Former Afghan Intelligence Bureau/CIA Tool, Amrullah Saleh Urges NATO Attacks In Pakistan

[According to my own research (SEE:  The American War on Wana), Saleh (former aide to Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, who rose to power in the Karzai govt. just as Abdullah Mehsud was released in Afghanistan, after transfer there from Guantanamo) facilitated the induction of Mehsud and an unknown number of Northern Alliance Uzbeks (mostly IMU terrorists) and Tajiks into S. Waziristan, where they grew and prospered until being transformed into the Tehreek e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).  In an interview, while serving as Director of Karzai’s spy agency, the NDS, Saleh is quoted as saying:

“Insurgency is like grass. Two ways to destroy it: You cut the upper part, and after four months, you have it back. You poison the soil where that grass is, then you eliminate it forever.”

By merging the Taliban with the anti-Taliban TTP, the intelligence services behind Saleh undermined both Pakistan and the Taliban from within.  In the following Frontline interview (SEE: The Spy Who Quit ), he discusses his past connections with Massoud and the CIA (he was taken to the US for specialized training before 911, just like the Libyans, Egyptians, etc. were indoctrinated in agency tactics before their struggles).  

Amrullah Saleh has one message, wherever he speaks:  Pakistan and the ISI are the real enemy.]

File:Amrullah Saleh.png wiki


Afghan Role for Taliban, if They Play by Rules: Amrullah Saleh

By Amrullah Saleh

As the U.S. prepares to reduce its troop presence in Afghanistan next month, Afghans are seriously considering what will come next for our country. As Hamid Karzai’s government steers reconciliation talks with the Taliban aimed at creating enough quiet for the Americans and the rest of NATO to justify departing, Afghans like me increasingly worry that we will wind up in a situation worse than the civil war of past years.

This is avoidable. The opposition to Karzai isn’t just a rejection of the current government, as the media have emphasized. We provide an alternative vision to Karzai’s way out of the status quo. It entails a complete disarming of the Taliban, an end to Pakistan’s practice of giving sanctuary to Taliban militants and a truth-and-reconciliation process for Afghanistan.

As things are going, the future looks grim.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization expects that a negotiated settlement, eventually, will end the fighting between Afghan government forces, on one side, and the Taliban and its allies on the other. Before extending an olive branch to the Taliban leadership, however, NATO is pursuing a military strategy to weaken the enemy. This involves brilliant special operations inside Afghanistan that have killed perhaps many hundreds of Taliban mid-level commanders. The idea is to break the leadership of the Taliban in order to get the group’s second and third tier to come in from the cold. Whether this plan works will depend on whether NATO succeeds in pressuring Pakistan, which supports the Taliban, to go along. Insurgencies don’t end when they are given sanctuary in a neighboring country.

Taliban Wants Arms

But the Pakistan-Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance wants a deal that would allow the Taliban to remain armed and mobilized so that it could again have the capacity to dominate Afghanistan, as both a political and military force.

In such a scenario, real political competition in southern Afghanistan, where the Taliban is strongest, would be either difficult or impossible. The Taliban would gain access to major funds through illegal taxation, narcotics trafficking, extortion, the sale of natural resources and the black market. These funds would enable them to sustain their organization and provide some services to their constituents. Pakistan would feel safe having its proxy control the border areas, limiting or blocking India’s access, and would use its influence with the Taliban to gain maximum concessions from the government in Kabul.

Abuse of Power

That government, today, is a conglomerate of small and big interest groups surviving through manipulation, abuse of power and criminal commerce. Its overt outreach wing for the reconciliation talks is the so-called High Peace Council. The council is largely a platform to keep the big names within the Karzai government under one tent and to give the outreach an artificial multi-ethnic face.

The council’s chief spokesman is Karzai, who has caused deep division within Afghan society by his constant, unconditional offer of alliance to the Taliban. For those who have fought for a vision of a pluralistic Afghanistan, a Karzai- Taliban alliance is a recipe for disaster. The Taliban’s return to positions of authority would raise the horrific specter of their previous time in power.

