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Can Mrs. Clinton Control CIA In Afghanistan?

October 30, 2009

091028_ClintonPakistaniFlag

Ahmed Quraishi

Two years ago, when isolated reports in the Pakistani media accused the United States of playing a double game in Afghanistan, most commentators dismissed them as conspiracy theories and kneejerk anti-Americanism. Today those reports dominate the mainstream Pakistani media. The distrust is so serious that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had to turn her first official visit to Pakistan into a firefighting mission, kicking off a charm offensive to win over skeptic Pakistanis.

Her campaign has included Facebook advertisements targeting young Pakistanis, town-hall type meetings, and group television interviews with anchors meant to maximize her on-air exposure. Before she even landed in Pakistan, Clinton had instructed US diplomats in Islamabad to get tough with the Pakistani media. At one point, the American ambassador wrote a secret letter to a large Pakistani newspaper accusing one of its columnists, a critic of US policies, of endangering American lives. She gave no evidence of how a policy critique endangered anyone’s life. The columnist was dropped after ten years of working for the paper. The US embassy in Pakistan is very powerful thanks to a pro-US Pakistani government that sees Washington as a hedge against the powerful Pakistani military.

Not that Mrs. Clinton and the US diplomats are alone in countering critics of US policies here. Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani, a former journalist who is widely derided as ‘Washington’s ambassador in the Pakistan embassy’, is known to have put his media management expertise in the service of defending his government’s ultra close ties with Washington, although his planted image-enhancement stories find little buyers among Pakistanis.

Mrs. Clinton’s visit was so carefully choreographed that US diplomats launched a strict vetting process to determine which Pakistani television anchors should be allowed to participate in a ‘pool interview’. The point was to exclude anyone critical of US policies [‘anti-American’ to US diplomats]. This sharply contrasts with the statements Clinton has been giving here, like this one she gave to the television anchors, “It is especially critical that we do more of what you’re doing today with your colleagues so that I have a chance to answer the questions that are on the minds of the people of Pakistan.”

But when time came for the real questions, she dodged them. So much for a successful public diplomacy.

Despite all this vetting, one anchor, Talat Hussain from Aaj News, managed to throw a couple of ‘real’ questions that unsettled Secretary Clinton. Visibly embarrassed, she kept repeating the line, ‘No one can say Pakistani media is not free after this’ and she kept repeating it until the end of the show.

At one point, media officials in the provincial capital Lahore wrote to higher-ups complaining against US diplomats who manipulated which Pakistani journalists should be allowed to interact with Clinton. “She came here to interact with Pakistanis. US diplomats don’t get to decide which Pakistani media can attend her public events and which one cannot,” a senior Punjab provincial official told me from Lahore.

This kind of media management is normally the prerogative of the host government and not the guest. In another press interaction with a few journalists in Lahore, Mrs. Clinton sat down with a handful of predominantly pro-American media personalities, including one widely known to be a paid consultant for the US Department of Defense, who normally advises on Pakistani affairs and is famous for saying everything that American policymakers want to hear.

Mrs. Clinton was received by a junior Foreign Office diplomat while for some reason Foreign Minister Qureshi stayed away

So much for Mrs. Clinton’s public diplomacy mission, almost every Pakistani journalist known for well reasoned and calibrated critique of US policies was excluded from any interaction with the US Secretary of State. Which says a lot about Washington’s tolerance level for criticism despite the high-sounding lectures on democracy that Mrs. Clinton delivered in Pakistan.

How fake in real sense this public diplomacy trip was can be gauged from the following: Mrs. Clinton’s first day in Pakistan was full of warm imagery and rhetoric: how she and her husband love Pakistanis, how she and President Obama enjoy Pakistani food, how honest and straightforward she is, and how sincere United States is in its friendship with Pakistan.

But when it came to substance, she was full of hot air. For example, during the ‘pool interview’ with seven television anchors, she curtly ignored a question about the increasing incidents of arrests of US special operations officers inside Pakistani cities carrying diplomatic passports and illegal weapons. You would think she might want to address this point considering that this and similar stories are stoking Pakistani public’s anger. But no, she didn’t.

Merely two days before her arrival, four US ‘diplomats’ were arrested somewhere in the Pakistani capital dressed as Afghan Taliban, carrying illegal and unlicensed weapons, and in possession of pictures of sensitive buildings. They were released on the intervention of the Interior Ministry, headed by a close aide of President Zardari. The Ministry is openly accused in the media of not only covering for the US embassy’s illegal actions but also of licensing the operations of private US security firms across Pakistan on an unprecedented scale not seen or known even during the reign of the former pro-US president Musharraf. Interestingly, the Pakistani intelligence agencies have been kept out of the loop by both the US embassy and the Ministry. This alone has generated tremendous ill will within the Pakistani public opinion against Washington.

Last month, a Pakistani journalist published official documents leaked from within the Interior Ministry that positively showed US Ambassador Anne Patterson colluding with the Ministry to ‘legalize’ a cache of weapons that came from an unknown source [most probably from Afghanistan]. The cache was handed over to an American security firm that was later stopped from operating in Pakistan.

