Pakistan’s foreign minister protests Predator strikes

Pakistan’s foreign minister lobbed an official complaint to the US ambassador over the April 13 Predator strike in South Waziristan that killed six Haqqani Network fighters. From The New York Times:

The strikes drew a sharp rebuke from a Pakistani government that is increasingly public in its criticism of the C.I.A.’s covert role in its country.

“Pakistan strongly condemns the drone attack,” according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, which said it had lodged “a strong protest” with the United States ambassador there, Cameron P. Munter. “We have repeatedly said that such attacks are counterproductive and only contribute to strengthen the hands of the terrorists.”

On Monday, the chief of Pakistan’s main spy agency, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, met with the C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to try to resolve tensions between the two counterterrorism allies, most recently over the arrest in Pakistan of Raymond A. Davis, a C.I.A. security officer who killed two Pakistani men in January during what he said was a robbery attempt.

After the meeting, American and Pakistani officials said that Pakistan’s request for advance notice of C.I.A. missile strikes, for fewer strikes over all, and for a fuller accounting of C.I.A. officers and contractors working in Pakistan “is being talked about.” The American official added: “The bottom line is that joint cooperation is essential to the security of the two nations. The stakes are too high.”

But the timing of the strikes on Wednesday served only to infuriate Pakistani officials and raised the question of whether Pakistan would retaliate by shutting down American supply lines from Pakistan into Afghanistan, which it had done in previous disputes.

The drone attack was widely interpreted by Pakistan’s main spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, as a deliberate effort by Washington to embarrass the country. “If the message was that business will continue as usual, it was a crude way of sending it,” a senior Pakistani intelligence official said.

Also, Prime Minister Gilani told the National Assembly “that diplomatic channels were being used to exert pressure on America to stop drone attacks,” according to Daily Times.

Read the full NYT report for a glimpse into the complexities and machinations of both countries over the Predator program as well as the CIA and US military presence in Pakistan and cooperation in counterterrorism operations. The bottom line is that the rules seem to be changing. Pakistan no longer appears willing to allow the Predator strikes without exacting a high cost from the US. Most critically, the threat to shut down the supply lines through Pakistan into Afghanistan will worry the US as it enters the fighting season in the most crucial year of the Afghan war.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • BullsEye says:

    Pakistan is only doing this because, like al-Qaeda and the other “good” pro-al-Qaeda Taliban, they see the US i.e West bogged down in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
    Pakistan is confident that they can start pushing for their own aims now more forcefully.
    And I’m very worried to say the least; what is Obama’s plan of action if Pakistan starts forcibly detaining US citizens in its country and closing down the border so NATO can’t resupply itself??
    A war is looming?

  • Paul D says:

    If The mighty Pak Army cleared out the tribal areas of Taliban/Jihadis there would be no need for Drones!

  • James says:

    Most critically, the threat to shut down the supply lines through Pakistan into Afghanistan will worry the US as it enters the fighting season in the most crucial year of the Afghan war.
    Read more: //
    Any body picking up on a real conspiracy being put into action here by Pakistan against US?
    To anyone so foolish enough to naively believe that what happens over there couldn’t possibly affect US over here, pay attention to what the taliban leadership are saying. For example, they boast about taking their fight to the “gates of America.”
    Recall it was mullah omar himself that boasted (in the wake of the 9/11 attacks) that: “We have struck behind enemy lines.”
    Indeed, it is awfully suspicious that Pakistan decides to take these actions right before the much-anticipated (and prepared for) taliban spring offensive.
    My strong advice is that we need to encourage Obama to cancel his trip to Pakistan and to encourage the Secret Service to do the same.
    We had better join forces with India in the general WOT (with respect to at least that region). To hell with Pakistan.

  • blert says:

    I read such posturing to mean that the big strike was MUCH more crippling than the public is permitted to know.
    Everything about the strike profiled as a command confab for the 2011 season. The timing, the concentration and the lull in drone attacks in the weeks prior all point to a congress of terrorists.
    Claims that a bunch of civilians was mixed into a Taliban/AQ confab are absurd on their face. ONLY players would be allowed into the meeting.
    Further, the Pakistani story line about discussing mineral rights is laughable. No mineral extraction is in prospect. It’s a war zone. And it’s in the FATA!
    The reason Islamabad is wigging out is that the CIA/ ISAF is moving too rapidly into an end-game posture. The lost terror commanders cannot be replaced on short notice. So the summer campaign is off the rails already.
    It’s ironic, jailing Raymond Davis caused the drone ops to cease. This led the opfor to concentrate their talent. Which led to a major reverse when the CIA moved too quickly.
    The fog of war is such that one can never know — but such a confab might well have featured ISI brass orchestrating the whole event fully expecting their colleagues to stay ‘the hand of Allah.’
    In which case, the ISI/ Taliban connection proves to be a most dangerous ‘tasking.’ Repercussions in ISA morale and promotions then motivate the entire government to stay the American hand.

