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What deal?

The dinners that brought the ISI and CIA officers together in Washington were impressive. But no amo

By Ahmed Quraishi
August 09, 2012
The dinners that brought the ISI and CIA officers together in Washington were impressive. But no amount of niceties can hide a bitter truth: the Pakistani-American relationship has just graduated from being transactional to outright blackmail. What the Pakistanis have been talking about for years has just been officially acknowledged, in a nice way of course.
And make no mistake: it is the CIA and the US military that deserve the entire blame for sinking the relationship to this point. They played dishonestly from the start and shouldn’t expect bottles of wine, or Jam-e-Shireen, the non-alcoholic Pakistani version, in return.
The blackmail, if the American media leaks are correct, is that the United States will eliminate TTP terror sanctuaries on Afghan soil in exchange for the Haqqani group inside Pakistan. In other words, it is the anti-Pakistan terrorists in exchange for Afghan resistance to the US occupation. But this comparison is. The two, the Haqqanis and the TTP, cannot be ‘equalised’.
The Afghan Haqqanis inside the Pakistani tribal region were not created by Pakistan to fight the United States. The Haqqani presence is a result of complex circumstances dating back to the war against the Soviets. That’s when the Americans cut and run and left Pakistan to clean the mess. The Pakistani relationship with the Haqqanis is not evil. It is part of overall contacts that the Pakistanis maintain with all the segments of Afghan society, the closest neighbour to Pakistan.
Most importantly, the American complaints about the Haqqanis are exaggerated and border on paranoia. According to Nato figures, the Haqqanis are responsible for just ten percent of all attacks on the US Army and Nato.
This figure too is probably embellished. More than 90 percent of all resistance to the US occupation comes from inside Afghanistan. If the US soldiers are killed in Afghanistan, if a US-trained Afghan National Army soldier opens his weapon on American soldiers, it is a result of the collapse of the US political project inside that country and not the result of anything that Pakistan has done.
If the US continues to alienate large segments of Afghans, including the Haqqanis, that cannot be a Pakistani responsibility. So, why are the US Army commanders and the CIA officers fixated on the Haqqanis in Pakistan? The only answer that makes sense is that the US wants to: 1. Push Pakistan into a war with parts of the Afghan society; 2. Push Pakistan’s tribal belt into permanent chaos; and 3. Pitch Pakistan against the Pashtuns of Afghanistan.
The case of the TTP is different. Nearly all terrorism inside Pakistan stems from a group of criminal gangs known collectively as the ‘Pakistani Taliban’ for lack of a better description. This criminal enterprise was born after the Americans seized control of the Afghan side of our border. Pakistan would have eliminated this group long back but the TTP is alive today thanks to support the TTP terrorists receive from US-controlled territories. Direct and tacit American support for anti-Pakistan terror is no longer a secret.
Afghan officials quietly confirm that anti-Pakistan terror safe havens are located in Kunar and Nuristan, which are beyond the control of the Afghan government and army. The BLA, for example, was brought back from the grave and reintroduced from Afghan soil under American watch, with considerable Indian help.
‘In short, unlike the Haqqanis, the TTP terror enterprise is a new phenomenon that helps US military in Afghanistan improve its bargaining position with Pakistan. The blood of Pakistani soldiers and civilians killed by the TTP and the BLA rests in large part on the US Army and the CIA in Afghanistan.