By: Peter Chamberlin
The multitude of theories on the reasons for the arrests are divided between cooperation and confrontation theories, either it is explained by mutual interests or by rivalries. In my opinion, it is both.
Researchers and analysts are banging their heads against many walls, searching for meaning in reports of multiple arrests of Taliban, by the Pakistani government. Speculation is running rampant, that Pakistan has finally “seen the light,” that it represents a “split” within the Taliban, or that Pakistan has arrested Taliban who have been negotiating with Brits or Americans. In my opinion, the arrests began as a clean-up operation to remove links to the intelligence being revealed in British courts, but it turned into a tit-for-tat series of paybacks between the ISI and the CIA.
The true meaning of the arrests can be ascertained from the timing of the events. It may have been primarily an American/Pakistani operation to isolate Taliban leaders who had either negotiated with the British, or had been held at Guantanamo. British courts had taken up the case of Binyam Mohamed and American officials publicly stated that disclosing classified information about US abuse of this detainee would damage intelligence cooperation between the agencies of the two nations.
The first arrest, of Taliban number two, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, was on, or about Feb. 7. Multiple news reports have tied Baradar to ongoing negotiations to identify and isolate “reconcilable” Taliban. These attempts at negotiating have all come from the British or Afghan sides, with the US supposedly prepared to take advantage of any breakthroughs.
“A British court has ordered the government to disclose classified information about the treatment of a former Guantanamo Bay…It was released after judges at an appeals court on Wednesday rejected the UK government’s claim that disclosing the information would damage intelligence co-operation with US agencies.”
In the days that followed, the western media was abuzz with more reports that Pakistan had made multiple “arrests” of the Taliban’s leadership. It is impossible to know how many of these names obtained from the Western media are correct, but some of them had also been tied to the British negotiations, while at least two of them were former inmates of Guantanamo.
Mullah Abdul Qayoum Zakir GUANTANAMO around 2006, then transferred to Afghanistan government custody in late 2007, eventually released around May 2008. American officials won’t say why he was let go and have not released a photograph of him.
Mullah Abdul Salam is unidentifiable, at this point, whether he is the governor of Kunduz, or the former Taliban who was involved with British diplomat Michael Semple and EU diplomat Mervyn Patterson, or still other candidates, such as former inmate of Guantanamo Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, or Mullah Abdul Salaam Rocketi.
Mullah Muhammad Hassan
Mullah Muhammad Younis. who is also known as Akhunzada Popalzai
Mullah Ahmed Jan Akhunzada (could be Akhunzada Popalzai)
Maulavi Abdul Kabir, aka Mullah Abdul Kahir Osmani
Mohtasim Agha Jan, son-in-law of Mullah Omer
Do the arrests mean that Pakistan has embraced the American mission in the war on terror?
The following timetable relates the arrests to the rest of the unfolding understory.
1/28- London conference
2/2-4- India/Iran development conference, topic opening Afghan route
2/8- Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar
2/13- Operation Moshtarak offensive begins
2/17- Mullah Abdul Salam
2/18- Car-bomb targeting Mangal Bagh mosque, blamed on Berelvi “Ansar al-Islam”
2/18- Mohammed Haqqani killed in Predator attack
2/20- Two Sipah e-Sahaba militants killed Faisalbad
2/20- Pak Army adds 26 posts to border, Balochistan
2/23- Rigi arrested
2/23- Pak announces new naval base near Gwadar
2/24- Qari Zafar killed Predator
2/25- India/Pakistan talks
2/26- Kabul bomb targets Indian doctors
2/26- Khalid Khwaja petitions Lahore High Court to block deportation of Taliban.
2/27- Intra-Sunni battles Faisalbad (revival of Sipah e-Sahaba attacks on Berelvi)
2/27- Hafiz Saeed, “India will have to fight if it will not talk.” Silence on Taliban arrests
If you look at the timetable to understand whether or Pakistan and the US are on the same page you see some clear evidence of a joint US/Pakistan mission to eliminate the Taliban leadership, but more than that, you see specific acts of resistance on Pakistan’s part.
