June 28 attack against the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul and a host of other smaller but effective operations."

The Sept. 13 attack on the US Embassy in Kabul was part of a lengthy siege on Western targets, including the NATO headquarters. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks, which used both suicide bombers and rocket-propelled grenades. [See LWJ report, Taliban launch complex attack on US embassy in Kabul.]

Afghan officials previously released audio of intercepted conversations between the terrorists responsible for the June 28 attack on the Inter-Continental Hotel and their Haqqani handlers in Pakistan. In an intercepted phone call, Badruddin Haqqani, a top leader of the terror network, is heard directing one of the fighters and laughing during the attack that killed 11 civilians and two Afghan policemen, as well as nine members of the attack team. [See LWJ report, Haqqani Network directed Kabul assault by phone from Pakistan.]

The ISI's sponsorship of terrorist attacks inside Afghanistan and elsewhere has long been known to US intelligence officials.

For instance, according to a leaked State Department cable dated Dec. 5, 2008, a senior US intelligence official briefed NATO representatives on the ISI's dirty work. The ISI "provides intelligence and financial support to insurgent groups - especially the Jalaluddin Haqqani network out of Miram Shah, North Waziristan - to conduct attacks in Afghanistan against Afghan government, ISAF, and Indian targets," Dr. Peter Lavoy, who was then the National Intelligence Officer for South Asia, told his NATO counterparts.

Years later, Pakistan's duplicity in this long war is still a major problem. While recognizing that progress has been made in Afghanistan, Mullen cautioned that Pakistan's sponsorship of the insurgency may jeopardize the mission.

"History teaches us that it is difficult to defeat an insurgency when fighters enjoy a sanctuary outside national boundaries, and we are seeing this again today," Mullen said in his written testimony. "The actions by the Pakistani government to support
[the Quetta Shura Taliban and the Haqqani Network] --actively and passively--represent a growing problem that is undermining U.S. interests and may violate international norms, potentially warranting sanction."

Mullen continues: "In supporting these groups, the government of Pakistan, particularly the Pakistani Army, continues to jeopardize Pakistan's opportunity to be a respected and prosperous nation with genuine regional and international influence."

Mullen argues, however, that now is not the time "to disengage from Pakistan" but instead, 10 years after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, America should "reframe our relationship."



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READER COMMENTS: "Admiral Mullen: Pakistani ISI sponsoring Haqqani attacks"

Posted by Paul at September 22, 2011 11:48 AM ET:

For years Nato/West having been fighting a proxy war versus Pakistan in Afghanistan.They are collecting pay cheques from China/Iran and Russia for the war to continue!If the West pull out the payments stop which the Paks fear as their economy will collapse!

Like the Soviet/Afghan war its a money racket for the high end Pak Army/ISI.

China/Iran/Russia want the demise of US whilst Pakistan plays host to the highest bidder playing each side against the other!

I struggle to work out also whose side Saudi are on?Like Pakistan they are a two faced ally!

Posted by andy fr dc at September 22, 2011 11:58 AM ET:

Admiral Mullen has wasted 4 years begging the Paks to do what they do not want to do. The results where predictable. What an empty suit he turned out to be.

Posted by mike merlo at September 22, 2011 12:02 PM ET:

As usual more questions than answers as to who or what is actually running whom. Has Haqqani taken over that part of the ISI it is interfacing with or is it the other way around or some where in between? More than a cursory look at Mullah Omars negotiated settlement with the Haqqani network during the Taliban's ascendancy during the 90's is worth delving into to assist in a better understanding of the dynamics presently in play. That coupled with a follow on analysis of 'its' history up until the present would prove most revealing. Over the course of the next decade Pakistan will fragment into something resembling present day Somalia & Yemen.

Posted by villiger at September 22, 2011 12:56 PM ET:

andy, i would agree with you.

Don't mind my saying so but i think there's an element of American naivety vs Pakistani wiliness.

Hopefully the time for that is over. And if its not, listen to the Indians, and engage them, more--they know how to read a Paki mind.

Posted by ArneFufkin at September 22, 2011 1:48 PM ET:

This is a major development in US/Paki relations. And, not a good one.

