September 10, 2012

News? Pakistan Sees US as "Worst Enemy", not al Qaeda/Taliban/Haqqanis

Ok, let's be honest here: is any one really surprised by the "revelation" that the Pakistani ISI views the US as the biggest threat rather than al Qaeda, the Taliban, or the Haqqanis?

This is news in the sense that someone in Pakistan dares say it out loud. Normally, this is the kind of talk that gets people in Pakistan killed.

So, yeah, this is news in that sense.

Yet, the very fact that it is so rarely articulated makes it fascinating nonetheless:

“They said ‘The Americans are our worst enemies, worse than the Indians,’” [the Pakistani doctor jailed for helping the CIA find bin Laden, Shakil] Afridi, who spoke from inside Peshawar Central Jail, said as he recalled the brutal interrogation and torture he suffered after he was initially detained.

“I tried to argue that America was Pakistan’s biggest supporter – billions and billions of dollars in aid, social and military assistance -- but all they said was, ‘These are our worst enemies. You helped our enemies.’”

As to the extent to which the Pakistanis are funding the terrorists in the Haqqani network? Well, I find this completely believable:
Afridi said that before he was moved to Peshawar in May, he met Abdul Kayyum, the nephew of a chief of the Wazir tribe, who had been apprehended by the ISI for reasons that are unclear.

Kayyum explained to the doctor that three years earlier, his uncle, Khan Marjakee, had been instructed by the ISI to raise funds from the tribal community for the Haqqanis, which Marjakee then did.

“Without doubt, the Haqqanis are 100 percent supported by the ISI,” said Afridi.

Not a revelation, per se, but still pretty damned annoying.

He then goes on to say that Arabs -- presumably al Qaeda recruits -- caught by the ISI are sent packing to Afghanistan:

The militants were told by the ISI, ‘According to the Americans, we’re supposed to arrest you. We don’t want anything to do with you, but will support you by letting you go. Go back to Afghanistan and steer clear of the Americans.’ And then they would be released.”
But apparently the same courtesy isn't extended to white guys caught trying to get to Afghanistan. White guys are routinely abused. I guess the ISI doesn't think it can go so far as to let them go. Or maybe they just don't like white guys. Anti-colonialism, and all that jazz.

Oh, and there's an American:

Afridi would talk to an American, referred to only as Brown, as the doctor was the only person who spoke fluent English there.

Brown was held for four months after he crossed illegally into Pakistan from Iran and was arrested in the southwest city of Quetta, notorious for its links with the Taliban. He had told the ISI he was on his way to Afghanistan.

He was white skinned, had red hair and tattoos,” Afridi said. “He was a mason by profession and told me he came for jihad. He had converted to Islam five years before and had adopted the Muslim name Ismael.

“When he came back from interrogation, he told me he had been beaten very seriously. I last saw him on May 1. I have no idea what happened to him.”

This news about "Ismael Brown" is intriguing. Any speculation on who this guy is?

Thanks to you-know-who.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 01:01 PM | Comments |