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  1.    #1  
    (Part 1: Charlie Wilson's legacy)

    This story begins for me in Lebanon and Israel.

    In 1982 Sharon invaded Lebanon, and triumphantly succeeded in ejecting the PLO from there.

    The Lebanese initially welcomed the Israelis as liberators -- and Sharon basked in glory as a conqueror. He was a leader who had remade the middle east, freed Lebanon, and brought lasting peace to Israel’s northern border.

    The hated Arafat and his despised PLO army (which had for years been an alien but dominant force in Lebanon) was forced to take exile in Tunisia.

    The Israelis as a result came to be the owners of the thousands of tons of arms that the PLO was forced to leave behind.

    In the film “Charlie Wilson’s War”, Charlie is presented as a small time unimportant congressman who through his determination and passion for justice is able to manipulate the CIA and the raygun administration into aiding the Muhadjeen of Afghanistan.

    Much of the weaponry that we supplied the Islamic guerillas fighting the Soviets came from this inventory. Its quite likely that Bin Laden and his islamic guerillas were carrying the PLO’s AK-47s -- confiscated by Israel, and then supplied to the Afghans by us.

    The PLO’s armaments got to the Afghans through our exclusive intermediary: the ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence agency.

    Allied with the most hard core and antagonistically Islamic of all of the various Afghan partisans, Pakistan’s ISI never forgot that its primary focus was India and recovering the “lost province” Kashmir. It saw aiding and abetting whatever proxy wars were taking place in Afghanistan as ultimately a means to that end -- a cynical mechanism to maintain effective control of its northern neighbor to the detriment of India -- irrespective of the effects on the Afghans or the world.


    The film ends with the Soviets beaten -- but they depart leaving an ostensibly communist government behind.

    Though the islamic guerilla’s unity soon disintegrates into vicious warlordism, raygun continues to fund their fighting. Tens of thousands more Afghans die -- until the Taliban finally defeat the warlords.

    It is from this environment that Bin Laden and Al Queda arose.

    With hindsight there’s little doubt that the rise of militant revolutionary Sunni Islam and Al Qaida was the direct product of Wilson and raygun’s proxy war against the Russians.

    Conservatives argue that the Afghan war brought down the Soviet empire and ended the cold war -- and as such it was worth it.

    My view is that it at most accelerated what was an inevitable Russian evolution. At best what can be said is that the Russian’s bleeding in Afghanistan quickened the accession of Gorbachev.

    Had our arming of Sunni militants ended with the Soviet troops departure, its possible that history would have been very different. Maybe the semi-communist moslem regime the Russian’s left behind would have been able to pacify and control Afghanistan. Maybe it would have cultivated the most modern and western parts of Afghan society. As it was intellectuals and women played a prominent part in that government. Under that government Afghan women were liberated and empowered to an unusual degree for that part of the world. Almost certainly if it had been left to survive without our continued intervention, that government would have self-reformed like all communist regimes did eventually.

    Unfortunately that was not what happened...


    (oh -- and what came of Sharon's triumph of course, was 12 years of a bleeding catastrophic occupation-- an occupation that ended when the Shiite Hezbollah forced Israel to ignominiously retreat.)


    (Pt. 2: The Pakistan Afghanistan paradox ...)
    Last edited by Micael; 02/11/2010 at 09:54 PM. Reason: BARYE requested shortening of title
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  2.    #2  
    (Pt. 2: The Pakistan Afghanistan paradox ...)

    The Pashtun -- the tribal group that dominates southern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan -- traces its ethnicity (according to their own mythology) to one of the 10 lost tribes of Israel.

    An historically conservative and extremely traditional ethnic group, they collectively see themselves much more as Pashtun than either Pakistani or Afghan. The dominant group in their region (particularly in Afghanistan), they were divided by an artificial border drawn by the English only about a century ago. Most see themselves as neither Pakistani or Afghan -- and have wanted nothing to do with either the west or its culture. Their predominant desire has been to be left alone to pursue their traditions -- to be allowed to educate their sons in the Koran, and in honor.

