Monday, December 08, 2008

The Pakistani Two Step

Pakistan has announced that it has carried out raids against Lashkar-e-Taiba camps in the country.
Pakistani security forces on Sunday raided a camp used by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), two sources said, in a strike against the militant group blamed by India for last month's deadly attacks on Mumbai.

Local man Nisar Ali told Reuters the operation began in the afternoon in Shawai on the outskirts of Muzaffarabad, the capital of the Pakistani side of disputed Kashmir region.

"I don't know details as the entire area was sealed off, but I heard two loud blasts in the evening after a military helicopter landed there," Ali said.

An official with the Jamaat-ud-Dawa charity, which is linked to LeT, said security forces had taken over the camp.

India has demanded Pakistan take swift action over what it says is the latest anti-India militant attack emanating from Pakistani soil. No comment on the raid was immediately available from Indian officials.
It's the Pakistani two-step. The Pakistanis have been doing this for years, and it follows a trend in other places like Saudi Arabia following terror attacks.

You make a few arrests.

You kill a few terrorists and say that you're cracking down. You do just enough to stay in power (in the case of Pervez Musharraf and now Asif Ali Zardari), and little more. You cycle between appeasement and crackdown, and the Islamists know this is coming just as surely as anyone who has been watching this for years.

The only way to break out of this mess is to take on the Islamists and destroy the Islamist terror infrastructure, but no one in Pakistan is willing to take it on; they've penetrated the ISI and the government can barely control the frontier provinces, let alone deal with the immediate threat of India's wrath following the terror attacks.

The US has been largely operating with tacit approval of the Pakistani government in taking out targets inside Waziristan and the NWFP. A major problem is that the terrorists aren't simply confined there - there are rat lines all through Pakistan, and going after them is tougher, although the US did take out an al Qaeda bigwig a few weeks back outside the frontier provinces. That's a much more delicate situation and one that threatens the overall US policy on airstrikes inside Pakistan.

The Pakistanis have chosen for far too long to enable and condone the Islamists and the jihad. They can't simply turn and burn them now without payback, and the Pakistani government is going to walk the tightrope, just as Musharraf did. They'll do only so much to reduce the pressure from the West and India, but no further because that would risk the Islamists rising up against the government.

In fact, Pakistan's ISI appears to have aided and abetted the terrorists in attacking Mumbai. This isn't the first time the ISI has been implicated in terrorism either.

More ominously, the former ISI chief is linked to al Qaeda's WMD advisory group.
Lieutenant General (Retired) Hamid Gul served on the board of the Umma Tameer-E-Nau, an organization founded by Pakistani nuclear scientists and industrialists, according to a secret dossier that the United States has put together to present to the United Nations Security Council, The News reported. Gul has also been implicated in supporting the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, the Haqqani Network, al Qaeda, and other extremist groups.

Gul served as the chief of the ISI from 1987 to 1989. Gul is known as the Godfather of the Taliban for his efforts to organize the fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989, and the helping to facilitate the rise of the Taliban in the 1990s. Gul supports the terrorist insurgency in India-occupied Kashmir and opposes the US-led effort to defeat Islamic extremism.

The Umma Tameer-E-Nau "was founded by Pakistani nuclear scientists with close ties to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban," the US government stated in December 2001 after blocking the group's finances under Executive Order 13224. Three of the group's directors - two Pakistani nuclear scientists and an industrialist - were also proscribed under the executive order.
Note too that the NATO operations in Afghanistan are at tremendous risk because Pakistan simply cannot maintain operational security for the transportation terminals and convoys carrying the weapons and equipment into Afghanistan, and that threatens the IFOR. A major Taliban attack against one such terminal in Peshawar resulted in 160 vehicles destroyed, including dozens of humvees destined for Afghanistan. 70% of the equipment and vehicles destined for Afghanistan pass through Pakistan.

That's not a good situation to be in at all.

Cracking down against LeT and the Taliban in general is the absolute least the Pakistanis can do at this point. Appearing to crack down on LeT and the Taliban is the most they can do, precisely because of the risk of looking like the government is operating at the behest of the West or India.

This certainly isn't good news. Pakistan has suspended the NATO supply lines from Pakistan into Afghanistan.
The decision came just hours after a logistics terminal in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, where dozens of trucks carrying Humvees and other military vehicles were parked, was attacked by insurgents on Sunday.

More than 300 Taliban militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles burned down the logistics [had to fix a typo in the original report] terminal.
That comes on the heels of still more attacks on NATO supply lines today, with 90 containers destroyed in an attack today. Pakistan claims that the terrorists involved are getting international assistance and that they can't handle the security of the NATO supply lines.

I guess the ISI now counts as international assistance?

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