Commentary Magazine


Topic: Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency

Is China Testing Weaponry in Afghanistan?

The General Accountability Office has released a report accusing Pakistan of blocking efforts to curb the smuggling of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) into Afghanistan:

IEDs are the top killer of U.S. troops in neighboring Afghanistan, according the Pentagon’s Joint IED Defeat Organization. JIEDDO estimates that 83 percent of IEDs used in attacks on U.S. troops are made with fertilizers produced in Pakistan. IED attacks have increased slightly over the 12 months ending April 30, the most recent data available. There were 16,165 IED incidents over that period, a 2 percent increase.

Read More

The General Accountability Office has released a report accusing Pakistan of blocking efforts to curb the smuggling of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) into Afghanistan:

IEDs are the top killer of U.S. troops in neighboring Afghanistan, according the Pentagon’s Joint IED Defeat Organization. JIEDDO estimates that 83 percent of IEDs used in attacks on U.S. troops are made with fertilizers produced in Pakistan. IED attacks have increased slightly over the 12 months ending April 30, the most recent data available. There were 16,165 IED incidents over that period, a 2 percent increase.

While the majority of IEDs used in Afghanistan may be low-tech—made with fertilizers as JIEDDO notes—questions remain about the origins of other IEDs. Certainly, Iran has been smuggling weaponry to the Taliban. But, according to American servicemen deploying or recently deployed to Afghanistan, there is growing concern that China may be working with Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) to provide and perfect IEDs with the goal of testing new Chinese technology against American armor.

If so, the Obama administration, Governor Romney’s team, and even Tom Friedman might want to take pause to once again consider China’s trajectory and its future intentions.

Read Less

Pakistan Arrests Taliban “Shadow Governors”

More good news from Pakistan — not words I’m used to writing, but it’s true. Following the arrest of Mullah Baradar, the Afghan Taliban’s No. 2 man, Pakistani forces have also locked up two of the Taliban’s “shadow governors” who are in nominal charge of two Afghan provinces. Is this, perhaps, the start of a trend? Hard to say. But it’s certainly a good start. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency is so closely connected with the Afghan Taliban, to whom they provide funding, arming, intelligence, and general strategic direction, that if ISI truly turns against its proxies, its agents could readily arrest most of the Taliban leadership with little problem. Let us hope they decide to do so.

One of the major determinants of success or failure for insurgencies has always been whether they are able to receive substantial support from the outside. The Taliban were able to resurrect themselves with Pakistani support after 2001 — just as they were able to seize power in the first place in the 1990s with Pakistan’s backing. If that support is now being withdrawn, it will be a serious, if not fatal, blow to the Afghan Taliban. They will still have financing that comes from the drug trade and from rich Arab donors, but they will find it much harder to access those funds and to carry out all the other activities (propaganda, training, arming, etc.) necessary to keep a guerrilla movement flourishing. I am by no means suggesting that such a complete cutoff is in the works, but even the steps Pakistan has already taken are significant and surprising.

It would be fascinating to find out what is going on in Pakistani government circles — what convinced them to round up such prominent erstwhile allies? It’s hard to know, but perhaps President Obama’s decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan has something to do with it. By signaling that the U.S. is not bugging out, the president shifted the odds against a Taliban victory and made Pakistan more willing to accommodate our concerns. Or so we can speculate from afar. The true story will only emerge in time.

More good news from Pakistan — not words I’m used to writing, but it’s true. Following the arrest of Mullah Baradar, the Afghan Taliban’s No. 2 man, Pakistani forces have also locked up two of the Taliban’s “shadow governors” who are in nominal charge of two Afghan provinces. Is this, perhaps, the start of a trend? Hard to say. But it’s certainly a good start. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency is so closely connected with the Afghan Taliban, to whom they provide funding, arming, intelligence, and general strategic direction, that if ISI truly turns against its proxies, its agents could readily arrest most of the Taliban leadership with little problem. Let us hope they decide to do so.

One of the major determinants of success or failure for insurgencies has always been whether they are able to receive substantial support from the outside. The Taliban were able to resurrect themselves with Pakistani support after 2001 — just as they were able to seize power in the first place in the 1990s with Pakistan’s backing. If that support is now being withdrawn, it will be a serious, if not fatal, blow to the Afghan Taliban. They will still have financing that comes from the drug trade and from rich Arab donors, but they will find it much harder to access those funds and to carry out all the other activities (propaganda, training, arming, etc.) necessary to keep a guerrilla movement flourishing. I am by no means suggesting that such a complete cutoff is in the works, but even the steps Pakistan has already taken are significant and surprising.

It would be fascinating to find out what is going on in Pakistani government circles — what convinced them to round up such prominent erstwhile allies? It’s hard to know, but perhaps President Obama’s decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan has something to do with it. By signaling that the U.S. is not bugging out, the president shifted the odds against a Taliban victory and made Pakistan more willing to accommodate our concerns. Or so we can speculate from afar. The true story will only emerge in time.

Read Less




Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.