    Originally born of students who came from incredibly conservative religious schools based in northern Pakistan, the Taliban are almost entirely Pashtun.

    The Pashtun also represent an important and influential part of Pakistan’s army and intelligence service, the ISI. Pashtun clan loyalty is often stronger than a soldier’s loyalty to his officers, or the officer’s to their government.

    Even after the Taliban were decisively defeated in Afghanistan, even after junior allowed Bin Laden to escape his trap at Tora Bora, even after Musharraf declared his fealty to our fight against Al Qaida and the Taliban -- parts of the ISI nonetheless continued to support the Taliban. This is because some of its officers are genuinely sympathetic to the Taliban’s ideology and aims. Others as I earlier wrote, see them as a tool for the promotion of Pakistan’s interests in regards to India. These divided loyalties of individual members of the Pakistani military and secret services has made it nearly impossible for Musharraf to take control of those tribal areas that support the Taliban -- and likely also hide Bin Laden.

    But despite this dangerous and hostile environment, under intense american pressure Musharraf did try to exert military control and quash the border region’s independence.

    His efforts were decisively defeated.

    As many warned, the effect of those efforts has been the migration of troubles from the semi-distant remote tribal regions, to the center of Pakistan itself.

    Al Qaida and the Taliban have now come to see the potential for transforming Pakistan into what Afghanistan formerly had been: a haven for their violent, revolutionarily extreme form of islam.

    Pt: 3 the Westernized /Islamic bifurcation (last I promise...)
    Last edited by BARYE; 03/30/2009 at 11:54 PM.
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  3. #3  
    dude wheres part 3? Im serious!
    ONE can be spelled as NEO.
    There is no spoon.
  4.    #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by Hdhntr23 View Post
    dude wheres part 3? Im serious!
    Thanks !! -- I will soon -- I have to recreate it (something I loathe doing) since my earlier draft was mostly lost on a computer crash ...
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  5.    #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by GreenHex View Post


    You are correct about that.
    I'd also like to add that's the way it is with every other service or profession.

    But then, it is not so much "stratified" as it is "circular." That's because the filthiest of the lot are also at the top... the politicians and extremely rich businessmen. It should be no surprise that the politicians are mostly from the "lower" classes.
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE

    hmmm ---everything is a part of the long fading echo of the colonial legacy, I suppose.

    "It should be no surprise that the politicians are mostly from the "lower" classes..."

    this seems less so in Pakistan.

    Without maybe getting into this too far now, this whole phenomenon is a part of why I fear Pakistan is ultimately doomed ...

    This thread -- from a year ago and little commented upon -- was originally inspired by my contemplation on the contradiction between modernist, westernized Pakistan, and traditionist, islamic Pakistan. My recent exchange with GreenHex made me want to revisit it...



    Pakistan is the rump of The Raj, the ******* step child of the English royal colonial experiment.

    From its inception Pakistan has always been a volatile state. Inhabited by a mixture of angry westernized moslem nationalists resentful of a larger, richer, more modern, more powerful sister state, India -- and an impoverished tradition bound tribal majority, unwesternized, and resentful of their poverty and of the sense that they are the pawns of a largely non-islamic upper class controlled, state.

    Pakistan is the amputeed remainder of what had once been a part of greater India (Pakistan’s secular neighbor, though one in which Hindus dominate). Current Pakistan is the product of violence, war, revolution, and turmoil. It once encompassed distant (and separated by India) Bangladesh. It still includes (but never really encompassed) its nether Tribal territorial regions.

    Despite the ambitions of Mahatma Ghandi and the other leaders of the peaceful resistance to English rule, nationalist moslems were determined to have their own distinct country formed from the remains of the former colony. Drawing a map that equitably divided these two lands and peoples was an impossibly tricky task complicated by irrational fear and hatred, and by an inseparable intramixture of populations in several critical regions.

