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Posts Tagged ISI

A Hellfire From Heaven Won’t Smash The Taliban

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A Hellfire From Heaven Won’t Smash The Taliban
By Pepe Escobar
 
June 02, 2016 
 
So Taliban supremo Mullah Mansour’s white Toyota Corolla was rattling across the Balochistan desert just after it had crossed the Iranian border when a Hellfire missile fired from a US drone incinerated it into a charred / twisted wreck.
That’s the official narrative. The Pentagon said Mansour was on Obama’s kill list because he had become «an obstacle to peace and reconciliation».
There’s way more to it, of course. Mansour was a savvy businessman who was extensively traveling to Dubai – the Taliban’s historic clearing house where all sorts of dodgy deals are made. He was also in close connection with Jundullah – a.k.a. the hardcore Sunni anti-Tehran militia very much active in Sistan-Balochistan province in Iran.
This time Mansour was in Sistan-Balochistan on a medical visit – allegedly to eschew hospitals in Pakistan heavily monitored by the ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence]. Yet arguably Pakistan intel knew about it – so US intel also may have known about it and thus were able to track him.
But then there’s the real ace in the hole: the New Opium War.
The usual suspects in the Beltway insist that the Taliban profit handsomely from overseeing the opium trade out of Afghanistan –and now operate as a multi-billion-dollar drug cartel. That’s nonsense.
Bets can be made that Mansour’s kill will not reduce Afghanistan’s opium production – which has been steadily on the rise for years now. Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada, Mansour’s former number two, has been designated as the new leader.
The fact is, poppy production in Afghanistan remains at the highest levels in provinces that are – in thesis – controlled by Kabul. More opium was produced last year – also in thesis the last year of NATO’s Enduring Freedom operation – than in any other year since the UN started tracking it way back in 2002. In 2016 Afghanistan will produce more opium – thus heroin – than the entire global consumption.
An inkling of what’s really going on in the New Opium War is provided by a recent book (in Italian) by Enrico Piovesana. He tells of shady military operations conducted by NATO in which massive quantities of opium have been sequestered by helicopter – never to be seen again.
So we’re back to the same old CIA opium rat line, which translates into control of the Afghan opium market in collusion with local police, military high brass in Kabul and the Karzai family, of former President a.k.a. «mayor of Kabul» Hamid Karzai. Doing business with narco traffickers has also handily provided liquidity – as in dirty money – to Western big banks. None of this has anything to do with the Taliban, which actually brought down opium production to near zero in 2001, before 9/11 and the American bombing/occupation of Afghanistan.
Those shadowy Af-Pak players
The first US drone strike ever in Baluchestan (another Obama «first») remains something of a mystery. A credible working hypothesis is that this was a covert US-Pakistani co-op. The hit allegedly came via the Pentagon, not the CIA. Mansour’s Corolla was something like 40 km inside Baluchestan after it had crossed the border – in an area where US drones would have been quite vulnerable to upgraded (in 2011) Pakistani air defenses.
A plausible – but unconfirmed – scenario would see RQ-170 Sentinels tracking Mansour’s Toyota, with the coordinates then fed to Reaper drones flying out of Kandahar airfield. Assuming the drones began tracking the Toyota at the Iran-Pakistan border, they would have been in action over Baluchestan air space for hours on end, undisturbed.
But then there are the incongruities. Pakistani sources mention that the Toyota – as in any real drone hit – was not totally smashed, but was still on its wheels. And a mysterious passport (Mullah Mansour’s) also showed up on the scene, unscathed.
As for the original HUMINT that led to Mansour’s trail, the notion that Washington had scored it stretches credulity. It would be more like a very well placed/rewarded asset somewhere – be it a military in Kabul or a disgruntled ISI operative.
What was Mansour really up to? He was quite savvy in playing for time. He clearly saw through the US «strategy» – which boiled down to encouraging Afghan president Ashraf Ghani to convince Islamabad to get the Taliban to the negotiating table.
Mansour though knew the Taliban could always advance militarily without negotiations; that’s why he duly announced the 2016 spring offensive – an annual Taliban ritual. At the same time he was very careful not to antagonize Islamabad so Taliban safe havens in Pakistan would not be compromised.
As far as what Islamabad is up to, that’s way hazier. Islamabad’s man in the Taliban succession was actually Sirajuddin Haqqani. After the death of his notorious father, Haqqani leads the homonymous network – which is very cozy with the ISI, arguably closer than the traditional Kandahar/Quetta Shura, a.k.a. the historic Afghan Taliban.
The new Taliban supremo will now have a handy window of opportunity to consolidate power. By early 2017 there will be a new US president, a new Pakistani army chief but the same Afghan so-called National Unity Government still disunited. The Taliban know what they want; be part of the government in Kabul, and get their cut in case the fractious Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline will ever be built. The more things change in Afghanistan, the more they hark back to two decades ago, during the second Clinton administration.
Meanwhile, former CIA asset, former pal of Osama bin Laden and still one of the US’s Public Enemies, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, defined by Washington as a «global terrorist» and the leader of the Hezbi Islami organization, is about to close a deal with Kabul.
Hezbi Islami is the second largest «insurgency» in Afghanistan. Most of the top brass have defected to the Taliban. Hekmatyar lives in exile somewhere in Pakistan; the ISI, of course, knows all about it. So if Ghani in Kabul can’t bag the Taliban, at least he bags a currently much smaller fish, Hekmatyar. Does it help? Not really. It will fall eventually to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – as in Russia-China joint leadership – to solve the Taliban riddle. Certainly not to Operation Enduring Freedom Forever – no matter the size of their kill list
 
