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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

U.S. Push to Expand in Pakistan Meets Resistance

Well documented, and surprisingly balanced (not casting aspersions at jane but at NYT) view ~t

* A $1.5 billion aid package passed by Congress last week asks Pakistan to cease supporting terrorist groups on its soil and to ensure that the military does not interfere with civilian politics. President Asif Ali Zardari, whose association with the United States has added to his unpopularity, agreed to the stipulations in the aid package. But many here, especially in the powerful army, object to the conditions as interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs, and they are interpreting the larger American footprint in more sinister ways.

* The United States Embassy has publicized plans for a vast new building in Islamabad for about 1,000 people, with security for some diplomats provided through a Washington-based private contracting company, DynCorp. [In particular, the Pakistani military and the intelligence agencies are concerned that DynCorp is being used by Washington to develop a parallel network of security and intelligence personnel within Pakistan, officials and politicians close to the army said. ]

* The action against Inter-Risk, apparently intended to cripple the DynCorp program, was taken on orders from the senior levels of the Pakistani government, said an official familiar with the raid, who was not authorized to speak on the record.

* In a public statement, the American ambassador, Anne W. Patterson, suggested last week that Pakistan should eliminate the Afghan Taliban leader, Mullah Omar... If Pakistan did not get rid of Mullah Omar, the United States would, she suggested.... the Pakistani army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, in an unusually stern reaction last week said that missile attacks by American drones in Baluchistan, as implied by the Americans, “would not be allowed.”

* Recently, there have been a series of complaints by Islamabad residents who said they had been “roughed up” by hefty, plainclothes American men bearing weapons, presumably from DynCorp...Pakistan’s Foreign Office had sent two formal diplomatic complaints in the past few weeks to the American Embassy about such incidents...The embassy ...confirmed two incidents...but the embassy denied receiving any formal protests from the Foreign Office. It also declined to comment about the presence of Blackwater, now known as Xe Services, in Pakistan.

* “People think this government has sold us to the Americans again for their own selfish interests,” said Jahangir Tareen, a former cabinet minister and a member of Parliament, in an interview. “Some people think the United States is out to get Pakistan, to defang Pakistan, to destroy the army as it exists so it can’t fight India and to break down the ISI’s ability to influence events in India and Afghanistan. Everyone is saying about the Americans, ‘Told you so.’ ”


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