    The violence that ensued during the partition of these two religions and cultures into two disparate nations, never really ended -- but has instead been on varying degrees of simmer and boil, for decades.

    Pakistan -- founded by proud, westernized moslem nationalists -- has often seen and understood itself in the reflection of India -- shortchanged by the division, determined to achieve parity, insistent on finding respect, insecure in the inner understanding of its own inferiority. Anyone who has ever seen video of the comic opera performances of the 2 nations border guards daily closing of their border gates can gain a sense of the mutual wariness and insecurity that warps their relationship and self image -- especially from the Pakistani side.

    The central problem of Pakistan though has been the bifurcation between its Westernized modernist ruling class -- and their hordes of tribal traditionist, farmers, and tradesmen -- people who have been semi-permanently alienated from power.

    The Pakistan paradox.

    Its a nation where women are actively discouraged from attending school, from having a choice in marriage, from working -- yet it has twice been ruled by a woman (the late american educated Benazir Bhutto, murdered last year).

    Its a place where its westernized, educated upper (and upper middle) classes casually enjoy alcohol and inter-gender fraternization, while uncomfortably looking down upon the poor traditionalists with a mixture of contempt, condescension, pity, and fear.

    These were an underclass who needed to be both tolerated and marginalized -- yet simultaneusly catered to with symbolism, slogans, and pro forma religiosity.

    Greenhex mentioned to me how in India the upper class dominates everything -- except the political system. Perhaps I am being unfair and presumptuous, but I heard in his comment the rueful resentment of an upper caste, impatient with their inferiors.

    Any political system is only as strong as it is perceived to be able to express the sentiments, anger, values, and ambitions of its peoples -- in particular those who might otherwise be disadvantaged and oppressed.

    That low caste Hindu can credibly rise to the heights of India’s political hierarchy is a vital aspect of that system’s resiliency. (Obama’s rise -- under different circumstances -- reflects well on the american system.)

    Though I confess to know few details of the Pakistani milieu, my understanding is that it is far less dynamic overall -- and far far more likely to be dynastic in its handing off of power, position, and wealth. (Benazir Bhutto, for example, owed her political strength almost entirely to being the daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto -- a former Prime Minister hanged in 1979. This is an arguably more meaningful inheritance of power than that of Nehru to Indira Ghandi et. al.)

    Parliamentary seats, positions as teachers, tribal chieftain, Governor etc, are I think more likely to be handed down from father to son in Pakistan, than in most places in the world.

    The Tribal regions

    Traditionally the national government has through a process of benign neglect knowingly empowered local fiefdoms, allowing them to be largely independent of the centers of power.

    This was particularly true in the remote “tribal” regions -- Pashtun lands near the borders of Afghanistan.

    These were areas that had been trouble for central governments attempting to assert control even during the British Raj if not before. Peace was largely the result of understandings reached that allowed these local fiefdoms and tribes to control their own areas, enforcing their own traditions, rules, and customs -- without interference by the distant westernized rulers.

    The Afghan Bleed

    Decades of war -- discussed in earlier posts in this thread -- have had a catastrophically disruptive effect on the Pashtun societies on both sides of the artificial Afghan/Pakistani border.

    Refugees and warriors have crossed and settled freely from Afghanistan into these Pakistani border zones -- infecting the political climate and religious sentiment in these zones -- inspiring a new sense of self confidence, frustration, and impatience amongst those communities.

    This widespread Pashtun rising against the central Pakistani government there, was perhaps always inevitable. But it was the involvement of the Pakistani secret services (the ISI) together with raygun’s CIA that have accelerated this dark trend by their support for the worst of these forces.

    junior’s criminally incompetent handling of the Afghanistan war, together with his shifting of forces, money, and resources from Afghanistan to Iraq, has further helped those religious forces whose ambition it is to take over the Pakistani nation and government as a whole.