Mrs. Clinton had a simple answer when a journalist asked her about such incidents. “I don’t know about this,” is what she said to someone asking her about the latest incident involving four US ‘diplomats’.

These are some of the issues that the mainstream US media hides from the American public. No wonder most Americans don’t know how bad their government and intelligence mess in Afghanistan is. US citizens are unaware, for example, about the strong Pakistani apprehensions that Washington – or some powerful lobbies there – decidedly brought in anti-Pakistan forces into the government in Kabul, and then set them loose on a course of collision with Pakistan, including recruiting, financing and training terrorists to incite an ethnic insurgency in Balochistan exploiting local grievances. For most of the past eight years, the US Ambassador in Kabul was an anti-Pakistan diplomat who spent more of his Afghan assignment finding ways and means to target Pakistan.

Pakistanis also have strong evidence that some Americans allowed India to set up a vast intelligence network there, hidden beneath several development projects. This network is involved in pumping money and weapons to terrorists inside Pakistan. [On Oct. 28, Pakistani police arrested five members of a banned militant outfit and seized about 150 kilos of explosives of Indian origin, automatic rifles and suicide vests from them].

The above cannot happen in US-occupied and controlled Afghanistan without US knowledge. Or, to be precise, without the knowledge of at least one influential US actor: the intelligence community. CIA and possibly other US spy agencies that come under the Department of Defense are involved in fostering terrorism not just in Pakistan but also inside Iran and western China.

In Pakistan, elements in CIA aided by the Indians and Karzai’s spy groups have played a role in setting up and feeding insurgencies across western Pakistan between 2004 and 2008. This was done during the Bush-Cheney administration as punishment for Pakistan for not completely submitting to the US project in Afghanistan. Washington then suspected that Musharraf was double dealing. US did not want Pakistan to have any independent foreign policy or ideas on Afghanistan, Kashmir and India other than what Washington was planning.

The spate of recent suicide bombings in Pakistan, killing some 200 Pakistanis in less than a month, is not the work of mountain hillbillies in South Waziristan on the Pak-Afghan border but the work of trained operatives who receive support, intelligence and training from organized military groups.

We know our own citizens are involved in this terrorism, but the small terror army in South Waziristan is not getting its money and weapons from inside Pakistan. Rehman Malik’s Interior Ministry and the military’s spy agencies have credible, strong and detailed information about how a US-controlled Afghanistan is being used for anti-Pakistan covet warfare. BLA and TTP terrorists have a safe haven there. Terrorist Abdullah Mehsud was killed in 2007 slipping back from Afghanistan through Balochistan [and not the tribal belt] after meeting his backers. We know why the Chinese working on different projects in Pakistani were targeted here.

American officials like Hillary Clinton avoid commenting on these issues. The question she dodged from a Pakistani journalist on armed US ‘diplomats’ was a sign that we increasingly recognizing from watching US diplomats work in Iraq and Afghanistan. US diplomats are averse to commenting on possible clandestine activities of CIA and or people from the US military in the host country.

For years, US officials have been praising Pakistan for helping eliminate Al Qaeda and complaining about lack of Pakistani cooperation in pursuing the Afghan Taliban. That was Bush administration’s refrain. Under Mr. Obama, his diplomats in Islamabad took turns this month in threatening war against Pakistan and in confirming the presence of Mullah Omar and Bin Laden inside Pakistan, without evidence of course, since US statements are enough. In return we, Pakistanis, are not allowed to make similar conjecture about the presence of bin Laden in Afghanistan, where the US military can’t control the country eight years later.

Mrs. Clinton has added a twist to this American-Afghan saga. One of her rather bold statements in Pakistan is so fantastic I must quote it as it was reported by the Associated Press: “I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they [Al Qaeda] are and couldn’t get them if they really wanted to,” Clinton said in an interview with Pakistani journalists in Lahore. “Maybe that’s the case. Maybe they’re not gettable. I don’t know.”

Amazing to see her determination to question the role of Pakistan when she has no evidence on anything that she is saying.

While the isolated pro-US Pakistani government is understandably reluctant to confront Washington on this eight-year-old charade, the Pakistani public opinion, the media, opposition parties and the powerful military have all had it. Washington is good at messing things up and even better at pinning the blame on others. For some reason, Mrs. Clinton and her administration won’t admit that they messed up Afghanistan big time and that rogue elements within the US military and intelligence played a big role in this. [The New York Times has reported that one of Afghanistan’s biggest drug barons, a brother of the US-backed Afghan president, has been on CIA’s payroll for years. Criminals and warlords in the Afghan government are allies of CIA and the US military. The US spy agency is also involved in fomenting trouble inside Pakistan, Iran and western China using the Afghan base. CIA is not always good at what it does, that’s why many Pakistanis have ended up knowing some of the truth. Late but better than never.]

Can Mrs. Clinton and President Obama control CIA and the increasingly independent-minded US military in Afghanistan? The answer to this question will determine if peace returns to our region any time soon.

