U.S. officials: Pakistani intelligence urging on Haqqani jihadists against U.S. targets

That would certainly explain Islamabad’s unwillingness to go after the Haqqanis, and their intense display of indignation when Secretary of Defense Panetta criticized them for it.

Pakistan appears to be approaching a point where it has overextended itself in its double game, losing control to the jihadist groups it has attempted to leverage toward its own purposes, and being caught double-crossing its “allies.” They have ceded sovereignty on the frontier for all intents and purposes, and have looked the other way from all manner of jihadist attacks. As long as the victims are Americans, Christians, Shi’ites, Ahmadis, or over the border in Afghanistan, there does not seem to be a sense of crisis.

The irony is on the level of a Greek tragedy, whereby Pakistan’s use of proxy warfare to spread its influence beyond its borders in Afghanistan and India (particularly in Pakistan’s obsession with Kashmir) may yet precipitate Islamabad’s loss of Pakistan itself. “Pakistan ISI urged attacks on U.S. targets: officials,” by Mark Hosenball for Reuters, September 21:

(Reuters) – U.S. officials say there is mounting evidence that Pakistan’s chief intelligence agency has been encouraging a Pakistan-based militant network to attack U.S. targets.

The allegations, if fully confirmed, heighten a painful dilemma for President Barack Obama’s administration. Washington is under growing political pressure to take action against the Haqqani network after a spate of deadly attacks U.S. officials have attributed to it. These include last week’s strike against the American Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Some U.S. intelligence reporting alleges that Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence directorate (ISI) specifically directed, or urged, the Haqqani network to carry out the September 13 attack on the embassy and a NATO headquarters in Kabul, according two U.S. officials and a source familiar with recent U.S.-Pakistan official contacts. However, officials cautioned that this information is uncorroborated.

Another U.S. official familiar with internal government assessments said that at the very least, the available intelligence strongly suggests the ISI has been egging on elements of the Haqqani network to launch attacks at American targets in the region.

While American officials have aired allegations of ties between the ISI and the Haqqani network in recent days, they have not publicly cited evidence that the Pakistani agency, or elements of it, urged its proxy to attack U.S. targets.

While the ISI’s motives in any such attacks are not clear, Pakistan has long wanted to play a major role in Afghanistan’s future after the departure of NATO troops, and to counter what it sees as the growing influence there of arch-rival India.

This week, top U.S. officials, including Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, demanded that Pakistan’s leaders take action against the Haqqanis, who are based in that country’s tribal areas and are considered among the most dangerous insurgent groups in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

Still, despite the threats and an intensified campaign of violence that threatens U.S. efforts to stabilize Afghanistan, the Obama administration has few options for increasing pressure on Pakistan and none of them are good.

After years of efforts to cajole, coax and threaten Pakistan into cracking down on a host of militants operating from within its borders failed to bear fruit, U.S. officials are exasperated.

For the United States one alternative — another cross-border raid, like the Navy SEAL mission that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May — may be tempting in some quarters. But the risks are high and the backlash from Pakistan would be fierce, almost certainly harming what counter-terrorism cooperation exists. […]

“The (U.S.) administration has thrown everything at this — high-level meetings, tons of money, all of these overtures, and it hasn’t gotten us anywhere,” said Caroline Wadhams, a security analyst in Washington.

“This can’t go on forever,” she said, “but the problem is that we have so little leverage.”

“Pakistan values its relationship with the U.S. and is committed to eliminating terrorism in Afghanistan and from our soil,” said A senior Pakistani official. “We will look at all evidence shared by the U.S. side and deal harshly with anyone and everyone responsible for terrorism.”

The long-simmering tension between the sometime allies, sometime adversaries came to a head last week after the brazen attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. It was a major blow as Obama hopes to nudge Afghanistan toward stability and gradually bring home U.S. forces after a decade of war.