Given the mood in Congress, the Pakis can pretty much kiss their allowance goodbye for a while.

Posted by M. Muthuswamy at September 22, 2011 2:09 PM ET:

The good Admiral’s parting remarks are just down right pathetic. He and his advisors (by this I mean the expertise we have available on South Asia) had no idea of the stuff Pakistan is made of.

His “engagement” has emboldened and aided Pakistan, while making the United States security interests precarious in Afghanistan and in its homeland.

Even more concerning part is that Washington appears to have no clue how to “reframe” the relations with Pakistan.

This cat-and-mouse game with Pakistan, without a decisive punch, is increasing the catastrophic threat from the plutonium-factory-nation.

Posted by CC at September 22, 2011 2:18 PM ET:

We need someone like General Patton to be in Mullen's position. I have much respect for Mullen, but come on enough is enough. If there is evidence, it should be presented to the international community and consensus should be built against Pakistan. If there are never any repercussions then there arent any reasons for them to stop their behavior.

Posted by Nic at September 22, 2011 2:53 PM ET:

QUOTE: Mullen argues, however, that now is not the time "to disengage from Pakistan" but instead, 10 years after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, America should "reframe our relationship."

Reread that sentence a few times. What does "disengage" precisely mean in this context? Does it mean stop talking to them, stop sending intel to them ( a good idea), anything else up to leave Pakistan? Then he wants to "reframe our relationship." How can any government function when its leaders rely on platitudes. I could take his job, be just as useless as he is for a lot less money. @andy fr dc: you are so correct.

Posted by JRP at September 22, 2011 3:50 PM ET:

If Pakistan is out of control, who or what is in control of its nuclear arsenal? President Obama has probably taken the offense as far as he dares; better than what the Bush Administration did, but still not good enough. Romney will probably be the GOP candidate, and his vision is strictly domestic. I'm betting that an Obama victory in 2012 will give President Obama the confidence to take the offense against Pakistan and Pakistan's guests - Al Qaeda/Taliban - further. Ultimately some U.S. politician in power will have to deal with Pakistan/AQ/TB in a manner much sterner than what's going on now. If not, in a few years the U.S. will be subject to either nuclear blackmail or actual nuclear detonation somewhere in the Homeland.

Posted by blert at September 22, 2011 4:28 PM ET:

Foreign Policy at this level is NOT handled by the Pentagon.

It's above ANY military pay grade.

I suspect that Panetta and Patraeus are persuading the National Command Authority to take a different tack.

This testimony was to lift the profile of this dilemma.

Obama has LONG been on record as inclined to just go after the terrorists -- even if it meant entering Pakistan. He caught some flack from Islamabad when he said it.

I'd say that Adm. Mullen's comments are nothing but ground work for Obama to take the campaign to the source.

This is the direct consequence of the ISI's assassination campaign -- itself directed at those Afghans most interested in a negotiated resolution of this conflict.

----

Pakistan's true strategy is to maintain the Durand Line. She fears that with Western aid and a time of peace, the Pashtun will surely establish their own nation -- independent of Islamabad.

During the Soviet-Afghan War many Afghans fled to Pakistan -- and were treated like third class bums by Islamabad. The moment the Taliban fell from power -- a mass exodus back into Kabul occurred. The Afghans blame Islamabad for Taliban repression -- all during the 1990's.

Even now, the Pashtun tribes in the FATA are extremely angry with Islamabad; which is not getting rid of the criminal outfits/ terrorist armies -- rather it bolsters them.

Pakistan is riding the tiger -- and has a tough dismount in prospect.

It's Fall and the snow's coming in the high passes. I'll bet that the ISAF is already provisioned for the winter.

Posted by Soccer at September 22, 2011 5:47 PM ET:

Too little too late Mullen, the 800 pound gorilla in the room has inflated into a 10,000 pound elephant while you kept your mouth shut.

That's funny, "empty suit". It seems we have a lot of those these days.

Posted by Chris at September 22, 2011 6:57 PM ET:

I agree with blurt.. This had to be said in an effort to set something in motion. This behavior by ISI was way too much. I hope President Obama directs another Bil Laden type operation with more force and directed at ISI's "buddies" who pulled off the attack on our embassy. Kick some butt this time.

