Pakistan closes intel fusion cells, ending hope for North Waziristan operation

The Los Angeles Times reports that Pakistan is closing down three intelligence fusion cells that benefit Pakistani military operations against the Taliban in the tribal areas and the wider northwest.

In a clear sign of Pakistan’s deepening mistrust of the United States, Islamabad has told the Obama administration to reduce the number of U.S. troops in the country and has moved to close three military intelligence liaison centers, setting back American efforts to eliminate insurgent sanctuaries in largely lawless areas bordering Afghanistan, U.S. officials said.

The liaison centers, also known as intelligence fusion cells, in Quetta and Peshawar are the main conduits for the United States to share satellite imagery, target data and other intelligence with Pakistani ground forces conducting operations against militants, including Taliban fighters who slip into Afghanistan to attack U.S. and allied forces.

U.S. special operations units have relied on the three facilities, two in Peshawar and one in Quetta, to help coordinate operations on both sides of the border, senior U.S. officials said. The U.S. units are now being withdrawn from all three sites, the officials said, and the centers are being shut down.

The Los Angeles Times goes on to note that “The collapse of the effort will probably hinder the Obama administration’s efforts to gradually push Pakistan toward conducting ground operations against insurgent strongholds in North Waziristan and elsewhere, U.S. officials said.”

For years, the US government and military have been holding out hope that Pakistan would launch an operation in North Waziristan against the Haqqani Network, the Taliban, and al Qaeda. And for years, the Pakistani government has deflected pressure, often with US assistance [see links below]. For instance, last October, the US military supported Pakistan’s claim that it was conducting “surgical” covert raids against terror groups in North Waziristan, when no such operation was underway.

The closure of the fusion cells and the ejection of US military trainers for the Frontier Corps is Pakistan’s equivalent of cutting off its nose to spite its face. If Pakistan was indeed serious about taking on terrorist groups in the northwest, it would not deny itself these resources.

For more information on Pakistan’s unwillingness to act in North Waziristan, see the following LWJ articles:

16 Comments

  • Soccer says:

    The pressure is being applied to Pakistan’s assets.

  • honjj says:

    seriously, what can Pakistan do if we simply declare war on them, and don’t do anything, except take over NWA, and a beach head to the sea…
    it’s got to be cheaper than what we are doing now…
    much cheaper, it’s not like Pakistan is able to attack NWA anyway…. and even if we did, we can just let them win, as we will have already wiped out all insurgency in the area…
    we have to maintain a boarder anyway, might as well make it a nice boarder… it’s not like they treat us like friends, they treat us like the enemy anyway. might as well make it official, heck with paying these idiots off anymore.

  • blert says:

    Islamabad is so concerned about American discovering even more damaging intel on ISI activities overrides the value of juicy overhead photos.
    And, since these players are being run by Section S, the need for such intel is minimal.
    Pakistan is a master of push-pull.
    They push our buttons and pull our legs.

  • don Owen says:

    The USA should force Pakistan and the world to accept certain areas such as North Waziristan as autonomous “states” not legally governed by Pakistan. We need to establish our right to deal with these states as is appropriate.

  • Charu says:

    Pakistan is the enemy, not the Pashtun Taliban. Co-opt the Pashtuns by supporting the reunification of their territories; they will clean out AQ themselves in order to preserve their long sought-for Pashtun homeland. Also help the non-Pashtuns Afghans to gain full autonomy in their regions, and support Baluchis to liberate themselves so as to provide the Central Asian Republics and Afghanistan clear access to the Indian Ocean in a new federation that is free from Punjabi meddling. This will have the added benefit of denying the Chinese a Persian Gulf foothold, and teaching the duplicitous Punjabis not to mess with Uncle Sam. And if they still don’t get the message, adding Sindh to the federation will end Punjabi delusions for good. They can join China as the latest province to be exploited by the Hans for all we care.

  • The United States is in the process of arm-twisting Pakistani military leadership to start

  • bill says:

    How about this: the USA expands its commercial and diplomatic relationships with India; Starts selling or trying to sell huge amounts of military hardware to the Indian Armed Forces; and tells the Pakistanis that if they want to continue their relationship with the USA they better step up to the plate or we will not be their lifeline any more.
    By the way, this is exactly what the Obama administration has been doing for the last 2 years.

  • TMP says:

    @Charu +1 – You have exactly the right idea – Plenty on the front lines have been advocating such/s ideas for the past 8 years. That is exactly the avenue we should be going for the border regions of Astan/Pak.
    @Bill – The Obama Admin is doing no more out reach to India as compared to the GWB Admin. In fact, India just told us (Obama) to pound sand with regard to Mil aircraft purchases. I do agree with the notion of showing as much as ever support to India, without a doubt. But the Obama Admin is not doing anything spectactular within this regard. In fact the Gov’t of India has quite the disdain for VP Biden going way back.

  • naresh c. says:

    The relationship between US and India is already good.
    That is no longer the issue. It is based on shared interests rather than any carrot or stick policy.
    The issue really is why does US continue to give billions of dollars of aid to Pakistan? US does not still see that ISI and LeT are the same. It continues to believe that if something goes wrong in Pakistan, it will be India’s problem. This will eventually prove to be very costly for the US.

  • KaneKaizer says:

    Has any other nation considered a US “ally” ever been less of an “ally” in our entire history? At least the Soviets in WWII pursued the Germans all the way to Berlin.

  • Clarence Darby the Villain says:

    Hopefully these ‘fusion cell’ closures give us a reason to indiscriminately drop mk88 JDAMs on North Waziristan instead of precise Hellfire strikes. Who needs HUMINT when we have a map of Pakistan? Fire for effect.

  • Skeptic says:

    I think Charu is advising to dismember Pakistan the same way Yugoslavia was done.

  • kp says:

    “I think Charu is advising to dismember Pakistan the same way Yugoslavia was done.”

    And we all know how much fun that was. Now imagine a nuclear Serbia in a dismantled Yugoslavia.

    No one is going to be dismantling Pakistan soon. The guys at the top (in the Army and ISI) have the nukes and jihadists because they’re ultra-nationalists: Pakistan above everything. That seems to be their own reason for being (“We’re not India”).

    This is why we’re stuck in an awkward position. We can’t break them up (and reset the country to a more sensible alignment of perhaps four states) and the current Pakistan seems like it wants to continue. We continue to use the carrot and, now increasingly, the stick the get them to change in some small way. We’ll see how much stick they need to change in a small way. But closing these cells (and making comments about stopping the drone strikes (they’ll find out more about our stealth capabilities if they do that) seems to be a step in the wrong direction.

    If Pakistan does break up then things will get much worse than the Balkans in the 1990s.

  • Nic says:

    Those writers using the “carrot and stick” metaphor should take note that the metaphor is based on the rider of a donkey using the stick to dangle a carrot in front of a donkey. The donkey is thus motivated to take a step toward the carrot to gain the pleasure of eating the carrot. The metaphor is based on the simple idea of seeking pleasure. The misuse of a metaphor can be quite confusing. See: //www.ehow.com/facts_5756445_carrot-stick-theory.html
    //www.docstoc.com/docs/7428848/Theories-of-Motivation

  • Charu says:

    Fat good the Soviet Union’s nukes did to keep that empire intact. When the fissiparous forces are internal, neither 200 nor 2,000 nukes could help put it together again. Breaking up the Balkans had little strategic value in my opinion. The former Yugoslavia was not a source of global radicalism, and the regional instability began only after Germany recognized its WWII allies, Slovania and Croatia. Pakistan, however is already the source of global terrorism AND regional instability. And its belief in the magical powers of its nuclear weapons increasingly leads it to reckless brinkmanship. While disarming them off their nukes won’t be easy, whittling down their region of deployment may take care of this problem, with the added benefit of creating a new economically viable corridor from Central Asia to the sea. Besides, they prematurely gave out China’s plan to build a strategic base in the Arabian Sea, leading their all-weather friend scrambling to quickly deny this for fear of attracting attention to their long term goal. It will be easier to checkmate China’s gulf aspirations now than some time later.

  • villiger says:

    Nic, what if it is the donkey that gets confused?
    Btw, what you suggest is merely a ‘claim’ by my definition….
    //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrot_and_stick

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