  • JRP says:

    I love it when people or in this case, a country (Pakistan) demand or insist upon being respected, in this case, having National Sovereignty respected, all the while being incapable or unwilling to perform one of the cardinal attributes of National Sovereignty; namely, controlling what goes on within your own borders.
    Pakistan won’t lift a finger to turn Osama Bin Ladin over to us, but scolds us for attempting to thwart his organization that even now is planning on ways to severely harm us.
    Yea . . . Go on; keep giving them money. You’ve heard of the novel “Ship of Fools”? We are a Gov’t of fools when it comes to protecting our own national security and, frankly, it has been like that since 9/11.

  • Spooky says:

    We’d rather listen to the crazies here in the states rather than crazies from other countries. Same principle in action over there. The local crazies are more tolerable than the “crazy” of the US imposition.
    It sucks, but such as it is…

  • villiger says:

    “In 2006, Musharraf testified that this stance was pressured by threats from the US, and revealed in his memoirs that he had “war-gamed” the United States as an adversary and decided that it would end in a loss for Pakistan.” (Wikipedia on WOT)
    Play it again Stan and you’ll come out with the same answer. Pakistan would be insane if it tried to reverse the rules agreed, ie the supply-lines AND the drones. Still, one never knows.
    One gets a sense that things will get worse before the US calls Pak an adversary and extends the ISAF mandate into areas of Pakistan across the Af border to include Balochistan.
    Btw, do you remember just a few weeks ago, “General Officer Commanding 7 Division, Maj-Gen Ghayur Mehmood, who is in charge of the troops in North Waziristan, said that

  • Villiger says:

    The Wrong War, Bing West
    On Pakistan, West writes, “Jake [platoon leader Jake Miraldi, one of the dozens of U.S. soldiers quoted in the book] and I were pretty damned mad about the lack of cause.

  • IBAD2009 says:

    Funny, over at Pajamas Media website article by Mr. Poole about DoJ not prosecting CAIR due to WH meddling. Don’t want to have to explain those embarassing photos with HAMAS-linked terror supporters and the C-in-C ! Plus the WH supports the same causes! We also keep our borders open and allow not only Zetas to come over and kill us but also the Jihadis! So leave the poor, Pashtuns and their Arab guests alone -they are just pawns in the Grandest of Games! I hope Isaac my Christian Housekeeper in Islamabad is still alive and his family is safe; the meek Christians of Pakistan are real victims not rich Westerners! Peace out!

  • don owen says:

    Let’s face the obvious, it’s the lack of a Afgani sea port that has made us play with the Pakis this long. With the porous border and safe haven its provided the means for the Talib to continue the game much longer than otherhwise. The private/ public mixed messages concerning drones are reaching a tipping point. America needs to take back the initiative. We must convince the Agfanis, Talibs, Indians and Pakis that Pakistan is better as a enemy than as a friend or ally to the USA. Pakistan can not have it both ways, if it does not have soverneignty over South Waziristan etc than then the USA can declare war on these territories and prevent safe haven. If it does than Pakistan is our mortal enemy simply attempting to avoid the consequences- by this charade. We need to remove all aid, unfortunately find other means to support our troop supply shipments and begin the isolation of Pakistan as state supporting terrorism. Establish a no-fly zone over the territories keeping Paki planes out and actively protect drone strikes. The declaration that the USA does not recognise Pakistan as having active control over the territories can begin the end to this farce. The Pakis will learn the that we are their worst nightmare not the Talib. The old men are dying now they are demanding a stop.

  • Gil Brooks says:

    It is real easy, tell Pakistan to stop harboring Taliban and al Qaeda and secure their border so as to prevent cross border attacks in Afghanistan and the drone attacks will discontinue. Anybody who needs an understanding of this should read Bing West’s new book. If anything, the drone attacks are too cautious. It is sadly similar to the problems with Laos and Cambodia during the Vietnam conflict.

