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Old 10-09-2008   #1
Rex Brynen
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Default ISI in Counterterrorism and Pakistan’s Political Landscape (October 15, DC)

Moderator's Note

This thread has been re-named to reflect the merging of three threads and that it is a collection on ISI (ends).

The Role of the ISI in Counterterrorism and Pakistan’s Political Landscape
A Teleconference featuring Pakistani Voices

Wednesday, October 15, 2008
9:00-10:00am

Quote:
Brigadier Shaukat Qadir, retired Army brigadier, former vice president and founder of the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), and weekly columnist for the Daily Times—where he is authoring a two part series on restructuring the ISI.

Shaheen Sehbai, Group Editor of The News International and former foreign correspondent for The Dawn in Washington D.C.

Dr. Hassan Abbas, Research Fellow at the Belfer Center's Project on Managing the Atom and International Security Program, former government official who served in the administrations of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto (1995–1996) and President Pervez Musharraf (1999–2000), and author of the blog Watandost (http://watandost.blogspot.com/) on Pakistan-related affairs.

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Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-07-2014 at 10:23 AM. Reason: Add note
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Old 01-07-2012   #2
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Default Pakistan: Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) - a collection

An Indian article from the Institute for Defence Studies & Analyses (October 2011), by Rana Banerji, a former senior intelligence officer with RAW; following a hat tip from Hamid Hussain, our occasional contributor and for the moment this deserves its own thread.

Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) feature regularly in posts, either in the South Asia arena or in OEF, but IMO rarely in such detail.

Hamid has added his commentary, with his text in red and is on the attachment - alas minus the charts, diagrams etc.

He starts with:
Quote:
This is one of the most comprehensive articles written about ISI. It is an Indian perspective but not an amateur one. Respected author probably has access to database kept by Indian intelligence agencies about their rival intelligence agency of Pakistan. Author has used Mr. Shuja Nawaz’s encyclopedic work on Pakistan army and also used some of my own very limited work on Pakistan army.
Link to article:http://idsa.in/system/files/jds_5_4_rbanerji.pdf

The article is very comprehensive, the charts are a bonus.
Attached Files
File Type: doc HamidISI.doc (117.0 KB, 859 views)
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Old 01-08-2012   #3
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Thanks for pulling this one in David. I have wracked my brain for a long time to be able to understand why ISI does what it does. I haven't started this, but I imagine that it will only stand to expand my base of knowledge significantly.
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Old 02-01-2012   #4
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Default "Leaked" ISAF report on Taliban & ISI

From the BBC...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-16821218

Quote:
Pakistan helping Afghan Taliban - Nato

The Taliban in Afghanistan are being directly assisted by Pakistani security services, according to a secret Nato report seen by the BBC.

The leaked report, derived from thousands of interrogations, claims the Taliban remain defiant and have wide support among the Afghan people....

...The BBC's Quentin Sommerville in Kabul says the report - on the state of the Taliban - fully exposes for the first time the relationship between the ISI and the Taliban.

The report is based on material from 27,000 interrogations with more than 4,000 captured Taliban, al-Qaeda and other foreign fighters and civilians.

It notes: "Pakistan's manipulation of the Taliban senior leadership continues unabatedly"....

...It quotes a senior al-Qaeda detainee as saying: "Pakistan knows everything. They control everything. I can't [expletive] on a tree in Kunar without them watching."

"The Taliban are not Islam. The Taliban are Islamabad."...

...Despite Nato's strategy to secure the country with Afghan forces, the secret document details widespread collaboration between the insurgents and Afghan police and military...
It goes on a bit. The report is of course open to all manner of interpretation and challenge. Doesn't sound a terribly optimistic read by any account.
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Old 02-01-2012   #5
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Default Lesson

If the US lacks sufficient power to persuade, induce, or coerce Pakistan into a modified strategic outlook that does not include the Taliban or one of it many affiliates or the will to utilize sufficient power; how can one reasonably expect the US to persuade, induce, or coerce Iran into a decision not to seek nuclear weapons?
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Old 02-01-2012   #6
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Default A pretty massive indictment

This report was discussed today on BBC Radio Four's PM programme, with Bruce Reidel and he stated:
Quote:
It is an extraordinary document..with quite good vintage wine...we've known for a long time that Pakistan supports the Afghan Taliban...it is a pretty massive indictment of Pakistan support for the Afghan Taliban...
Link to podcast, his remarks are 40:40 to 43:30:http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b01bb7jy

Even the Daily Telegraph comment is pithy:
Quote:
..There is little in the report which marries with Nato claims the insurgency's momentum has been broken.
Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...ommanders.html
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Old 02-01-2012   #7
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It's groundhog day folks. From the December 24, 2006, Los Angeles Times:

Quote:
Confidential documents obtained by The Times show that for at least two years, U.S. military intelligence agencies have warned American commanders that Taliban militants were arming and training in Pakistan, then slipping into Afghanistan with the help of Pakistani border control officers....

