The US has bared its teeth

by Asif Haroon Raja

(September 22, Islamabad, Sri Lanka Guardian) After submitting to US wishes Musharraf allowed the CIA and FBI to recruit agents in Fata and other places and to establish their outposts. Taking advantage of complete liberty of action, the CIA succeeded in making deep inroads in the areas of its interest. The ISI, MI and FIA in collusion with the FBI were utilised for hunting and nabbing so-called terrorists all over the country. As a consequence, the ISI got a bit detached from its primary duty that resulted in heavy dependence of our troops operating in Fata on intelligence provided by the CIA.

Once the ISI got freed from wild goose chase of so-called terrorists and came under pressure on account of missing persons, it started to concentrate on its principal task in the troubled spots. To its horror, it found far too many militant groups and criminal gangs operating under the guise of religious militants and cultivated by foreign agencies. They were the ones involved in carrying out gruesome beheadings of security personnel and torching girls’ schools to defame the real Taliban who had a peaceful agenda. The CIA had managed to buy the loyalties of most tribal chiefs in Fata by doling out dollars in sacks since it knew that the Pashtun could not be crushed by force but could be purchased. Most of the pro-Pakistan groups had been won over or neutralised and those not coming to terms were eliminated by groups sponsored by CIA. Besides CIA, RAW, RAM, Iran and Uzbekistan had developed its tentacles in militancy prone areas. Things had gone topsy-turvy and the ISI found itself at a loss how to differentiate between friend and foe.

Some 10,000 Indian troops are stationed in Afghanistan under the garb of supervising the construction of Jalalabad-Port Chahbahar project that has now been completed. Whereas India has officially declared 14 Indian consulates in Afghanistan, on ground they have 107 in which 20 intelligence units are burning their midnight oil to destabilise Pakistan. Many mercantile shops run by Indians have an intelligence office in the rear. In Wakhan, a religious madrassa run by Indian Muslim clerics is functioning under the patronage of RAW and Mossad. Very young boys, mostly orphans, destitute or homeless are recruited. Recruits are mostly Afghans, Uzbeks, Tajiks and Caucasians. The latter being fair skinned and resembling Europeans are trained to hit targets in Europe or in the US to once again create a 9/11 like situation.

Reportedly, 10,000 ideologically motivated saboteurs and suicide bombers have been trained. Besides receiving military training, they have also been made to learn Pashto and customs of Pathans. They are regularly infiltrated into troubled spots of Pakistan. Posing as volunteers they join the rank and file of militants to fight the army. They are the ones who are destroying schools, CD shops, bridges and other installations and carrying out brutal beheadings of captured personnel. The CIA is assisting in providing intimate information about military road moves and military targets. The idea is to create chaos and confusion and also to defame the army and the real Taliban that have not come under their influence. They are also responsible for creating cleavages within the people of Fata and in disrupting peace deals. In Kurram Agency, Afghan officers and soldiers are actively involved in the sectarian conflict by way of providing arms and ammunition to shias belonging to Tori tribe and physically participating in duels with Sunnis. In Swat, Fazlullah-led militants are supplied with war munitions as well as fighters.

Likewise, dissident tribal chiefs in Balochistan, including late Akbar Bugti, were also taken on board. The CIA helped in reincarnating the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and providing all sorts of war munitions to Baloch militants belonging to Bugti, Marri, and Mengal tribes and establishing over 60 Farari camps in Balochistan. Shamsi airbase that was handed over to the US in October 2001, houses Blackhawk helicopters primarily engaged in monitoring the entire length of the Iranian border. The CIA has cultivated Sunni Iranian Baloch Jandullah group (not the one that had operated against 5 Corps commander). It is anti- Iranian regime and was utilised by the CIA to carryout acts of sabotage in Iran through Zahidan. Iran has now constructed a stone wall all along its border to prevent cross border terrorism from Balochistan. It has clouded Pak-Iran relations since the latter feels that such activities could not have been undertaken without the blessing of Pakistan government.

The nexus in Kabul is working upon a scripted plan to make Fata lawless and beyond the control of the security forces, push militancy into settled areas and then into major cities and thus create a civil war like situation to prove their contention that Pakistan was the most dangerous country in the world and that the extremists were on the verge of taking over power and nuclear weapons. After activating Swat, Bajaur was built into a stronghold of militants where huge cache of arms and ammunition was dumped. By virtue of being located at the crossroad of the tribal belt and also linked with Dir, Swat, and Afghanistan, it was to act as bulwark and a launching pad to provide reinforcement to other areas.

It is when the ISI began to recover the lost ground in Fata and started to expose and block clandestine activities of CIA, RAW and RAM that all hell broke loose on the ISI. Instead of feeling ashamed of what they were doing, the US had the cheek to start making a fuss that the ISI was linked with the Taliban and that it must be emasculated. When the army launched powerful operations in Swat and in Bajaur and started to make rapid progress against the well-entrenched militants, instead of getting pleased Americans got disturbed since they never intended to control militancy. To create fear and panic among the peaceful residents of Waziristan and also to target pro-government elements, missile attacks were intensified and each attack killed innocent men, women, and children. The idea was to antagonise pro-government Waziris and also to force them to migrate as had happened in case of Bajaur. To further up the ante, Pakistan was declared as a battleground and a ground attack was carried out on the night of September 03 at Angoor Adda. A similar attempt was made on that was thwarted by the troops and locals.

Now that the US has bared its teeth and let its intentions known, to pretend that it would stop short of achieving its objectives will be like living in a fool’s paradise. It is simply degrading to say that we cannot fight the Americans. It is also preposterous to assume that Pakistan may not survive without American support. Pro-American elements within Pakistan on US payroll have been parroting this theme since the creation of Pakistan to safeguard their vested interests. North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, and Iran are living examples that have survived despite adopting hostile posture against the US. It is high time that we gird up our loins and put our act together to face up to the challenge boldly.

The army under General Kayani has expressed its resolve to confront the threat and safeguard country’s sovereignty. It is now up to our rulers to stand up to the test. It will be naive to expect that the threat will be warded off with diplomacy alone. We must make the US realise that it will become exceedingly difficult for the US-led allied troops to operate in Afghanistan if Pakistan disengages itself and refuses to provide transit facility. The magnitude of dependence can be gauged from the fact that each day over 400 containers ply from Karachi and Quetta to Afghanistan transporting food, munitions and 300 million gallons of fuel for US-Nato troops in Afghanistan. We may also consider bridling CIA’s unchecked activities and closing down four bases in control of the US.

The writer is a defence and political analyst
- Sri Lanka Guardian