 
 

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Does ISIS Exist in Pakistan? By Sajjad Shaukat

           Recently, propaganda intensified that the militant outfit Daish or ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) has its presence in Pakistan. Besides some newspapers and media anchors of some TV channels also misperceived that ISIS has penetrated into Pakistan. In fact, they made their observation on the basis of media announcements by the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leaders and Indian media.

 

Although ISIS does not exist in Pakistan, yet Pakistan government, law-enforcing agencies, media and civil society must exercise high degree of vigilance against any possible ingress by any elements like ISIS. Despite this, existence of ISIS in Pakistan needs special analysis, as its presence can not merely be propagated on the basis of wall chalking or media announcements of the TTP leaders and India.

 

As regards this militant outfit, on 29 June 2014, ISIS proclaimed a worldwide caliphate by its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, based in Iraq. It claims religious, political and military authority over all Muslims, while ISIS’s actions have been widely criticized around the world, with many Islamic communities judging the group to be unrepresentative of Islam. One of ISIS’s goals has been to establish a radical Sunni Islamic state in Iraq and the Levant region, which covers Syria, Jordan, Israel, Palestine etc., and southern region of Turkey. It is widely known for its violent propaganda which includes Internet videos of beheadings. The UNO and Amnesty International have held this group responsible for human rights abuses and war crimes. ISIS group has been designated as a terrorist organization by the UNO and the European Union.

 

Some reports suggest that as part of the double game, American CIA has also been supporting the militants of the ISIS to overthrow the Shia regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Another aim is to spread sectarian violence in the Islamic countries.

 

However, besides some Islamic countries, a majority of the religious extremists from the Western World and especially India has joined the ISIS. In this context, a deliberate oblivion on the part of the West about ISIS recruits from their countries also exposes their duplicity and hypocrisy.

 

images-14It is notable that although various kinds of terror attacks in Pakistan have been conducted by the TTP and its banned affiliated groups in the past few years, yet the massacre of 132 school children at Army Public School and College in Peshawar on December 16, 2014 proved a watershed, as it has given a final wake up call to the nation to unite against these ruthless terrorists.