  • DickF says:

    Although I think that much of this is just posturing and is probably intended for Pakistani domestic consumption, any threat to close down the supply routes (and air transit corridors) over Pakistan for an extended period must be taken very seriously.
    In the event of a serious threat (or actual closure) of those routes for more than a brief interval (as has occurred in the past), it will be time for the U.S. to have another Dick Armitage-style discussion with the Pakistanis along the lines of “You’re either with us or against us,” similar to the ultimatum given to General Musharraf a few days after 9/11.
    Not only can the U.S. play the “India card” (Pakistan’s worst nightmare), we can cut off all financial and military aid to Pakistan, freeze Pakistani assets in the U.S., impose economic sanctions against Pakistan and indict the ISI officers who were involved in the Mumbai massacre.
    If that doesn’t get their cooperation (or if there is any shooting between Pakistani and U.S. forces), the U.S. could declare Pakistan to be a state sponsor of terrorism (a simple acknowledgement of an obvious fact), break diplomatic relations and consign Pakistan to the ranks of hostile pariah states like North Korea and Iran.
    A naval and air blockade of Pakistan would then be in order, one designed specifically to choke off Pakistan’s oil imports, ground Pakistan’s international air commerce and prevent the export of nuclear weapons and nuclear technology by Pakistan.
    Yes, the Pakistanis have some nuclear weapons and short range delivery systems. But against the U.S. and India, it would be suicidal for Pakistan to attempt to climb even the first rung on the escalation ladder. The Pakistani leaders may be a brutal and corrupt bunch (with a few exceptions), but they are certainly not irrational or suicidal.
    Some might say that harsh steps like those described above will lead to the country’s collapse and the possibility that the Pakistani nuclear arsenal might fall into the hands of radical Islamists. To that, I say: Unless the Pakistani leadership (ISI in particular) can be made to finally understand that the true threat to Pakistan comes from the Islamists–not from the U.S. and the rest of the civilized world–the country is doomed.
    In that case, at least some of Pakistan’s weapons will almost certainly fall into the hands of the Islamists anyway with disastrous consequences for the world. Current U.S. policy is only prolonging the agony–with no indications that Pakistan intends to confront and decisively defeat the Islamists, let alone any signs that Pakistan intends to return to a path of responsible international behavior.
    Let’s put the Pakistanis on notice and force them to choose sides, once and for all. If they make the wrong choice, God help them.

  • Sharpshot says:

    You are watching grandmasters play the beautiful game of politics.
    Sit back and enjoy.

  • Ahmed says:

    I request all people to stop posting hate language comments on this site.I love my country very much and I don’t want any one to say bad things about Pakistan.

  • Villiger says:

    DickF, good outline. The WSJ has a piece advocating the same, an Ultimatum. Coming just short of the 10th anniversary would be a long and patient enough of a wait.
    Now let enough be enough. There are a hundred good reasons to believe that Pakistan is simply not a viable idea. Break up this ‘country’ and give the Pashtun, Baloch, Sindh, and Punjab peoples their own Nations. It is an inevitability as i see it, from the outside. It will be interesting to hear any views from the inside, in the context of sorting out AQ and the Taliban.

  • Villiger says:

    Ahmed, i read your comment just after i posted mine a few minutes ago.
    It is true that an earlier post of mine contained a quote from author Bing West’s recent book which itself was not his language but someone whom he was quoting.
    No disrespect meant, sorry if it hurt your sentiments.
    I’m far more interested in a constructive dialogue here at Bill’s site which is respected because of the caliber of his writings, comments and their positive moderation.
    I’ll be interested to hear your views to my last post above and how you would advocate rooting out OBL, AQ and the Taliban from your country.

  • don owen says:

    Dear Ahmed, join the world theatre. Americans have learned a long time ago we are not liked and even hated by many- We prefer to be feared than liked. Pakistan is at the crossroads, the Talib/ Qeada say far worse things about Pakistan’s people than we do- THEY WANT TO KILL ANY OF YOU THAT DISAGREE WITH THEM AND ENSLAVE THE REST . Freedom means you put up with a certain among of negativity by others- it also means you protect that freedom. You will either take up arms and remove them from your country or we will- and we will do it either with you or over you.

  • Victor says:

    “We have repeatedly said that such attacks are counterproductive and only contribute to strengthen the hands of the terrorists.” Yeah, well, just because you keep saying it doesn’t mean its true.

  • Paul D says:

    How many times Do Pakistan say bad things about US,Israel or India?.The biggest enemy you have is within your own borders ie Jihadis/Islamists who hate everyone non muslim.Until that us (Believers) and them(Non believers) mentality continues you will never have any friends/good neighbours!
    The world despises your intolerant and hateful nation.Where is the love?

  • Villiger says:

    “Pasha reportedly made no specific demands on the withdrawal of U.S. personnel. He did not ask for a halt to, or even a reduction in, drone attacks. Instead, Islamabad

  • popseal says:

    How can there be a dialogue with primitive and violently superstitious people that insanely think they are justified in killing men, women, and children that are not like them? I’ll leave that to the brilliant wonks in the Dept. of State. I’m still waiting (now for 10 years) to hear a serious rejection of jihadism to come from the general population of Muslims in any country, any time………sound of crickets.