It is for fear of that outcome that voices for justice and permanent peace have been raised in Afghanistan. Many Afghans believe that to get to a negotiated settlement, the Taliban leaders involved in talks should be relocated to Afghanistan from their current locations in Pakistan, where they are protected by Pakistan’s intelligence service.

Monopoly of Force

In any agreement, the Taliban must be disarmed, demobilized and reintegrated into society. The Taliban should be allowed to become a political force and be given every chance to play according to the script of democracy. But the Afghan state alone must have a monopoly on force. It isn’t permissible to allow the Taliban to become a Hezbollah-type entity within Afghanistan — an armed state within a state. If they agree to just a cease-fire with Karzai or his replacement, it will only bring a deceptive stability that will prove short-lived.

Many years of war have wounded the psyche of the Afghan nation. Burying the facts will not help us heal those wounds. An internationally funded truth-finding commission should investigate human-rights violations, massacres and major crimes of the past 20 years. Knowing the facts would help the Afghan people reconcile with themselves. A full report may take years to compile, but the process would create hope.

In this scenario, Pakistan must stop its support of the Taliban. The U.S., which supplied Pakistan with $4.5 billion in economic and security aid last fiscal year, would need to offer carrots and sticks to ensure that country’s compliance. Pakistan and Afghanistan would sign an agreement guaranteeing the cessation of interference in each other’s affairs, both directly and indirectly.

This is the way out for Afghanistan, the Taliban, Pakistan, as well as U.S. and other NATO forces. A settlement that falls short of these minimums will only prolong Afghanistan’s agony.

(Amrullah Saleh was the head of the National Directorate of Security in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2010. The opinions expressed are his own.)

Taliban Preventing Civilians/Hostages from Leaving North Waziristan

[The Taliban terrorists rely on civilians and public facilities like mosques to shield themselves from the day of reckoning; they always do.  Hiding amongst the civilians is their primary strategy as guerrilla fighters, pretending to be brave “freedom fighters,” even though they hide behind the women’s skirts.  These guys bear no resemblance now to our own Founding Fathers, just as Reagan’s original “mujahedeen” bore absolutely NO resemblance whatsoever to them.  Republicans need to own-up to this great lie that has cursed the world for the past thirty years.  Ronald Reagan is the father of global “Islamic” terrorism.  The shame of the Taliban terrorists is our shame.] 

PAKISTAN: Taliban Use Human Shields Against Army Offensive

Written by Ashfaq Yusufzai
PESHAWAR, Jun 16  (IPS)  – Thousands of civilians are virtually being held hostage in the tribal areas of
northwest Pakistan, where the outlawed Taliban have been refusing them
passage to safer areas ahead of a government plan to intensify army offensives.

Some were able to escape Taliban strongholds in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and
make their way to Peshawar, the capital of neighbouring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, narrating how
they dodged militants.

“We walked for 10 hours until we reached a safer place, where we got a vehicle to transport us to
Peshawar,” said Abdul Jabbar, a vegetable merchant from Bajaur Agency where army operations have
been going on since 2009.

“The Taliban want us to stay because they want to use the people as a buffer against army operations,”
said Jabbar, who arrived in Peshawar on Jun 3.

“Thousands of men, women and children have been waiting by the roadside in several localities after
they received news that the government was launching a massive operation,” said local human rights
activist Jawad Ali.

He said the Taliban were doing the same thing they did when the army launched an operation in the
Swat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2007. Thousands remained stranded when the operation
started because the militants refused to let them through the checkpoints, Ali recalled. “It is an old
strategy by the Taliban to use people as human shields to protect themselves.”

Taliban forces have been holed up in the FATA since the U.S. launched a campaign against them in
2001, forcing them out of Afghanistan and into sanctuaries in the sprawling FATA, crossing over the
long and porous Pakistan-Afghan border. The tribal areas are spread out over 47,000 sq km with a
population of five million.

The Taliban and Al-Qaeda then began targeting Pakistani forces in the FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,
prompting the government to launch military operations to flush them out.

Operations are currently underway in six of the seven tribal “agencies” or districts, except North
Waziristan, where an impending military offensive has caused unrest among the population.

