Peter Thomsen's What to do about Pakistan. My comments in red!Reggie Sinha
October 9, 2011
How are insurgents able to continue launching deadly attacks in Afghanistan 10 years into the U.S.-led war there? Part of the blame — perhaps even the bulk of it — lies with Pakistan's army and its powerful intelligence arm, the Inter-Services Intelligenceagency, known by the acronym ISI. (and part of it, honorable Ambassador, is the acquiescence of GOTUS/CIA/Pentagon).
For decades, Pakistan has conducted a proxy war in Afghanistan through Islamist insurgent groups that it has created, nurtured and supplied. (now you tell us! Perhaps, as an Ambassador to Afghanistan, could you care to tell us more…)There is considerable evidence that these groups are managed not by "rogue" ISI elements, as has sometimes been asserted, but by the agency itself. (so the last ten years, GOTUS was lying to us when they would reflexively assign blame to low-level, rogue elements?) The ISI is a disciplined military institution that answers to the orders of the military command, a point former Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf often emphasized. The current Pakistani army chief, army Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, was director of the ISI under Musharraf, and he headed the organization during 2005, when the Taliban began to make a strategic comeback in Afghanistan, operating from protected sanctuaries in Pakistan.
Today, three Pakistani-supported proxy groups are fueling the insurgency in Afghanistan: the Quetta Shura, the Haqqani networkand Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's smaller terrorist group, Hezb-i-Islami. Not one of them has been placed on the U.S. State Department's official list of foreign terrorist organizations. (kinda makes it difficult when they are/were equivalent of our founding fathers, ain’t it? Besides, your suggestion is a bunch of crock! Placing them on FTO will do nothing to reduce Pakistani terrorism!).
Putting these groups on the list would make them subject to a range of U.S. sanctions, and it should be done immediately. There is extensive documentation in the public record — and extensive classified intelligence documentation — of their attacks on American forces inside Afghanistan, including the Haqqani network's deadly attacks at the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters last month. (As Adm. Michael G. Mullen, outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee recently, the Haqqani network "acts as a veritable arm" of the ISI. (what? did we not counsel Indians, post Mumbai attackes, to “restrain” and work with Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues. Perhaps, we should also start sending Dossiers after Dossiers to Pakistan and trust their judicial system to deliver justice to us! Come come, what is good for the goose, should be good for the gander, don’t you think?)
The U.S. campaign against global terrorism cannot succeed as long as Pakistan's army and ISI continue to support terrorist sanctuaries and training facilities inside Pakistan.(that’s not we have been telling the Indians, have we? Do as I say, not as I do, right?). The same training camps used to prepare thousands of Afghan, Pakistani and Arab fanatics to cross into Afghanistan also churn out global terrorists like the Pakistani American Faisal Shahzad, who tried to bomb Times Square last year. (and when exactly did this realization come to you, really?)
Americans need to realize that terrorists' attempts to strike the United States from sanctuaries in Pakistan will occur again and again unless their bases are closed down. (well that that to the stink tanks, GOTUS, Pentagon, CIA and the propaganda news outlets. For the past sixty years, you have brainwashed us average Americans into thinking Pakistan is gift to us from Allah. Frankly, I don’t believe you. Check Powell, the trusting American general-statesman. In Dec. 2010, not even a year back, he was asking for HUGE military help for the Pakisan army. Surely, he cannot be wrong. Sir, why are you so prejudiced against Pakistan?). Bombs targeting American cities will inevitably become more lethal with time. Today they are conventional. Tomorrow they are likely to be biological, chemical or nuclear. (shiver me timbers…tell me something new!).
Washington has long considered Pakistan an important ally, and so has tread lightly for fear of alienating the nuclear-armed and strategically located country. But it is time to add an "or else" to our dealings with Islamabad. (But didn’t Bush do that a decade back? So what exactly are you suggesting: add another ten years??? Difficult to digest that Musharraf did a massive taqqiya on us, doesn’t it?)
In the weeks since Mullen's harsh language before the Senate, members of the Obama administration have sought to soften the rhetoric somewhat. White House spokesman Jay Carney described Mullen's comments as consistent with U.S. policy but said that he would not have used Mullen's language. Other officials, speaking on background, said Mullen's remarks weren't reflective of U.S. policy. (see, if you have someone by the Ba**s, the heart will follow).
