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Looking Kabul, talking Rawalpindi?

December 15, 2008

Strategically speaking, that is. It is important to think this question through.

For one, there’s hardly anybody disputing that the Lashkar-e-Tayebba was behind the attack. Pakistan wants evidence, but doesn’t deny the LeT could be it. 

Parvez Hoodbhoy says in an interview:

LeT, one of the largest militant groups in Pakistan, was established over 15 years ago. It was supported by the Pakistani military and the ISI because it focussed upon fighting Indian rule in Muslim Kashmir. Today it is one of the very few extremist groups left that do not attack the military and the ISI; in contrast almost all others have turned into fierce enemies. Time will tell if the current move against LeT is serious. If serious, then the Army and the ISI will have earned the bitter enmity of yet another former ally. They dread repeating their experience with the Jaish-e-Muhammad, another formerly supported militant group. Jaish is now responsible for extreme brutalities, including torture and decapitations, of Pakistani soldiers captured in FATA. It’s a nightmarish situation for the Pakistan Army. [The Hindu] [Emphasis mine.]

In that interview Hoodbhoy also says something we already know from Husain Haqqani, that Gen. Musharraf’s crackdown on anti-India militant groups was half-hearted and ad hoc.

So shall we then conclude that the Lashkar-e-Tayebba is very much under the control of the Pakistani Army, and thus the 26/11 attack took place with full knowledge of the Army, perhaps even connivance and commisioning? That seems likely. The wishy-washy Pakistani response since 26/11 seems to indicate that the civilian President has got a jolt, but the military establishment is in control. Had 26/11 been the work of mere “rogue elements,” Pakistan would have been more jittery.

Pakistan cracks down on the Taliban under Western pressure, and the West merely gives India tea and lip sympathy to make sure we don’t go to war with Pakistan and give their Army an excuse to shift the tropps from Swat and Fata.

Is that it? Kiyani shows Zardari his place, and at the same time tells the NATO forces to halt in their tracks?

Was there a third objective to 26/11? 

Immediately after 26/11 happened, there was talk of the Al Qaeda, and the hallowed Indian Intelligence Sources Told Reporters that this was the Qaeda’s first footprint in India. The focus shifted to Let, Jud and Zardari, and we forgot all about the Al Qaeda. 

Now in an interview, former ISI chief and himself an accused in fomenting militant activities against India, Hami Gul, says:

Hamid Karzai is America’s puppet and sings the American song. I have worked with the US long enough to understand them and foresee their every move. The Afghans bombed the embassy because they are against India supporting the US in Afghanistan. India is unnecessarily getting caught in the crossfire between the US and Afghanistan. 9/11 happened seven years ago, and al Qaeda never had a problem with India all these years. Why now? Because India is supporting the US and even signed the nuclear deal with them, which will eventually be disastrous for India. India unnecessarily brought America between Pakistan and Afghanistan and itself. [The Week]

That was his answer to the accusation of ISI involvement in the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul. Note that he didn’t deny the accusation!

What’s happening in Afghanistan is causing great pain in Pakistan. In this moment of pain, India’s massive involvement in the rebuilding of Afghanistan (India even has an air force base in Tajakistan that overlooks Afghanistan) is like showing Pakistan the middle finger. The attack on the Kabul embassy was a small price India paid for its “strategic,” read superpower, ambitions. Was 26/11 part of the same game too?

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