More drones and more suicide attacks – Where are we going?

Guest Post by Insouciant

orakzaiagencyAs the new Afghan-Pakistan policy of Obama is unfolding it is now evident that the drones attack will be an essential part of it. Another drone attack in Orakzai agency was carried out yesterday that left nearly 14 dead and several injured. The victims included foreign militants, locals, women and children. Yes, it was collateral. The thing that strikes me immediately is that Orakzai agency is the only agency among the seven of FATA that does not border Afghanistan.

Wait a minute – Had our bosses in the Washington not said that there will be drones only in the borderly areas? Or, if it should not be a concern as long as our Prime Minister is confident that the drones will not enter in Swat and Balochistan, after all this is from where the Pakistani governance starts these days on the map. Gillani looked really ugly when he announced with a sense of accomplishment that “they had taken up the issue of drone attacks with America and that there would be no drone attacks in Swat and Balochistan”.

Coming back to the recent Orakzai attack, there were no notes of condemnation from the quarters of government which is becoming increasingly apathetic in this regard. Well why should they condemn every attack? Have they not already “clearly stated” policy in the governmental gazette that they are “against these attacks as they are counterproductive”. Does this mean there is no other option? No, this is not the case even if the government wants you to believe otherwise. Nawab Aslam Raisani recently warned that if attacks come to Balochistan then they could knock on the doors of U.N. At least he appeared a man with options in his sleeve unlike the Federal government which seems to be at sea or pretending to be.

More than 14 suicide attacks have been carried out so far in the present year which very well maintains the average of 60 of previous two years. Baitullah Mashood is enjoying the lordship of Waziristan (Emirate) while he is now sending his partisans to the big cities like Lahore and Islamabad. One thought that after a successful operation in Bajaur the government would prepare for the final battleground against Baitullah in Waziristan, yet there is no urgency being shown for that. It is really perplexing that the state does not appear to have a clear outlined and a public FATA policy. Obama has a written policy of Afghan-Pakistan, even if it is not working, but what Pakistan has is only a farce notion of 3D’s often touted by Gillani (Dialogue, Development, Deterrence) that is reading more like “drones, damage and daze” these days.

The agencies and the government is not coming out clean with the public, not to say the Americans. The foreign aid has already been tied with the performance at home and the asymmetrical relationship of Pakistan and the U.S. will only give a more mercenary and transactional look which will certainly not help the situation. Then again, one can not expect the world to give Zardari a blank cheque. The political parties are widely bifurcated on the issues, and there is no single coherent voice. While one is only condemning the drone attacks, the other is worried only about the growing extremism in his locality. The joint session of Parliament failed to produce any tangible result after the in-camera briefing and the public at large was kept in oblivion. This has been the custom; ‘the important security issues’ are not put in front of the public as they are not considered worthy of it. Hamud-ur Rehman commission report comes in mind that was only allowed to surface after 30 years of dismemberment of East Pakistan. The path that lies ahead is not clear; that is sure that this is not the right one.

Maj. Gen. Tariq Khan, the heroic figure, who recently conducted a successful operation against insurgents in Bajaur, said that the militants fighting there are nothing more than low life criminals who have got no moral resistance or a certain ideology behind their resistance. They are only playing in the hands of westerners for their interests. The success story in Bajaur was only possible with the help of local tribes. But the government has failed to take the leverage provided by Gen. Tariq yet. The refugees from Bajaur are still in Jalozai camp and are increasily becoming frustrated with the attitude of the government (their recent clash with Police left 2 dead and many injured). People of Waziristan are waiting for another General Tariq and certainly not for drones. It would be better if Frontier Corps (FC) is used more often than the military as they comprise of indigenous population who have experience of the terrain. For this it is mandatory that they are provided with all the required gadgets and trained to the fullest and led by people like Gen. Tariq. This is where the Americans come in the equation to ‘facilitate’ the above situation and not to create more problems.



, , , ,



4 responses to “More drones and more suicide attacks – Where are we going?”