Intelligence warnings have for months documented U.S. worries about Pakistan's role in providing a haven for Afghan insurgents.

A map prepared in early 2005 for a U.S. Army Special Operations task force warned that officers at Pakistani border control posts were "assisting insurgent attacks." It showed militants' infiltration routes from Pakistan, several of which crossed from North Waziristan to Khowst province, where members of Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terrorist network who have long been based in Afghanistan are still active.

On Jan. 19 of this year, a report from the U.S. military's Joint Intelligence Task Force said that Al Qaeda continued "to provide expertise and resources, such as weapons, training, and fighters to anti-coalition groups including the Taliban" and its allies, among which is Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hizb-i-Islami militia.

In a separate report the same month, the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency, or DIA, identified six eastern provinces, including Khowst, as "Al Qaeda strongholds."

"These locations allow Al Qaeda members easy entrance and exit over the Afghanistan/Pakistan border," it added.

The document identified Al Qaeda's commander in Afghanistan as Khalid Habib, and said "Al Qaeda maintains close ties to the Taliban and has received technical support and training from Pakistani militant groups."

It warned that armed Afghans, Arabs and Pakistanis who might attack U.S. forces were in Afghanistan. And it said that Pakistan's ISI directorate posed "a HIGH intelligence threat to U.S. and Coalition forces."
There have been dozens and dozens of "leaks" about this going back to at least 2006 and I remember the first serious reports from way, way back in 2003. It's been six-plus freaking years of this crap and it's still reported in halting, serious tones by "officials" as if this were some great revelation. That Pakistani's must be laughing their asses off - "look at the Americans - they've known for years we're helping the Taliban and all they seem to do is complain to the media."

/rant off. Time to pour myself a drink.
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Old 02-01-2012   #8
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...and that's why having nukes is so attractive.

Without them, you run risk of getting even your fertilizer factories bombed - with them you can do whatever you want, even house the U.S.'s arch enemy.
You may even get subsidies by the U.S. in the meantime.

Seriously, who could have made this up?
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Old 02-02-2012   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
...and that's why having nukes is so attractive.

Without them, you run risk of getting even your fertilizer factories bombed - with them you can do whatever you want, even house the U.S.'s arch enemy.
You may even get subsidies by the U.S. in the meantime.

Seriously, who could have made this up?
So, you're suggesting nukes are why the US looks the other way with regard to Pakistani support for the Taliban?
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Old 02-02-2012   #10
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Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
So, you're suggesting nukes are why the US looks the other way with regard to Pakistani support for the Taliban?
I doubt the nukes have much to do with it. The Pakistanis know too well what the consequence of pointing one of those the wrong way would be.

A simpler answer is that as long as the US presence in Afghanistan is large enough to require land supply via Pakistan to sustain it, te Pakistanis hold a trump card in their dealing with the US. The US can't use its substantial economic leverage until it's capable of supporting the Afghanistan venture without Pakistani cooperation. Counterintuitively, the US may gain more leverage over Pakistan, and thus over the Taliban, by reducing its presence.

I personally wonder if it wouldn't be possible to scale back the overall presence substantially without reducing combat capability, by adjusting the teeth-to-tail ratio in favor of teeth. Of course I'm not in a position to know, but it does seem like there's a whole bunch of tail on the ground there. Would appreciate informed commentary on that question...
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Old 02-02-2012   #11
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Pakistan has always had a working relationship with the Taliban to my knowledge; why would that change simply because the US decided to jump into the region and begin working to shape things to our liking??

Pakistan had little choice but to "align" with the US in this effort officially, or risk being caught between a growing US-Indian alliance; but that did not change how they viewed their interests from their perspective and the role of the Taliban in managing the aspect of those interests that requires influence with the Pashtun populace shared by Pakistan and Afghanistan.

I see nothing surprising or new about this report. Well, I guess to me it is surprising that anyone thinks this is surprising.

