Shift in Pakistan

by Dafydd on 2/25/2010 · 13 comments

More evidence for some kind of fundamental shift in Pakistani co operation.

Dawn report Pakistani involvement in the arrest of Jundullah leader Rigi. (I would ignore the Iranian claim in the last sentence)

Same story is in Asia Times Which also reports in another story some confusion in the Taiban about what is happening in the ISI.

“They [those arrested] were aces in the hands of the Pakistan military, which could have used them to its favor, but now they are lost,” a militant leader told Asia Times Online. “Why? We are all wondering, but the fact is that now the Taliban realize that they have no option but to join forces with al-Qaeda in a regional battle against the US and all its allies, including Pakistan and India”

Difficult to guess how this will play out, but I would guess the possibilities are

1) Wide ranging defeat of the Taliban
2) coup in Pakistan and return to status quo ante
3) wide ranging victory for the Taliban


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{ 13 comments }

Pirouz February 25, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Why would you ignore the Iranian claim that Rigi was in a US military installation 24 hrs. before capture?

Anyone here at Registan hear of any political heat from Kyrgyzstan directed at Iran for Iran’s Air Force F-4 strike fighters forcing down Kyrgyzstan Airlines QH 454 to nab Rigi? (I haven’t.)

anan February 25, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Pirouz,

Jundullah is a branch of LeJ/Sipah e Sahaba. The emir or supreme leader of LeJ/Sipah e Sahaba has been Osama Bin Laden since 1998.

To argue that America backs Jundullah is to say that America back Osama Bin Laden. How likely do you think that is?

I know that Press TV and Hezbollah have frequently stated America backs Osama Bin Laden since 9/11; in part because OBL is Iran’s and Hezbollah’s mortal enemy; and what better way to discredit OBL than to convince people OBL is a CIA agent. Pirouz, do you really believe Al Manar and Press TV?

PS. A large minority of Afghans believe that America secretly backs the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Ditto with Pakistanis. Hell, even many Indians and Russians believe that (obviously America backs Al Qaeda as a way for America to destroy Russia and India will retaining plausible deniability.) So the Khamenei/IRGC Kuds force propaganda has been remarkably effective.

Dafydd February 26, 2010 at 4:40 am

The Kyrgyz are suspiciously quiet over the whole thing. I have not even heard of them politely asking for an explanation, let alone applying any heat.

Sailani February 26, 2010 at 3:05 am

Yeah the CIA-AQ-Taliban conspiracy theory is one that is heard here every day, sadly. Not an easy one to dispel really as it is part of reality for a lot of people in Afghanistan, at least where I am.

Rather than outright victory for anyone, I think it’s more likely that this war of inches will keep simmering away. Unfortunately, I don’t see any indications that the Western militaries (read “US”) are going to have a fundamental impact on the outcomes on either side of the Durand Line before they pull out in time for Obama’s reelection campaign.

Dafydd February 26, 2010 at 4:36 am

The reason I think an outright victory for someone has become more likely is that Pakistan seems to have decided al Qaeda is an enemy in all its forms.

While some sort of alliance between Jundullah and the US seems unlikely, I don’t think the arrest of Rigi was the result of US pressure.

The effect of recent arrests (Jundullah and Taliban) plus the attacks on the Haqqanis in North Waziristan seems to be to force the Taliban and al Qaeda closer together and the Pakistani military/ISI away from the Taliban and closer to the US.

This makes for a clearer alignment of opposing sides, making defeat or victory more likely for each.

Sailani February 26, 2010 at 8:19 am

Problem is that I don’t think we can view “Pakistan” as a monolithic entity – I take nothing for granted at least, even if they were probably freaked out by TTPs in Buner (and lets admit it, they are in the Sind and Punjab too).

anan February 26, 2010 at 11:23 am

Sailani, there will soon be over 50,000 non US ISAF troops in Afghanistan. The non US contribution to NTM-A, ANSF embedded advisors [in other words increasing the capacity of the ANSF] is massive. So is the non US contribution to GIRoA civilian capacity (including the education ministry) and the Afghan economy.

Sailani, look at the contribution of non US ISAF to the 6 numbered ANA Corps and 111th ANA Division. Non US countries are deeply involved with all of them. The one where the US is most involved, 203 ANA Corps, is the best quality of the 7 HQs. 111 ANA Division is Turkish lead. 207 ANA Corps is Italian/Spanish lead. 209 ANA Corps is German, Swedish, Norwegian, Hungarian lead. 215 ANA Corps is Marine/British/Danish (Maybe Georgian and Estonian) lead. 205 ANA Corps is British/Canadian/Dutch/Australian lead. 201 ANA is Marine, US Army, French, Lithuanian, possibly Turkish lead.

It is inaccurate to call ISAF and the international community “US.”

The largest way ISAF and the international community affect Afghanistan is through their impact on ANSF and GIRoA civilian capacity. It is they who will defeat the Taliban.

Sailani February 26, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Yes, anan, I know there are a lot of non-US troops in ISAF. The US is doing the vast majority of the fighting and contributes a growing contribution of the overall effort so I am comfortable labeling the “western militaries” as “US” for the most part.

I never said “international community” so that straw man editing is all yours.

