Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The ISI And The Militants

By Cernig

The NY Times today has a long report on how the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI, began and directed most of the worlds major Islamist terrorist outfits as proxies of Pakistani foreign policy. But, get this, they say they don't do that post-9/11 and that the militants have escaped their previously tight control.
Pakistan’s premier military intelligence agency has lost control of some of the networks of Pakistani militants it has nurtured since the 1980s, and is now suffering the violent blowback of that policy, two former senior intelligence officials and other officials close to the agency say.

As the military has moved against them, the militants have turned on their former handlers, the officials said. Joining with other extremist groups, they have battled Pakistani security forces and helped militants carry out a record number of suicide attacks last year, including some aimed directly at army and intelligence units as well as prominent political figures, possibly even Benazir Bhutto.

The growing strength of the militants, many of whom now express support for Al Qaeda’s global jihad, presents a grave threat to Pakistan’s security, as well as NATO efforts to push back the Taliban in Afghanistan. American officials have begun to weigh more robust covert operations to go after Al Qaeda in the lawless border areas because they are so concerned that the Pakistani government is unable to do so.

...The threat from the militants, the former intelligence officials warned, is one that Pakistan is unable to contain. “We could not control them,” said one former senior intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “We indoctrinated them and told them, ‘You will go to heaven.’ You cannot turn it around so suddenly.”
The article goes on to describe how Musharraf really is trying to fight the good fight, honestly. But he's being stymied by entrenched opponents within the ISI who want to retain some ability to use Islamist terror groups as proxies and he has little ability to change that.

Is anyone actually believing this BS? It appears so.

And yet a long litany of catch-and-release of major terrorist leaders, of terror groups still acting as direct arms of Pakistani policy in e.g. Mumbai, of public pardons not just once but multiple times for supposedly hostile Islamist leaders like the man accused of ordering Bhutto's assassination (possibly falsely), of obviously staged and quite laughably fallible assassination "attempts" on Musharraf himself, all point towards a very different interpretation.

That Musharraf, through hand-picked loyalists, has full control over the ISI and that protestations both that Pakistan is fully on board in the War on Some Terror and that the ISI is full of loose cannons are simply spin for gullible Westerners, designed to defuse foreign pressure on Pakistan in the wake of Bhutto's death and still keep the arms aid flowing.

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