Posted by Charu at September 22, 2011 8:03 PM ET:

Mullen grows a pair and remembers his sacred duty just as he quits. As useless a gesture now as his cozying up to the Pakistanis had been. I agree that this change smells more like Petraeus and Panetta than Mullen.

The question is what are we going to do about this act of war on the part of the Pakistanis? What they fear the most is a Pashtun homeland that erases the Durand line, and this should be the aim of any talks with the Taliban (after decimating the Haqqanis inside Pakistan). And to keep the ISI preoccupied, help the Baloch insurgency to create another front. I would argue that the latter is strategically more important if the idea is to keep Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for the Al Qaeda brand of international terrorism, because it opens up a sea port and a land route that does not depend on the Punjabis.

Since Pakistan, with its Lashkars and Jaishs is already a state proxy for international terrorism, the goal should be to whittle down their institutionalized space (meaning the ISI) to provide shelter to global terrorists to a manageable size. Nukes are of little use to fighting seccessionists, and the Pakistanis will soon realize that their crown jewels actually limit their ability to respond to limited attacks (like the mission that took down Bin Laden or future attacks on the Haqqanis). Ironically, in the same manner as how India finds itself stymied with Pakistani-sponsored terrorist attacks because of the nuclear blackmail hovering behind the scene.

Posted by rk at September 22, 2011 8:08 PM ET:

So, they're supporting LeT against India & Haqqani Network / Taliban against Afghanistan...It seems to me no carrot (or stick) can push Pak Army / ISI toward acceptable policy. Doesn't seem like we have any options, really...Cutting funding or a larger US footprint in Pak will only make a bad situation worse.

Posted by TEM at September 22, 2011 8:38 PM ET:

This is a country who has been addicted to terror since it's independence from the British.

The concept is quite simple, the dictators of these Islamic states make bargains with the radical clerics,so they can protect their power.
They allow the Islamic radicals to take charge of the country's education system,thus directing all the hatered toward the west. The indoctrination starts at an early age and every hardship the citizens face are the fault of the west,according to the radicals.

Posted by blert at September 22, 2011 8:39 PM ET:

Islamabad must worry that come tomorrow, any tomorrow, the ISAF/ NATO could recognize Kabul's claim to the FATA.

(Federally Abandoned Tribal Anarchy)

The FATA are nothing more than the Pashtun lands EAST of the Durand Line.

At no time has any legit Afghan government/ monarch EVER recognized the Durand Line. Rather, it was declared by Great Britain and shoved down their protesting throats.

Karzai is alienated from DC because, in his opinion, we are TOO respectful of Islamabad's outrageous positions.

In the ultimate, I rather suspect that this will end up being forced upon America and the world.

Once the diplomatic border is moved, then consequences may follow.

Since there are no Pakistani Army formations to speak off in the FATA -- it won't even have to retreat.

The up shot: the Pakistani civilian government may actually have a shot at running the country. ( ISI proxies have been tied to previous assassinations within Pakistan. )

Posted by Mr T at September 22, 2011 8:55 PM ET:

The only thing Pakistan has as leverage on the US is the port in Karachi whick feeds the supplies of our troops in Afghanistan and their supposed Nukes.

Nukes are a catch 22. You can't really use them until someone uses them on you. If we were to attack into Miramshah to get the Haqqanis, the Pakis could not nuke us. They would have to fight us conventionally which would prove very difficult for them technology wise. So the nukes are not really something they can use unless they just shoot them indiscriminately like scud missles into India.

I am not even sure if they were in their last gasp, they coul pull it off. Probably not.

That leaves the supply line. They can and will cut that off if we go into Pakistan. What can we do about it? Militaries are always working on establishment and security of supply lines. We should be able to come up the the alternatives to overcome this, especially if it is the only thing holding up our demand that Pakistan stop feeding the insurgency.

