Sunday, October 2, 2011

Haqqani and Pakistan are the same face: Global Jihad

US backs down again
Saturday, 01 October 2011 12:55 pioneer
Americans can’t do without their ‘frontline ally’

After America’s top military officer who is leading the counter-terror operations in the AfPak region publicly acknowledged that the Pakistan-based Haqqani network was indeed a “veritable arm” of that country’s powerful intelligence agency, the ISI, there was much optimism that the US was finally coming round to accepting the fact that its ‘frontline ally’ in the war on terror was also the exporter of global jihad. Expectations rose further as US policy-makers debated the possibility of making America’s multi-billion-dollar aid package to Pakistan conditional to that country’s active cooperation in the fight against the dreaded Haqqani network, while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed the issue with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session. Then, earlier this week, Ms Clinton provided the proverbial cherry on the cake when she revealed that the US Administration was about to complete a “final formal review” to designate the Haqqani network a terrorist organisation. It was natural to expect a drastic change in US policy on Pakistan. Unfortunately, by the end of the week those hopes have come crashing down with the White House distancing itself from the scathing comments made by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. It may be recalled that Adm Mullen had come down strongly on the ISI for undermining US efforts to fight terror in the region and criticised the Pakistani military’s spy agency for being in cahoots with the Haqqani network. While some in Washington, DC deemed his comments to be unnecessarily harsh, Adm Mulllen stood by his assessment. He had, after all, lost too many men to the terror that is being propagated by the ISI-Haqqani network. Hence, he sees no reason to sugarcoat his words.

Policy-makers in Washington, however, have clearly indicated that they would much rather continue with their carrot-and-stick approach towards Pakistan, no matter that the strategy has miserably failed as the spate of attacks on Western targets in Afghanistan has shown, rather than confront their alleged ally with ground realities. After bilateral relations went into a tailspin following the Raymond Davis affair and the killing of Osama bin Laden, it was believed that the US might finally take Pakistan to task. But with Ms Clinton asserting once again that the US will “continue to work with its Pakistani counterparts to root out the Haqqani network”, it is clear that the Americans are as much in denial as the Pakistanis.
Americans can’t do without their ‘frontline ally’