As for their impact on ANSF. ANA is progressing, but they still cling to large bases, don’t deploy effectively into rural areas without extensive ISAF hand-holding, have large desertion and AWOL rates, lack decent NCOs, and most of the gains made to date are rapidly reversible (i.e. when the Americans leave). The ANP is still completely broken. NDS is pretty good, but mostly because they are staffed by former Khalqis who have good networks.

Sailani February 26, 2010 at 4:32 pm

“contributes a growing percentage” that should have been

anan March 3, 2010 at 2:50 am

“ANA is progressing, but they still cling to large bases” do they cling to large bases more than ISAF does?

“don’t deploy effectively into rural areas without extensive ISAF hand-holding” Which ANA battalion are you referring to? BG Ghori and Col. Shirin seem pretty aggresive and show a lot of initiative with 3-215 ANA in Helmand.

“have large desertion and AWOL rates” Evidence for this? AWOL rates are quite low, except for 205th ANA Corps. But I suspect that is now improving.

“lack decent NCOs” OK. ISAF refused to pay for NCO warrior training. The ANA has 3,000 officers + NCOs being trained at any given time. 3,000. That’s it.

“and most of the gains made to date are rapidly reversible (i.e. when the Americans leave).” I wouldn’t agree. The ANA would pull out of most of the South and large segments of the East, and fight like heck for most of the country.

omar February 28, 2010 at 9:08 pm

I think that deeper historical trends are asserting themselves, frequently without the actors fully comprehending what role they are playing. This is a corny statement and likely to be misinterpreted (and can be attacked even when correctly interpreted) but I have been thinking about this a lot and I think in THIS case such a corny statement may be justified. And the reason is that Islamist terrorism is not just on the fringe of trends that are present in all societies of the day, its ideological base is completely out of line with everything else that is happening in the world. One has to attend an unusually high priced University to be able to miss that. Pakistan’s security apparatus is probably still staffed by many officers who would love to keep the good jihadis while bringing the “bad” ones under control. But that course of action is not compatible with co-existence in the modern world…its only compatible with some kind of Somalia like existence and Pakistan’s ruling class is not ready for that level of austerity….

BENGAL UNDER ATTACK March 3, 2010 at 1:28 am

The game is for control of Afghanistan and in this the US is choosing its most amenable partner. India refused to send in boots on grounds and was pussy footing training the ANA cadres. Pakistan’s army chief A Kiani needs an extension as he retires later this year – and bingo you have a deal.
Lashkar e Taiba (LeT) and Hekmatyar’s group closest buddies of ISI suddenly moves around without any hindrance in cities and bang – comes the Kabul attack on Indians. This is not Taliban handiwork – this is ISI handiwork thru trusted Urdu speaking (non Pashto) militants. The green signal Pakistan has got from US is that – ok, you are free to needle India in Afghanistan and in Kashmir, but only just so that it does not erupt in a war. Pakistan wants India out of Afghanistan.
However, Pakistan is also wary of US moves in the region. Is Marjah offensive actually a scheme to come near Balochistan and cut off Gwadar. Not knowing US intentions, Pakistan helped Iran capture Rigi. S Hersh wrote how much US $$$ go to Jundullah.
You forget that it was US bombings that brought in a rag tag bandit force of Pol Pot onto Cambodia – keep this in mind :).

anan March 3, 2010 at 2:44 am

“India refused to send in boots on grounds and was pussy footing training the ANA cadres.” Your source? India seems to have made offers to train the ANSF that Gates turned down during his recent visit to India.

“Lashkar e Taiba (LeT) and Hekmatyar’s group closest buddies of ISI suddenly moves around without any hindrance in cities and bang – comes the Kabul attack on Indians. This is not Taliban handiwork – this is ISI handiwork thru trusted Urdu speaking (non Pashto) militants. The green signal Pakistan has got from US is that – ok, you are free to needle India in Afghanistan and in Kashmir” I would add Sirajudidn to LeT and Hekmatyur. There are multiple ISI factions.

Siraj/HiG/LeT are Taliban (the last being Punjabi Taliban.) LeT have long played an important role in Khost, Paktia, Nuristan and Kunduz/Baghlan. Usually alongside Siraj. Although in Nuristan, LeT seems to operate independently.

Is LeT operating through Hekmatyur/HiG in Baghlan/Kunduz?

LeT and Siraj are commited to global jihad and global caliphate. They are the mortal enemies of NATO, Russia, India, Afghanistan and Iran. I doubt America will make friends with LeT or Siraj. Hekmatyur; maybe.

“Is Marjah offensive actually a scheme to come near Balochistan and cut off Gwadar.” No.

“Not knowing US intentions, Pakistan helped Iran capture Rigi. S Hersh wrote how much US $$$ go to Jundullah.”
Jundullah is an offshoot of LeJ/Sipah e Sahaba. Both of them declared Osama Bin Laden to be their supreme leader in 1998. Is America really supporting Osama Bin Laden and Jundullah like Hezbollah and Iran say?

I say, thank God the Pakistanis finally went after Jundullah a little.

“You forget that it was US bombings that brought in a rag tag bandit force of Pol Pot onto Cambodia – keep this in mind 🙂 .”
Couldn’t disagree more. It was Mao and North Vietnam that brought Pol Pot to Cambodia; for their own reasons.

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