Some choices are:

establish supply lines through Russia, Iran, China and the "stans"

airlifts

takeover of the Karachi port and entire supply line

takeover of large swaths of Pakistan to move supplies

working with insurgent groups to undermine Pakistan (payback is hell Pakis)

some kind of bombardment/invasion to send Pakistan into chaos so we can find alternative routes inside Pakistan.

sanctions (ugh.those never work as they subject the regular citizen to hardship so the elites can claim we are evil no goods. The elites won't suffer and they don't care about their citizens)

bring world pressure to bear on Pakistan to force them diplomatically to change their ways. This will not be immediate and doesn't appear to be working now, but maybe we need to reframe it.

enlist India to escalate things with Pakistan either as a diversion or just to plain end Pakistan as a country

get the UN to grant Palistinians a state in North & South Waziristan

pull out and let everyone get killed. Oh wait, thats the current plan.

Posted by yash at September 22, 2011 11:26 PM ET:

what took so long to realise this ?

Posted by wonderer at September 22, 2011 11:28 PM ET:

The original mistake was by Pres. Bush, way back in 2001. It was not Afghanistan that needed to be attacked at that time, but all of Af-Pak.

The US should listen to India a lot more seriously.

Posted by Soccer at September 22, 2011 11:43 PM ET:

"Since there are no Pakistani Army formations to speak off in the FATA -- it won't even have to retreat."

That's just not true, Blert. Pakistan has FC formation, police formations, Lashkar and regular army formations all over the FATA. Heck, they even have sprawling bases in North Waziristan!

I appreciate your posts but it's just not true that they do not have a formation in FATA. It reminds me of when you, blert, denied that Pakistani police were kidnapped in a cross border raid by the Taliban. You called it 'agitprop'. And then a week later, there was a video of the Taliban shooting dead a bunch of tribal police officers blindfolded and handcuffed. Your input adds to the discussion but you need to get your facts straight on some key issues, blert.

As for FATA, Afghanistan should absorb it. Afghanistan should absorb NWFP, as the people who live in NWFP have always thought of themselves as Afghans anyways, and based off the Pashtuns I have spoken to, they believe that most of the incidents of the Taliban crossing the Durand Line has nothing to do with Pashtunistan but rather the fact that they already believe they are inside Afghanistan. Afghans and people in NWFP/FATA share the same culture and heritage.

After it has been absorbed, they can then decide if FATA should remain a "semi-autonomous" area or whether it should be it's own province. I think it should be given a status as it's own province within Afghanistan.

However, as much as this seems beneficial, there are key power brokers in the region that do not wish to see this happen, so I am aware that it is pretty much a fantasy at this point, and I myself have pointed out why it most likely will not happen. But one can still dream, can't he?

Posted by naresh c. at September 23, 2011 12:27 AM ET:

Unfortunately, the coming global recession part II will result in the economic collapse of Pakistan. And the final collapse and hyperinflation will come suddenly. People will be surprised by the speed by which the final collapse will come. Watch out for pkr breaking below 100 against USD in the coming year and then all hell will break loose when it goes into free fall. And Pakistanis should blame themselves rather than conspiracies when it happens. It is very predictable. While all countries will suffer, Pakistan will break up. Unfortunately, one cannot change the course of destiny even if one sees it.

Posted by nirmal at September 23, 2011 12:30 AM ET:

It is ironic and quite sad that the state of affairs that the US and India find themselves vis-à-vis Af-Pak, Taliban and the whole mess in S. Asia. India made its biggest foreign policy blunder (and economic policy) of the last 50 years by siding with the USSR during the Cold war, despite the commonality of its values with the US. While the US chose Pakistan over India as its front line ally against Communism in South Asia. Consequently, India pretty much wasted 40 years of economic development and geopolitical power due to its poor choice which was finally rectified in the 1990s. The US finds itself on the receiving end of the most devastating jihadi terror that can potentially be nuclear armed in the future by the sole Islamic nuclear state that basically acquired its nuclear weapons clandestinely with the US turning a blind eye. And the US is only now finally being forced to rectify its 50 year blunder – that probably is its’ biggest as well.

Posted by Neonmeat at September 23, 2011 2:38 AM ET:

@ Blert
I think you have said it best:
'Pakistan's true strategy is to maintain the Durand Line. She fears that with Western aid and a time of peace, the Pashtun will surely establish their own nation -- independent of Islamabad.'
This is the key to the whole situation IMO.
I'm glad someone, Mullen, has come out and said what everyone has been thinking but as with similar statements made regarding Irans hand in the region I do not holdout much hope of this changing anything.

Posted by Barry Larking at September 23, 2011 3:50 AM ET:

What ever else Adm. Mullen's address produced in the minds of his hearer's it has to be better than the platitudes they have had before. I suspect that almost everyone who has studied this conflict and its origins knew some time ago what Adm. Mullen confirms. Pakistan has its own agenda, both Islamic and geo-political and follows it with steadiness and purpose. I am afraid they seem to me to be some way cleverer than those in the west who have dealt with them and continue to chase their shadow.

Posted by Chengez K at September 23, 2011 9:38 AM ET:


Quite naive comments.

Why cannot U.S sit with Pakistan & Afghanistan & plan the future.

If pakistan is going to do all fighting then Pakistan interest must be kept in mind.


How come 35000 Pakistanis have died in this war but when it comes to future of Afghanistan nobody wants Pakistan to have say in the matters?

Posted by Infidel4LIFE at September 23, 2011 12:41 PM ET:

Nothing WE didn't already know.

Posted by Bungo at September 23, 2011 1:25 PM ET:

Excellent posts!

After culling through them all it seems that the possible strategies to pacify Pakistan are roughly as follows :

1) Finesse the situation and put up with it since that's the easiest thing to do right now (current strategy)

2) Diplomatic campaign to ostracise Pakistan in the view of the international community (a public expose so to speak) using the United Nations et. al. and institute tough sanctions to quaranteen Pakistan ala Iran. (I think this is the next move)

3) Covertly initiate a proxy war(s) using Islamabad's "natural" enemies within their own borders. ( see Muthuswamy's post)

4) Spill the Afghan war over into the Pak tribal areas to attack the Haqannis et. al. and see what the Pakistani response is. (I think this happens after the international diplomatic pressure and sanctions fail)

5) Complete all out invasion and toppling of the Pak military and ISI as per Iraq. (I think this is a last resort and a long way off)

Other than details, what did I miss? (apart from nuclear war of course)

Posted by CitizenKane at September 23, 2011 3:33 PM ET:

A CASE FOR ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AGAINST PAKISTAN

For our 10 year war against guys with rusty Czech AK-47s and a cost of over $1 trillion in US treasure and countless lives, the US is not playing the "game" very well. Finally an outgoing senior US official has the courage to state the source of our problems in Afghanistan and why it has been going on for so long. Pakistan's true colors emerge from their murky past.

If you want to change the situation, you need to hit them where it hurts. The PAK military junta top brass and the ISI top guys control pakistan and its wealth. There kids go to US and British school and they enjoy lives of priviledge. They want to protect their lifestyles and wallets the most.

If the world community is truly interested in solving this problem and resolve the conflict in Afghanistan sooner rather than later, threat of economic sanctions against these guys would force them to protect their positions and end this chirade. Econonmic sanctions should be seriously considered in response to the clear facts of the case. This is the thing they fear the most. I want to re-state this so I am sure the point gets across...this is the thing they fear the most. Next to that they fear a greater US alliance with their number one enemy... India.

Do not let them try to distract you with a baseless fear or misdirection as they have done before. US policy makers fear a "dissolution" of the Pakistani state. They fear the consequences of a "nuclear war" between India and Pakistan...remember the threat of nuclear war that occured between Pak and India 2 months after 9/11. Also remember, that in 1999, Pakistan's military elite overthrew the existing government and is hardly a democratic ally to the world. Bin Laden was found and killed on Pakistani soil in what appears to be a location know by the pakistani military. Lastly, it appears that there is indisputable proof of Pakistan providing active support for military destabilization efforts and "terrorist" activities in Afghanistan.

In ancient Greece, war is only carried out when the cause is just and the objectives are both clear and agreed apon by its citizens. in this case, the objectives are clear by all civilized nations. The cause is just in our efforts to destroy those who threated the ideals of liberty and democratic ideals.

If the source of the problem of why we have been fighting for 10 years in Afghanistan while bleeding our treasure and spilling our blood is the Pakistani government's support for networks in Afghanistan and providing safe havens and/or training grounds, the objective should be to quickly, efficiently, and effectively deal with Pakistan's governement.

Fortunately, they value their wallets more than anything else so economic sanctions against them would provide the medicine for the disease.

-CitizenKane

Posted by Will Charles at September 23, 2011 6:20 PM ET:

Love the debate - interested to see what happens over the coming up months.

Posted by chicago at September 23, 2011 8:29 PM ET:

Mr. T -

One of your options is to take territory

I have been an advocate of this for a long time

you can never change the people - send them on their way and take their lands

establish military bases and bring in american citzens to settle the land

this is how the west was settled in North America - driving out the native americans

out of the box thinking always sounds crazy at first, but playing whack a mole with one hand tied behind our back is crazier

Posted by Tayyab at September 23, 2011 9:08 PM ET:

Why cant the sole superpower block 10-15,000 fighters from crossing a certain border. Why cant they prevent an attack they had enough information about to pass on to another army when there was 190km between point of origin and point of attack. Why after 10 years of occupation of a certain country and killing of thousands of militants they still cant figure out a way to end the mess.

It is far easy for a certain general to wash his hands at the end of an unsuccessful assignment and point fingers elsewhere rather than admitting that as bad as his neighbors were, he could not clean his house because he was not capable enough. Poor judgement as it is from the Pakistanis to back the wrong guys, fact is that they have lost more people FIGHTING these guys than the rest of the world combined. Its about time US put some weight in its words and start cleaning its backyard up.

Cumulative US aid to pakistan for this war is not even 10% of what pakistan has lost due to it. Other than depriving a privileged few of free cash it is not going to make any difference whatsoever to average pakistani. What will matter to average pakistani is better law and order, more employment, more business and pakistan has lost on these due to war. So unless US has decided to invade pakistan there is not much more to lose for pakistan than they already have.

And yes the baluchistan issue, is there a political leader for the oppressed people of that province other than the tribal leaders who have built empires and raised armies on the revenues of minerals mined from that province. Last I checked these SARDARS were against education, woman empowerment, free society even free medication in their beloved balochistan. That great freedom fighter killed by Musharraf had an army of 10,000 raised from the revenues of gas fields he accumulated over the years, I wonder how many hospitals, colleges that army had.
Can some expert of greater baluchistan enlighten me on that.

Posted by G. B. Mallon at September 23, 2011 11:15 PM ET:

I would like to know whether Americans have been given access to Al Qaeda leaders who are/were in custody in Pakistan; Mullah Obaidullah, for one. If interrogations are not permitted to our representatives, the suspicion might arise that the detained Al Qaeda commanders are, in fact, being sheltered and handled by ISI.

Posted by sanman at September 23, 2011 11:18 PM ET:

nirmal,

It was the USA's fault for pushing India towards the USSR, because the US struck first by deciding to make Pakistan its CENTO ally, and also supporting Pakistan's demands against India on Kashmir.

India supported non-alignment, and not a pro-Soviet stance, until it was sufficiently antagonized by the US. Now that the US has spent decades in arming, funding and propping up Pakistan, only to be stabbed in the back by it, I think it's the US which needs to critique its past foreign policy decisions rather than India.

Posted by KW64 at September 24, 2011 9:22 AM ET:

We sure are a long way from the "Anyone who supports a terrorist will be treated like a terrorist" GWBush position from 10 years ago.

However A military solution to this problem by seizing the FATA and turning it over to Afghanistan would be expensive and risky and the only players we can really be sure of are ourselves; not NATO, not Karzai and what role India would be willing to play is a guess. But, if the only alternative is letting the Taliban and their Al Queda associates back in control of Afghanistan where they can reopen the terrorist camps and plan attacks on the west without even predator strikes to worry about, the military option may be preferable. I do believe that the ISI will only change its approach if they perceive a US attack as iminent if they don't.

I am not sure we can rely on Putin to allow us to use a Russian supply route for all of our needs if we actually came to hostilities inside Pakistan. I would think we would need to capture a port in far western Pakistan and establish a secure supply route before we could just invade the FATA and sustain ourselves. Nor could we just clear the area and leave Afghan army units to hold it because if we leave they could not stop a Pakstani counterattack. There would be a long consolidation time after such a move that would require a lot of patience on the American public.

