Pakistan to US: No more drone attacks

posted at 1:36 pm on April 12, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

It seems safe to assume that the meeting between CIA chief Leon Panetta and his counterpart in Pakistan’s ISI didn’t go terribly well.  Yesterday, the CIA called the talks “productive” and declared the relationship between the two intelligence agencies “on solid footing.”  Today, news reports have Pakistan demanding an end to drone attacks against Taliban and al-Qaeda leadership in Pakistan:

Pakistan has privately demanded the Central Intelligence Agency suspend drone strikes against militants on its territory, one of the U.S.’s most effective weapons against al Qaeda and Taliban leaders, officials said. …

The U.S. strategy in the war in Afghanistan hinges on going after militants taking refuge in Pakistan. The breakdown in intelligence cooperation has cast a pall over U.S.-Pakistani relations, with some officials in both countries saying intelligence ties are at their lowest point since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks spurred the alliance.

Beyond the Afghan battlefield, officials believe that without a robust counterterrorism relationship with Pakistan, al Qaeda and other groups can operate with far greater impunity when planning attacks on the U.S. and Europe. The vast majority of attacks against the West in the last decade originated in Pakistan.

The Pakistanis want the CIA to seriously reduce their personnel in Pakistan, no doubt prompted by a killing earlier this year involving a CIA operative, but more related to a more basic fear:

Pressure from Pakistani intelligence for a cut in the number of U.S. Special Forces trainers working in sensitive regions is due to fears they are also spying, according to Pakistani sources with knowledge of the request, illustrating the extent to which growing mutual mistrust is hampering security co-operation.

The request was conveyed when Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, head of Pakistan’s powerful Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), visited his counterpart Leon Panetta at CIA headquarters on Monday.

A U.S. military official in Islamabad confirmed that a reduction in the number of Special Forces troops involved in training Pakistanis in counter-insurgency was being discussed.

“Throughout the history of the training mission there have been discussions about the force structure and location of the training,” the official said. “So this should not be perceived as a done deal. … But it’s something that we’re talking about.”

Whatever other issues may be had with President Obama’s foreign policy, he has mainly met his commitment to put more energy into attacking AQ and the Taliban in Afghanistan.  Obama stepped up the drone attacks begun under George W. Bush while Pervez Musharraf ruled as a dictator in Pakistan, and they have been effective at killing major players in the terrorist networks.  Unfortunately, as will always be the case, they also produce collateral deaths, which create a massive political problem for the now-democratic Pakistani government.

On top of this, we still have the ISI’s (formerly?) close relationship with the Taliban to consider.  Both the Bush and Obama administrations have publicly stated that the ISI is working against the terrorists, and that may be true of at least AQ, which comprises mainly uninvited foreigners that destabilize Pakistani authority in their remote regions.  It seems much less true of the Taliban, which are primarily Pashtun tribal leaders native to the Af-Pak region.  Have the Islamists in the ISI been squeezed out at all?  Or are they, as appears much more likely, playing on both sides?

Regardless, Obama has a tough problem to face.  We cannot allow AQ to operate at will in the frontier regions, which means we have to find ways to target them.  Pakistan has turned a blind eye for years to drone attacks, but if that changes, we will find that much more difficult to accomplish.  Any slack in this fight will mean an immediate expansion of AQ operations.  Obama and Panetta need to find a way to tell the ISI no and make it stick without tipping Pakistan entirely to the Islamists.


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And by the way, Ahmahreekans, we’re going to let Umar Patek go, too.

/Pakkkiiissss

blatantblue on April 12, 2011 at 1:39 PM

First, an idiot is in charge of the CIA.

Make that second because – first, an idiot is CiC.

Schadenfreude on April 12, 2011 at 1:39 PM

Wonder what the Pakistanis are hiding, for real.

karenhasfreedom on April 12, 2011 at 1:39 PM

SecState to Pakistan:

No worries… we’ll just stop that foreign aid thingy at the same time while you reevaluate your position on drones…

Khun Joe on April 12, 2011 at 1:40 PM

OK, then no more foreign or other aid to Pakistan.

Rebar on April 12, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Another unwinnable (the politicians will lose it) war for the U.S.

Fantastic.