  • Charu says:

    Great commentary all around! This is the Great Game being played once again in Afghanistan, but with far greater consequences for the world in store. Speaking of which, don owen is correct that the absence of a sea port for Afghanistan seriously handicaps our efforts there.
    This is why we should consider helping Balochi efforts for independence from Punjabi-dominated Pakistan. The Pakistanis are waging a nasty, under-reported war-bordering-on-genocide in Balochistan; similar in some ways to what they did in the former East Pakistan in the early 70’s. Balochistan has a sea port, Gwadar, that is currently being developed by the Chinese who recognized its strategic value as a stepping stone to the Persian Gulf. Gwadar is the sea port that we and the Afghans need to break out from Pakistan’s choke hold on supplies.
    Incidentally, Karachi, currently the main shipping port for our supplies, lies in Sindh, and the Sindhis also chafe at Punjabi dominance and are far more moderate and less belligerent than the Punjabi junkers. If Kayani and Pasha are not careful, they might end up landlocked just like Afghanistan today!

  • blert says:

    If Bing West and the experts still haven’t figured out that the Taliban are a proxy army for Islamabad then our cause is in serious trouble.
    The idea that it’s even an insurgency is weird since none of the Taliban are native to Afghanistan.
    The crazy idea that unlawful combatants are suitable for Afghani courts — or ANY court system is bizarre. Further, under Sharia no muslim can possibly be prosecuted for harming a kafir at ANY time. Instead, such conduct is Sharia sanctioned and Koran approved.
    The idea that the Afghani judges are corrupt is entirely false. The fundamental basis of Sharia law is that the kafir have absolutely no rights — especially including the right to life.
    All that a jihadi has to do is swear by Allah that he is on jihad against the kafir — and out the door he must go. That’s the LAW, Sharia style.
    So instead of blaming the locals we need to blame our politicians — and academe. Quite obviously, Washington remains entirely clueless WRT Sharia.
    Every place where Sharia is applied nullifies the American way. Period. They are totally incompatible.

  • hillbilly says:

    What an impotent rage being displayed on LWJ.
    If you want to shoot then shoot dont talk ( from a westren movie).
    You folks are talking about dismemberence of pakistan we are thinking about territorial expansion of pakistan……for those who dont know the letter “A” in pakistan stands for Afghanistan and “K” stands for kashmir and we are working on our mission to complete pakistan…..remember bangladesh was never intended to be a part of pakistan in the orignal plan.
    What a pleasure it is to watch our enemies crying foul

  • Nic says:

    @Charu: Interesting idea of helping to establish a breakaway country. That would really “stick it” to the Pak. government, revenge for allowing our supply line to be attacked. The United States has done this before in Panama. Problem: everyone knows how wars start, no one knows how wars end. This effort could backfire. Thus, @LWJ: Please do a feasibility piece on creating a state with Gwadar as its capital and leaving Karachi as a part of Pakistan. I realize that making Pakistan landlocked would be sweet revenge but I am aiming at the possible.

  • Johno says:

    When Pakistan no longer wants the UAV strikes they will shoot them down. They may cost $50M but even the PAF’s J-5 could make them toast & blame it on the Wahabis buying MANPADS from Iran. The head spook from the ISI probably went to DC to find out why the lapse in action rather than the other way round.
    I find it alarming that people are focusing on the Pakistanis and not the dismounted combat inside Afghanistan. People claim the Pak govt is supplying the enemy with equipment. Have you seen the state of their equipment! They are completely worn out, all that Chicom finish has rubbed off and the mechanical noise when you work the actions are horrendeous! Most of it is 30 years old. As to the amount of ammo – it’s a joke. The Wahabis have bottomless pockets so someone is putting the sqeeze on their logistics tail. Check the “Gates to Amerika” video from the lost COP on the Pech River. There wouldn’t have been a thousand rounds amongst what was a platoon sized force. Most of them didn’t have laces for their boots (those that had boots) If you showed that video to General Giap he’d laugh so hard he’d wake ol Ho.
    The infantry will decide the outcome of this war and if they fail against such a poorly equipped foe the Wahabis are going to make things a great deal worse for all of us.
    The US needs to focus it’s energy into infantry warfare. Technology has largely by-passed fighting at close quarters. Despite the average ISAF infantryman being a much better fighter than the enemy his man-portable weapons are virtually the same as his opponent.

