Pakistan: Ally or Killer?

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Navy photo / Chief MCS Michael Ard

U.S. troops investigate a simulated IED blast in Afghanistan.

Sometimes, like blind men feeling the elephant, you can get a markedly different sense of a situation depending on who is speaking, Check out these two statements, made within hours of one another on opposite sides of the world on Thursday:

Pakistan and its leaders “have indicated a greater willingness to be able…to try to deal with terrorism that affects not just Afghanistan, but affects their country as well.”

— Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Thursday in Kabul.

“Unfortunately, I’ve heard of no progress, or minimal progress…we’ve requested subsequent meetings, and they have not occurred.”

— Army Lieut. General Michael Barbero, director of the Pentagon’s Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, at a Senate hearing Thursday in Washington.

Barbero was discussing his efforts to sit down with the Fatima Group, the Pakistani company that makes the fertilizer that is used to make the explosive found in more than two-thirds of the improvised explosive devices that are the biggest killer of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Despite repeated requests, Barbero said he has had only one meeting in 14 months with the Fatima Group over possible steps to curb its fertilizer’s flow into Afghanistan.

Senator Robert Casey, D-Penn., who has been a leader in trying to shut down the river of explosives from Pakistan into Afghanistan, didn’t like what he was hearing.

I want to give, even for a couple of minutes, the benefit of the doubt to the Pakistani government. It often happens in Washington where you’re trying to communicate with an agency and they say, oh, you can’t communicate this way; you have to go through some other office. We get skeptical when that happens in our domestic policy. In light of the — I’ll give you a sense of why I’m skeptical. In light of the track record here of not implementing a strategy that they developed, not having the kind of cooperation that we would expect, when that’s the predicate to an action where they have you communicating more directly, and then, to add insult to injury, having difficulty getting even a meeting or meetings — meetings, plural — I’m a little more than skeptical. So we just put that on the record.

“More than 60% of U.S. combat casualties in Afghanistan, both killed and wounded in action, are the result of IEDs,” Barbero said. “This year, nearly 1,900 U.S. casualties have been caused by IEDs.”

Casey spoke of a couple of constituents’ cases during the hearing. Check out their stories here, in print, or here, in video.


General McChrystal's 2009 assessment that "Afghanistan's insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan. . .and are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan's ISI [Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence ]" has been completely disregarded by the US, as it sends Americans to die in Afghanistan and yet it allies with Pakistan. news reports:

BBC, Jun 13, 2010 -- Pakistani agents 'funding and training Afghan Taliban'Telegraph, 

Oct 26, 2011 -- Pakistan 'still running Taliban training camps'

 LWJ, Jan 12, 2012 -- Taliban training in Pakistan

Don_Bacon 1 Like

"not having the kind of cooperation that we would expect"

Spoken like a true global hegemon. US-appointed allies should do what we tell them to do. But if Senator Casey had taken the trouble to read General McChrystal's assessment in 2009 he might understand what motivates Pakistan to promote its own security.

'Afghanistan's insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan. . .and are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan's ISI [Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence ].""Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan, including significant efforts and financial investment. In addition, the current Afghan government is perceived by Islamabad to be pro-Indian. While Indian activities largely benefit the Afghan people, increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani countermeasures in Afghanistan or India."

The U.S. hasn't helped.

news report Dec 11, 2012 -- 'No problem if Kabul seeks direct military help from India' -- The US has said it will have no problem if Afghanistan seeks any direct military assistance from India for its armed forces in dealing with security issues born out of insurgent activities in the country. "We have had discussions with the Indians about this issue and about the Afghans, and I don't see any particular problems with the overall approach here at all," a senior Defence Department official said yesterday.



not only that Don, you wont believe that in almost all the target killings, suecide attacks, bombs attacks, attacks on militry installation, the weapons and trainigs all these terrorsit got was from indian Raw, so now u tell me how come we start allowing india to sit in Afganistan send trained terrorsit in our country to do all these dirty acts.on one hand u termed Pakistan as yor ally and on the other hand you have done so far everything to disgrace this country not inetrnationally but also infornt of its own can do nuclear aggremnt with india but not with pakistan as you know that india was the country who stand with Russia against every other country when they were in Afghanistan.



dear i think your are mis guided or yuor  jsut a was USA, CIA and the West who created TALIBAN. did you not seen the picture of the Taliban leaders sitting in WHite house with your that time preident.this is USA problem, whenthey need someone they call them heros and when they dnt they calle dthem terrorists as they did to Taliban.if u still thinks that as compared to 40 nations forces and agencies and only Pakistan army and ISI is able to do what you think is the problem than tehse 40 nations should be ashamed that they cant do whatever they want.i would say not PAKISTAN its USA which is a banana country which is run by jews not real americans and that s why they are the real problem for the whole world and humanity.

ManzoorAliKhan 1 Like

It is very easy to blame others for your own failures. If the US along with so-called 40 allies for the last 10 years have not been able to defeat Taleban, why should  Pakistan be blamed  for that. It was wrong to invade Afghanistan. No nation has ever been able to conquer that country, whether it was Imperial Britain or erstwhile Soviet Union. The earlier Americans withdraw from Afghanistan, the better, This is the lesson of history.


@ManzoorAliKhan ,

Because your Pakistan and ISI created Taliban. Do you see British, Canadians, Australians creating and arming Taliban? Why are all the explosives going off in Afghanistan coming from Pakistani fertilizer factories? If you want to have relations with the world, then you'd better behave more harmoniously or else the world will have to cut off relations with you.

This is what happens when military men rule a country without accountability or oversight. Pakistan is a Banana Republic run by hawkish generals, who only know how to arm and bomb and assassinate - that is their approach to everything.You're worse than North Korea.


@SanMann @ManzoorAliKhan If military has greater role in the affairs of the state in Pakistan, it is India which is responsible for this. From day one since 1947, India had aggressive and belligerent vis-a vis Pakistan, whether it was transfer of resources or military hardware, flow of rivers and of course hostile propaganda.Kashmir which has Muslim majority should have come to Pakistan on the basis of principle of partition of undivided India. But because of Indian intransigence this most issue remains unresolved and unless it is solved on the basis of aspiration of the people of Kashmir, there will not be peace in this region


Because, out of 40 allies only Pakistan is playing double game.


@malatesh But. what a bout India? Are they part of allies, or foe.If there is any country which is playing double game it is India. When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, what was the role of India. They not only welcomed invasion , but provided support  to Soviet Union. Similarly, they are destabilizing Pakistan through Afghanistan


@malatesh Pakistan did not choose to be an ally of the U.S. Pakistan was given no choice. 

President Musharraf :  Soon after 9/11, US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage warned Lt. Gen. Mahmud Ahmed, head of ISI, Pakistan's intelligence service, the US would “bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age” if it did not immediately turn against its Afghan ally, Taliban, and allow the US to use military bases in Pakistan to invade Afghanistan.

 The US and Pakistan created the Taliban. Knocking the Taliban out of government was not Pakistan's idea -- the Taliban is its ally, just as India is Pakistan's mortal enemy. Why should Pakistan ally with an enemy of its ally? Because it was forced to. But of course cooperation is limited, to say the least. The border still isn't fully open.


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