Since then, American officials, including Obama’s ambassador in Islamabad and Mullen, his top military officer, have issued unusually blunt criticisms of Pakistan’s failure to curb the Haqqani group — and made frank statements accusing Islamabad of links to the group.

Mullen, in a speech to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said Tuesday he had pressed Pakistan’s army chief in a four-hour conversation on Friday to break the country’s links with the Haqqanis.

“We covered … the need for the Haqqani Network to disengage, specifically the need for the ISI to disconnect from Haqqani and from this proxy war that they’re fighting,” Mullen said.

The Haqqanis, just one of a host of militant groups that have used western Pakistan as a base for attacks in Afghanistan, are seen as allied to both al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban. Supported at times in the past by the CIA, they have had long-standing ties to the ISI.

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  1. says

    (((((((“The (U.S.) administration has thrown everything at this — high-level meetings, tons of money, all of these overtures, and it hasn’t gotten us anywhere,” said Caroline Wadhams, a security analyst in Washington.))))))

    So, what now?
    Why r those B-52 lying idle?
    A clueless, rudderless superpower?

  2. says

    Leverage? What other name is there for the billion$ in aid? We are being represented on the world stage by total idiots. Put the grown-ups back in charge.

  3. says

    The Haqqanis and thug Gulbeddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e-Islami were the biggest beneficiaries of Robert Gates’ and the CIA’s largesse in providing billions of our tax dollars, weaponry and training to the jihadis fighting the Russians. Both are now the leaders in killing American soldiers right there, in Afghanistan.

    Ruslan Tokhchukov, EnragedSince1999.

  4. says

    Only the Americans were not aware of this for the past 63 years. Using Jihad as a matter of state policy has been the central strategy of Pakistan since 1947.

    It did not matter for the frist 63 years or so as people killed by the this policy were Indians. Now the chickens have come home to roost.

    Despite all this US still supplies the weaponary to Pakistan hoping that will be used against Indians only. If US has any strategic sense it will wake up to this folly and stop all hitech weapon transfers to Pakistan.

    63 years of unstinting support has resulted in an over 80% of the population (the other 20% are christians, hindus, ahmadis, and apostates from Islam) having negative opinion of US. How can it get any worse?

    US state department continues to support jihadi activity’s against India and ipso facto there will be elements in jihadi circles who see US as the better target. SO US money and and arms will continue to be used to kill US soldiers and civilians.

  5. says

    Yes. and right now, the prospect of cutting off aid ought to concentrate their minds wonderfully.

    Because right now Pakistan is up to its neck in monsoonal floodwaters, which are causing floods in some places as bad as or worse than what they got hit with *last* season.

    They have spent all their money on weapons, their nuke project, etc, and next to *nothing* on fixing the damage from the last lot of floods, nor on any sort of works to ameliorate future floods.

    Now they are copping another hammering.

    Water, water, everywhere. Lots of crops wrecked and fields washed away.

    And they are yelling to the infidels to hop to it with the aid, the food, the medicine…singing out for aid to the very same Infidels they have been busy all year hating and plotting to kill. (One may notice that the obscenely wealthy Arab Muslims, who could afford to do all kinds of things for their poor, poor suffering fellow Muslims in Pakistan, are basically doing diddly-squat.)

    Seems to me that the free non-Muslim world, especially the USA, should turn a stony face to Pakistan and say simply: we’re broke. No can do. Go ask the Gulf Arabs. Go ask the Saudis. They have plenty of money. Ask them for help, if you’re hungry and wet and cold. Oh and by the way, if you (and make crystal clear that by ‘you’ we mean the MUSLIMS of Pakistan, not the savagely downtrodden Christian and Hindu minority, who are genuinely suffering and are being kicked to the back of, or right off, the queues for whatever help is available) are hungry, and wet, and cold, it’s your own damned fault, because you’ve addled your brains with Islam, and it has stopped you from doing all kinds of things you could have done to stop yourselves getting into such a terrible mess.