 

In this respect, the armed forces of Pakistan have conducted several successful military operations against the terrorists; the most recent one being operation Zarb-e-Azb, which has successfully broken the backbone of militants. Frustrated by their failures, these insurgents are resorting to coward acts like attack on innocent children in Peshawar.

 

Taking note of the school attack, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif has himself started supervising the military action against terrorists, and as part of the operation, several terrorists have been killed during air strikes. Gen. Raheel stated, “We are extremely saddened, but our resolve has taken new height”, and added “We will continue to go after the inhuman beasts, their facilitators till their final elimination.”

 

Undoubtedly, as a result of ongoing operations in Waziristan and Khyber Agency especially operation Zarb-e-Azb, militants are finding no place other than Afghanistan to flee and save their skin.

 

In this context, Gen. Raheel accompanied by the DG of Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI), rushed to Kabul on December 17, 2014. During his meeting with his Afghan counterpart, President Ashraf Ghani and the ISAF commander, he presented evidence of the Peshawar massacre’s linkage with TTP sanctuaries in Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan. He also asked the extradition of TTP chief Mullah Fazlluah, and handing over to Pakistan. In response, they assured him to take action against the TTP.

 

In fact, Afghanistan has become a hub of anti-Pakistan activities from where external secret agencies, especially Indian RAW are sending logistic support to Baloch separatist elements and TTP insurgents in Pakistan. Posing themselves as Pakistani Taliban, these enemies have joined TTP and other banned extremist outfits. In the recent years, especially TTP’s insurgents and its affiliated banned groups conducted many terror-activities in various regions of the country like suicide attacks, ruthless beheadings of tribesmen, assaults on security personnel and prominent figures including Shias, Ahmadis, Sufis, Christians and Sikhs as part of the scheme to create chaotic situation in the country.

 

It is of particular attention that spokesman of the Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), Usama Mehmood and some other militant groups have also condemned the TTP in relation to the massacre of innocent children at Peshawar school.

 

Nevertheless, after Peshawar incident, strong public reaction against extremism/terrorism and dislike for Taliban/TTP elements—has been equally condemned by the political leadership as a national policy, showing solidarity with the armed forces. In this connection, on January 2, this year, political and military leaders agreed on a draft of legislative measures which would pave the way for establishment of special military trial courts. The participants also reiterated the commitment for dismantling and destroying all forms of terrorism and terrorist networks operating within the country. It was unanimously resolved that the 20 points enunciated in the All Parties Conference (APC) Resolution of December 24, 2014 shall be acted upon expeditiously—the bill as 22nd (Constitutional) Amendment, will be enforced soon after its approval from the parliament.

 

Meanwhile, media has reported that an Indian person namely Mehdi Masoor of Banglore remained affiliated with ISIS, and is running a pro-ISIS tweeter account. So question arises as to how India justifies its propaganda of ISIS linkage with Pakistan?  As a matter of fact, New Delhi has been frustrated by the successes achieved against the Taliban/TTP insurgents by Zarb-e-Azb. Therefore, sinister aim of Indian false propaganda about the presence of ISIS in Pakistan is to distort country’s image in the eyes of international community, while ISIS does not exist in Pakistan.

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

 

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Enemy in the apparel of partner

Enemy in the apparel of partner

Brig.Gen(R)Asif Haroon Raja

Pakistan Army

 

Al-Qaeda as a terrorist organization was hardly known in Pakistan till the US declared openly that 9/11 attacks on World Trade Centre were undertaken by Al-Qaeda. The group known as Al-Qaeda was organized by Osama bin Laden (OBL) who was simply an ordinary Jihadi volunteer from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) with traces of Yemeni background having passion for participating in Islamic Jihad against Russian occupational forces in Afghanistan.