    What is next for Pakistan and Afghanistan ??
    Last edited by BARYE; 03/17/2009 at 08:48 AM. Reason: many many small rewrites for clarity ...
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  6. #6  
    Following-up on your (following) comment in this thread: http://discussion.treocentral.com/pa...ll-palm-2.html:
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    (BTW Greenhex, I was dissapointed that you did not engage with me on the Pakistan -Afghanistan Paradox thread)
    The thing is, I'm not too politically aware, or politically active to comment about the the current (political) situation in India, and much less about the situation in Pakistan. You are certainly more aware and better informed than me.

    But the fact is, we are still a young nation, with a long way to go. Applying the same standards to backward nations as those for advanced nations is too simplistic. Our futures may never intersect (I hate to use the word "destiny" here, if only because it was Nehru's favorite word). India (and Pakistan) may (or could) have a future without MTV... or Pepsi... or Palm Pre's . Our "Internets" could be powered by cows.

    But the true value of power as an end is evident here - by making our futures intersect by every means possible. Pakistan and India are continuously being manipulated (politically, socially, economically) by western powers (initially by the British and then by the US) to prevent us from reaching our potential as a people. We are ignored, threatened, sidelined and generally kept busy engaging each other.

    Clearly, the only value India (or Pakistan) has for the Western nations are as a source of 1) cheap labour (including the occasional genius, but cheap nevertheless) 2) natural resources (fortunately, India does not have oil) and 3) huge market for crap (includes MTV).
  7.    #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    (Part 1: Charlie Wilson's legacy)

    This story begins for me in Lebanon and Israel.

    In 1982 Sharon invaded Lebanon, and triumphantly succeeded in ejecting the PLO from there.

    The Lebanese initially welcomed the Israelis as liberators -- and Sharon basked in glory as a conqueror. He was a leader who had remade the middle east, freed Lebanon, and brought lasting peace to Israel’s northern border.

    The hated Arafat and his despised PLO army (which had for years been an alien but dominant force in Lebanon) was forced to take exile in Tunisia.

    The Israelis as a result came to be the owners of the thousands of tons of arms that the PLO was forced to leave behind.

    In the film “Charlie Wilson’s War”, Charlie is presented as a small time unimportant congressman who through his determination and passion for justice is able to manipulate the CIA and the raygun administration into aiding the Muhadjeen of Afghanistan.

    Much of the weaponry that we supplied the Islamic guerillas fighting the Soviets came from this inventory. Its quite likely that Bin Laden and his islamic guerillas were carrying the PLO’s AK-47s -- confiscated by Israel, and then supplied to the Afghans by us.

    The PLO’s armaments got to the Afghans through our exclusive intermediary: the ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence agency.

    Allied with the most hard core and antagonistically Islamic of all of the various Afghan partisans, Pakistan’s ISI never forgot that its primary focus was India and recovering the “lost province” Kashmir. It saw aiding and abetting whatever proxy wars were taking place in Afghanistan as ultimately a means to that end -- a cynical mechanism to maintain effective control of its northern neighbor to the detriment of India -- irrespective of the effects on the Afghans or the world.


    The film ends with the Soviets beaten -- but they depart leaving an ostensibly communist government behind.

    Though the islamic guerilla’s unity soon disintegrates into vicious warlordism, raygun continues to fund their fighting. Tens of thousands more Afghans die -- until the Taliban finally defeat the warlords.

    It is from this environment that Bin Laden and Al Queda arose.

    With hindsight there’s little doubt that the rise of militant revolutionary Sunni Islam and Al Qaida was the direct product of Wilson and raygun’s proxy war against the Russians.

    Conservatives argue that the Afghan war brought down the Soviet empire and ended the cold war -- and as such it was worth it.

    My view is that it at most accelerated what was an inevitable Russian evolution. At best what can be said is that the Russian’s bleeding in Afghanistan quickened the accession of Gorbachev.