“The Taliban don’t allow us to leave the area because if we left, they would get exposed to the army and
would subsequently face severe military action,” said Muhammad Nawaz, a schoolteacher from the
Mamozai area in Upper Orakzai Agency, which is a Taliban base.

“The militants have been using civilians as human shields,” Assistant Political Agent Javid Khan of South
Waziristan Agency told IPS.  Khan said the military has secured up to 96 percent of the area but is still
waiting to move civilians to safer ground before launching a full-scale operation. The Taliban have run
out of steam and can no longer fight the army, Khan said, but they are holding the people hostage,
causing a delay in military action.

“We are facing problems conducting full-fledged operations,” Assistant Political Administrator Jawad
Alam said, mainly because the civilian population remains trapped inside some FATA areas. The FATA,
which lies between Afghanistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is directly managed by the federal
government in Islamabad.

“The government has made elaborate arrangements to accommodate those to be displaced by military
action in North Waziristan, but the Taliban aren’t letting them out,” Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Information
Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told IPS.

In Mohmand Agency, residents say they face an acute shortage of vehicles to transport people to safety
because the transporters are also afraid of the militants.

In some areas, the Taliban have erected barricades that prevent vehicles from leaving. The Taliban also
search vehicles going out of any agency, said Shafiq Shah of South Waziristan. Civilians bold enough to
cross the Taliban checkpoints manage to get to safer places.

“My brothers and their wives and nine children are stranded in Mohmand Agency, as the Taliban
wouldn’t permit them to leave,” said 44-year-old Bilal Khan. He managed to reach Jalozai camp near
Nowshera, one of the 25 districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but said he is concerned about the safety of
his brothers and their families.

“Life in Bajaur is hard because there is a complete breakdown of civic facilities,” said Aziz Ali, a resident
of Loi Sam village in Bajaur. Now staying with relatives in Peshawar, he said bazaars were completely
shut and there was no other activity back home.

Gen. Kayani’s Sucking-Up To Obama Is Pissing-Off Fellow Officers

Pakistan military chief fights for his job

Kayani criticized as too close to US

New York Times

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan’s army chief, the most powerful man in the country, is fighting to save his position in the face of seething anger from top generals and junior officers since the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden, according to Pakistani officials and people who have met the chief in recent weeks.

General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who has led the army since 2007, faces such intense discontent over what is seen as his cozy relationship with the United States that a colonels’ coup, while unlikely, was not out of the question, said a well-informed Pakistani who has seen the general in recent weeks, as well as a US military official involved with Pakistan for many years.

The Pakistani army is essentially run by consensus among 11 top commanders, known as the Corps Commanders, and almost all of them, if not all, were demanding that Kayani get much tougher with the Americans, even edging toward a break, Pakistanis who follow the army closely said.

Washington, with its own hard line against Pakistan, had pushed Kayani into a defensive crouch, along with his troops, and if the general were pushed out, the United States would face a more uncompromising anti-American army chief, the Pakistani said.

To repair the reputation of the army, and to ensure his own survival, Kayani made an extraordinary tour of more than a dozen garrisons, mess halls, and other institutions in the six weeks since the May 2 bin Laden raid, trying to rally support among his rank-and-file troops, who were almost uniformly anti-American, according to participants and people briefed on the sessions.

During a long session in late May at the National Defense University, the premier academy in Islamabad, the capital, one officer got up after Kayani’s address and challenged his policy of cooperation with the United States. The officer asked, “If they don’t trust us, how can we trust them?’’ according to Shaukaut Qadri, a retired army brigadier who was briefed on the session. Kayani essentially responded, “We can’t,’’ Qadri said.

In response to pressure from his troops, Pakistani and US officials said, Kayani had already become a more obstinate partner, standing ever more firm with each high-level US delegation that has visited since the raid to try and rescue the shattered US-Pakistani relationship.

In a prominent example of the new Pakistani intransigence, The New York Times reported Tuesday that, according to US officials, Pakistan’s spy agency had arrested five Pakistani informants who helped the Central Intelligence Agency before the bin Laden raid. The officials said one of them is a doctor who has served as a major in the Pakistani army. In a statement yesterday, a Pakistani military spokesman called the story false and said no army officer was detained. Overall, Pakistani and US officials said, the relationship was now more competitive and combative than cooperative.

