Sunday April 21, 2024

Where CIA stumbles

Thanks to Pakistani, American and British activists, the CIA’s illegal drone warfare in Pakistan rec

By Ahmed Quraishi
December 06, 2012
Thanks to Pakistani, American and British activists, the CIA’s illegal drone warfare in Pakistan received a substantial drubbing this year. A Pakistani political party’s anti-drone march in October put many American apologists for CIA’s covert warfare programme on the defensive. It was easy to see them taking to the airwaves and newspapers in the US justifying why the drones were good. There was no wonder then that when the terrorist attack on the brave Malala Yousafzai took place, CIA apologists were quick to exploit it to justify drones, forgetting that Malala’s attackers are safely nestled even now on the American side of the Pak-Afghan border, where CIA drones conveniently miss them – probably out of incompetence and not complicity.
The CIA operations inside Pakistan are not sanctioned by international law or by post-9/11 UN Security Council resolutions on the situation in Afghanistan.
The attacks by CIA are illegal and have resulted in a substantial loss of innocent Pakistani lives. In the eyes of the Pakistani people and the law, the CIA and the government of the US bear full responsibility for these continuing acts of aggression against Pakistani people and territory.
The CIA attacks are also an attempt to mislead the American and international public opinion. It is easy to debunk most of the reasons the agency cites for attacking Pakistani territory. Most of America’s troubles in Afghanistan are indigenous, and not created by Pakistan.
The challenges facing the American military mission in Afghanistan stem from the failure of Washington’s civilian and military efforts in that country since January 2002.
The increasingly robust Afghan resistance to American political and military mistakes in Afghanistan is indigenous and comes from important segments of Afghans themselves.
No party inside or outside Afghanistan could pose trouble and endanger the lives of American and Coalition soldiers without the support of the Afghan people themselves.
Any insinuation, as that often made by some American politicians, journalists and military commanders, that US military troubles inside Afghanistan are the result of sympathy coming from Pakistan’s tribal belt, or from alleged sanctuary in that region for Afghan resistance, is inaccurate, and is an attempt to turn the spotlight away from American failures.
For example, the increase in the number and frequency of attacks by American-trained Afghan soldiers and policemen on US army personnel has nothing to do with sympathy for the Afghan resistance anywhere outside Afghanistan, including in Pakistan. The illegal CIA drone attacks conveniently provide a scapegoat for the CIA’s and the US army’s failures in Afghanistan.
The CIA is turning the entire population of the Pakistani tribal belt in Fata against Islamabad. It is creating conditions that strengthen the ability of the terrorist group, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to recruit suicide bombers to kill more Pakistani civilians.
There is no evidence that supports the claims of CIA and US officials that drone attacks inside Pakistan help improve the environment for US military and coalition personnel inside Afghanistan.
The Al-Qaeda terrorist group has been decimated thanks primarily to the efforts of Pakistani law enforcement with substantial help from the United States. The information that enabled the CIA to target the leader of the group last year could not have been developed into actionable intelligence without crucial and sincere input from Pakistani intelligence. This was a joint victory for Pakistan and the US, both partners in the war on terror, but the CIA manipulated the operation and the subsequent media briefings to demonise Pakistan. This showed clear malice toward the country and an attempt by elements within the US intelligence community to damage relations between Islamabad and Washington. Most Al-Qaeda terrorist leaders were apprehended in Pakistan because of the geographical contiguity with Afghanistan.
With the decimation of Al-Qaeda, the violations by CIA of international law and Pakistani sovereignty should have ended. Instead, the world sees an escalation in CIA-run drone attacks inside Pakistan, combined with CIA-origin leaks in the media, some by former employees of the agency, attempting to breathe new life into Al-Qaeda and offering theories to prove the group is not dead. In Pakistan’s context, we interpret this campaign by the CIA as a prelude to the justification of future interference in and aggression against Pakistan.