The Onion’s satire on Pakistani duplicity hits the mark

Two days ago, The Onion wrote a humorous story satirizing Pakistan’s ‘cooperation’ in the Long War. The piece, titled “Pakistani Intelligence Announces Its Full Cooperation With U.S. Forces During Upcoming Top Secret June 12 Drone Strike On Al-Qaeda At 5:23 A.M. Near Small Town Of Razmani In North Waziristan,” poked fun at Pakistan for providing tips to al Qaeda and the Taliban on upcoming Predator airstrikes. In the article, Lieutenant General Pasha, the chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s military intelligence branch, gives a briefing that outlines the exact location and target of a future US Predator strike. An excerpt from The Onion (do read the whole thing):

Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency restated Thursday its commitment to the fight against terrorism, pledging full cooperation with U.S. forces during the upcoming strike on an al-Qaeda safe house on June 12 at 5:23 a.m. near the small town of Razmani in the remote tribal region of North Waziristan.

At a hastily convened press conference, ISI chief Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha called Pakistan’s long- standing partnership with the United States “stronger than ever,” explaining that both countries share an interest in rooting out al-Qaeda before its leaders have time to gather their secret cache of hidden weapons and move to a new location, possibly a tribal area in northwest Pakistan where Pasha said U.S. intelligence is limited in both its sophistication and reach.

“Make no mistake, Pakistan stands shoulder to shoulder with our American allies in hunting down those who threaten our national security,” said Pasha, circling the exact location of the safe house on a large satellite photo of the town. “And we will show no mercy in targeting them, whether it be on the battlefield or, perhaps, in a bunker where the walls are thicker and offer better protection from Predator drone attacks.”

“These are highly dangerous men,” he continued, “who will be taken out at 5:23 a.m. I repeat: The strike begins at 5:23 a.m.”

The Onion story is very funny because it is very true. As if on cue, The Washington Post published an article yesterday detailing how the US recently passed along intelligence on al Qaeda and Haqqani Network training camps to Pasha and to General Kayani, Pakistan’s top military commander, only to learn that when Pakistani forces carried out “raids,” the camps were empty:

Twice in recent weeks, the United States provided Pakistan with the specific locations of insurgent bomb-making factories, only to see the militants learn their cover had been blown and vacate the sites before military action could be taken, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials.

Overhead surveillance video and other information was given to Pakistani officials in mid-May, officials said, as part of a trust-building effort by the Obama administration after the killing of Osama bin Laden in a U.S. raid early last month. But Pakistani military units that arrived at the sites in the tribal areas of North and South Waziristan on June 4 found them abandoned.

U.S. officials say they do not know how the operation was compromised. But they are concerned that either the information was inadvertently leaked inside Pakistan or insurgents were warned directly by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, or ISI.

A senior Pakistani military official said Friday that the United States had also shared information about other sites, including weapons-storage facilities, that were similarly found empty. “There is a suspicion that perhaps there was a tip-off,” the official said. “It’s being looked into by our people, and certainly anybody involved will be taken to task.”

In the past, Pakistan has strenuously denied allegations that its security services are colluding with insurgents.

Again, this is nothing new. Back in 2008, US intelligence officials told me that Pakistan was providing details of upcoming Predator strikes to terrorists. Also, Pakistan raided the Haqqanis’ main madrassa in Miramshah, North Waziristan in July 2008, only to find it empty.

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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  • Vienna,11-06-2011
    This game has been going on since 1945/46 causing
    so much blood spill during and after partition of India.
    No one believed India, would pay back PL480 food
    packets to the U.S. East Bengali intellectuals were
    killed in Pol Pot fashion.But now the joke is no joke,
    very serious.Human survival is at stake.Not laughing
    -Kulamarva Balakrishna

  • kp says:

    I suspect the CIA leaked the story first to the Onion and only gave it to the Washington Post a couple of days later. 🙂

    All good satire is funny because it’s true …

  • Feral Grognard says:

    Only those who do not accept 6th century psychology do not understand the simplicity of this story.
    All Masih ad-Dajjal “deceivers” (false prophets) come to us disguised in common bond, clothed in a embracing tribal dress of fraternal friends, yet do so, as secret

  • Charu says:

    Very funny! Great satire from The Onion; except for the tragic consequences to our men and women fighting in Afghanistan, and to the Afghan people. Not to mention our taxes that pay for this treachery.

  • Charu says:

    The Onion followed this with an interview with Senator John Kerry and Admiral Mike Mullen who chortled that the joke was on the Pakistanis all along because the attack had been cleverly moved up to 5:22 a.m. without informing their good friends, Generals Pasha and Kayani.

