Pakistan Is in Trouble

by Joshua Foust on 1/8/2009 · 5 comments

Hamid Gul, seen here recently suggesting the U.S. unconditionally accept Taliban preconditions for negotiation, just might be behind the Mumbai attacks. This news comes courtesy Bill Roggio quoting an anonymous U.S. official claiming the “Major General” in an Indian dossier about the attack is Gul.

Roggio’s source identifies Gul, the former head of the ISI, as the “Major General” in the Indian documents. Roggio’s source goes on to say, “This is why the US is trying to get him on the UN list of terrorists.” Several months ago, China blocked the inclusion of Gul on such a list.

It all looks very damning. But I’m curious: every source I have identifies Hamid Gul as a Lieutenant General, not a Major General. In fact, Zahid Hussein repeatedly refers to him as an Lt. Gen. in his excellent book Frontline Pakistan. That doesn’t mean they’re not the same, but given how well the U.S. military actually understands Pakistan (that is to say: barely), I don’t really trust that they can make that leap without any other evidence. And from what I understand, that evidence is highly classified.

So what gives? Did the terrorists give Gul a fake title to make him sound more important? I’d assume they’d just call him “General,” in that case, but who really knows. But it doesn’t sound like the story is quite so cut and dried, at least not yet. And no matter what, Pakistan is trouble considering how much people want to believe it at fault for Mumbai.

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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Curmudgeon January 8, 2009 at 10:10 pm

Lt. General is a senior rank to that of Major General. Anyone who invented the title ‘Major General’ for Gul would be demoting him, not promoting him.

Joshua Foust January 8, 2009 at 10:44 pm

Right, but that just reinforces my point. What gives with calling him Major General?

Gamid Hul January 9, 2009 at 12:59 am

I’m surprised you trust Bill Roggio’s anonymous sources. You’re always critical of major talking heads. Please don’t turn the switch off when it comes to Roggio.

He is clearly a hack for the DoD, or some minor entity within it. It’s all very low level. My friends in the intel community laugh whenever I bring up his name.

I think he makes his money fixing PC’s in New Jersey.

The USG has been after Gul for years, but this is basically about penis envy and paranoia. Gul is a bigmouth. That’s all.

Oh yea…and a Lt. Gen. is higher than a major general. Gul was head of the ISI….not some midlevel nitwit.

So when Roggio puts out disinfo, I think he should at least get his other facts straight!

RV January 9, 2009 at 8:09 am

Hamid Gul has been supporting these militant organisations for decades. He did a lot for them while he held the rank of Major General. So they called him “Major General” then and maybe the name stuck though he got promoted to Lt General afterwards. The guy is an embodiment of everything that is wrong with Pakistan today. I have empathy for the vast majority of Pakistani people (who would never condone the killing of innocent people), but I do not have any empathy for rotten bastards like Hamid Gul. If he was born 40 years earlier and had blonde hair, he would’ve fit right into Heinrich Himmler’s organisation.

Hamid Roggio January 9, 2009 at 2:22 pm

People remember you by your senior most rank in the army. It is tied to prestige. Cut the crap. Gul ain’t doin shit. I’m not saying he wouldn’t like to, but his footprint would be too big.

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