  • blert says:

    You’ve got military theory completely upside down.
    Wars are not won by going grunt to grunt more effectively. That style of warfare went out with the Vikings.
    The Taliban are RAISED IN PAKISTAN and nowhere else.
    They are run by the ISI.
    Their purpose is to hang onto the Durand Line by splitting the Pashtun into FATA and Afghani factions.
    Their ammo status never seems to run out — ever — and in that environment no paint job lasts.
    30-year old ammo = duds like crazy.
    Deniability is essential to proxy armies. Without such — they’re no longer proxies!
    As for their clothing: all the better to LOOK like they’re locals. Anything other than such would make them stand out. That’s the LAST thing the ISI wants.
    Beyond that, these fools in the fields are but pawns. Our beef is with AQ — which is hiding in Pakistan.
    We also have a beef with the Taliban leadership — which is hiding in Pakistan.
    Or better said: in protective custody in Pakistan. Even Mullah Omar is but a tool of the ISI. Without Islamabad’s support everyone of these players would be rounded up in weeks and the conflict would be over.
    The Taliban have zero support in Afghanistan. They ran the place straight into the ground and no one has forgotten it.
    No music, no games, no fun, no profits = Taliban rule.
    BTW, none of the Taliban top leadership can read or write! If you CAN read or write — you’ll never get promoted to the top!
    Some students! Of course, they’re only imitating Mohammed — who famously couldn’t read or write — and wouldn’t let his words be set to ink. Likewise, the Taliban would kill anyone taping them or video recording them. Weird, but true.

  • Marlin says:

    You cannot accuse the Pakistani administration of consistency in messaging. 🙂

    Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Saturday said that drone attacks cannot be stopped; we are trying to resolve the issue through diplomatic channels, DawnNews reported.

    Dawn: Drone attacks cannot be stopped, says Rehman Malik

  • kp says:

    Johno: “When Pakistan no longer wants the UAV strikes they will shoot them down. They may cost $50M but even the PAF’s J-5 could make them toast & blame it on the Wahabis buying MANPADS from Iran.”

    UAVs fly too high for the MANPADS to be effective. They’re aware of that risk (and optical AAA).

    The Pakistanis could try this but they risk of the US upping the ante putting up a CAP over NW and SW (and perhaps other districts), engaging and destroying Pakistani aircraft and systems on the ground is not a risk the Pakistanis will want to take. Along with loosing all the aid from the US.

    Plus a Reaper can carry a fair amount of self defense too. It might not be quite the turkey shoot you expect.

    I suspect there are some stealth UAVs out there in small numbers. I doubt the Pakistani radar is seeing those. If they were to start operating in Quetta things could get very interesting.

  • Villiger says:

    A well-reasoned article by Najam Sethi on the state of play

  • Villiger says:

    “You folks are talking about dismemberence of pakistan we are thinking about territorial expansion of pakistan……for those who dont know the letter “A” in pakistan stands for Afghanistan and “K” stands for kashmir and we are working on our mission to complete pakistan…..remember bangladesh was never intended to be a part of pakistan in the orignal plan.”
    hillbilly, thank you for that very eloquent alphabet lesson.
    Since you have no ‘B’, and Bengal/Bangladesh dropped out, b prepared to devolve Baluchistan also 😉
    And again, you have only one P so, sorry, no Pashtunistan either.
    As for the A and the K, that was a spelling mistake–intended to be pAQistan–whatever the vision of your founding fathers, AQ you have.
    Anyway, enough of your scrabble-board, we were never playing that game with you. We’re on to dominos–stand atop your hill, billy, and watch the storm build into thunder and tornados.

  • brookie says:

    Blert you paint a picture that just doesn’t quite add up. For instance you say all talibs are Pakistani. No locals are fighting and so on…. These people have married into families and they are all one. Even if they were all Paks in the beginning (which they were not), by marrying into these clans in these remote valleys they are now locals for sure. Many things you say have a speck of reality in them, but just don’t seem to hold water.

  • Johno says:

    @kp – the Paks would blame the losses on MANPADS they would shoot them down with aircraft cannon – its cheaper!
    I would love to see piloted aircraft defending unmanned aircraft. That would really be a Milo Mindbender moment.
    @ blert – I’m guessing you’re saying airpower determines the outcome of war and the “grunt to grunt” is a Viking thing from the 8th-9th century?Well I don’t think it’s necessary to go back to the Vikings I think the Vietnamese will do; afterall they wear pyjamas like the Talibs and likewise were equipped with Chicom weapons.
    The US army, navy, airforce & marine corps flew more than 5 million air sorties in Indo-China. They lost 10,000 aircraft – fixed & rotary. I didn’t know most of these were shot down by North Vietnamese airpower. I’m amazed. The 58000 US dead, 330,000 wounded, 250,000 ARVN dead and 1,000,000 wounded was due to enemy airpower? It’s no wonder they won the war they had stealth fighters and bombers 30 years before anyone else.
    However back to the present. The Taliban are an Afghan movement. They were raised in the Afghan refugee camps in the mid-80s by the ISI & the CIA as proxy fighters against the Soviets. Children born in UN camps have no rights to citizenship of the host nation. Anyways they were proud to be Afghan, I’ve never met an Afghan who wanted to be a Pakistani nor vice-versa.
    There are many non-Afghan fighters in Afghanistan however I would call them Wahabis not Taliband but I think we can agree on that one, whatever they might call themselves.
    Fire-discipline is just not part of the gig. I’m sorry blert you are off base on that sucker. I mean it is considered effeminate to aim and short bursts … I’m sorry not gonna happen. Stoppages are a nightmare for them, even with the AK mechanism & the PK let alone the RPD and DShK. It is a combination of ammo and the state of the weapons. Both not good.
    You wrote they never run out of ammo!
    A Marine platoon would run out of ammo at the Talib cyclic rate in 30 minutes & boy no-one carries as much ammo as a Marine. The Talibs are usually out in half that time and it goes everywhere. I very much doubt the Talib logistics tail is anything like the Marine Corps’. But hey you never know.
    I think your argument was the lousy battledress was a disguise by the foreigners to blend in with the locals? Ok cool. I put my hand up – they certainly fooled me.
    Blert the Pakistanis could do a hell of a lot more to help out – we all agree on that but bombing them isn’t an answer and an invasion thru India would trigger a nuclear war.

  • blert says:

    The Pashtun live astride the Durand Line. The may live in the FATA but they never consider themselves Pakistanis.
    Their type of fighting is Apache style: hit and run. It is the exact opposite of USMC ‘cage match’ on Iwo thinking.
    So you’re in an apples and oranges situation.
    The Taliban, without exception are raised from Salafist funded indoctrination school ( hence Taliban = students ) solely located in Pakistan. Here and there you’ll find Punjabi Salafists — but they are vectored towards India.
    It is not ISI’s game to win in Afghanistan. The whole project is a cash cow for Islamabad. They want to string things out. It’s been effective so far.
    Vietnam is as relevant as the Napoleonic wars.
    Here and there the Taliban kidnap / extort females from the locals. But that doesn’t make them family.
    The Salafist creed of the Taliban is entirely rejected by Afghanis, Pashto or not.
    No music, no play, no fun, no profits — on and on it goes. It’s like inviting Puritans to the Playboy Mansion.
    Here and there the Taliban have been able to ‘merc out’ some poverty stricken fool into performing IED ops. Far more commonly the locals point out the IEDs to ISAF troops. Their problem is out thinness on the ground: they fear Taliban retaliation in the night.
    You’re running with a fantasy. The Taliban are hugely unpopular. They are alien in speech and creed.
    The killer is that our campaign is pure mission creep. The ISI has us paying them off. We’re NOT pursuing AQ top brass. Instead, we’re running around, grunt to grunt, wasting time, blood and treasure.
    It’s upside down right across the board.

  • Johno says:

    Blert Do you consider children born of Afghan refugees who have since returned to Afghanistan with their off- spring as Afghans?

  • bard207 says:

    I request all people to stop posting hate language comments on this site.I love my country very much and I don’t want any one to say bad things about Pakistan.
    If your country was doing more good things, there would be much less bad things said about it here (and around the rest of the world).
    Here is an example:
    Pakistan’s transgender tribe of tax collectors
    Pakistan’s tax take is dire: barely 1 per cent of Pakistanis pay any income tax, and the government is frantically trying to increase its income — partially to placate the International Monetary Fund. Pakistan wants to borrow up to another $5 billion from the IMF, which insists the state improves its tax collection.
    The government is seriously indebted — and only 1.9 million people in a country of 170 million filed tax returns at all last year. By some estimates 10 million people are registered to pay taxes in Pakistan; the great majority don’t pay a rupee.
    Here is another example:
    State of Human Rights in 2010
    Displacement and discrimination
    Discrimination on the basis of faith was reported amid the massive floods in the
    summer of 2010. In August, 500 Ahmedi families displaced by the floods from Dera
    Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh and Rajanpur districts of southern Punjab were denied
    relief goods and shelter by government officials and local clerics on account of their
    faith. The displaced families were expelled from a government school in Dera Ghazi
    Khan and from rented lodgings elsewhere in southern Punjab following clerics? edicts
    that the affected Ahmedis must not be provided help.
    Christians displaced by the floods in Punjab also complained about discrimination
    in distribution of relief goods. District officials in Sukkur reportedly observed Sikhs
    and Hindus being pushed away from food distribution points. In Karachi, the complete
    lack of religious sensitivity led nearly 600 Hindu flood victims to stage a protest after
    they were given beef to eat.
    I have already seen the Pro Pakistan web sites discussing the 500,000,000 RAW, CIA and Mossad agents working out of the 10,000,000 Indian consulates in Afghanistan to disrupt life in Pakistan.
    Neither of the two internal problems in Pakistan that I cited above can be attributed to those 500,000,000 RAW, CIA and Mossad agents.
    Pakistanis refuse to own their problems and try to assign blame elsewhere.
    You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem.