  1. dr.jawwadkhan Avatar

    "If you don't know where you are going,every road will get you nowhere"

    Henry Kissinger

  2. Aamir Mughal Avatar

    Dear Dr Sahab,

    To be an enemy of America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal” Henry Kissinger.

    This question where are we going should have been asked when General Ayub allowed US Spy Plane U2 Flights from Pakistan to spy on USSR and by the way its too late now to ask "where are we going", read and enjoys.

    1 – Ayub Khan, US Spy Plane U2 Flights

    One of the wonders of Internet and IT that you cannot hide truth anymore because nowadays a simple google click can take you back to the Past History. Please type U2 Spy Plane and US Spy Gary Powers in the search option of

    The National Security Archive [

    Declassified US Government Document]

    and you will know the following:

    General Ayub allowed US Spy Plane U2 Flights from A BASE IN BADABEER – NWFP to spy on USSR. Now read


    Ayub Khan frustrated with slow pace of negotiations with US during his visit to Washington went to Henry Byroad’s office and told him, ‘I didn’t come here to look at barracks. Our army can be your army if you want us. But let’s make a decision’. Once US decided about Pakistan’s role in the defence of the region and containment of Communism, it was the armed forces of Pakistan and not the political leadership, which was seen as potential partners. Ayub Khan obsessed with modernization of the armed forces in shortest possible time saw the relationship with US the only way to achieve his organizational and personal objectives. In meeting with US officials during his April 1958 visit, Ayub stressed that armed forces are the strongest element. He was of the view that if elections were held in the prevailing circumstances, the left wing politicians will come to power which will not only destabilize Pakistan but will affect US strategic

    interests.Pakistan was seen by US in military terms which was quite natural as US national interest was related to security. In 1953, Pakistan was described as a country with many qualities, which were, “… a volunteer army of 3,000,000… it is not neutral but anti-communist… As a possible ally for US, Pakistan displays a tempting picture of power — potential and actual”.Pakistan army was seen as ‘a disciplined, well trained army whose morale and bravery are unquestionable’.Some events in Washington regarding Pakistan became comical. In 1953, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles while arguing for wheat aid to Pakistan told sub-committee on Agriculture and Forestry during hearings that, ‘the people of Pakistan had a splendid military tradition and that in Karachi he had been met by a guard of honour which was the ‘finest’ he had ever seen’.Apparently, he did not tell the agriculture department what on earth the wheat aid has to do

    with the military. After the signing of first mutual defence treaty in May 1954, large-scale interaction between US and Pakistani military started. Pakistan became one of the seven members (other members included Thailand, South Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines, Laos and Cambodia) of elite ‘Defence Support Countries” in South East Asia. A US Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) was established in Army Headquarters in Rawalpindi. A Military Assistance Programme (MAP) was started. Pakistan army was divided into MAP and Non-MAP units depending on their role. MAP units were oriented towards safeguarding US interests and non-MAP units along Indian border.

    The objectives of US and Pakistan were different in this military alliance. For US the arrangement was to safeguard US interests in southwest Asia and Middle East and not against India. Pakistani military establishment saw the relationship as a short cut to modernization of its armed forces but failed to comprehend long-term strategic interest of Pakistan. One frequently hears the complaints of Pakistani officers from top to bottom about ‘betrayal’ and ‘abandoning’ by America. The fact that US was following her national interest while mediocre Pakistani military leadership were more in wishful thinking rather than planning for safeguarding their national interest. There was nothing secret about US policy. In several public statements and documents, US objectives have been clearly stated, if Pakistani generals could not see them, this was their own folly. The general principles of these security agreements were that United States will enter a

    security agreement when:

    – There is a genuine threat to US interests.

    – The mutual security pact will significantly contribute to preserve these interests.

    – The final judgment of US troop commitment will be made by elected representatives.

    – Allies will contribute their fair share in terms of personnel, weapons, resources and government support.