  • Virginia-ABN Cav SGT says:

    Wow, so prophetic by the Onion that I almost agree someone had to leak it to them. Wish I could read the whole thing, but the stupid IT people bloch the Onion over here in Afghanistan.God forbid we enjoy anything.
    If anyone doubts this war is being run by the Pakistani government, then here is just ANOTHER piece of evidence. India should be our best friends right now. NOT ANOTHER DIME to Pakistan. That country is the heart of darkness. The people running our foreign policy right now need to start looking a couple of moves ahead. Good grief.

  • Jimmy says:

    White House telephone on September 11, 2001: “Ring, ring….ring, ring..”
    G. Bush: “Hello, who is this?”
    Gen. Musharraf: “Hello, Mr. President. I have called you to offer my most sincere condolences about the tragic terror attacks on the twin towers in New York by American Airlines airplanes”.
    G. Bush: “What the hell are you talking about? There was no terror attack in New York!”
    Gen. Musharraf: “Ooops, sorry! In that case, will call you back in two hours…bbye!”

  • Jeera says:

    Good one Jimmy, here is another variation
    White House telephone on September 11, 2010: “Ring, ring….ring, ring..”
    Obamama: “Hello, who is this?”
    Gen. Kiyani: “Hello, Mr. President. I have called you to request for aid as we have suffered a massive terrorist attack”.
    Obamama: “What the hell are you talking about? There has been no terror attack in Pakistan for the past few days!”
    Gen. Kiyani: “Dang… those idiots always confuse between AM and PM, sorry! In that case, will call you back at night…bbye!”

  • Virginia:
    India needs a generational change in political leadership before it can play a strategic role consistent with its size, power and of course, location.
    If one can point out a major flaw in US policy-making in South Asia, it is put too much currency into making the relations with Pakistan work, and relatively ignore how to leverage India to deal with Pakistan.

  • Jimmy says:

    Thanks! You captured the Pakistani nefarious duplicity perfectly.
    @Muthuswamy, @Virginia
    Come what may, US will never abandon Pakistan. This is a foreign policy fact carved in stone. Pakistan is an important Muslim country with good relations with all oil exporting nations, Pakistan is on the route to Central Asian gas and oil, and Pakistan is close to important countries such as Iran, India, China. But the most important, every agency of Pakistan (Govt, Extremists, Army etc) are completely immersed in corruption and hence easily malleable to dictates from the US. Pakistanis are mercenaries of the West and Indians are a market for goods and weapons. Pure and simple. So, whatever changes may happen in the world, US will never be firm with pakistan beyond a certain limit and will never support India at the cost of Pakistan – NEVER!

  • M. Muthuswamy says:

    In their own optimistic way of

  • Jimmy says:

    I sincerely hope what you say is right, but I have my doubts. For example, note that in this entire court case of Headley-Rana in NY, ISI and Pakistan Army was fully shielded from any prosecution (and they always will be). LeT was made a scapegoat instead….

  • Jimmy says:

    Here is further evidence that the US has succumbed to pressure tactics from the pakistan Army ISI and is now in damage control mode.
    So much for the ‘being hard on Pakistan’ idea!

  • davidp says:

    “information was given to Pakistani officials … as part of a trust-building effort” which has doubly back-fired – as well as the obvious U.S. loss of trust in Pakistan, the Pakistani soldiers involved have experienced U.S. intelligence being “wrong”, which weakens their trust.

  • Now that was a “GOTCHA” moment that was allowed to happen to show Pakistan’s politicans that their military is duplicious. It worked perfectly in that demonstration. You would have thought that Pakistan’s military would have been smarter than that and taken out the objective but no they are dumber than dirt.

  • Nic says:

    In Iraq and Afghanistan many members of the United States’ military and nonmilitary organizations have been killed by al Qaeda while Pakistan has been taking billions of dollars from the United States and at the same harboring OBL in a military city. Everyone has the ability to hit the vile Pakistan. Here is how:
    SOURCE: //
    ” Textiles account for most of Pakistan’s export earnings.” Therefore, boycott goods made in Pakistan, starting with textiles. The country of origin is on the label of each textile. Secondly, send your opinions to your U. S. government representative: // .

  • Charu says:

    What I don’t understand is how did Pakistan learn who our informants were for the bin Laden operation? Was this another trust-building exercise? Because if so, we just sold our local assets down the river.

  • Marlin says:

    Unbelievably, it would seem that the Americans gave the Pakistanis another chance. Guess what? Same results!

    US officials say Pakistan has apparently tipped off militants at two more bomb-building factories in its tribal areas. The officials say that allowed the militants to flee after U.S. intelligence shared the locations with the Pakistani government.
    The latest incident brings to a total of four bomb-making sites the U.S. has shared with Pakistan, only to have the terrorist suspects flee before the Pakistani military arrived much later.

    Associated Press: AP sources: Pakistanis tip off militants again


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