Obama wasn’t there. Kayani was.

Despite the Wikileaks documents, US policy on Pakistan is unlikely to change

The immediate response by President Barack Obama’s media managers to the release of thousands of war logs has been to blame the Bush administration. “The period of time covered in these documents (January 2004-December 2009)” the White House says “is before the President announced his new strategy. Some of the disconcerting things reported are exactly why the President ordered a three month policy review and a change in strategy.” As the latest release—and perhaps a more damning future one—by Wikileaks works its way through the US political system, Mr Obama will have to do a lot better than that. (Yes, yes, another speech full of high rhetoric is on the cards.)

However as my INI colleague pointed out this morning, that period includes General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani’s entire tenure as ISI chief. As Tunku Varadarajan writes in the Daily Beast

Much of the latest involvement in the Afghan insurgency by the ISI—Pakistan’s military intelligence—happened on Gen. Kayani’s watch, when he was the head of the ISI. That very same man, Kayani, whose agency lovingly breastfed the Taliban, and who was later elevated to chief of army staff, has just been granted a three-year extension by Pakistan’s civilian government. It boggles the mind that this duplicitous underminer of the U.S. war effort is now General David Petraeus’ direct interlocutor. Petraeus will need to navigate a labyrinth of misinformation and half-truths, accompanied by typically unctuous protestations that Pakistan is doing everything it can to help us in the war against al Qaeda. [Daily Beast]

This is not really news. But now that the ISI’s skulduggery has the international media’s attention, it will be much harder for US officials to pretend that Gen Kayani smells of roses. Here’s something to think about—what if Wikileaks had delivered their scoop before his term was extended? Here’s something else to think about—there was time until November this year to announce the extension of his term.

6 thoughts on “Obama wasn’t there. Kayani was.”

  1. Acorn
    Has there been any analysis why US doesn’t want to confront and exact right behavior from Pakistan?
    Is it just because of lack of stomach, to take them on if push comes to shove or are there any other factors in play ?

  2. Nothing will change.
    We do not know why US is in Afghanistan. It is not obvious why it lets itself be extorted and have its soldiers murdered. It cannot be “to save Afghanistan”. It cannot be to prevent more 9/11s. Shazad’s botched attempt and Headley’s terror tourism proved how futile it is to save ourselves from the Pakis in our midst.

    We keep foolishly hoping that US actually has a game plan for Pak.

  3. None of this is new, its old hat for us here and the US for that matter. In spite of trying to deflect attention from the facts. the fact remains that the US can no longer shy away from accepting that it is being blackmailed and that it doesn’t have the backbone to stop it’s bribery. Till now they got away with it because their bluff had not been called – it is now.

    Will things change in Afghanistan, Pakistan or the US? Most certainly not. The only change is that no longer will the US be able to openly make payments to Pakistan as aid, it will now be seen for what it really is.

    With the Presidential election process getting underway in a little over a year and some months, Obama has his eyes firmly fixed on Jun 2011. By the time electionioneering comes around, he will be able to promote how he has extracted the US from a war that was being lost through mismanagement. For that he needs the Pakistani presence – no longer can it be called support!

    But what about India? Will the PM’s eyes open even now? Will he understand that all this talk we hear fom Holbrooke – LeT is evil – and the rest about how they are putting pressure on Pakistan to follow up on 26/11 is hogwash? Will he finally realise that they have been pulling the wool over his eyes?

    As far as the US and India are concerned, its time to stop behaving like the three monkeys.

  4. US’s motivations in Afghanisthan are assumed to be towards the stabilization of Afghanisthan, in which case Pakistan would be a terrible ally for that task. However, if the US’s interest is to keep Af-Pak unstable to check the presence of competing powers in the region, then Pakistan is a wonderful ally for that agenda. If we look at the US’s rhetoric, it is ostensibly for stabilizing Afghanisthan, but if you look at the US’s actions of leaving Afghanisthan under Pakistan’s control, all of them point to keeping afghanisthan unstable.

    This sticks out when we consider that the US govt. knew about the Pakistani Army/ISI since 2004 from the recent wikileaks documents, and yet chose to hand over control of Afghanisthan to the Pakistani Army in 2010. Malice? Incompetence? Will we ever know?

  5. Nothing new.

    Militaries all over the world are used as dispensable by their political masters, intelligence agencies and business interests.

    USA all along has been using Pakistan as the best proxy to be in Afghanistan and they do not mind a few of the GI Joes getting hacked by their Taliban friends. Their best bet for Afghanistan is the Pashtoons whether Pakistans remains or breaks up and both cases.

    They do not mind giving Kayani their dicard SP Guns, F-16 and radars to catch Osama. What a joke. That hardware is too good for Indians and who cares for them?

    What happened to Indian Army in Sri Lanka?

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