Kayani told the director of the CIA, Leon Panetta, during a visit here last weekend that Pakistan would not support his request for independent operations by the agency, Pakistani and US officials said.

© Copyright 2011 Globe Newspaper Company.

US lawmakers file suit over Obama’s Libya wa

US lawmakers file suit over Obama’s Libya war

WASHINGTON: A bipartisan group of US lawmakers on Wednesday sought to throw a roadblock in front of President Barack Obama’s Libya policy, filing a lawsuit that charges that US military operations are unconstitutional.

Anti-war Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich and nine other members of the House signed the lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s circumvention of Congress in authorising use of military force in a protracted effort to oust longtime Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

“With regard to the war in Libya, we believe that the law was violated. We have asked the courts to move to protect the American people from the results of these illegal policies,” Kucinich said in a statement as the lawmakers filed their suit in federal court in Washington. The suit “challenges policy that any president can take the US to war unilaterally”, said the lawmakers, who included Republicans Walter Jones of North Carolina and Ron Paul of Texas.

The White House has faced dissatisfaction on both sides of the aisle in Congress, where lawmakers have warned that Obama may be falling afoul of a law aimed at curtailing US presidents’ ability to deploy the military overseas.

Senators and representatives have also expressed concerns about how long the conflict against Gaddafi is taking, its impact on the turmoil in the Middle East and on US standing in the Muslim world.

Kucinich and Jones have been particularly vocal in charging that Obama failed to adequately consult Congress – to which the US Constitution reserves the right to declare war – before Britain, France and the United States started UN-authorised air strikes on March 19.

In late March, Kucinich said Obama had “subverted Congress and the United States Constitution” by ignoring the 1973 War Powers Resolution.

The law stipulates that, absent congressional authorisation, a military withdrawal from a conflict must be initiated within 60 days and completed within 90 days. The latter limit will be reached on Sunday. On Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner, Obama’s top Republican critic, warned that the president may be in violation of the War Powers Resolution by this weekend unless he gets lawmakers’ explicit approval for the Libya operation.

The House of Representatives recently passed a symbolic resolution chiding Obama for not seeking congressional approval for US involvement in Libya and giving him until June 17 to respond. The White House has said it would soon issue a detailed report to Congress on Libya and the US military intervention.

In addition to stressing that Obama violated the War Powers Resolution, Wednesday’s lawsuit specifically questions the president’s policy of committing the United States “to a war under the authority of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)”, or the United Nations, without authorization from Congress.

On March 19 the UN Security Council passed a resolution allowing for air strikes against Libyan regime forces in order to protect civil. South Africa on Wednesday accused NATO of deliberately targeting Muammar Gaddafi and warned that its military campaign in Libya could paralyse other UN Security Council action.

South Africa’s Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane gave a thinly veiled warning to the 15-member council that the air strikes in Libya were harming efforts to agree a resolution on Syria’s crackdown on protests. South Africa and the African Union demanded greater efforts at the meeting to reach a ceasefire between Gaddafi and opposition rebels.

Hundreds of Militants Attack Bajaur from Afghanistan

Five killed in cross-border attack: officials

A bomb attack on security forces severely wounded at least two security personnel in Upper Orakzai Agency on Thursday. The bomb was said to be detonated through a remote-controlled device. – Photo by AP


KHAR: Scores of armed militants crossed the border from Afghanistan on Thursday and stormed a village in the country’s tribal belt, killing five civilians, Pakistani officials said.

The militants targeted Mamond village in Bajaur district, which borders the Afghan province of Kunar, despite the presence of Pakistani security checkpoints erected to check Taliban militants.

“Some 250-300 militants targeted civilians in Mamond. At least five civilians, including two women were killed,” local government official Fazle Akbar told AFP.

Akbar said three women were also wounded in the attack, which took place about 65 kilometres northwest of Khar, the main town in Bajaur.

“We have sent army and paramilitary troops to the area as we got reports that militants are still present there,” a security official told AFP.

