Commentary Magazine


Pakistan’s Anti-Terror Head Fake

You can’t accuse Pakistan’s leaders of not having a sense of humor. It is downright laughable to see the government in Islamabad unveiling a new counter-terrorism strategy, even though, as the Wall Street Journal notes, “There was no indication… that Pakistan would end its sponsorship or tolerance of jihadist groups that are based in Pakistan but focus their attacks on other countries, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was named by the U.S. and India as the perpetrator of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.”

Indeed, Pakistan’s relationship with LeT and its ilk continues to be as close as ever. India has just accused Pakistan of complicity in a cross-border attack in Kashmir that killed five Indian soldiers. In Afghanistan attackers who tried to level the Indian consulate in Jalalabad were undoubtedly linked to Pakistan as well–perhaps to the Haqqani Network, which is one of Islamabad’s most reliable proxies in Afghanistan. The attack failed to achieve its objective but wound up killing nine civilians, mostly children.

Meanwhile Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the LeT leader who was the reputed mastermind behind the Mumbai attacks and has a $10 million U.S. bounty on his head, appeared openly in Lahore to lead Eid prayers.

It is not as if the Pakistani security establishment does not know where Saeed is living and working; it simply chooses not to do anything about it. Until the Pakistanis show that they are serious about cracking down on the extremists, any counter-terrorism strategy they announce must be treated as a joke. Except that the joke is on us–the U.S. has provided Pakistan with more than $11 billion in aid since 9/11 and this is what we get in return.