 

OBL was indoctrinated by CIA experts to choose Islamic Jihad as the main purpose of his life. He cooperated with CIA in their efforts to launch operations against Soviets in Afghanistan and till then was a pious warrior enjoying respect and prestige among US planners. But no sooner Russia was defeated in Afghanistan, US strategic priorities shifted having divergent goals and so was the respect for the Jihadi elements in Afghanistan. They termed them as the non-state actors dangerous for the world peace. US officials especially CIA started treating them with contempt and derision.

 

US invasion of Iraq in August 1990 led OBL to readjust his mindset and realign the direction of its outfit ‘Al-Qaeda’. The rift between US and OBL led to fateful event of 9/11. The US images-8invaded Afghanistan and occupied it with its full wherewithal and military weight but failed to make correct moves to apprehend OBL. Hence, OBL took advantage of faulty US policies through a method of exploitation. He used emotional appeal and urged the Muslim world to oppose US who is an occupational force in Afghanistan like the Russians and hence must be fought against. He also found his sympathizers in Pakistan who bought his message. Presence of OBL and Al-Qaeda in Pakistan was due to flawed US policies.

 

One of the major tasks assigned to the US led coalition in Afghanistan was to kill and capture Al-Qaeda leaders operating inside Afghanistan and some parts of Pakistan. Al-Qaeda had virtually turned into a perilous outfit capable of inflicting serious losses to coalition forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan took some difficult strategic decisions and offered full cooperation to capture the world most dangerous and treacherous terrorists associated with Al-Qaeda.

 

Pak Army deployed its sizeable force to be engaged in anti-terrorist operations. Pakistan Army and paramilitary forces prepared plans to conduct operations against Al-Qaeda elements in the most sensitive and volatile region of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where powerful armies of Great Britain and Soviet Russia were once defeated at the hands of tribal lashkars.

 

Pakistani government’s decision to provide support and make efforts to capture Al-Qaeda terrorists, earned Pakistan a very harsh backlash of terrorists associated with Al-Qaeda. They turned against the State of Pakistan and targeted its security forces, high officials, key communicators, and civil society including innocent women/children, peace loving people busy in their business or prayers in the mosques. Pakistani support and efforts, however, proved fruitful and many key commanders of Al-Qaeda were apprehended or killed during operation.

 

None can deny that it could not have been possible to break the backbone of Al-Qaeda without the significant support offered by Pakistan and efforts made by ISI to apprehend the Al-Qaeda elements. Since Pakistani authorities had taken a strategic and historical decision to cooperate with US led coalition to fight the menace of terrorism, therefore, their top priority was to locate and apprehend OBL. Unfortunately OBL found sympathizers inside Pakistani soil and succeeded in having a facility to covertly live inside Pakistan. The killing / apprehension of OBL would have been a rejoicing event for both Pakistan and USA, but the US preferred to create an atmosphere of mistrust and betrayal for reasons best known to it.

 

The US and western public opinion builders and international media leveled serious allegations against Pakistan. This also created political and institutional turmoil inside Pakistan spreading divisive themes among civil military leadership and agitating the civil society to raise the questions of violation of sovereignty of Pakistan by US raiders. Had Pakistani officials / ISI known about the presence of OBL inside Pakistan they would have reacted positively to apprehend / kill him to save such a chaos which led to lingering court probes.

 

Pakistan as a responsible country was cooperating in US led war on terrorism and had shown substantial results by killing and apprehending vital Al-Qaeda terrorists. It was not an option for Pakistan to hide OBL (as alleged by USA and others) and get embarrassed. At no stage any hint about possibility of OBL hiding in urban centre was given by the US despite the fact that most high profile al-Qaeda leaders were arrested by Pak agencies in urban areas. Pak agencies had nabbed Khalid Sheikh, Abu Faraj al-Libbi, Abu Zubedah, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Umar Patek and scores of others involved in plotting 9/11 from cities. It was only when a piece of information about one named Sheikh Ahmed El-Kuwaiti was given by the ISI in 2010 that the CIA shifted its gaze from western border towards Haripur, Abbottabad, Peshawar region.          