“Some militants were also killed when troops in the area responded, but we do not know the number of casualties yet,” the official said.

On June 1 and June 3, hundreds of militants besieged an area in Pakistan’s northwestern district of Upper Dir on the Afghan border, sparking prolonged fighting that killed at least 34 people.

Earlier in the day, a bomb attack on security forces severely wounded at least two security personnel in Upper Orakzai Agency, DawnNews reported. The bomb was said to be detonated through a remote-controlled device.

More than 4,400 people have been killed across Pakistan in attacks blamed on Taliban and other extremist networks over the last four years.

Operation in North Waziristan

Operation in North Waziristan

The writer is a retired brigadier who has served in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Fata

The ISPR release on the 139th Corps Commander’s Conference states “The army was following a well-thought-out campaign plan and is under no pressure to carry out operations at a particular time. Future operations, as and when undertaken, will be with political consensus. He [Army Chief], however, called upon the brave people of North Waziristan Agency (NWA) to evict all foreigners from their soil and take charge of their land and destiny once again. He emphasised that it was wrong, in principle, to allow others to use our land for fighting their battles. This must not be allowed. The army in NWA is committed to supporting the people of NWA in this effort”. 

The carefully worded statement has given the outline of the conduct of operation in NWA. The statement highlights a few important points. The army will conduct an operation in NWA as per its own campaign plan and will decide about the timing. The operation will only be launched once the government develops consensus, takes all political parties on board and orders the conduct of the operation. The help of the tribals has been sought for eviction of foreign militants from their area. This implies that it is going to be a targeted operation, against suspected hideouts, and the tribals may have to raise lashkars. The tribals should not allow ‘others’ to use their soil to fight battles having nothing to do with the people of the area.

The operation in the north will be different from those conducted by the army in other terrorist dominated districts and Fata, because, unlike those areas, NWA is not in control of the terrorists. They are not occupying areas like Fazal ullah did in Swat, Baitullah in South Waziristan, Faqir Hussain in Bajaur and Tariq Afridi in Darra. The terrorists are using compounds and hideouts in different parts of the agency. The political administration is reasonably in control of the area. About 30,000 army troops are already present there.

Targeted operations, based on reliable intelligence and with the support of locals, are likely to be conducted. Before the initiation of the operation, Orakzai and Central Kurram have to be secured; otherwise most terrorists are likely to shift to these areas. The priority targets should be elements of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and other groups who are involved in terrorist activities inside Pakistan.

The Americans are of the view that an operation in North Waziristan would help them win their war in Afghanistan. The Coalition Forces fighting in Afghanistan have created this perception. Armies all over the world traditionally do not accept their failures and look for reasons to cover up their own incompetence, Nato forces are no exception. It is a fact that different terrorists groups are present in the agency and they conduct raids inside Afghanistan. However, the scale of incursion of terrorists from NWA is being exaggerated.

The US focus is on Haqqani, they want his network to be dismantledand evicted from NWA. Haqqani’s activities are being considered as a major hurdle in the implementation of Obama’s exit strategy. However, an operation in the area may not fulfill this objective. Before the operation starts, the Haqqani group may move to Afghanistan. As per US intelligence in Afghanistan, the group has bases in nine provinces of Afghanistan — Khost, Paktiya, Paktika, Nangrahar, Ghazni, Zabul, Kabul, Wardak and Logar. In 2009 and 2010, the Coalition Forces conducted operations against the network in Khost, Paktia, Paktika, and Zabul, but were not able to eliminate its presence in these provinces. In case Coalition Forces eliminate the Haqqani group by securing these areas, they would be justified in blaming Pakistan for harbouring Haqqani. The operation in North Waziristan should be conducted not because the Americans so desire, but to eliminate the sanctuaries of terrorists where young boys are being brainwashed to kill innocent Pakistanis. The terrorists have to be denied space and areas where they are settled and have established training camps, planning centres and logistics areas. They should be on the run so that their capability is diluted.

