The Pakistani government, military, and intelligence service all claim to be outraged over the decision by Barack Obama to keep them in the dark on the mission to get Osama bin Laden. In response, their military chief has decided to, er, not cut ties with terrorists:
The United States will now push harder than ever for General Kayani to break relations with other militant leaders who American officials believe are hiding in Pakistan, with the support of the military and intelligence service, a senior American official said.
These leaders include Mullah Muhammad Omar, the spiritual leader of the Afghan Taliban; the allied militant network of Sirajuddin Haqqani; and Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group that the United States holds responsible for the terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, in 2008, the American official said. …
But those who have spoken with General Kayani recently said that demands to break with top militant leaders were likely to be too much for the military chief, who is scheduled to address an unusual, closed-door joint session of Parliament on Friday to salvage his reputation and explain the military’s lapses surrounding the American raid.
The American wish list is tantamount to an overnight transformation of Pakistan’s long held strategic posture that calls for using the militant groups as proxies against Pakistan’s neighbors, they said. It comes as General Kayani faces mounting anti-American pressure from hard-line generals in his top command, two of the people who met with him said.
Many in the lower ranks of the military have greater sympathy for the militant groups than for the United States.
Um, yeah, we knew that already, guys. That’s why you didn’t get the call on May 1st. Thanks for making that clear and making the American government look like geniuses.
Pakistan is going to have to choose between American financial support and their terrorist pals. We cannot keep supporting a government that not only covertly works with Mullah Omar and Sirajuddin Haqqani, but openly supports them and the terrorist group that conducted the Mumbai Massacre. If Pakistan wants to side with the terrorists, we shouldn’t be providing any more funding for their military.
However, let’s be clear on what that means, and that clarity starts with a map of the region. We don’t have any reliable lines of communication to Afghanistan without Pakistani cooperation. We would certainly try upping our traffic through the north, primarily through Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, but Russia would have a great deal more influence on those routes and has made it clear in the past that they will play hardball with the US to allow American operations in either country. To the west is Iran; to the east, China. Don’t expect either nation to suddenly warm up to American military exercises in their back yards.
Jettisoning our Pakistani alliance would mean the end of the mission in Afghanistan, and likely the end of the Karzai government. Pakistan and Kayani would waste little time in pushing a Pashtun coup, with Haqqani and Mullah Omar running the show in Kabul all over again. The Pakistanis liked having hard-line Islamists in charge as a bulwark against what they perceive as their greatest security threat in India. The problem for the Pakistanis is that their little Islamist monster is just as likely to turn around and eat them next, especially if they lose American support — or failing that, the military will seize power once the the Islamist threat gives them enough of an excuse to do so.
This is a problem for both the US and Pakistan. They are rightfully angered by the US invasion to get bin Laden, but the Pakistanis gave us no choice in the matter thanks to their double-dealing with the terrorist groups we’re fighting in Afghanistan. If they want to get serious, we’re ready to help, but we cannot keep funding a government that gives shelter to the likes of bin Laden, Omar, and Haqqani.