Wednesday, July 30, 2008

An example of the CIA doing their job

A top Central Intelligence Agency official traveled secretly to Islamabad 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, according to American military and intelligence officials.

The C.I.A. emissary presented evidence showing that members of the spy service had deepened their ties with some militant groups that were responsible for a surge of violence in Afghanistan, possibly including the suicide bombing this month of the Indian Embassy in Kabul, the officials said.

The decision to confront Pakistan with what the officials described as a new C.I.A. assessment of the spy service’s activities seemed to be the bluntest American warning to Pakistan since shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks about the ties between the spy service and Islamic militants.

The C.I.A. assessment specifically points to links between members of the spy service, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, and the militant network led by Maulavi Jalaluddin Haqqani, which American officials believe maintains close ties to senior figures of Al Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

-- NY Times

Everyone knows that the biggest nexus of terrorism is in northern Pakistan, and that ultimately, we will have to deal with this problem if the Pakistani's don't. That said, I really really don't want American forces operating in northern Pakistan. I want Pakistan to clean their own god damned mess up, as the groups in their backyard are attacking nations far beyond their borders. I don't want war, but the simply can't tolerate a haven for folks who instigate attacks, such as 9/11, and then run back to an untouchable home base.

We need the Pakistani's to clean up their backyard. If that's by removing the support for terrorists from within their intelligence agencies or by helping them successfully retake their own territory, I don't really care.

The best scenario is for the militants in the north to adhere to the treaty they signed with the government to prevent insurgents from training in their tribal areas and to prevent said insurgents from crossing into the Afghanistan border. Realistically, that isn't going to happen (as they have broken this same sort of treaty twice already), so we need to support the Pakistani military when they again attempt to pacify the north. That doesn't necessarily mean American boots on the ground, but we need to make sure that the Pakistani's receive support so they can clean up their own mess. I don't want to violate the sovereignty of a nuclear-armed country, but the reality of the situation is they most likely will continue to be ineffectual and will drag their feet when we present evidence to them. In that case, and I hate saying it, the next president (be it McCain or Obama) will be pushing the military into the northern frontier of Pakistan. Both of these candidates have supported the idea of unilateral action in northern Pakistan before, so I'm hoping that the Pakistani's will realize that we are serious and will clean up their own mess... similar to the realization they had about needing to play ball with us in the months immediately after 9/11.

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