The Obama administration’s pressure on Pakistan’s military leadership is yielding some results, says a reliable source in Washington DC, as ISI and CIA are teaming-up to intensify operations in Baluchistan
A senior Pakistani official told us today that the ISI and CIA have conducted over fifty joint operations recently. “These are very complex engagements. CIA and ISI depend on each other for not only success of these operations but to watch each other’s back,” official said stressing under the apparent tension – there is solid cooperation between two intelligence agencies.
Other Pakistani government officials complain that their army is overstretched and under- appreciated for handling vicious terrorists in Swat, South Waziristan and Orakzai.
The Obama administration has sent several senior officials to Islamabad in the past two weeks urging Pakistan to tackle North Waziristan and allow drone strikes into the western province of Balochistan.
“We feel joint targeted operations are more successful in Balochistan. Drone attacks will be counterproductive,” said the Pakistani official. He acknowledges that the Obama administration is becoming more ‘demanding’ and has warned General Kayani that “you do it, or we will”.
A senior civilian adviser to America’s special forces commander in Afghanistan, Seth Jones in his New York Times article, Take the war to Pakistan, has argued that the Afghan war is “run and organized out of Balochistan” by the Quetta shura, a 15-man war council led by the Taliban leader Mullah Omar. “Virtually all significant meetings of the Taliban take place in that province, and many of the group’s senior leaders and military commanders are based there,” he said.
Pakistan army’s ‘secretive’ relations with American counterpart are no surprise.
During Musharaf’s tenure, according to a report in Guardian today, American Special Forces had conducted multiple clandestine raids into Pakistan’s tribal areas. A former NATO officer told the Guardian that the incursions occurred between 2003 and 2008, and involved helicopter-borne elite soldiers stealing across the border at night.
“While public opinion has grudgingly tolerated CIA-led drone strikes in the tribal areas, any hint of American “boots on the ground” is greeted with virulent condemnation,” the Guardian claims.
This dynamic has changed. The Pakistan Army does not want to allow drone attacks in Baluchistan and would rather conduct joint operations.
The CIA-ISI relationship is extremely complex: on the one hand we learn about how these two agencies are working together but through consistent leaks we are often told a different story – that they are devoid of any semblance of trust. Below are recently declassified CIA documents that accuse ISI of playing ‘double game’ during Genereal Musharaf’s rule.