    Had our arming of Sunni militants ended with the Soviet troops departure, its possible that history would have been very different. Maybe the semi-communist moslem regime the Russian’s left behind would have been able to pacify and control Afghanistan. Maybe it would have cultivated the most modern and western parts of Afghan society. As it was intellectuals and women played a prominent part in that government. Under that government Afghan women were liberated and empowered to an unusual degree for that part of the world. Almost certainly if it had been left to survive without our continued intervention, that government would have self-reformed like all communist regimes did eventually.

    Unfortunately that was not what happened...


    (oh -- and what came of Sharon's triumph of course, was 12 years of a bleeding catastrophic occupation-- an occupation that ended when the Shiite Hezbollah forced Israel to ignominiously retreat.)


    (Pt. 2: The Pakistan Afghanistan paradox ...)
    Charlie Wilson -- the originator of America's support of Afghanistan's Islamic warriors against the Soviets, died yesterday at the age of 76 -- of heart failure.

    Though idolized on the right as the man whose vision and determination lead raygun to fund the war that they believe lead to the Soviet's downfall, I instead see what transpired as the fount of al Queda, the Taliban, and international islamic terror.

    Like in Lebanon, in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Iran (trading arms for hostages), rightwing "idealism" has been a constant source of endless catastrophe.

    I have no doubt that it was similar "idealism" that lead junior to create his contrived war against Sadamm.

    I can only imagine in my darkest nightmares what catastrophes Palin and her teabaggers are capable of constructing should they ever get the chance.
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  8. #8  
    I think there is a bigger issue here. By "bigger" I mean "more important." It starts with an I, and it might not exist. The only argument I have is, two wrongs don't make a right.
  9.    #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by beerbatteredben View Post
    I think there is a bigger issue here. By "bigger" I mean "more important." It starts with an I, and it might not exist. The only argument I have is, two wrongs don't make a right.
    is that "I" Islam ?? explain please ...
    Last edited by BARYE; 02/11/2010 at 08:24 AM.
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  10. #10  
    Interesting reading there..good to get an outside perspective of the Pakistan-India political relationship (not social - socially we're VERY similar). Afghanistan is a victim of higher politics.

    Its unfortunate what proxy wars can do. As they say, never breed a snake to kill, one day it'll bite you too.
  11. #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    is that "I" Islam ?? explain please ...
    Israel.
  12. Micael's Avatar
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    #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    Though idolized on the right as the man whose vision and determination lead raygun to fund the war that they believe lead to the Soviet's downfall, I instead see what transpired as the fount of al Queda, the Taliban, and international islamic terror.
    Because you want to blame al Queda, the Taliban, and international islamic terror on the right?

    Charlies war is just one link in a chain of events that began decades before, including the formation of the soviet union, WWI, and WWII. Those events profoundly impacted the area in question.

    With all respect, Barye, drawing out one 'chapter of the book' and calling it "cause" brings to mind the old "see the forest from the trees" analogy.
    The Law of Logical Argument: Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
  13.    #13  
    This Obit from the AP presents a fairly balanced view of Charlie Wilson's history, his importance, as well as his regrets:


    Former Texas Rep. Charlie Wilson dies at 76

    By JAMIE STENGLE, Associated Press Feb 11, 2010

    DALLAS – The late Rep. Charlie Wilson worked tenaciously to funnel millions of dollars in weapons to Afghan rebels who fought off the Soviet Union, only to watch Afghanistan plunge into chaos and eventually harbor al-Qaida terrorists.

    The course of events greatly saddened the rakish Texan, who died at a Texas hospital Wednesday at age 76, and believed it could have been avoided had the U.S. committed to rebuilding Afghanistan years ago.

    "He tried to get a lot of dollars appropriated to rebuild the infrastructure," longtime friend Buddy Temple said Wednesday. "What he told me was the members of Congress, they were tired of hearing about it by then."...