 

CIA wanted to take all the credit for hunting OBL without any support from any other agency. The arrangement enabled them to claim the assured invincibility of USA’s military might and professional competence of CIA. Hence, CIA deliberately sidelined ISI in their scheme to hound OBL alone. No doubt at tactical level US led coalition forces in Afghanistan had suffered stunning setbacks due to intelligence failure and poor performance of tactical commanders, hence, they preferred marginalizing ISI and acted selfishly. In their short sightedness and high motivating pulse to claim full credit of OBL killing, they forgot the actual consequences.

 

As the world witnessed later on, the outcome of such uncaring attitude proved risky, edgy and nervous, as Pakistan and its spy agency was not only blamed openly for supporting the terrorists but also made responsible for hiding OBL inside Pakistan. The US leadership created an environment of mistrust and cynicism having lasting scars, thus destroying the spirit of coalition to collectively fight the menace of terrorism.

 

The US found it difficult to accept its greediness for having sidelined its vital ally in Global War on Terror (GWOT), but failed to realize that it will not work for the cause. Blame game played by US leaders / field commanders helped them to cover up their failures in GWOT, but overall loss / defeat in the effort against terrorism has not been realized. The US leadership was so staggered with the information of a high value target like OBL in Pakistan that they forgot all the norms of diplomacy and the hard fact that Pakistan was not a foe and had rendered immense sacrifices in fighting the US imposed GWOT. Pentagon ordered the Navy SEALs to violate the sovereignty of Pakistan by crossing the border and go for the stealth attack. This was totally unlawful and illegitimate.

 

Former CJSC Admiral Mike Mullen informed Gen Ashfaq Kayani after the helicopters had reached Bagram air base. Gen Kayani in turn informed President Zardari and Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar. By the time F-16s were made airborne, or the Quick Reaction Force in Abbottabad and ISI detachment commander reached the spot, raiders had flown back to safety.

The egoist US leaders bereft of good judgment failed to realize that in the international politics such actions amount to intimidation of other independent States and that the reaction might be very perilous. Fortunately Pakistani side kept their cool despite internal tumult and nothing happened. On the other hand, the US leadership left no stone unturned in converting the crisis into a world war scenario.

 

Although OBL’s burial in the Arabian Sea fulfilled the desire of OBL wanting not to be buried in the ground, al-Qaeda members felt angered over the way his body was secretly disposed off. To avenge his death, their wrath fell upon people of Pakistan.

The US posing to be a strategic ally stabbed Pakistan in the back. People of Pakistan, government officials, Pak Army and ISI were at grave pains when they found that they have been misled, misinformed and betrayed by their own allies especially USA and its spy agency CIA who not only violated the sovereignty of Pakistan by intruding into its territory without permission but also for creating a situation in which Pakistan stood blameworthy and culpable for hiding OBL inside Pakistan. Public opinion went against Pakistan and there was an internal turmoil leading to serious political instability the impact of which still goes unabated. No doubt US action proved that a foe in the garb of a friend bashed its ally badly.

 

Failing to discredit the Army and ISI and in pressurizing Pakistan to launch an operation in North Waziristan, CIA-NATO punished Pak military by launching a murderous helicopters attack on a check post at Salala on November 26, 2011 and also heating up western border with the help of runaway Fazlullah. Pakistan that had been quietly taking the barbs and insults for years could take no more and reacted by closing Shamsi airbase from where drones were launched, suspended military and intelligence cooperation, refused to attend Bonn conference and above all, closed NATO supply lines.

 

Pakistan reopened the supply routes and restored relations when Washington apologized and promised to treat Pakistan as an ally. The US swallowed the bitter pill since northern network was too expensive to carry heavy military stores from Afghanistan. More so, Pakistan was seen as the only country that could help in easing the pains of risky drawdown in the face of impasse on talks between the US and Afghans Taliban.