PappyD61 on April 12, 2011 at 1:41 PM

These things can usually be resolved with money. Sounds like the Pakis want a little raise in foreign aid.

a capella on April 12, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Obama and Panetta need to find a way to tell the ISI no and make it stick without tipping Pakistan entirely to the Islamists.

can’t see that happening i’m afraid…

cmsinaz on April 12, 2011 at 1:42 PM

tipping Pakistan entirely to the Islamists

With Øbama, as soon as you think it can’t get any worse, it does.

petefrt on April 12, 2011 at 1:44 PM

Bing West at NRO’s The Corner says:

The officials believe the U.S. is in the position of weakness in the bilateral relationship, both because terrorists have a refuge in Pakistan and because Pakistan has over three dozen nuclear weapons that the U.S. wants to keep out of terrorist hands. Therefore, according to Pakistani calculus, the U.S. must go along with whatever limitations Pak officials demand. Otherwise, Pakistan may fall apart and the terrorists will take over. Hence the weak control the strong.

I would say they are too clever by half except Barack Obama is the President.

cartooner on April 12, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Obama and Panetta need to find a way to tell the ISI no and make it stick without tipping Pakistan entirely to the Islamists.

My suggestion would be to set up a “workplace accident” for a lot of the ISI people believed to be on the Islamist side of the street.

That recent mess with the CIA contractor set the standard for how much “blood money” we have to pay for whacking one of these idiots, so I think we can afford to wipe out a bunch then cut a check that’s a little bigger than that amount with the message being “We’ll make up the difference later.”

teke184 on April 12, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Wonder what the Pakistanis are hiding, for real.

karenhasfreedom on April 12, 2011 at 1:39 PM

3 dozen nukes!

cartooner on April 12, 2011 at 1:48 PM

“FORE!”

Bishop on April 12, 2011 at 1:48 PM

Any other country like to tell the US how to run things, while we are at it?

Sir Napsalot on April 12, 2011 at 1:50 PM

CUT OFF ALL AID. Tell them to clear the country of al-qaeda or get nuked. Tell them we’re tired of their Muslim nonsense. We will ally with India and remove them from the planet if they don’t clean house. Time to end this problem once and for all.

fleiter on April 12, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Get the hell out of all these countries; let all these 7 century throwbacks kill themselves[while we just contain them], put our troops on the border and let them do what the constitution calls for,,protect the borders. We are just wearing down our military, expending arms that we will not be able replace; stop this erosion of our military.

retiredeagle on April 12, 2011 at 1:55 PM

Sir Napsalot on April 12, 2011 at 1:50 PM

Is there any country who isn’t?

ORconservative on April 12, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Iraq Afghanistan Libya Pakistan is a turd sandwich.

Lunchtime.

ted c on April 12, 2011 at 1:58 PM

How many frickin’ pashtun tribal leaders are there? We whack a dozen and 20 more spring up. These guys must be coming from a factory in China or something.

WitchDoctor on April 12, 2011 at 2:05 PM

retiredeagle on April 12, 2011 at 1:55 PM

The problem with that thinking is they are more determined to kill us than each other. The Taliban and AQ are helped considerably by the regional tribes and the ISI, with the full knowledge of the Pakistani government.

They have no interest in ending the threat to us, so we therefore must end it.

dogsoldier on April 12, 2011 at 2:07 PM

fleiter on April 12, 2011 at 1:52 PM

I like the way you think.

pedestrian on April 12, 2011 at 2:07 PM

They’re just sniffing for more handouts.

John the Libertarian on April 12, 2011 at 2:10 PM

Tell them OK, jam their radar and tell the agents to wear a keffiyeh.

F***’em if they can’t take a joke.

Oh and double the missile strikes and start assassinations.

Speakup on April 12, 2011 at 2:11 PM

OT: tree huggers happy today via drudge

cmsinaz on April 12, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Thanks for the laugh. I’m going to share this with my biology students. See what they think.
And since the Gaia hypothesis has been widely discredited by ecologists, wildlife biologists, etc., this nonsense should end.
But it won’t. Just like some people think CO2 causes atmospheric temps to rise when everything points to rising atmospheric temps causing the concentration of CO2 to rise instead.
But hey, it raises money & makes eveyrone feel good while despots gain more control over their zombie masses.