  • Charu says:

    From Jane Perlez’s article today in the NYT (//, the end game in AfPak is here and we are being outmaneuvered by the Pakistanis who are playing off Karzai’s paranoia, Mullin’s gullibility, and the administration’s desire to cut-and-run. Petraeus comes across as the ablest commander, which is why the Pakistanis hate his guts. Unfortunately, he may not have the administration’s ear because they fear his popularity.
    Tnerefore the question boils down to whether we punish the Pakistanis for their back-stabbing duplicity, and if so, how? It won’t be difficult to economically break this bankrupt failed state. Without the billions in aid the military machinery will quickly grind to a halt. Take away spare parts for their airforce and it will be as good as a no-fly zone. Add some judicious support to breakaway regions like Balochistan and Sindh and the Moghul wannabees in Punjab will be too preoccupied to mess with Afghanistan. The Taliban will either wither away or add to the turmoil in Pakistan. As for the nukes, they will end up being huge millstones on the military’s neck. The first time they are used anywhere by anyone of their proxies, Pakistan will be unilaterally disarmed or cease to exist as a nation.

  • Charu says:

    For a (sane) Pakistani perspective on their military’s unsuportable brinkmanship with the US, see the following sobering commentary from an otherwise usually hilarious satirist:

  • blert says:

    It is of the essence that even Afghanis don’t self-identify as such.
    The Taliban are NOT children of Pashtuns living in Afghanistan. Rather, they come from the FATA.
    Refugees that returned en masse in 2001/2 were spiteful of the Pakistani government. Because they were treated like pond scum when they were refugees. Further, it was common knowledge that Islamabad was skimming off big money from the Western refugee aid flows.
    When the refugees returned they took the whole family. They didn’t leave their sons behind to read the koran.
    When the Taliban ran Kabul their only diplomatic ties were with Islamabad and one of the Arabian states. ( Yemen? )
    That stands to reason. Kabul was a pure puppet of Islamabad.
    The biggest single AQ/Taliban operation is just a couple of miles down the road from the biggest Pakistani air force base in Waziristan! Get a clue.
    ISI is an empire within the state. In that sense it’s like the SS and the NKVD; or in the modern day the PLA of Red China. All powers in their own right with factories self-funding them and massive armed force.

  • Ramiz says:

    I must say some amazing views out there. I believe the CIA has thought of these scenarios multiple times before.
    I must stress I respect everyone’s view and by no means want to offend anyone. I am open to talk and would love to hear back from you adding to my knowledge.
    @James, Don Owen & Dick F

  • Johno says:

    @Blert – In the early 80’s it was decided the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan was going to continue for a long time – much like the CCCP!.
    Tens of thousands of children 8,9,10 year-olds were gathered in schools within the 3 million Afghan refugees located in the UNHCR and IRC camps in the FTA with the sole purpose of providing fighters to attack the Soviets. The suggestion that these young men in 2002 were Pakistanis — by way that they had lived their whole lives in the FTA is absurd. The syllabus was half normal and half militant. Your claim that it was pure Salaf is nonsense. The teachers were lowly paid Pakistani infant school teachers. The suggestion they were learned in Islamic orthodoxy reflects you never attended a single class. The teachers understanding of English was usually very good but Quranic instruction in Arabic was very much by rote in the typical phonetic style reflecting almost a complete lack of understanding of what they were essentially ‘chanting’. This does not qualify as “pure Salafism” in fact this form of ‘tokenism’ is the nemesis to the orthodox faith.
    Most of these children were completely insulated from any normal Pakistani culture. They were in the middle of one of the worlds most godforsaken deserts.
    Your romantic notion of Pathan allegiance to a greater Pashtoonistan I find equally difficult to recognise. The Durand Line generally tends to occupy very lonely, inhospitable geography. When you cross over the border- usually into the next valley, you are in a different ‘neighbourhood’. The people may look the same but they are usually not related. The further you travel from the border the more this becomes so. Within the valley a days walk usually severs any blood ties and blood feuds emerge because of the dislocation. This shouldn’t be difficult to understand. In most western cities there are neighbourhoods where ‘looking’ at someone on the wrong side of the street can have fatal consequences.
    When the millions of Afghans returned to their country they did not leave their young men behind – I find that whole notion ridiculous.
    After the feuding warlords ruined the aftermath of the Soviet withdrawal the emergence of these young men lead by Mullah Omar was considered a salvation. Unfortunately it proved a disaster.
    However to try and explain away this catastrophe as a Pakistani plot is a denial of a long tortured drawn-out tragedy. The Taliban (not to be confused with the Tabi’un) are as Afghan as Mullah Omar, J Haqanni, G Hekmatyr, Massoud, Rabbani, Karzai etc. etc. What you incorrectly refer to as Salafism is a fascist political doctrine commonly referred to as Wahabism. And it is definitely not Afghan.