    ...He was everything he was portrayed to be," said Marvin Weinbaum, a scholar in residence at Middle East Institute in Washington and a former State Department intelligence analyst on Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    Weinbaum said Wilson's legacy should not be overshadowed by Afghanistan's post-Soviet turmoil.

    "In those days, it was the Cold War and we had a singular determination," he said. "You have to see it in the context."

    U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wilson's "efforts and exploits helped repel an invader, liberate a people, and bring the Cold War to a close."

    "After the Soviets left, Charlie kept fighting for the Afghan people and warned against abandoning that traumatized country to its fate — a warning we should have heeded then, and should remember today," Gates said in a statement...

    Vickers, now assistant secretary of defense for special operations, called Wilson a "great American patriot who played a pivotal role in a world-changing event — the defeat of the Red Army in Afghanistan, which led to the collapse of communism and the Soviet empire."...

    Wilson, a Democrat, was considered both a progressive and a defense hawk. While his efforts to arm the mujahedeen in the 1980s were a success — spurring a victory that helped speed the Soviet Union's downfall — he was unable to keep the money flowing after the Soviets left. The ensuing tumult created an opening eventually filled by the Taliban, which provided a safe haven for al-Qaida. ...

    "People like me didn't fulfill our responsibilities once the war was over," Wilson said in a September 2001 interview with The Associated Press. "We allowed this vacuum to occur in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which enraged a lot of people. That was as much my fault as it was a lot of others." ...

    Schnabel said he had just been with Wilson a few weeks ago for the dedication of the Charlie Wilson chair for Pakistan studies at the University of Texas, Austin, a $1 million endowment. He said Wilson had been doing "very good" and said his former boss described himself as "a poster boy" for heart transplants...

    ...In later years Mr. Wilson insisted that the United States had not made a mistake by supporting the Afghan rebels, among them Osama bin Laden and the Islamists who would form the Taliban regime. He said if the United States had helped rebuild Afghanistan, it would have remained stable and not become a safe haven for Al Qaeda. ...(last paragraph from NYT obit)
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  14.    #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by Micael View Post
    Because you want to blame al Queda, the Taliban, and international islamic terror on the right?

    Charlies war is just one link in a chain of events that began decades before, including the formation of the soviet union, WWI, and WWII. Those events profoundly impacted the area in question.

    With all respect, Barye, drawing out one 'chapter of the book' and calling it "cause" brings to mind the old "see the forest from the trees" analogy.
    Micael -- if we want to understand how the world has come to a place where we humbly come shoes in hand to seek the tender mercies of underpaid airport screeners, GOPers routinely demagogue and manipulate american voters with lies and half truths about how democrats coddle terrorists, and about how america can't trust democrats to be sufficiently brutal to keep it safe -- we have to understand the role America had in creating the Taliban and al Queda.

    9-11 -- and all the events and consequences that have followed from 9-11, are the direct descendants of Charlie Wilson's and raygun's war against the Soviets in Afghanistan.

    WW1, WW2, the USSR, the Czarist empire, the Britsh Raj -- all these are consequnetial events, some of them impacted Afganistan -- but they are all tangential and
    utterly unimportant when compared to our role in the birth of al Queda and international islamic terrorism.
    Last edited by BARYE; 02/11/2010 at 08:03 PM.
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  15.    #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by abhinandanjain View Post
    Interesting reading there..good to get an outside perspective of the Pakistan-India political relationship (not social - socially we're VERY similar). Afghanistan is a victim of higher politics.

    Its unfortunate what proxy wars can do. As they say, never breed a snake to kill, one day it'll bite you too.
    Unless I am mistaken, your origins seem to have come from that part of the world.

    I'd be interested in hearing more of your perspective on these matters -- and any further critique you might have on what I've written.

    I'm especially curious if you have any thoughts on the state of Afghanistan after the departure of the Soviets -- a time when the government left behind had a genuine chance to have modernized and moderated that feudal tar pit in a peaceful and evolutionary way.

