Asian Age Editorial
Apr 09, 2013
The just-revealed pact of 2004 between the CIA and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, the result of some serious journalistic digging by the New York Times, has a direct meaning for India — that this country must at all time rely on its own resources to deal with Pakistan-generated terrorism aimed against it. The American newspaper disclosed on Sunday that the CIA was given permission by the ISI to use Predator drones to attack suspected anti-US terrorists in Pakistan’s tribal areas adjoining Afghanistan, where US and NATO troops have been committed since 2001, on two strict conditions — that the US drones steer clear of Pakistani nuclear facilities, and that these do not venture anywhere near the mountainous areas where Jihadi fighters are trained to engage in terrorist actions against India.
This does raise the question that the US fight against terrorism is self-centred, and that Washington’s rhetoric against international terrorism is one-sided and need hardly be taken at face value (as many here tend to do). Evidently, the Americans agreed to Pakistan’s terms on drones in their self-interest. That is not surprising.
What occasions interest is this: while pursuing its own goals in relation to the Afghan theatre, the US subtly relied on India to do nothing that would alarm Pakistan’s military and make Islamabad divert its forces away from its Afghan border (where it is meant to assist the US effort) to the theatre to its east against India.
It’s worrisome that neither the NDA government nor two successive UPA governments cottoned on to the game. When queried about the implications of the CIA-ISI drones’ pact, a top official of the ministry of external affairs said on Monday that New Delhi would first verify the NYT report. This was entirely avoidable. After all, New Delhi doesn’t, for instance, first wait to authenticate Western reports regarding Chinese troops or workmen in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, but goes right ahead and voices concern. Articulating a political first principle on an important security matter ought not to depend on technicalities.
In the face of grave terrorist provocation from the Pakistani side, including the 2008 Mumbai attacks, India stuck to the unwritten script and did everything not to disconcert Washington. It will be seen as supine if it does not speak up even now, not just against Pakistan but also the US.
Indeed, it says something about India’s intelligence-gathering and intelligence-analysing capabilities that security arrangements prejudicial to its interests don’t even register on its radar. Corrective action simply can’t be delayed any longer.
US-Pak Drone Deal Exposes Kashmir Rider
By Chidanand Rajghatta
Apr 8, 2013
WASHINGTON: Pakistan's former military strongman Pervez Musharraf allowed the CIA to conduct Drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas as long as the United States kept away from the country's nuclear facilities and mountain camps where terrorists were being trained for attacks on India, according to explosive new disclosures that break the wall of silence from both sides on the controversial Predator attacks, and if accurate, again exposes U.S duplicity on terrorism.
The breakthrough moment reportedly occurred in 2004 when Pakistan, which had till then resisted pressure from the US to allow it to conduct Drone strikes, was humiliated militarily by a tribal warlord named Nek Mohammad. "Muhammad's rise to power forced them to reconsider," the New York Times related in an account of the deal in Sunday. "The CIA had been monitoring the rise of Mr. Muhammad (in South Waziristan) but officials considered him to be more Pakistan's problem than America's. In Washington, officials were watching with growing alarm the gathering of Qaeda operatives in the tribal areas, and George Tenet, the CIA director, authorized officers in the agency's Islamabad station to push Pakistani officials to allow armed drones."
According to the report, negotiations were handled primarily by the Islamabad station of the CIA, with the station chief calling on then ISI Director General Ehsan ul Haq to discuss terms of the deal: The CIA would kill Mohammad if ISI allowed armed Drone flights over tribal areas. Pakistan's terms: they should be allowed to approve each drone strike, giving them tight control over the list of targets; and nuclear facilities and terror camps directed against India would be no-go areas.
Implicit in the report is Washington's acceptance of the terms, considering that India-specific terror camps remain untouched by Drones.
The report says the ISI and the CIA agreed that all drone flights in Pakistan would operate under the CIA's covert action authority - meaning that the United States would never acknowledge the missile strikes and that Pakistan would either take credit for the individual killings or remain silent. As it turned out, Pakistan did take credit for killing Nek Mohammad, even though the CIA had done the job.
The deal also had the stamp of approval from Musharraf, who the NYT says, did not think that it would be difficult to keep up the ruse.
"In Pakistan, things fall out of the sky all the time," it cites him as telling a CIA officer, in a callous remark that is certain to make his already torrid situation in Pakistan even more difficult.