Monday, November 17, 2008

Drones can attack as long as they have a passport and a visa - II

Pakistan and U.S. Have Tacit Deal On Airstrikes

Washington Post
Sunday, November 16, 2008


The United States and Pakistan reached tacit agreement in September on a don't-ask-don't-tell policy that allows unmanned Predator aircraft to attack suspected terrorist targets in rugged western Pakistan, according to senior officials in both countries.

... more

Comment:

The Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman categorically denied the report in a special news conference held for the purpose yesterday, which leaves no doubt whatsoever that the report is entirely accurate.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

what I don't get is the difference between Pakistan and the US having a "tacit agreement" and the US just telling Pakistan that that this is what it is going to do from now on and Pakistan accepting. Because as you said in your previous post, there is not much benefit to Pakistan in these attacks (that outweigh the negative consequences ) -- or do you think the military is not intelligent enough to realize this?

Zeemax said...

Anonymous,

The difference is that Pakistan can shoot down the drones if it doesn't agree with USA. I would like to know what will the US do in that case in response. Nuke Pakistan? Invade? I don't think so.

I'm sure you recall when US ground troops landed at Angur Adda in early September and the Military Chief announced he would open fire next time. No such incidence since then.

Thing is, both the Pakistani Government and the Pakistani Army consider Taliban as their enemies, and fighting them too. If the drone attacks take out a few bad guys for them, the Govt/Army doesn't mind. It's only the Pakistani public which makes a noise, therefore the secret agreement - but only for drone attacks. US boots on the ground are not acceptable to the Army.

And no, the military is not stupid.

Majumdar said...

Zee sahib,

What I dont understand is what exactly does USA want to do in A'stan? especially if reports that AQ has actually been crippled is correct.

As far as tacit understanding on allowing drones goes, that goes without saying.

Regards

Zeemax said...

Majumdar,

Without going into conspiracy theories, some of which are even plausible e.g. encircling China/Russia, USA will never allow an Islamic Regime in Afghanistan which would ultimately influence entire Turkic Central Asia.

Karzai just said yesterday he was willing to guarantee Mulla Umar's security if he was willing to talk for sharing power - and if Nato didn't agree with him they could either remove him or themselves leave.

It's besides the point that Taliban have rejected the offer saying they're already secure in Afghanistan, but the point is for whom is Taliban then a terrorist threat if the US backed democratic government of Karzai is willing to share power with them?

There seems to be utter confusion at the moment. On one hand Michael Hayden says Usama Bin Ladin is no longer running Al Qaida and its crippled, and on the other hand they say another 9/11 is being planned right now. But by whom?

Anonymous said...

well, what does Pakistan get out of allowing these drone attacks to continue? Is it just political currency for Zardari? Or is there a significant feeling within the army leadership that the drone attacks benefit them in their operation against the Taliban?

Zeemax said...

Anonymous,

Firstly the political Govts, any political Govt i.e Zardari at the moment, have no sway over matters of national security, internal or external. They're only there to make compliant noises for public consumption and/or place a diplomatic cover over whatever the Army decides is best.

Recall how Musharraf along with a coterie of generals decided occupying Kargil heights across LOC was a good idea to recover Siachen, and the political Govt of Nawaz Sharif was only informed in May 1999 when the operation was already well underway since Sept 1998, and the PM had no choice but to go along with it. He was only informed to make appropriate noises and put up a diplomatic cover.

It is correct that the drone attacks benefit Pakistan Army in their operation against the Taliban as long as they hit their enemy-Taliban and not their friendly Taliban. US was hitting their friends before but that seems to have reversed recently, I presume, after the September agreement. The last drone attack was in Wana - Baitullah Mehsud territory.

(P.S. Isn't it time for introductions?)

Majumdar said...

Zee sahib,

From the Pak Army POV what constitutes a good Taliban and a bad Taliban. I am not looking for specific names but the goals or means which define a good and bad Taliban from Pak Army's (not necessarily your) POV?

Regards

Zeemax said...

Majumdar,

... the goals or means which define a good and bad Taliban from Pak Army's (not necessarily your) POV?

Well I can't speak for the army but I assume 'good' Taliban for them are those who are exclusively fighting in Afghanistan. That includes both Afghan Talibs as well as the Pakistani Talibs such as the Mullah Nazir militia, and Jalaluddin Haqqani who is Afghan but actually lives in Fata.

Majumdar said...

Zee sahib,

The problem (from Pak army's POV) is that as when the good Talibs win in A'stan, they are going to want to expand A'stan and their systems into NWFP/FATA/B'stan- remember the tribesmen dont believe in the Durand Line.

What will be the Pak Army's response then?

1.Will it permit the trans-Indus to become part of greater Talibanistan?
2. Will permit Pakistan to be Talibanised.

Or will it then fight the good Taliban tooth and nail?

Your guess.

Regards

Zeemax said...

Majumdar,

... when the good Talibs win in A'stan, they are going to want to expand A'stan and their systems into NWFP/FATA/B'stan - remember the tribesmen dont believe in the Durand Line. What will be the Pak Army's response then?

This is an assumption held solely outside Pakistan and is quite unfounded and unsupported by facts.

Taliban never attempted to expand their influence into Pakistan when they were in power for 5 years in control of 90% of Afghanistan. Why would they want to do it now? They didn't believe in the Durand Line then either. Pakistan Army knows this very well.

Baluchistan does not share Talib ideology. The small militancy there is Leninist and has always been.

The rest of your questions are based on the above assumption, so these are moot.

BTW Taliban have already won in Afghanistan going by Karzai's recent power-sharing offer to Mullah Umar which he rejected. There will still be a US forces surge but only to increase bargaining power, since the war is widely acknowledged by Nato to be unwinnable.

Regards

Zeemax said...

To further clarify the above post, the Afghan Tailban had little or no role in the talibanisation (actually I prefer to call it hard-line Islamisation) trend in Pakistani settled areas. This originated in the Dir/Malakand areas in late 1980s with Sufi Muhammad's TNSM (Tehreek Nifaz Shariyat Muhammadi), spread into Swat, and burst upon the national scene only with Lal Masjid which was TNSM inspired. The whole thing had nothing to do with Afghan Taliban though TNSM had lots of support in Fata.

In fact, there was no such thing as Pakistani Taliban before Lal Masjid operation. It only came into being as a direct consequence of it.

Majumdar said...

Zee sahib,

Taliban never attempted to expand their influence into Pakistan when they were in power for 5 years in control of 90% of Afghanistan.

Well, that is interesting. But why was that so.

Was it becuase the Talibs did not have the time to consolidate in A'stan b4 making moves on NWFP?
Was it because there was a tacit understanding between the Pak Army and Taliban?

Or some other factor.

Baluchistan does not share Talib ideology.

I was referring to ethnic Pushtoon regions. Ethnic Baloch militancy of course is a hodge podge of tribalism and communism.

Regards

Zeemax said...

Majumdar,

Well, that is interesting. But why was that so.

Simply for the reason that by ideology they are not expansionist. They didn't try to expand into neigboring Tajikstan/Uzbekistan as well for the same reason despite that there were/are hardline-Islamist movements going on in those countries.

They were not interested in Pakistan. Only Afghanistan.

I was referring to ethnic Pushtoon regions.

Ethnic Pushtoons of Baluchistan are anti-Taliban too. These are represented currently by Mehmood Khan Achakzai whose views you can read on the web.

Majumdar said...

Btw what do you guys make of the murder of the commando general? Random killing or a revenge killing?

Regards

Zeemax said...

Majumdar,

Why would it be a random killing? Obviously a revenge attack. The guy was retired so a soft target.