There is one inescapable reality–the Pakistani Army will never truly turn on the Taliban, who represent their last line of defense, as well as their first option, in any contest with India. The historical relationship between the military and the militants has been one where the government has used sectarian terror groups (and even created them) to keep the tribes, sects and political groups in line. Keep these things in mind, as you consider the events.
In addition to the arrests, the timetable details American predator strikes which have eliminated some of the Army’s protected militants, in particular, Mohammed Haqqani and Qari Zafar. In between those two American assassinations, you have the arrest of American asset against Iran, Abdolmalek Rigi, thanks to Pakistan’s ISI. Between the Haqqani hit and the Rigi arrest, Pakistan set-up 26 border posts to block US hot pursuit into Balochistan. Long dormant Sipah e-Sahaba started anti-Berelvi rioting in Faisalbad. After the Rigi arrest, Pakistan announced plans for a new naval base near the Chinese-constructed port at Gawadar.
After the Predator killed Qari, the India/Pakistan talks started and quickly ended, followed by the bombing of the Indians living in Kabul. This was followed by Khalid Khwaja (of Daniel Pearl fame) interceding at the Lahore High Court to block extradition of the Taliban. But this does not leave us with a clear-cut case of Pakistan blocking American moves and supporting militants for political terrorism, but a record that speaks of both the United States and Pakistan together using militant Islamists and gangs for terrorism.
The Rigi case was a concrete example of the US supporting groups who are committing terror attacks, just like the case of Pakistan and the Taliban. Pakistan handing him to Iran is a clear sign of resistance to American plans, but it should probably be understood as retribution for the killing of Mohammed Haqqani. But in spite of all this, there have been new signs since all of this has transpired that points to a new direction for the CIA/ISI partnership that leads where all parties have always wanted to go—central Asia.
A new war drama has emerged in Baghlan province, the former domain of “shadow” governor, Mulla Mir Mohammad; there, the forces of ISI friend Gubuddin Hekmatyar (former CIA friend) have attacked the local Taliban who are hosting IMU terrorists (Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan). This marks a new direction for a joint CIA/ISI mission. Together, Pakistan and the US will back Heckmatyar as the northern front is expanded (with the “discovery” of many new Uzbek militants) and moves to secure the new supply line.
Today’s news reports that Hekmatyar’s forces have surrendered to the Karzai (Northern Alliance) government. This opens the door to Pakistani-backed militants becoming part of the “reconciliation” program. This will allow the US to buy its way out of Afghanistan in such a way as to set-up the movement of US forces northward toward the hydrocarbon deposits of Central Asia.
Until this new level of cooperation was brought together, Pakistan and the US have been on a collision course over disagreements on the mission of the terror war, which began in the confrontations between Bush and Musharraf over the war in Waziristan. That period was marked by US and British efforts to penetrate the veil of secrecy that shrouded South Waziristan, as well as the North. One of the most effective of these intrusions was by the British through their agent Michael Semple and his efforts to find “reconcilables” and convert them to an anti-Taliban mission.
The Semple mission through Mansoor Dadullah penetrated the S. Waziristan cloak of secrecy, where it uncovered another covert mission, a joint American/Israeli/Indian mission, known as the “Pakistani Taliban” (TTP), run by Mansoor’s big brother (Mullah Dadullah). Upon this discovery, the British mission was exposed and shut down by the American government (SEE: Dissecting the Anti-Pakistan Psyop).
The TTP project continued to rain havoc upon Pakistan, forcing the Army to finally take action, even though the local tribes had opposed past military offensives. The TTP would rain such hell down upon the heads of the innocent people of FATA and the NWFP that they would welcome the Army with open arms and even accept an American drone war in their midst. Anything, as long as someone got rid of those pesky militants!
After the Obama Administration took over, CIA sources were tricked into targeting the head of the TTP, Baitullah Mehsud, despite countless attempts to avoid him in the past, because he had become such a thorn in Pakistan’s side. His successor, Hakeemullah, was an even bigger pain, as he escalated the terror attacks upon both government and sectarian targets until he foolishly went too far, seeking revenge upon the CIA for Baitullah, leading to his own demise.