Posted by Charles at September 24, 2011 11:19 AM ET:

2) Diplomatic campaign to ostracise Pakistan in the view of the international community (a public expose so to speak) using the United Nations et. al. and institute tough sanctions to quaranteen Pakistan ala Iran. (I think this is the next move)
...............
I think the simpler thing to do is just declare the ISI a terrorist organization and thereby bring all kinds of international judicial and financial constraints on them.


Sure there's a lot of guys in the Pakistani government who wear many hats. But it would be helpful to let them know that the ISI hat is poison to them.

Posted by Jav at September 24, 2011 11:37 AM ET:

Chicago -

I'm so happy your way if thinking is not the norm in America. You remind me the "land grabbing" jihadis America is supposed to be fighting. Hypocrisy provides more recruits for alqaeda.

And yeah, thats if you can stop Hiroshima/Nagasaki from looking like a walk in the park...

Posted by truth at September 25, 2011 11:18 AM ET:

You rants have got no idea what is being said, how come it's possible while mullen having few days left now saying these and US could justify, these were old sentiments. The problem is US can't find any face saving strategy, most of afghanistan is still in the control of Talibans, hence it's just a matter of time, while us is pulling out, karzai govt is going to be toppled, it is corrupt any way and only feeding US dollars. Pakistan now can give US a face saving exit, but uS is not happy about that, as original us strategy was to break up pakistan so that to take away balochistan and access to the golden waters near gwadar, so that it can control china and russia and loot balochistan gold and natural resources as there are worth of trillions (research on it and you will find out in wikipedia rikho minning dig) as US economy is already collapsing and it needs 1 billion us $ to mange it af operations, hence it is finding it too difficult to achieve it's original plan, which was to attack and divide pakistan by making some reasons, it was a fight b/w us imperialists vis some sensible left out congress men, now, they again looking to pursue that plan. However, circumstances are not allowing them to do that, hence disarray in us establishment could be seen clearly, as after mullen they sent another central commander to extinguish some of the mullen's fire, as ISI knows very clearly about us and waiting for a matter of time, when the monster is going to explode, as then it's the real afghans going to rule and get rid of the mess created by us.

Posted by Mr T at September 25, 2011 7:04 PM ET:

As a kind, gentle nation, We have spent 10 years trying to be the nice guy about this. We know Pakistan has deep Taliban ties. They brought the Taliban to Afghanistan.

We expected they recognized the seriousness of the 9-11 attacks. Many Pakistanis rejoiced that we were attacked. Their leadership might have also but were also astute enough to choose the right side from the beginning.

There is a lot of violet deviseness in the lands known as Pakistan. Not only do they often not agree with their leadership, they kill each other's candidates. Thats some rough stuff. They have major problems.

We have to know who we are dealing with as they play the govt againt the military against the ISi against the civilians against the Indians. Who really represents the power?

We also have to know what it is we want and to state that clearly and effectively. I am not to sure we have that figured out. It's not to just leave Afghanistan though. We certaily have to make sure safe havens there are not used again to plan and execute attacks on Western targets.

I suspect it is much deeper than that and it has to do with infidels. Resolving that issue may solve not only Afghanistan and Pakistan but the entire war on terror and a lot of pain and suffering around the world.

It requires a sea change of ideas in the middle east. Who will be the person or group of people that bring about that change? The mullas and clerics will ultimately be responsible for implementing it but they are not doing it now so something must change thier thinking.

Posted by mujeeb at September 26, 2011 4:36 AM ET:

US need someone to blame for its failure as she is leaving Afghanistan in 2014. The reason a new Villain Mastermind is needed in that region is because the one who played that role for so long, Osama bin Laden, was just killed.haqqani network is another group made by CIA. ISI was in contact with the Haqqani network, but it doesn’t mean that ISI supports the network. there are other various countries that have contacts with the Haqqani network.

