By Sajjad Shaukat
The 92,000 US secret documents released on July 25 this year, dating from 2004 to 2009, triggered an outcry from country, fighting in the US-NATO coalition in Afghanistan in general and Pakistan in particular.
In this regard, on July 26, 2010, The New York Times, while quoting the documents, revealed: “the documents, made available by an organization called Wiki Leaks, [published on its website] suggest that Pakistan, an ostensible ally of the United States, allows representatives of its spy service to meet directly with the Taliban in secret strategy sessions to organize networks of militant groups that fight against American soldiers in Afghanistan, and even hatch plots to assassinate Afghan leaders…taken together, the reports indicate that American soldiers on the ground are inundated with accounts of a network of Pakistani assets and collaborators that runs from the Pakistani tribal belt along the Afghan border through southern Afghanistan, and all the way to the capital, Kabul.”
It is notable that some of the secret documents include a series of accusations against Pakistan’s intelligence agency, ISI in relation to its alleged ties and contacts with the Afghan Taliban.
In this connection, timings of the leakage of the reports are mentionable. Recently, US military and civil high officials including their media have been blaming ISI of supporting the Taliban militants, while reviving American old maxim to ‘do more’ against the insurgents in Pakistan—and accusing Pakistan of cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan.
On July 18 this year during her latest visit to Pakistan US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Pakistan to ‘do more’ to counter terrorism. She elaborated, “There are still additional steps that we are asking and expecting Pakistan to take.” In a threatening style, Ms. Clinton also stated, “there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that if an attack against the United States be traced to be Pakistani, it would have a very devastating impact on our relationship.”
Meanwhile, US Vice President Joe Biden has indicated, “everyone knew in these summer months, when they (Taliban) can infiltrate from Pakistan under the cover of foliage and the rest and it is open that there would be more deaths.”
Particularly, as regards ISI, present documents are part of the old blame game against this agency which is, in fact, the first defence line of our country in thwarting the designs of foreign enemies against Pakistan. That is why, it has become special target of America, India and Israel which cannot tolerate the only ‘nuclearised’ Pakistan in the Islamic World. As part of a deliberate campaign against ISI, on March 26, 2009, New York Times had accused that Pakistan’s ISI is directly assisting militant groups fighting against US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. In the past, US Admiral Mike Mullen told the Fox TV channel that ISI has connections with many extremist organizations. All these biased statements against ISI had been appearing in wake of the US new strategy which had taken Afghanistan and Pakistan’s FATA as single theatre of war. And President Obama said that he was determined to dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda terrorists and their safe havens in Pakistan’s tribal areas from where a plot to attack the US and Europe could be planned.
It is notable that Pakistan’s armed forces have broken the backbone of the Taliban militants in Swat, Dir, Buner, South Waziristan and other tribal areas by sacrificing their own lives. On the other side, it was due to the efforts of ISI that a number of renowned leaders of the Taliban and Al Qaeda were captured including other militant commanders. In the recent months, high officials of America and other western countries have been highly appreciating the military operations led by the Pak Army, donating million of dollars to Islamabad, while they have again revived old blame game of doing more against terrorism, against ISI and infiltration in Afghanistan. In fact, it is not only part of conspiracy against Pakistan, but also a plan of Washington to achieve certain aims by playing a double game with Islamabad.
As already stated, timings of the leakage of the US secret documents are of particular attention. In this respect, during her visit, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also said that the interrogation of David Headley, a Pakistani-American terror suspect linked to the Mumbai attacks, has thrown up a “revealing set of facts” that have been shared with Pakistani authorities. Ms. Clinton also revealed that Headley told Indian and American investigators that the Mumbai attacks were carried out by the Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Taiba, further saying that Headley and Faisal Shahzad…responsible for the botched car bomb attack in New York, were radicalised in the US but were “facilitated, directed and operationalised” from Pakistan.
However, in wake of her visit to Islamabad, the main aim to revive the alleged case of David Headley by Hillary Clinton was to please India and to tarnish the image of Pakistan.
Besides, US-led NATO forces have been facing defeatism in Afghanistan where they have badly failed to cope with the stiff resistance of the Taliban insurgents. In this context, in the recent days, an international conference was held in Kabul in order to hand over security of Afghanistan to the Afghan military and police. As a matter of fact, America and its allies have decided to exit Afghanistan in accordance with the announced schedule, though apparently, they show reluctance in this matter. Apart from it, Obama is under domestic pressure of his opponents and the American public owing to a prolonged war in Afghanistan, amounting to high cost of war and acute financial crisis inside the United States.
In these terms, through a continued propaganda campaign against Islamabad, they want to pressurize Pakistan and ISI so as to show a justification of their misadventure in Afghanistan.
Renowned scholars such as Machiavelli, Hobbes and Morgenthau agree that some times rulers have to involve in immoral activities such as fraud, falsehood and deceit as part of international politics. They opine that these acts are also implemented to pacify the public. All these theorists also remark in one way or the other that in international politics, sometimes, power is used by the big states to exert psychological pressure on the small states and sometimes to fulfill self-interests of a powerful state.
Apart from achieving other anti-Pakistan aims by releasing the self-prepared reports, Washington also intends to obtain some other aims. For example US Congress elections will be held in the near future. In this regard, democrats led by Obama intend to justify their defeat in Afghanistan by making Pakistan a scapegoat.
It is worth mentioning that strong Indo-Israeli lobbies are working in America and other European countries, working against the interests of Pakistan and Israel. These lobbies are well-penetrated especially in the US administration and intelligence agencies. They have played a key role in helping the preparation of these anti-Pakistan and anti-Iran documents as Tehran has also been accused by the reports of supporting the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.
It is noteworthy that the misdeeds of anti-ISI agencies are known to everyone. In this connection, Ramzi Yousaf who was well-aware of the activities of the American and Israeli secret agencies had stated in the US court in 1997, “You are butchers, liars, and hypocrites. You keep on talking about terrorism to the media, but behind closed doors you support terrorism”.
Nevertheless, no American high official has denied the revelations of the secret documents, while President Barrack Obama has only shown concerns on the same. In other words, they want to use the same to pressurize Pakistan not only to do more against the Taliban militants, but also to create duress on ISI. Notably, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani has got three years extension recently. So, another purpose of the documents on this occasion is also to pressurize him psychologically to ‘do more’ against the militants. But being a professional and seasoned general, he cannot bow down before any external pressure.
Sajjad Shaukat is a regular contributor to Opinion Maker. He writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations