ISI switches management of Bajaur from Pakistani Government to Taliban

The War in Afghanistan and the fight in Pakistan are both part of a larger fight, in which the ISI is opposing American-Indian influence on both sides of the border.  In Afghanistan, this takes the form of supporting the Taliban, attacking the Indian embassy, and supporting those who kill Americans.  in Pakistan, this takes the form of supporting the Taliban, attacking the regular government of Pakistan, and supporting those who kill Americans.

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Taliban fighters forced Pakistani soldiers to retreat from a militants’ stronghold near the border with Afghanistan over the weekend, after a three-day battle sent civilians fleeing from government airstrikes.

The pullback from Bajaur, an area of Pakistan’s tribal region where the Taliban and Al Qaeda have forged particularly close ties, came after the military began an offensive there late last week.

Taliban Force Pakistani Troops From Tribal Area – NYTimes.com.

Dangerous stuff.  Our goal must be to defeat al Qaeda in Pakistan-Afghanistan, while using general counter-insurgency principles to turn our enemies into their enemies. To the extent that we can move “ownership” of the situation to India, the better.

What is the best way to do this in light of other important priorities?  I am particularly thinking of that other Central Asian dictatorship, Russia.

6 thoughts on “ISI switches management of Bajaur from Pakistani Government to Taliban”

  1. I don’t know anyone who thinks the ISI would support the Taliban against Islamabad or Karachi.

    Pakistani agents, concentrated in the ISI, supporting the Pushtun against the Pakistani Army in NWFP and FATA is a different story altogether.

    Taking S. Ossetia as an example, we know Russia supports them in their fight against Tblisi, but no one in Russia would support them in a fight against Moscow.

    I am just quibbling with your claim that, in Pakistan, this means, among other things “attacking the regular government of Pakistan.”

  2. Josh SN,

    Thanks for the comment.

    Could you rephrase? I am not sure if you are claiming the ISI does not support the Taliban, or if you are claiming the ISI works against the Pakistani government wrt control of territory?

  3. I’m saying that the Taliban can expect support against the Pakistani Army in its conflicts in NWFP, FATA, possibly near Gilgit in the Northern Areas, and maybe even in the “Trans-Indus” Punjab (w. of Indus).

    But that when you say the Taliban will get support “attacking the regular government of Pakistan” I am sure that does not include support for an assault on Islamabad or Karachi.

    To be a tool of the ISI, the Pakistani government must stay in power. A Cat’s Paw is no good if it scratches the cat.

  4. Josh SN,

    Well said.

    I tried to express the view that the ISI was using both the Pakistani government and the Taliban as quasi-provincial territorial governments, not that they were supporting one over the other.

    Thank you for helping me clarify my writing. I appreciate it.

  5. Against the ISI, only thing I can think of off the top of my head would be for western powers to lend their government the use of our intelligence agencies while they abolish the ISI and rebuild their intelligence capacity from scratch. As no one likes being used for a cat’s paw, they’d probably go for it–if it could be done.

  6. This thread keeps attracting top-notch comments!

    Michael,

    I agree. It would require the Pakistani government shifting from relying on internal maters to us. It’s a dangerous and risky transformation. It may require a shock — such as a sustained US presense in the NWFP — to enable.

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