The killing of Hakeemullah’s mentor, Qari Zafar, and the subsequent elimination of the rest of the TTP leadership has eliminated the hierarchy that was carefully cultivated over many years by the consortium of spy agencies. The same airborne strategy that has eliminated former American assets like the Mehsuds through a succession of decapitation strikes, was also responsible for elevating them into their leadership positions in the first place.
The tricks of the trade that have been utilized to develop and control agents of influence in S. Waziristan, like Baitullah and Tahir Yuldashev (and especially their former mentor, Guantanamo inmate Abdullah Mehsud) are from the CIA’s deepest bag of dirty tricks. From what we know today, these “high-value” militants were subjected to military mind-control science, as the agency and the military pulled-out all stops in breaking these guys at Guantanamo and Bagram. Even more severe measures were used in Uzbekistan, where Yuldashev and others were persuaded to embrace our line of thinking. In addition to the various modes of torture employed at Guantanamo, we can safely assume that darker methods like psychotropic drugs and electroshock were also used on these reconditioned “Islamist” leaders, when we have already used them on our own troops.
American attempts to block the British court ruling that would open the door to public discussion of the secret illegal methods used upon the inmates of Guantanamo is the reason for the breakdown of communications between CIA and MI6. It would make perfect “Imperial” sense to have Pakistan round-up and hold all the Taliban leaders who possessed first-hand experiences of the Guantanamo brainwashing process or those who had been exposed to the British negotiations which uncovered the actions of some of the brainwashed leaders in S. Waziristan.
In S. Waziristan, around the town of Wana, the graduates of the various CIA/military torture/brainwashing programs convened to create both the TTP and Jundullah, Rigi’s group. Abdullah Mehsud had come to Wana after leaving Gitmo, along with Tahir Yuldashev, forming the base of the “Pakistani Taliban.” There they agitated and terrorized the tribal region to accept Wahabbi “Shariah.” They were reinforced in 2007 by Mullah Dadullah Akhund, after he was released from his year studying at another American “Islamist” university, probably at Baghram.
Near Wana, the group hosted trainers from Lashkar e-taiba and Lashkar e-Jhangvi to turn-out the large number of TTP fighters who have plagued Pakistan’s Swat region. To this deadly mix, a radical Wahabbi preacher named Haji Namdar was exported to Bara in Khyber, from Saudi Arabia, where he had been radicalizing for the previous six years. Namdar was like all of the aforementioned Taliban leaders who had been taken earlier in the war and were in American hands in Guantanamo or Afghanistan for long periods of time, or they were indoctrinated in countries dominated by US forces, such as Saudi Arabia, in preparation for their return to Pakistan and the planned destabilization mission.
The same irregular warfare tactics that US forces and the CIA were employing in Pakistan were used in Afghanistan, as well. The same pattern of aerial decapitation inspired leadership changes, involving former Guantanamo prisoners, was followed in Afghanistan. Next in line to Mullah Omar, Mullah Akhtar Usmani, was killed by airstrike, after a phone call was intercepted by British drone. He was replaced by Mullah Baradar, who allegedly may be replaced by possible Guantanamo alumnus Mullah Zakir, although some reports have listed him among the recently captured. Zakir’s second in command is another Guantanamo parolee, Mullah Abdul Raouf.
The more we learn about the alleged “differences” between the missions of the Pakistani and the US military, the more we learn that they may not be that far apart on many issues. Most of the drama we have become accustomed to has been no more than political theater, designed to alter the opinions of the people of both America and Pakistan so that they would embrace the never-ending war of terror.
When you look closely at the conflict that has been generated in S. Waziristan and NWFP by the TTP terrorist strikes, it becomes apparent that that was all just more consensual drama, as well—all designed to deceive the people into allowing it to happen in Pakistan and allowing it to spread forth from there, like a plague upon all mankind.