Get the hell out of all these countries; let all these 7 century throwbacks kill themselves[while we just contain them]
retiredeagle on April 12, 2011 at 1:55 PM

Yes. And if they threaten us, take their a$$e$ out.

Badger40 on April 12, 2011 at 2:12 PM

The problem with these people is that :
#1 Many of them are muslims. A political ideology that commands you to engage in all sorts of idiocy.
#2 A culture that supports corruption, lying, bickering, theivery, etc.

And IDK if that culture is mainly ‘Arabic’ in nature (bcs Arab ‘Christians’ seem to have some of these qualities), but it’s a problem that islam just exacerbates.

If these effers want to eff with us, then we need to cut the funds, stop any trade with them & tell them to get their $hit straight or we’re going to straighten things out FOR them.

Badger40 on April 12, 2011 at 2:16 PM

Have fun badger :)

cmsinaz on April 12, 2011 at 2:18 PM

OT: tree huggers happy today via drudge

cmsinaz on April 12, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Finally, Earth will be able to marry another planet.

mankai on April 12, 2011 at 2:20 PM

“Pakistan has privately demanded the Central Intelligence Agency suspend drone strikes against militants on its territory,…”

Privately…?

Seven Percent Solution on April 12, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Loving that smart diplomacy. Seriously, is there anything it can’t do?

jarodea on April 12, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Wonder what the Pakistanis are hiding, for real.

karenhasfreedom on April 12, 2011 at 1:39 PM

I get the vague impression that there are forces at work trying to contain the citizenry.

Count to 10 on April 12, 2011 at 2:36 PM

OT: tree huggers happy today via drudge

cmsinaz on April 12, 2011 at 1:46 PM

That’s scary crazy.

Count to 10 on April 12, 2011 at 2:38 PM

OT: tree huggers happy today via drudge

cmsinaz on April 12, 2011 at 1:46 PM

The comments on the canada.com article are surprisingly sane.

Fortunately, america.com is a parked domain. I’d hate to see what whackjobs that would attract.

pedestrian on April 12, 2011 at 3:22 PM

Pakis want their own no fly zone. Libya is working so well. Maybe India would like to help. China too?

BTW Pakis, your foreign aid will now be paid in poppy stuff.

Caststeel on April 12, 2011 at 3:30 PM

So does this mean that Preznint Splutnik’s intended sequel to his Cairo Speech, Cairo II: Live from Karachi and Now with Hoped-for Laugh Track! is out?

ya2daup on April 12, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Excellent article, every word of it.

Schadenfreude on April 12, 2011 at 3:32 PM

. Obama stepped up the drone attacks begun under George W. Bush while Pervez Musharraf ruled as a dictator in Pakistan, and they have been effective at killing major players in the terrorist networks.

Since many of these kills are coordinated with the ISI…it is more than reasonable to conclude that many of these “kills” were rouge Taliban operators that had fallen out of favor with the ISI.

We saw this with the many “captures” of Taliban leadership that had more to do with the ISI getting rid of rouge leadership that was trying to cut side deals with Karzi than it did in stopping terrorism:


How Pakistani Help Gets in Karzai’s Way

By Tim McGirk / Kabul
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1973922,00.html

But Afghan officials, diplomats and former Taliban ascribe more circuitous motives to the Pakistanis. They say that Pakistan’s military and intelligence services were peeved that in both the Dubai and the Saudi talks, senior Taliban went ahead to meet with Karzai’s representative and U.N. envoys without first getting clearance from the Pakistanis, who had been the Taliban’s main backers since they surfaced in the mid-1990s. Basically, says a diplomat, “the Pakistanis are arresting those Taliban they can’t control.” A former Taliban Cabinet minister and ambassador, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, who served time in Guantánamo, concurs, “Pakistan is making these Taliban vanish so that they can’t talk.”

…just more of the smoke and mirrors that Pakistan plays in order to get American money while they still support and defend the jihadist.

The ISI has been connected to attacks around the world and it is common knowledge that they help coordinate attacks against American forces in Afghanistan:

Pakistan spy agency controls the Taliban and plans attacks

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/7824865/Pakistan-spy-agency-controls-the-Taliban-and-plans-attacks.htm

Pakistan spy agency controls the Taliban and plans attacks
Pakistan’s intelligence services are supporting the Taliban with training, cash and sanctuary on a larger scale than previously thought as they battle Nato forces in Afghanistan, according to a survey of insurgent commanders.

