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US finally speaks up on Pak role in terrorism
I knew this was inevitable... USA would have to acknowledge that Pakistan is one of the major supporters of all terrorist activities!
WASHINGTON: The United States has at long last directly implicated Pakistan for terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir. Washington now says Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI has "even used al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan to train covert operatives for use in a war of terror against India."
American officials made this landmark admission -- as far as India is concerned -- of a fact that was widely known but seldom acknowledged in administration circles. The ISI maintained direct links to guerrillas fighting in Kashmir, unnamed officials told The New York Times.
In confirming charges the Indian government has repeatedly made over the past several months, American officials also told the paper that the ISI turned a blind eye for years to the growing ties between Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban.
The remarks by US officials came even as Pakistan's military leader Pervez Musharraf told visiting German Chancellor Schroeder that India's allegations of cross-border terrorism was self-serving.
The immediate provocation for the embarrassing disclosures about its ally and frontline state appeared to stem from the unhappy and distrustful relationship between the CIA and the ISI.
Both sides are blaming each other for the botched covert mission last week that resulting in the death of the Pashtun leader Abdul Haq at the hands of the Taliban. Washington believes renegade Pakistani intelligence officials may have betrayed Haq's mission to the Taliban. Islamabad believes the CIA did not keep them fully informed.
Within the US establishment, few officials and lawmakers have voiced their concern over Pakistan's use of terrorism as a state policy in the guise of backing the so-called freedom fighters in Kashmir. Even the Indian-American Caucus of lawmakers has been silenced by the administration's expediency of buying Pakistan's support with aid and a blind eye to its record on terrorism.
One rare exception is California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher who has repeatedly cautioned successive administrations about ISI activities and Pakistan's role in exporting terrorism.
But now US officials themselves have begun to talk about Pakistan's role in fomenting terrorism. While previously they maintained that Islamabad had kept up a veneer of "plausible deniability," even that has become difficult after US forces - for the second time in three years - bombed a terrorist camp in Afghanistan and found the so-called guerrillas of the ISI-backed Harkat-ul-Mujaheddin instead of al-Qaeda terrorists.
Such incidents, against the backdrop of a routine procession of terrorists returning to their safe haven in Pakistan (and not to Iraq or Libya or Syria or Cuba) after strikes in the west, appears to have made the US defence of Pakistan's record on terrorism untenable.
In the latest instance, Pakistani authorities were forced to hand over a terrorist suspected of involvement in the bombing of USS Cole. Like every other terrorist, including Ramzi Yousef (the first World Trade Center bombing), Mir Aimal Kansi (who shot dead two CIA employees) and those involved in the embassy bombing in Africa, the Jameel Mohammed too headed out to Karachi after the Cole bombing.
In fact, following the embassy bombings in East Africa in 1998, the NYT said, the then State Department coordinator for counter-terrorism Michael Sheehan, advised the US administration in a memo to make terrorism the central issue between Washington and Islamabad. The document also recommended that the United States go public if any of the governments failed to cooperate.
But the administration ignored his suggestions and continued to cover up for Pakistan.
Current and former US officials told the paper that as the threat from Al Qaeda and bin Laden grew and the United States began to press Pakistan harder to break its ties to the Taliban, the Pakistanis feigned cooperation but did little. One former official recalled the CIA equipped and financed a special commando unit that Pakistan had offered to create to capture bin Laden, but said it was a stalling tactic aimed at fending off political pressure.
"The ISI never intended to go after bin Laden. We got completely snookered," the former official told the paper. Pakistan's military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, shelved the commando plan after he toppled the civilian government in a coup.
Despite the latest revelations, the Bush administration is showing no signs of calling Pakistan to account, although privately there are whispers for tighter control over the ISI, and in some instances, even suggestions to disband it or declare it a terrorist outfit.
The administration is now promising billions of dollars in aid for Pakistan's uncertain support for the war against terrorism, much of which it is now being revealed is Pakistan's own handiwork.
India has publicly shown an agreeable disposition over the largesse Pakistan is milking from the situation it has created. But privately officials are fuming.
They describe the Pakistani modus operandi as: Bail us out or we will self-destruct and everyone will suffer as a consequence. There is also an increasing feeling in Indian circles that the United States is wasting its taxpayer money without identifying the root of the problem, which they say lies in the nature of the Pakistani state.
-Loud and Proud Desi Opinions
It is just what 'officials' say, not the administration. It's a ploy to keep Pakistan in line. As Pak shows more and more dissent with the western campaign, we shall have more of such 'admissions' by 'officials'. They are just showing the stick to the Pakis. As Pak falls in line more and more, these stories will die down and the administration will point out that they never made any such admission; whatever some 'officials' said were their personal opinion. So it's not worth cheering until White House declares Pak a terrorist state, which they never will.
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