rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » War log leaks: Can US make Pakistan behave?

War log leaks: Can US make Pakistan behave?

Last updated on: August 3, 2010 10:49 IST

War log leaks: Can US rein in Pakistan?

     Next

Next

South Asia watchers are mixed in their opinion about whether the exposure of the Pakistani Inter Service Intelligence's incestuous relationship with the Taliban and other groups arrayed against the United States and India would result in the Obama administration coming down hard on Pakistan's double-game.

Whistleblower website WikiLeaks.org recently published 90,000 classified documents regarding the Afghanistan war, which included damning evidence of the ISI's double game.

Lisa Curtis, the senior research fellow on the subcontinent at the conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation, said, "The information on Pakistani intelligence links to the Taliban is not startling news for those following developments in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The broad thrust of the report substantiates what the US media has long been reporting regarding Pakistan's dual policies of fighting some terrorists while harbouring others," she said.

Click on NEXT to read on...

Reportage: Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC


Image: A soldier is assisted past his burning armoured vehicle after it struck an IED in Arghandab Valley, Afghanistan
Photographs: Bob Strong/Reuters
     Next

War log leaks: Can US rein in Pakistan?

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

But she acknowledged that the revelations would "likely sharpen the debate on US policy toward Pakistan and raise awareness among the American public that the continued existence of Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan is one of the major reasons for US's lack of success in Afghanistan."

She said it is "now clear that the ISI is indirectly undermining the entire US mission in Afghanistan. These facts need to be fully digested and dealt with by US policymakers."

Curtis warned that if the Obama administration "is unwilling to confront these realities, success in Afghanistan will remain elusive."

She attributed the administration's reluctance to push Pakistan harder "on its tolerance and support for the Taliban," to US intelligence receiving "vital information from Pakistan that has helped thwart potential terrorist attacks here in the US."

Teresita Schaffer, the head of the South Asia Programme at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said, "It has been commonly known and widely believed for years that Pakistan was keeping its options open, and that Pakistanis inside and outside the government had profound doubts about (Afghanistan President Hamid) Karzai's ability to govern more effectively."


Image: The casket containing the remains of Sergeant Jeffrey Kettle at the burial site in Virginia
Photographs: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Prev     Next

War log leaks: Can US rein in Pakistan?

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Professor Marvin Weinbaum, a leading expert on Afghanistan, acknowledged that any evidence of ISI's involvement with the Taliban and other terrorist groups strengthened India's claims that these groups are used by Pakistan to launch attacks inside India.

"But the US has thus far been careful to underscore in its response to the leaks that it is now getting greater understanding and cooperation from Pakistan's security forces," he said.

He said he had "no direct knowledge that the US is of late making a greater effort to take India into its confidence beyond the fact that it may have given India a heads up," on the leaks before WikiLeaks posted it.


Image: US President Barack Obama leaves a press meet on the leaked Afghan war documents
Photographs: Jim Young/Reuters
Prev     Next

War log leaks: Can US rein in Pakistan?

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

He said, "Naturally, the US and India share many perspectives and common interests on the threats of terrorism. But the US will be careful not to suggest that it is colluding with India as leverage on Pakistan."

Walter Andersen, associate director of the South Asia Studies Department at the Johns Hopkins University's School for Advanced International Studies, said, "You can see suspicion in the mainstream press criticising what appears to be a Janus-faced Pakistani approach to the fight against the Taliban and the Al Qaeda and the many members of Congress commenting negatively about Pakistan on the issue."

He predicted that for much of the American public, "the documents will help set an attitude regarding Pakistan and what it is doing. These documents thus complicate the President's effort to retain support for our military commitment in Afghanistan."

Andersen pointed to the fact that many American commentators "are already arguing that if Pakistan, our presumed ally against terrorism, is in fact aiding terrorists that kill US troops, then we cannot possibly expect either to achieve our objectives there or to withdraw from Afghanistan anytime soon."


Image: A file photo of Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao at the Indian Embassy in Kabul a day after a blast
Photographs: Omar Sobhani/Reuters
Prev     Next

War log leaks: Can US rein in Pakistan?

Prev     More
Prev

More

Professor Sumit Ganguly, director of research at the Centre on American and Global Security at Indiana University, Bloomington, said the US giving India a heads up on the coming leaks, as it had Pakistan, Afghanistan, Britain and several other countries, was no big deal and "simply an attempt at damage control and does not represent a dramatic policy shift."

He said this in no way meant that Washington was taking New Delhi into confidence as a player in the Afghanistan imbroglio or a manifestation that it was acknowledging India's perennial claims of ISI duplicity.

Ganguly said, "The weight of past differences on intelligence cooperation is hard to overcome," and disclosed that "a few months ago, at an important conference, a former senior US intelligence officer went on a virtual rant about how India had offered little or no intelligence cooperation in the wake of 9/11."

"I doubt those sentiments, which are deep-seated, are likely to change anytime soon. One can only hope that instead of simply berating and threatening those responsible for the leaks the administration will take heed of the import and not dismiss them as old hat," he said.


Image: An anti-American rally in Peshawar
Photographs: Ali Imam/Reuters
Prev     More