Superman, Batman and rogue elements in Pakistan’s security apparatus
A senior CIA official, we are told, traveled to Pakistan this month “to confront Pakistan’s most senior officials with new information about ties between the country’s powerful spy service and militants operating in Pakistan’s tribal areas.”
The New York Times report deals a delicate blow to the visiting Pakistani prime minister. The blow is blunt enough to connect the Pakistani establishment to the Taliban and al Qaeda, but careful enough to provide “Pakistan’s most senior officials” with an exit—for “it is unclear whether the CIA officials have concluded that contacts between the ISI and militant groups are blessed at the highest levels of Pakistan’s spy service and military, or are carried out by rogue elements of Pakistan’s security apparatus.”
Another delicacy: it reports that the CIA presented evidence of the ISI-Taliban nexus responsible for the resurgence in Taliban violance “possibly including the suicide bombing this month of the Indian Embassy in Kabul”. But also that while “Afghanistan’s government has publicly accused the ISI of having a hand in the attack”, it is an “assertion American officials have not corroborated.”
So was this trigger for last weekend’s botched attempt by Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani to bring the ISI under ‘civilian control’? Possibly. In the event, the CIA official’s effort didn’t amount to much. General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has demonstrated that it is he who is in charge of the ISI and would prefer to remain so. And that delicate thing about “rogue elements” is only a crutch for those who can’t stomach the reality.