And yes, I think we would have been as deep in Pakistan as we are currently in Afghanistan if they did not have nukes. Countries that have nukes receive a different status of treatment than those that do not, that is why so many countries seek them today. Afghanistan and Iraq did not have nukes, so we ignored their sovereignty. Pakistan has nukes, so while frustrating, we respect their sovereignty. NK and Iran are seeking a little respect of their own. Perhaps if we gave it to them they would not feel compelled to pursue nuclear programs quite so aggressively.
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Old 02-02-2012   #12
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I think what Fuchs meant (correctly) was that having Nukes makes Pakistan "too big to fail" and guarantees that bailouts will be forthcoming while also guaranteeing that any strategy of bombing or intervening directly will appear too risky. It also provides a very very valuable potential export item, to be used (i.e. sold to Saudi Arabia) if all else fails.
The only reason I am not jumping on board the "ISI is brilliant" bandwagon is because there was another choice and for the people of Pakistan (as opposed to its military-bureaucratic elite) that choice would have been much better ..to dump its "India-centric", nuke-protected-jihadi-based interventionist foreign policy and think about improving living standards and governance via the old-fashioned route (trade, industry, culture, etc). But as long as you buy the nationalist BS surrounding these matters, Pakistan's "core professionals" have played the US brilliantly and will continue to do so.
Groundhog day indeed.
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Old 02-02-2012   #13
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Ok, look, nukes are a sideshow to this discussion. When it comes to nukes we're worried about Pakistan falling apart followed by the nukes getting "lost." We're not really worried about Pakistan nuking us and it's not their nukes that are keeping us from doing more about Pakistan's support to the Taliban. After all, we haven't even cut off aid yet. Pakistan is still technically an ally.

And nukes didn't keep us from flying in and killing UBL, nor has it stopped us from drone strikes in Pakistan (those have the sanction of the Pakistanis, of course). If Pakistan didn't have nukes we'd have the same problems with them we're having now. We need Pakistan because they are the key to Afghanistan for all the obvious reasons - reasons which policymakers and our senior military leadership give lip service to. We've opted to tolerate Pakistan's support of the Taliban not because of nukes, but because we have to have their assistance if we want to "win" in Afghanistan, however one chooses to define that. As bad as Pakistan's support is WRT the Taliban, it could be a lot worse. Pakistan is using that leverage - not the threat of nukes - and are laughing themselves to the bank at our expense.
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Old 02-02-2012   #14
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Lets say Pakistan had no nukes and the US "engaged" with Pakistan for all the reasons you give. And then, in 2003 or thereabout, finds out that its not exactly cooperating wholeheartedly. My thought is that the nukes take some options off the table..e.g. the option cutting off aid and applying direct pressure...maybe nobody would have done that anyway, but even if someone thinks of doing it, don't the nukes inhibit that though immediately?..not because Pakistan could use one, but because the sanctions and pressures might work too well, leading to either collapse or open Jihadist takeover. To avoid either contingency 98.7% of analysts would opt for "more engagement" and while GHQ may not know many things, they do know this fact and use it.
Again, I could say (like Robert sahib) "good for them. they should protect their interests", except that i dont think that the interests defined in the Pakistani military-inspired national narrative are really in the interest of most Pakistanis.
And, as a US citizen and taxpayer, I do feel we shouldnt be paying for such shenanigans. I understand wasting trillions is our thing and Ron Paul is not going to win the election, but the thought still pinches...
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Old 02-02-2012   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by omarali50 View Post
And then, in 2003 or thereabout, finds out that its not exactly cooperating wholeheartedly. My thought is that the nukes take some options off the table..e.g. the option cutting off aid and applying direct pressure...maybe nobody would have done that anyway, but even if someone thinks of doing it, don't the nukes inhibit that though immediately?
I don't think nukes take cutting aid off the table at all. After all, we've cut off aid before when they had nukes. The aid only started back up because of Afghanistan and once that is over I bet they will get cut off again. The idea that Pakistan is somehow using its nukes to extort aid from us just seems ludicrous to me.

That's not to say the nukes mean nothing. Yes, Pakistani stability is more important - yes nukes mean we aren't going to do a lot of things like attack them, but those are things we weren't going to do anyway.

Nukes simply aren't a central consideration to what we do about Afghanistan. Our position wouldn't be any better if Pakistan wasn't a nuclear power.
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Old 02-02-2012   #16
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And all this time i thought there must SOME rhyme and reason to this silly business. If its not even the nukes, then I must say it looks even more ridiculous..
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Old 02-03-2012   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
Counterintuitively, the US may gain more leverage over Pakistan, and thus over the Taliban, by reducing its presence.
Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
I personally wonder if it wouldn't be possible to scale back the overall presence substantially without reducing combat capability, by adjusting the teeth-to-tail ratio in favor of teeth. Of course I'm not in a position to know, but it does seem like there's a whole bunch of tail on the ground there. Would appreciate informed commentary on that question...
My uninformed commentary is physically. absolutely. Culturally, impossible.
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Old 02-03-2012   #18
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Default leak highlights the need for more realism over Afghanistan