  • Charu says:

    @Ramiz, North Korea has nukes and is as crazy and irrational as anyone out there. But its nukes can only deter so much before nations around the world get tired of its rogue behavior. Pakistan will soon learn that there is only so much deterrence against retaliation that its nukes will provide (like during its sneak attack on Indian Kargil in the 90’s), and that nukes are useless against homegrown insurgencies. All the nukes in the world could not prevent the Soviet Union from collapsing from the rot within.
    It is one thing to give a “wild goose chase” to the CIA within your own country, and an entirely different thing to believe that the Pakistani military – which has never won against a well-armed adversary, including that Taliban – can maintain its “smarter quipped” (sic) without US aid forthcoming.
    And if you think that Chinese weapons and technology will in anyway replace American weaponry, then dreaming is the only option left for Pakistanis today. China hasn’t even economically bailed out its all-weather bankrupt friend at its time of need, which is why Pakistan subsists on US aid. China military has enough on its hands without having to arm rogue states like Pakistan or North Korea with sophisticated arms. And even if it mischievously did arm its rogue proxies, dictatorships always end up losing to democracies.
    Rogue behavior by failing nations will result in punishment from the global community. If you don’t like to be punished then stop behaving badly. The Taliban are only escaping punishment because they are given shelter in Pakistan. Otherwise they would have been defeated a long time ago.
    Pakistan’s nukes are only good so long as they aren’t used, and nukes cannot be repeatedly applied as a shield to carry out crazy irrational acts like North Korea’s shelling of South Korea or the sinking of South Korean ships, or the ISI’s sponsorship of mass terrorism in Mumbai or in the US/European cities, or the ISI’s support for Taliban attacks on US troops in Afghanistan, before these countries supported by other democracies retaliate. And there are many ways to punish intransigent behavior without having to resort to apocalyptic nuclear means. If you play with fire, expect to be burnt.

  • blert says:

    The Durand Line means absolutely nothing to the Pashtun.
    It means everything to Islamabad, the string pullers.
    The Taliban that are coming into Afghanistan are NOT the sons of the refugee crowd. They, by their accents and statements are sons of the FATA Pashun tribes.
    The refugees picked up their stuff and returned to Kabul only AFTER the Taliban were turfed out by the CIA and the Northern Alliance. The refugees were as fearful of the Taliban as they ever were of the Soviets.
    At first a huge wave of excited Pakistanis surged into Afghanistan to fight the Americans. Then they hooked up with American style smart bombing. Then they turned around and bravely fled.
    The years immediately after 911 were quiet because Islamabad was still sweating the blow-back from 911. Period.
    Once the Democrats started carping about Bush and WMD and Iraq, Islamabad realized the pressure was off and spooled up ISI ops.
    Wahabism is but ONE strain of Salafism which goes much further back in time. The tension between Sufis and Salafis goes all the way back.
    Now that the USMC has driven the Taliban out of this or that village — the locals are overjoyed — business is WAY up.
    Omar didn’t get there on his own wheels. ISI sponsored him no less than the KGB sponsored Arafat and the PLO.
    They still sponsor him. He’s got a $25,000,000 bounty on his head, yet no Pakistani official will turn him over.

  • Ramiz says:


  • Villiger says:

    Pakistan may be insolvable, but it is certainly not dissolvable.

  • DANNY says:

    America is not trying to take Afghanistan, no one has ever conquered Afghanistan ( your words) because it is not worth conquering. What there that is worth fighting for? Sand? a bunch of nothing? Poverty, Islam, the ability to sell your soul to the devil and grow Opium? Nice people great values? Sorry but we are there because AQ and a reasonable IDEAL not to bomb them back into the pre-stone age. (haven’t quite escaped the stone age yet have they?) Your view is pretty dim seeing we were attacked by a country who let it’s self be enslaved by monsters. And we are actually being KIND… in how we deal with the average terror supporter and anti-America un-greatful family and President.

  • Sharpshot says:

    Beneath that worthless sand, lies some of the worlds biggest deposits of minerals. Including: Lead, zinc, gold, copper, rare minerals and more importantly, lithium.
    Estimated value of said minerals? $3 Trillion.
    Can’t tap into it on a big scale just yet, we need stability to build the infrastructure to mine it and transport it. With green cars being the next thing, and electronics being integrated into society rapidly, who do you think will be the worlds major supplier of lithium for the batteries in the next 50 years?
    Afghanistan is better placed geologically vs Bolivia/Chile to supply the Far East, minus one big issue, it is land locked.
    Which nation nearby is “friendly” enough, and has sea access to allow shipping of these minerals? Pakistan.
    Do you like to play chess?


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