↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Pakistan's spies reined in By Syed Saleem Shahzad

Two major events are likely to mark the beginning of 2009 and decide the new rules of war and peace in the region. In Pakistan, the foremost is curtailing the powerful military dominated intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and the second is the unveiling of a new strategy in Afghanistan.

These two steps have emerged after months of high-level consultations between all the regional players, including the Afghan, Pakistani and Indian political leadership and the Western military establishment. American military officials have gone the extra mile to set up an incentive package to make these plans successful.

The Mumbai attack on November 26, in which militants linked to Pakistan killed nearly 200 people, further fueled the debate. Eventually, a middle-road approach was adopted by the West in which direct confrontation with the Pakistan army, the main patron of the ISI, was avoided due to its deep links in Afghanistan. As a sweetener, the military was offered better military hardware and help with Pakistan's sinking economy.

Recently, the International Monetary Fund approved a 23-month US$7.6 billion bailout program for Pakistan. "American military officials played a crucial role in this approval," commented the executive director of the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), Dr Farrukh Saleem, to Asia Times Online. "The purpose is to keep pace with Pakistan and its armed forces to ensure maximum cooperation in the 'war on terror'," he added.

An exclusive group called the 909 Intelligence Group has been formed which is working directly under the military command to look exclusively at issues of cross-border intelligence. The group has already taken over the ISI's external operations.


Post a Comment

<< Home