For once a measured, careful commentary on this "leak" and the fuss afterwards by a British think tank author, who was a special adviser to the former Labour government:http://www.ippr.org/articles/56/8609...er-afghanistan

A "taster" from his last two paragraphs:
Quote:
This suggests a total inability to see the conflict from the insurgency’s point of view. At the same time as Western leaders, looking to their domestic constituencies, are talking about accelerating the process of ‘transition’ to Afghan control, today’s report tells us that ‘the Taliban are deliberately hastening NATO’s withdrawal by reducing their attacks in some areas and then initiating a comprehensive hearts-and-minds campaign’. We shouldn’t ascribe too much strategic sophistication, and in particular too much strategic co-ordination, to what is undeniably a fragmented insurgency under a degree of pressure; but the trends identified in the report are plausible components of a deliberate strategic shift by the insurgency, in response to NATO’s own strategic shift towards ‘transition’. Dismissing them as ‘desperation’ is itself rather desperate.

Leaks are always damaging, but however difficult this is to handle in the short term, we must hope that UK officials and others use it as an opportunity to move towards a more honest and realistic debate about the Afghan campaign and its prospects of success, in public as well as private. Clearly, they are under no obligation to talk up our enemies, but complacency can be just as damaging as defeatism.
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Old 02-03-2012   #19
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Default Never fear, Petreaus is here!

I only last week got around to reading in the December Atlantic Magazine an article about our friends in Pakistan:http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/...rom-hell/8730/

I am now very optimistic after reading the article. This is the last sentence.

Quote:
A senior US intelligence official told us that General David Petraeus, the new director of the CIA, says he believes he can rebuild relations with the ISI, because he has "a good personal relationship with these guys.
See. A new day has dawned.
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Old 02-03-2012   #20
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Default Not one of the general's better logical conclusions ...

though personal assessments are always controversial. One will say "I look into his eyes and see his soul”; another, "I look into his eyes and see KGB”.

I confess to liking David Petraeus' research. That comes down, without a doubt, to his dissertation, The American Military and the lessons of Vietnam (Princeton, 1987) (used to be online; perhaps here).

In those 300+ pages, he provides great sourcing into those of the "Never Again, but" school of thought. That "school" lies at the heart of my Worldview. Note that these folks were not pacifists.

"Never Again" grew out of the Korean War - whoops, "peace enforcement action". Its first articulation re: Vietnam, that I've found, was by a section of the War College Class of 1951-1952. U.S. Policy in Southeast Asia, Reports of Student Committees # 13-17 (Carlisle Barracks, Pa: U.S. Army War College, 1951), presented in October 1951. From Bruce Palmer, Jr., The 25 Year War (University Press of Kentucky, 1984), pp.2-3:

Quote:
.... Although opinions were somewhat divided, a large majority opposed any major U.S. involvement. The conclusions of the majority could be summarized as follows:

(1) The United States had probably made a serious mistake in agreeing with its allies to allow French power to be restored in Indochina. As a colonial power, France had done little to develop indigenous civilian and military leaders and civil servants in preparation for the countries' eventual independence.

(2) Indochina was of only secondary strategic importance to the United States. The economic and military value of Vietnam, the most important state in the region, was not impressive. Politically and socially Vietnam was obviously entering an unstable period with uncertain consequences. In any event, it did not warrant the commitment of US forces to its defense.

(3) General war planning by the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) envisioned a strategic defense in the Pacific, drawing the U.S. forward defense line to include Japan, South Korea, and the offshore island chain (Okinawa-Taiwan-the Philippines). But in Southeast Asia the line was drawn through the Isthmus of Kra on the mainland, excluding all of Indochina and most of Thailand. Thus the Straits of Malacca and populous, endowed Indonesia were considered to be the prime strategic targets of the region.

(4) Militarily the region in general and Vietnam in particular would be an extremely difficult operational area, especially for U.S. forces. Unlike the relatively narrow Korean peninsula, Vietnam presented very long land and coastal borders that would be almost impossible to seal against infiltration and difficult to defend against overt military aggression. Much of the region was covered with dense jungle and much was mountainous. Weather, terrain and geographical factors combined to present formidable obstacles for military operations and logistic support.

(5) Politically and psychologically the United States, if it were to become involved, would have to operate under severe disadvantages, for it would inherit the taint of European colonialism. The United States should not become involved in the area beyond providing materiel military aid.
I was steered to GEN Palmer's book by a pink paratrooper - a good steer, indeed.

Someone else can rewrite the five conclusions in terms of Afghanistan, etc.

Regards

Mike
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