Half of Pakistan Has Abandonment Issues Over US Withdrawal Talk

Pakistani Secular Leaders Alarmed By U.S. Afghan-Withdrawal Plans

Secular party leaders fear an Islamist takeover in Afghanistan will lead to the same in Pakistan.Secular party leaders fear an Islamist takeover in Afghanistan will lead to the same in Pakistan.

By Abdul Hai Kakar
Politicians used to enjoy star status in Pakistani public life. They grew accustomed to being greeted as celebrities by tens of thousands of supporters throwing rose petals, chanting their slogans, and patiently and loyally enduring their long, rhetorical speeches. Election season was a particularly exciting time, with political gatherings turned into noisy parties for thousands of participants.

All that has changed in a few short years. The threat of suicide bombings and rocket attacks has put an end to most large political rallies. Despite an unsympathetic public and large-scale military operations against them, Islamic radicals have emerged largely unscathed, leaving secularists to worry about their own survival.

Secular politicians, already a choice target due to their anti-Taliban stances, are now feeling particularly vulnerable amid increased talk of a U.S. troop withdrawal in neighboring Afghanistan. They anxiously watch from afar as Washington debates how many soldiers to call back from its 100,000-strong contingent in Afghanistan, hoping the drawdown does not take place prematurely or at too grand a scale.

In the insurgency-plagued northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, the Awami National Party (ANP) has borne the brunt of extremist violence. A secular and liberal political group with a large following in the Pashtun regions, the ANP has lost hundreds of leaders and supporters in suicide attacks and targeted assassinations. Its cadres turned into major targets after it swept the 2008 elections on the promise of restoring peace in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Hasham Babar, a senior leader of the ANP, says a hasty Western departure of forces in Afghanistan would benefit extremists there and in Pakistan who have hedged their bets on such a scenario in anticipation of making a comeback.

“We don’t want an untimely U.S. withdrawal [from Afghanistan],” Babar says. “The U.S. and NATO forces have come under a United Nations Security Council resolution. It’s their duty to clean up the mess they helped create to defeat the Soviet Union. It’s now their responsibility to undo their mess here.”

Fighting The ‘Fassad’

Pakistani secularists are most worried by the thought of a Taliban comeback in Afghanistan, which they fear would boost the prospect of surviving Islamist radicals carrying out an extremist revolution in their own country.

For secularists, this would herald another blow in a generational struggle. The ANP and other secular forces in Pakistan publically opposed Islamabad’s linchpin status against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Their left-leaning leaders dubbed the fight against the Red Army in Afghanistan a “fassad,” or mischief, rather than a jihad as it was then called.

In public gatherings, private discussions and media interviews, they warned Pakistani leaders that the radical forces they were promoting as “holy warriors” could one day come back to haunt them. The government’s response was a harsh crackdown, arresting some and forcing others into exile.

Many leaders among the ethnic Baluchis and Sindhis also met the same fate, which colors their worries over a precipitous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Ishaq Baloch, a senior politician in southwestern Balochistan Province, says that the main question is whether the fledgling Afghan security institutions can take responsibility for their country’s security.

Baloch says that Washington has yet to fulfill its promises of defeating extremism and bringing stability and prosperity to Afghanistan. “America is primarily responsible for restoring peace in Afghanistan. Now the question is whether there is peace and stability there. I don’t see it yet,” he says. “If they begin to leave Afghanistan in a couple months, who are they going to leave it to? This is the most important question.”

An Important Decision

Former Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi takes a more cautious approach. He says that the debate within the U.S. administration about how many troops to withdraw is still inconclusive. Qureshi, who was the foreign minister until February, says that Islamabad is against a rash U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Indeed, he says, the prevailing insecurity in Afghanistan won’t allow Washington to go ahead with a major drawdown. But the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, he adds, is inflamed by a sense of foreign occupation, which might motivate U.S. policymakers to quickly pull their forces out.

Western-educated Qureshi, the descendent of a 14th-century Sufi Muslim saint, is detested by Pakistani extremists who, in recent years, have bombed many Sufi shrines across the country. He urges great caution in deciding the eventual troop numbers.

“There are two sides to a picture, and they [U.S. policymakers] have to look at it from all angles and make a very calculated decision,” Qureshi says.