But there are also indications that the U.S. could be finally ready to adopt a tougher approach. The day after Mullen spoke, Sen.Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, publicly requested "that the State Department take the additional step of listing the [Haqqani] network as a foreign terrorist organization," noting that the organization "meets the [legal] standards" for this designation. (no, it doesn’t! I had proved in an earlier message that GOTUS used the expression “extremist violence,” and not the word “terrorist,” the specific word required to label is as a FTO. Honorable Feinstein can check the State Department website). Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the State Department was completing a "final formal review" preparatory to listing the organization. And at his Wednesday White House press conference President Obamawarned that "there's no doubt that, you know, we're not going to feel comfortable with a long-term relationship with Pakistan if we don't think that they are mindful of our interests as well." (look what happens when you get elected. Candidate Obama wagged his fingers at Pakistan. President Obama wags his tail at Pakistan).
These are steps in the right direction, but they don't go nearly far enough. The George W. Bush and Obama administrations' "soft" policy of persuasion mixed with bountiful aid and expectations of progress has failed. The U.S. needs to take a much harder stance on Pakistan's promotion of Islamist terrorism in the region and globally. (But you yourself suggest that “it is time to add an "or else" to our dealings with Islamabad” two paras above. When you yourself dither, why blame anyone else? What exactly do you suggest honorable Ambassador?)
Washington has the capability to bring great pressure to bear on Pakistan to encourage it to change course. The U.S. should privately and clearly convey to Pakistan's army and ISI that it will be compelled to implement escalating measures if Pakistan does not close down the ISI-sustained terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan. (So, it all comes down to this, doesn’t it? Do it in private, respect their Honor and Dignity. Escalating measures? Like increase cash-and-Kerry jaziya/hafta. Terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan? Ten years and twenty billions and Pakistan have terrorist sanctuaries? As an average American, I trust my government. For the past ten years, I have believed Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, et al. and I trust them when they said Pakistan is an American ally in the war on terror. You are making me lose faith in all things American. Please don’t spread misinformation). .
The U.S. should also enlist other nations for regional and global coalitions to contain the terrorism coming from Pakistan. (wasn’t ISAF intended to do that? What happened to the mighty forces of other Nato countries? Spain just awarded their highest military honors to Kayani.. No Muslim government supports the sanctuaries in Pakistan exporting violent extremism. (see, you yourself proved it. Pakistan does not export terrorism, only violent extremism). Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, Afghanistan, the Central Asian republics and Western Europe all wish to see them dismantled. (I would not put KSA in this list).
Among other pressures the U.S. can bring to bear are the severance of all military and economic aid, the designation of the three Afghan terrorist organizations as foreign terrorist organizations, the naming of Pakistan itself as a state sponsor of terrorism and the declassification of information exposing the terrorist bases in Pakistan and the ISI's involvement in them. (So, we DO have that information, but use it selectively as a way to pressure Pakistan, not to comprehensively solve the war on terror. Like Ghulam Fai, an ISI plant in the heart of D.C., who bought our legislators, and responsible for the deaths of thousands of Kashmirs, and whose clandestine activities the GOTUS was aware of for a long, long time).
Pakistan has hinted lately that it would turn to China and Iran if the United States ramps up pressure. (they would do it irrespective of what we do or don’t do.). But neither China nor Iran would like to see a Taliban government return to Kabul, nor would they wish to spend the huge sums it would take to shore up Pakistan's listing economy. (Are you sure about China? A Pakistani controlled Taliban Afghanistan would be a coup for China. Further, a China-Pakistan-Iran-Turkey axis would shut out the Americans from CARs).
The Obama administration needs to implement a Pakistan policy that serves America's national security interests. It must be constructed for the long term and be responsive to Pakistan's actions. There should be incentives employed to encourage the dismantling of terrorists organizations that the ISI has created and sustained. (again, a complete cop-out! Specifics, honorable Ambassador, specifics.!) And there should be consequences if it does not. (again, lacks specifics).
The United States cannot afford to indulge Pakistan's support for terrorism any longer. The risks of sticking with the status quo are greater than the risks of adopting a tougher approach.
Peter Tomsen is the author of the just-published "The Wars of Afghanistan." He was U.S. special envoy and ambassador to Afghanistan from 1989 to 1992.