    An opportunity slain when raygun & Daddy bush continued to support the ISI's sponsorship of the fundamentalist islamic Mujahideen.
    Last edited by BARYE; 02/11/2010 at 07:59 PM.
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  16.    #16  
    A very senior Taliban military/political leader was taken into custody last week in Pakistan.

    He is without doubt the most senior Taliban captured since the Afghan war began. During Obama's one year in office, his anti-terror policies have already killed many more Taliban leaders than during all of junior's 8 years of power. Together with the recent interception of a senior Al Queda courier enroute to Yemen along with his cell phone and laptop, Obama's team has demonstrated that intelligence is more powerful than brute brutality in the fight against terror.

    The specifics of this particular case are still somewhat murky.

    It seems fair though, to surmise from everything I've heard, that this very senior Taliban has been living semi-openly under the rough protection of Pakistan's ISI in Karachi for some time.

    The ISI had apparently seen these Afghan Taliban as more proteges than adversaries -- as allies in their endless war against India, and as the future leaders of Afghanistan after the inevitable american withdrawal. This move by the ISI -- no matter how late or unenthusiastic it was -- represents potentially a significant change by the ISI relative to these Afghan Taliban.

    Pakistan has been a protected refuge for these Afghan Taliban. Perhaps this means that Pakistan's ISI leaders have finally come to see no real distinction between the Afghan Pashtun Taliban fighting Karzai and the americans -- and the Pakistani Pashtun Taliban who are seeking to turn Pakistan into a Wahabi /al Queda state.


    Secret Joint Raid Captures Taliban’s Top Commander

    By MARK MAZZETTI and DEXTER FILKINS NY Times

    WASHINGTON — The Taliban’s top military commander was captured several days ago in Karachi, Pakistan, in a secret joint operation by Pakistani and American intelligence forces...

    Mullah Baradar has been in Pakistani custody for several days, with American and Pakistani intelligence officials both taking part in interrogations...

    His capture could cripple the Taliban’s military operations, at least in the short term, said Bruce O. Riedel, a former C.I.A. officer ...

    officials said that it had been carried out by Pakistan’s military spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, and that C.I.A. operatives had accompanied the Pakistanis.

    The New York Times learned of the operation on Thursday, but delayed reporting it at the request of White House officials, who contended that making it public would end a hugely successful intelligence-gathering effort.

    The officials said that the group’s leaders had been unaware of Mullah Baradar’s capture and that if it became public they might cover their tracks and become more careful about communicating with each other.

    The Times is publishing the news now because White House officials acknowledged that the capture of Mullah Baradar was becoming widely known in the region...

    The participation of Pakistan’s spy service could suggest a new level of cooperation from Pakistan’s leaders, who have been ambivalent about American efforts to crush the Taliban. Increasingly, the Americans say, senior leaders in Pakistan, including the chief of its army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, have gradually come around to the view that they can no longer support the Taliban in Afghanistan — as they have quietly done for years — without endangering themselves. Indeed, American officials have speculated that Pakistani security officials could have picked up Mullah Baradar long ago...

    The ability of the Taliban’s top leaders to operate relatively freely inside Pakistan has for years been a source of friction between the ISI and the C.I.A. Americans have complained that they have given ISI operatives the precise locations of Taliban leaders, but that the Pakistanis usually refuse to act...

    ...a growing number of Taliban leaders are believed to have fled to Karachi, a sprawling, chaotic city in southern Pakistan hundreds of miles from the turbulence of the Afghan frontier. A diplomat based in Kabul, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said in an interview last month that Mullah Omar had moved to Karachi, and that several of his colleagues were there, too...

    In November 2001, as Taliban forces collapsed after the American invasion, Mullah Baradar and several other senior Taliban leaders were captured by Afghan militia fighters aligned with the United States. But Pakistani intelligence operatives intervened [with senior American officials], and Mullah Baradar and the other Taliban leaders were released...
    Last edited by BARYE; 02/17/2010 at 05:49 AM.
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