Sunday, January 20, 2008

Who are the Terrorists??

There are many, many good writers on the Internet and I enjoy cruising around and reading different pieces. With how busy my days can become I don't always have the time to spend the hours that it takes to pull together good written pieces with sources so I've been getting lazy and posting others written work. I don't think this is a bad thing as maybe you haven't read their articles so it is worth giving their articles more exposure. Plus it opens up your eyes to other websites that you may not have explored yourself.

That having been said, here is a good piece from the Winter Patriot blogspot. I encourage you to check all the links and read all the material offered to get a good and thorough understanding of all the issues. It's the only way to really understand everything..

"Who Is The Real Terrorist?" Reports From Pakistan And Afghanistan Differ
Sunday, January 20, 2008

A couple of days ago I lost the only draft of a piece that was half-finished and already so complicated it made my head hurt. In that piece I had quoted Chris Floyd quoting Scott Horton quoting Carlotta Gall and David Rohde and Barnett Rubin. Are you with me so far?

The subject was Pakistan and Afghanistan: The piece by Gall and Rhode talked about Pakistan having lost control of the extremists that had been nurtured by the Pakistani intelligence agency, ISI, before Pakistan joined the War on Terror. The Rubin piece linked this loss of control to the bombing of the Serena Hotel [photo], Kabul's luxury spot for foreign visitors.

I don't have the heart to reproduce the post as I originally intended it, especially since reading it might make your head hurt, too. So I will try to give you more or the less the same information in a very different way.

I once read that the best blog entries consist of links, quotes, and comments. Maybe that's the secret.

Carlotta Gall and David Rohde in the New York Times: Militants Escape Control of Pakistan, Officials Say
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.

One former senior Pakistani intelligence official, as well as other people close to the agency, acknowledged that the ISI led the effort to manipulate Pakistan’s last national election in 2002, and offered to drop corruption cases against candidates who would back President Pervez Musharraf.

A person close to the ISI said Mr. Musharraf had now ordered the agency to ensure that the coming elections were free and fair, and denied that the agency was working to rig the vote. But the acknowledgment of past rigging is certain to fuel opposition fears of new meddling.

The two former high-ranking intelligence officials acknowledged that after Sept. 11, 2001, when President Musharraf publicly allied Pakistan with the Bush administration, the ISI could not rein in the militants it had nurtured for decades as a proxy force to exert pressure on India and Afghanistan. After the agency unleashed hard-line Islamist beliefs, the officials said, it struggled to stop the ideology from spreading.

Another former senior intelligence official said dozens of ISI officers who trained militants had come to sympathize with their cause and had had to be expelled from the agency. He said three purges had taken place since the late 1980s and included the removal of three ISI directors suspected of being sympathetic to the militants.

After 9/11, the Bush administration pressed Mr. Musharraf to choose a side in fighting Islamist extremism and to abandon Pakistan’s longtime support for the Taliban and other Islamist militants.

In the 1990s, the ISI supported the militants as a proxy force to contest Indian-controlled Kashmir, the border territory that India and Pakistan both claim, and to gain a controlling influence in neighboring Afghanistan. In the 1980s, the United States supported militants, too, funneling billions of dollars to Islamic fighters battling Soviet forces in Afghanistan through the ISI, vastly increasing the agency’s size and power.

Publicly, Mr. Musharraf agreed to reverse course in 2001, and he has received $10 billion in aid for Pakistan since then in return. In an interview in November, he vehemently defended the conduct of the ISI, an agency that, according to American officials, was under his firm control for the last eight years while he served as both president and army chief.

Mr. Musharraf dismissed criticism of the ISI’s relationship with the militants. He cited the deaths of 1,000 Pakistani soldiers and police officers in battles with the militants in recent years — as well as several assassination attempts against himself — as proof of the seriousness of Pakistan’s counterterrorism effort.

One militant leader, Maulana Masood Azhar, typifies how extremists once trained by the ISI have broken free of the agency’s control, turned against the government and joined with other militants to create powerful new networks.

In 2000, Mr. Azhar received support from the ISI when he founded Jaish-e-Muhammad, or Army of Muhammad, a Pakistani militant group fighting Indian forces in Kashmir, according to Robert Grenier, who served as the Central Intelligence Agency station chief in Islamabad from 1999 to 2002. The ISI intermittently provided training and operational coordination to such groups, he said, but struggled to fully control them.

Mr. Musharraf banned Jaish-e-Muhammad and detained Mr. Azhar after militants carried out an attack on the Indian Parliament building in December 2001. Indian officials accused Jaish-e-Muhammad and another Pakistani militant group of masterminding the attack. After India massed hundreds of thousands of troops on Pakistan’s border, Mr. Musharraf vowed in a nationally televised speech that January to crack down on all militants in Pakistan.

“We will take strict action against any Pakistani who is involved in terrorism inside the country or abroad,” he said. Two weeks later, a British-born member of Mr. Azhar’s group, Ahmed Omar Sheikh, kidnapped Daniel Pearl, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal who was beheaded by his captors. Mr. Sheikh surrendered to the ISI, the agency that had supported Jaish-e-Muhammad, and was sentenced to death for the kidnapping.

After Mr. Pearl’s killing, Pakistani officials arrested more than 2,000 people in a crackdown. But within a year, Mr. Azhar and most of the 2,000 militants who had been arrested were freed. “I never believed that government ties with these groups was being irrevocably cut,” said Mr. Grenier, now a managing director at Kroll, a risk consulting firm.

At the same time, Pakistan seemingly went “through the motions” when it came to hunting Taliban leaders who fled into Pakistan after the 2001 American invasion of Afghanistan, he said.

Encouraged by the United States, the Pakistanis focused their resources on arresting senior Qaeda members, he said, which they successfully did from 2002 to 2005. Since then, arrests have slowed as Al Qaeda and other militant groups have become more entrenched in the tribal areas.

Asked in 2006 why the Pakistani government did not move against the leading Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani, and his son Sirajuddin, who are based in the tribal areas and have long had links with Al Qaeda, one senior ISI official said it was because Pakistan needed to retain some assets of its own.

“Pakistan would certainly be better off if the ISI were never used for domestic political purposes,” said Mr. Grenier, the former C.I.A. Islamabad station chief. “That goes without saying.”

Continue with reading the story here.

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