Posted by captainjohann at September 27, 2011 12:46 AM ET:

If Mullen is so much worried about Haqqani group, why not brand this as a terrorist group while Even Hamas which does not kill Americans is branded as one. Pakistan has made sucker of Americans and the USA cuts very sorry figure with these verbal threats which have no meaning.Pakistan knows it is an increase of drone attacks till 2012 and then the Americans are desperate to get out with fig leaf provided by ISI. But they are not ready to give that and Mullen verbose is just that. Bill must look at his old posts and will see the word"some where in Afghanistan/Pakistan border" while it was actually Pakistan only with ISI backing.
Can US take on Saudi Caliphate which supports haqqani group, Palestenian UN bid, Independence of Kashmir and taking a new role as Islamic Umma the caliphate. Pakistan nukes are safely tucked in Saudi deserts is known

Posted by A Pakistani at September 28, 2011 5:19 AM ET:

Some of the comments are really interesting. Speaking from a Pakistani POV I'm going to forego the moral debate, after all the Haqqanis were helped by the CIA once upon a time.

The main question for us (Pakistan) is now what? A majority in Pakistan think that the USA is bluffing in its attempt to make Pakistan the scapegoat. American boots on the ground may trigger some sort of military response. Will the USA be ready for that? The greatest difference in going to war with Iraq and Afghanistan and with Pakistan is the support of the people. Americans portrayed themselves as "liberators." Pakistan is different. It has a free media and I can assure you that 95% of the masses will support the army against any foreign invasion.

What will be the American goal if their operation against the Haqqanis turns into a broader war with the Pakistani military? What if we shoot down a few American choppers and take American POWs? Does America have the national and international leverage to actually have war declared against a democratic state? Obviously, they can just say that the ISI are the really rulers but that couldn't be further from the truth--the current government and media have been the most outspoken critics of the military's policy during its previous tenures. Even if there was an election in a Pakistan without a military, things would remain the same.

With the problems at home, is the American public prepared for another war? Even if the actual war cost only a few billion dollars and a few thousand American lives to bring about an unconditional surrender from the Pakistani military, then what? Do you create a new military or purge it and appoint pro-American generals? How would the ensuing civil war be handled? Surely the Americans would have to stay back to have a lasting impact. Not to forget that Pakistan's population is at least five times that of Afghanistan and would require many thousands of troops to stay behind.

And what would happen if Americans started getting slaughtered? The conditions of victory for the Pakistani army would be to kill or capture 10,000 Americans while America would need to destroy the entire military of Pakistan.

What if nukes were involved? What if Pakistan used nukes against an American carrier group? What would be the American response to a nuclear strike against a military target of an enemy at war?

There are too many variables and the chances of escalation are far too great for America to risk an operation in Waziristan, especially after Gilani's statement today that Pakistan will respond to any incursion.

The absolute worst that will happen in my opinion is economic sanctions. Even then, the USA might not be successful considering its deteriorating economy and the rising power of China. China has many billions of dollars at stake in Pakistan. It is highly likely it will veto any sanctions against Pakistan.

There may be unilateral sanctions, but that won't hurt Pakistan as much as they may have done previously. We have many trade partners and even if things go as they are going, the USA will cease to be the primary foreign investor (11% as of today) in Pakistan. It might even help us if some of the expats in the USA start returning back...


Then there have been comments pertaining to India. I don't think India would actually want a USA-PAK war. Besides the threat of nukes, if Pakistan turned into an Afghanistan, the rate of cross-border militant attacks would go up exponentially.

A few things to ponder.
A Pakistani

Posted by john at September 28, 2011 12:00 PM ET:

i have a few questions.

who created taliban?
who armed and trained them?
who brought the concept of extremism into the region?
why did the americans leave the region to its fate after the afghan russian war?

has anyone of you seen the movie "Charlie Wilson's War"?

Posted by topi at September 29, 2011 4:38 AM ET:

I wonder why the new super power is so insecure.

Surrounded by Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and NorthPole the USA is an earth of its own within earth.

A supposition, that america end all wars at all fronts and go back and defend their own shores, whats the max that can happen.

Maybe world peace.

As far as sep11 attacks or any such attacks within the state are concerned. Then shame on CIA. And their other law agencies.

Let Moscow take over things from now.

Posted by Desert Soldier at October 6, 2011 12:32 PM ET:

Admiral Mullen like all the serving commanders must keep their mouths shut or resign. He knew he had no career left when he spoke his mind. At least he spoke most wouldn't.