    As early as 1962, Colonel Jordan wrote about US position as far as Pakistan was concerned, “… because of their deployment, the Pakistani forces in Eastern Pakistan and Kashmir (Non-MAP supported) are the ones most likely to become entangled with the Indian Army should an incident arise. US responsibility for such non-MAP Pakistani forces is no greater than for Indian Army units, which have indirectly benefited by the massive US economic aid given to India”. While Colonel Jordan wrote with precision and clarity, Major General Fazal Muqeem Khan was baffled. Muqeem wrote, “It would be interesting to know why the United States did not take over the responsibility of supporting the entire standing army at the time of the agreement. Those parts of the army, which are now in Kashmir and East Pakistan, and some other units, do not have military assistance. Similarly, no training establishments or static installations are supported”.These few words

    speak a volume about the intellectual level of senior leadership.

    In July 1959, Pakistan agreed for establishment of US base near Peshawar to be operated by US officials. General Khalid M. Arif while commenting on U-2 incident (U-2 was a US spy plane operating from Badaber base near Peshawar. It was shot down by Soviet SA-2 missile and its pilot Gary Powers was captured. The incident severely compromised Pakistan security and brought the Soviet ire on Pakistan. Soviets paid back Pakistan within a decade during East Pakistan crisis) states that, ‘Pakistan felt deceived because the US had kept her in the dark about such clandestine spy operations launched from Pakistan’s territory’.Statements like these from such highly placed officers don’t speak well for Pakistan. As early as 1959, when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, as acting foreign minister wished to visit the facility, the American base commander replied that, ‘the minister would be welcome to visit the cafeteria where he would be served coffee and sandwiches’.An

    American air force base located in the border area of Pakistan near Soviet territory where spy planes were parked, run by Americans where even the highest Pakistani officials could not enter was not suppose to bake cookies or train pilots for aerial aerobatics. Ayub Khan was fully aware of the operations. He was in London at the time of U-2 incident. When the CIA station chief gave Ayub the news, he shrugged his shoulders and said that he had expected this would happen at some point.In 50s there was increasing number of Pakistani officers who got training in United States. The military doctrine shifted from British to American. Fazal Muqeem points to the change of thought process of officer corps. “Such healthy and friendly contacts were bound to have a decisive influence on the ideas of the officer corps. They soon made their impact on the thinking of Pakistani commanders and staff. In the re-organization of the army, American ideas influenced the

    planners in a number of ways”.The influence was not limited to the knowledge of new weaponry and defence strategy and tactics. According to Colonel Jordan, the purpose of training of officers in US was not only to train them in particular fields but also to groom them for non-military activities (leadership, management and economics). In addition, MAAG officers were in agreement that the off-shore trained officer is more receptive to continued military advice and suggestions than his colleagues”.It is interesting to note that officers from different countries (Asia, Africa, Latin and South America) trained in US quite confident of their newly acquired skills took power in their own countries.

    Tale of a love affair that never was: United States-Pakistan Defence Relations Columnist Hamid Hussain analyses an ON and OFF affair.


    CIA launches recruitment drive on internet and TV From Times Online March 31, 2009 by Tim Reid in Washington

    "In order to accomplish our vital intelligence mission we want to market our employment opportunities to speakers of Arabic, Russian, Korean, Pashtu and Urdu," George Little, a CIA spokesman, told The Times.

    Petraeus Warns About Militants’ Threat to Pakistan By ELISABETH BUMILLER Published: April 1, 2009

    Under sharp questioning from Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, Ms. Flournoy, the under secretary of defense for policy, acknowledged the administration’s concerns about a wing of the ISI, which American intelligence officials say is providing money and military assistance to the Taliban across the border in Afghanistan.

    “I think ISI is a — or parts of ISI — are certainly a problem to be dealt with,” Ms. Flournoy said.

  3. SM Imran H Zaidi Avatar
    SM Imran H Zaidi

    The main point to be noted is that Pakistan has always been used by the US for its own strategic interests against communism while our military and politicians praised it as a friendship higher than the himalayas. This has led to our downfall. Now the agents of the US (Taliban) are actively destabilising the state and the US gets more chances to act within the Pakistani territory. Its a sad situation; the common people are so gullible that they believe in everything the politicians or the media says.

  4. mohammad idrees Avatar

    if the usa govt more drones attack than resistant will be increase bcs they attak in the public not on the tliban so we request to solve this problem by discution