 

…This game has gone on for to long….we have tried every way diplomatically to work with Pakistan in eliminating the islamic threat withing their borders.All efforts have failed.
True leadership in the White House would see that there is no victory in Afghanistan and America will not be safe as long as Pakistan is allowed to support,defend,train,and fund terrorism.

But instead of leadership from the White House on the central front of our war on terrorism….we get a President that starts a war in Libya and has shown to be nothing short of stuck on stupid with blunders like this being a common occurrence:

Taliban Leader in Secret Talks Was an Impostor

By DEXTER FILKINS and CARLOTTA GALL
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/23/world/asia/23kabul.html?pagewanted=print

KABUL, Afghanistan — For months, the secret talks unfolding between Taliban and Afghan leaders to end the war appeared to be showing promise, if only because of the repeated appearance of a certain insurgent leader at one end of the table: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the most senior commanders in the Taliban movement.
But now, it turns out, Mr. Mansour was apparently not Mr. Mansour at all. In an episode that could have been lifted from a spy novel, United States and Afghan officials now say the Afghan man was an impostor, and high-level discussions conducted with the assistance of NATO appear to have achieved little.

Obama is failing badly when we need strong leadership the most.A loss in the Afghan/Pakistan theater will have dire consequences for the west in the very near future.

Baxter Greene on April 12, 2011 at 3:44 PM

It’s all about the Benjamins. Sheppard Smith just had the stats on Pakistan lined up. We have given Pakistan 18.6 Billion in aid so far? Really? The C.I.A. agent they accused of murder was let go because they paid the family of the two men millions. Why do Americans listen to the American MSM they are spinning for the Democrats. Pakistan is just trying to shake us down for more money. It’s what they do it’s how things work in that part of the world they want their “tribute” this is just them testing our limits. They aren’t especially intelligent people but there is a lot of monkey see monkey do going on and they are trying to see just how much they can get away with the Obama administration. Has anyone checked to see if this got worse -deteriorated after Richard Holbrook’s death? It’s entirely possible he was the glue in Af/Pak crap sandwich.

Dr Evil on April 12, 2011 at 3:56 PM

Schadenfreude on April 12, 2011 at 3:32 PM

I agree. Very good article.
And saying what needs to be said constantly in the media, but we’re hearing nothing but crickets.

Badger40 on April 12, 2011 at 4:01 PM

I have an idea why doesn’t one of the polling companies poll Americans and ask them do you believe the C.I.A. and the I.S.I. when they tell you, that they don’t know where Bn Laden is – 10 years after 9/11. I dare them to poll the American people.

I am not buying any of this bull pucky.

Dr Evil on April 12, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Excellent article, every word of it.

Schadenfreude on April 12, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Poorly written though, it read like the writer’s random thoughts on this or that with no clear point. Also, it should have been titled, the Egyptian upheaval,… and stuff.

That being said, right on where it was on. I’m just surprised De Borchgrave actually wrote it, I thought his articles were better.

jarodea on April 12, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Agree to these Paki demands, then drive every jihadi in the region into Pakistan so the Pakis can then enjoy the cultural enrichment of their devout co-religionists.

And, when chaos results, start the drones strikes again.

profitsbeard on April 12, 2011 at 7:34 PM

The problem is is that if we get into a game of chicken with the Pakistanis, they can cut off our transhipment routes to Afghanistan and then we’re screwed…and they know it. In the end, they can’t take our side against the Islamists because they govern a nation of Islamists.

jnelchef on April 12, 2011 at 8:18 PM

The problem is is that if we get into a game of chicken with the Pakistanis, they can cut off our transhipment routes to Afghanistan and then we’re screwed…and they know it. In the end, they can’t take our side against the Islamists because they govern a nation of Islamists.

jnelchef on April 12, 2011 at 8:18 PM

Yep, that’s a very good card. On the other hand, we can drop hints about getting Indian troops to help out in Afghanistan.

slickwillie2001 on April 12, 2011 at 8:38 PM