Our army headquarters hosted last Wednesday an American general who cannot talk straight. Isaf’s American commander in Afghanistan Gen John Allen accompanied US Central Command chief Gen James Mattis to meet our commanders. It is not clear if Allen, the Isaf chief, was able to look our commanders in the eye after what he did in November.
Allen was inside the GHQ on the night of 26/11 to brief our side about Nato’s future operations. However, he conveniently forgot to mention anything about an operation named Sayaqa that was to be launched a few hours later, using massive power to kill 24 Pakistani soldiers on an isolated mountain ridge.
Two days before Wednesday’s meeting in Rawalpindi, Gen Allen tried to sabotage the Obama-Gilani meeting in Seoul on the sidelines of the nuclear security summit. As the Pakistani prime minister and the American president prepared to meet, Allen issued statements at a Washington think tank repeating accusations that the Haqqanis “are an actual arm” of the ISI.
The only reason 26/11 did not blow up into a limited war is apparently because of a Pakistani decision not to be dragged into such a war. The Pakistanis had to exercise a lot of restraint knowing that the Salala attack on 26/11 was premeditated murder, spread over two hours using disproportionate force, enough to rule out any possibility that this was an accident.
Provoking a limited war with Pakistan suits Gen Allen’s forces and the CIA’s special teams in Afghanistan. They are locked in a battle of wits with Obama’s White House over military budget reductions and withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Pentagon and the CIA loathe the reductions and the withdrawal. A limited armed conflict with Pakistan would worsen the situation just enough to keep the budget dollars coming and the boots intact on the ground in Afghanistan. All while pointing to Pakistan for Afghan failures.
This is the environment in which our Parliament is reviewing ties with the US. Sadly, some pro-US Pakistani voices are counseling our government and military to accept US terms for reengagement. One example of these terms is the fascinating logic President Obama used in Seoul, offering the theory that Pakistani sovereignty is fine as long as it did not stand in the way of US national security.
The Pakistani government and military need to step forward and delegitimise the premise that says America’s security faces a threat from Pakistan. This American theory is based on US assessments of Al-Qaeda’s presence on the Afghan border regions. The American assessment is exaggerated and self-serving. It is calculated to justify a long term American meddling in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We need to bring forward the actual situation where Al-Qaeda has been decimated for all practical purposes.
Also, there are no terrorists being exported from the Afghan-Pakistan border region to America. In fact, all recent real or imagined terror plots in the US and Europe have involved US or EU citizens breaching American and European security measures to travel and allegedly train with terrorists on the Afghan-Pakistan border. Their countries should bear responsibility for allowing these American and European citizens to use western ports of entry and exit and travel through US-controlled Afghanistan to liaise with terrorists.
Reopening US military’s supply line through Pakistan would have been fine if it did not mean feeding those who are determined to work against Pakistani interests while claiming to be our allies.
If we go along with the US strategy, then we should accept a hostile Afghanistan, accept India as a regional hegemon, and accept the scaling down of our military and intelligence capabilities. This may or may not be the American agenda for Pakistan but it is the crux of what Washington is doing in our neighborhood.
If the US military can’t guarantee it won’t violate Pakistani sovereignty, should we help transport the weapons it intends to use for future violations?
The scare scenarios about a confrontation with the US if we stand up for our interests are exaggerated. Let’s have good relations with the US without appeasement.
The writer works for Geo. Email: email@example.com