© 2007-2009. All rights reserved. AhmedQuraishi.com & PakNationalists

Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium

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12 comments

  1. Superb.AQ at his best.

    The charm offensive has ended in “carrot and stick” as usual.
    While comparing Obama to Bush,she said”you can call it daylight to darkness”
    Good that we have seen the American daylight as well.
    She did not stop at that.Now says,Pakistan missed chances of catching Osama Bin Laden.
    In fact Musharraf has said that America itself missed that chance in Afghanistan.


    • Fuck america!!! and Fuck you!!!


  2. Current elected Govt. in Pakistan is responsible and answerable to the people of Pakistan. It has hard choices on hand, either to keep the Americans in good humour and accept billions of dollars as reward, or strain the relationship with the Americans and throw the people of Pakistan to economic and strategic hardship.

    The media dominated by the likes of Shireen Mazari and Zaid hamid have no such compulsion. It can afford to take a nationalistic anti-American line, without having to be responsible about the repurcassions.

    As far as the suggestion of Mrs Clinton controlling the CIA, well she does not have such mandate.

    It is amply clear that while the Pakistani Army and the ISI do not want any change in their strategy and policies, the Americans do, and they will force it on Pakistan in their own way in the years ahead… !


    • We need Islamic revolution in Pakistan… Sharia will solve all these problems .. we should fight americans along the side of Talibans ..


    • I am also an indian muslim Mr. Neel,and would like to add that Muslims dont believe on united states of israhell as their god.Infact we have two neighbouring countries of pakistan which is an example that united states of israhell cannot be treated like a god,for indian hindus the case may be different,they always worship power.Pakistan as a country should ask ALLAH’S forgiveness individually as well as collectively by all pakistanis and tell usi to pack their bags from pakistan.The more u bow to usi the more they will bend u and the result would be a broken pakistan which muslims anywhere in the world do not want.As i always say we want a strong and united muslim pakistan on the ideology of islam which is “Pakistan ka matlab kya la ilaha illallah”.


      • @ Mu-salman Khan,

        If you are indeed Indian, why don’t you migrate to Pakistan and help them in their hour of struggle……..?


      • There you have it!!

        A real indian Hindu showing is real face to his fellow country man!!

        They can not tolerate Consientious objectors. Everybody has to follow their line of thinking otherwise you are not indian.

        This is nothing short of autocratic.


  3. Pakistani Mujahid
    Jis kay dimagh mein gobar ho,woh kuch soch nahin sakta.

    neel123
    You are advocating American hegemony.USSR has seen the results.Soon America and India will see.


  4. okay just for an argument’s sake. If bin laden and Mula ummar are in Pakistan, then what the hell american forces are doing in afganistan?? why they just dont leave that place??
    and if miss clinton is so bold as she is saying she is, why did she avoid the answers??
    and where was ISI when the police arrested the americans dressed as Talibans why did’nt they stop that dum zardari while he was intervening???
    and Why the government never deported all the arrested americans so far??
    Now they should realize they are in this seat just because of Pakistan and they are earning so much from Pakistan and if something happens to Pakistan they would also be a nobody to the world.


  5. I agree with each and every term expressed boldly in this article.
    Media manipulation which leads to mass deception, has been the traditional tool of US government. hilary has been “protrayed” as a brave women who visited PAKISTAN in such circumstances when fatal sucide attacks are on their boost, as a representative of US, giving an expression that US is the divine friend of PAKISTAN, an always-wanting-good-for-Pakistan sort of friend.
    i heard few speeches and question answer sessions of hilary, not only this but also her engagements either official or non official, no doubt shows this visit has got some covert plans.
    US govt smelled some kind of rise in awareness among common Pakistanis, n to supress the independent opinion, here we go..US sent hilary to decive masses n innocent civilians.
    I m sure, this visit has influenced the opinion of many Pakistanis, who knew, but little about this another game. n the reason in my opinion is only and only “the so called free MEDIA”
    we need to spread as much awareness as we can to block the minds of ignorant or innocent Paki civilians for this kind of deception!

    PAKSITAN ZINDABAD


  6. Well my friends. I dnt have much fancy words to describe it ..but I truly believe tht these AMERICANS are FORERUNNERS of DAJJAL…i hope it doesn’t catch u by surprise bcoz its all written in QURAN…c y r v so confused abt all this…its AMERICA who invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. These poor ppl are only fighting for their freedom…and i can bet my life over this tht they will never find MULLA OMAR and OSAMA in Afghanistan like they didnt find Wepons of Mass Destruction in Iraq..They r only here to get ur NUCES and disintegrate China…Iran has never been a threat to U.S and Israel. it’s all gimic..Iran is a sweetheart of India…and India’s democracy is the brain child of Americans..so a friend of a friend is also a friend..Irani’s always act against our policies and intrests..either its post Afghan war situ or sectarian violence in Pakistan…and guess wat the Iranian intelligence guys killed were there to meet anti Pakistan baloch tribe leaders frm both sides…and yes we do have RATS in our army.


  7. Asher,

    I am Indian muslim too and I agree with Neel… we want to see strong pakistan ( and I am sure neel will agree) but at the same point “Mu-salman Khan” belives in Pakistan is the best place for muslims then it will be better for him to migrate to Pakistan… as per his reply .. this message is coming from his comment .. He needs to be Indian & muslim not just muslim…



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