 

Finding that no breakthrough has been achieved on peace talks with Taliban after Doha fiasco in June 2013, Karzai’s somersault on signing Bilateral Security Agreement, allowing the US military to leave behind a residual force after 2014, and most disturbingly Pakistan making visible progress in talks with TTP, another attempt was made by USA to shame ISI by reincarnating the ghost of OBL through a fictitious story appearing in NY Times dated 19 March that ex ISI chief Lt Gen Shuja Pasha had known about presence of OBL in Abbottabad.

 

The invention was based on the book ‘The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan 2001-2014’ authored by British journalist Carlotta Gall. She further claimed that Gen Musharraf and his top commanders were aware of al-Qaeda’s plan to assassinate Ms Benazir Bhutto. She quoted Gen Ziauddin Butt having confided in her that Gen Musharraf had arranged the hideout of OBL in Abbottabad. Ziauddin, who holds Musharraf in low esteem since he had put him in solitary confinement for two years in October 1999 and dismissed from service, said he was misunderstood and Carlotta misquoted him. He added that he had been misquoted by western media several times to advance their agenda. Pak media, ever-ready to promote western themes to embarrass military establishment, added fuel to fire by playing up New York Times story.

 

Recently, Paul Craig Roberts has debunked claims made by Obama that members of US Navy SEALs team had killed OBL and SEALs team claiming that they had killed him. He claimed that OBL had died due to renal failure in Tora Bora caves in December 2001. He argues that no one can survive renal failure for over a decade and that no dialyses machine was found in the Abbottabad compound. He adds; “No one among the crew of the ship or any eye-witness corroborated the news of OBL body’s burial at sea”. He further adds that 25 members of the SEALs team that supposedly took part in the raid died mysteriously in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011. In his view, they were bumped off to keep the cooked up story credible. It may be recalled that Paul Craig had earlier on challenged the veracity of 9/11 terror attacks asserting it was a false flag operation to kill, maim and dispossess millions of Muslims in seven countries, none having any connection with 9/11.          

 

One wonders, how long the west would keep playing with the ghost of OBL about whom there have been dozens of articles published in western print media that OBL for all practical purposes was a half-dead man after he escaped from Tora Bora caves in December 2001. With three wives (Khairee, Shareeja and Amal) and eleven children, the seriously ailing OBL wanted to lead a quiet life and die peacefully. He had died much earlier owing to his kidney disease. It is widely believed that purpose behind May 2 attack was to bolster Obama’s chances of re-election. Carlotta gimmicks were meant to publicize her book. She however, gave an opportunity to CIA to denigrate its rival ISI, which has foiled its dangerous agenda against Pakistan.

 

December 16, 2014 episode was planned in Afghanistan and was surely the handiwork of RAW and Afghan Intelligence to disparage Operation Zarb-e-Azb and cause pain to Pakistan. If the US doesn’t feel any qualm in tracking and killing OBL and Al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan, why can’t it nab or kill Fazlullah and Omar Khurasani, or restrain RAW/Afghan CDS from undertaking cross border missions inside Pakistan?     

 

The writer is a retired Brig, defence analyst, columnist, author of five books, Director Measac Research Centre and Member Board Thinkers Forum Pakistan. asifharoonraja@gmail.com

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Power of ISI- role of ISI In PAKISTAN

best-intelligence-agencies-2014-isi-pakistan

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Michael Scheuer,Ex-CIA Officer on World’s Top Intelligence Agency ISI

ISI

WASHINGTON: Pakistani intelligence agency Inter Service Intelligence has been declared top secret agency of the world in intelligence agencies ranking issued by US crime news.

Intelligence agencies ranking have been issued by American crime news, according to the top 10 ranking French intelligence agency is on last position whereas Indian secret service Research and Analyzing Wing (RAW) appeared on seventh.

Pakistani intelligence agency ISI has got top most rank due to its high professional skills, protecting nation interest, actions against terrorists.

Central Intelligence Agency (USA) came on second, the British secret agency MI6 secured third position.

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