Tuesday 20 March 2012

A few words from the ISI's director-general

Lt Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha, who retired on Sunday as DG of ISI
Public utterances by leaders of the ISI in Pakistan are few and far between. So the leaked email from Stratfor's Kamran Bokhari describing his meeting last April with ISI director-general Lt-Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha - who retired on Sunday - makes for interesting reading. The email is one of five million hacked by the Anonymous hacking group and posted by Wikileaks. Whilst many of the leaked emails are speculative or opinionated, this particular email, from Stratfor's main Middle East analyst, reports a conversation and is thus more interesting.
Bokhari, who had met Pasha twice before, met the ISI director general in the ISI's new headquarters building in Islamabad. After describing the extremely tight security at the building, the conversation began with pleasantries about Libya and the Raymond Davis case, which Pasha said could have been solved "if the Americans had kept it between the CIA and the ISI". Pasha added that there were "unresolved questions" about the two men shot dead by Davis: "He said they were not ISI sleuths as some suspect. Rather, low level thugs who had a lot of cash on them and in different currencies...".
Pasha said that the domestic insurgency situation in Pakistan was improving, although "it would take another 10-12 years to completely get rid of the issue and a lot depends on how the Americans settle Afghanistan." Pasha said he had been arguing for several years for an operation in North Waziristan, but that the issue was one of logistics. "The only way to mount an offensive in North Waziristan is through South Waziristan, which we are trying to stabilize with the building of roads and resettlement of locals. We also needed to stabilize the tribal agencies to the north of North Waziristan, which is also a work in progress. Once we have achieved our goals of stabilizing South Waziristan, we will move into North Waziristan."
Pasha said the Americans were wrong to think that Pakistan wanted the Taliban to come to power again. This was an outdated view, he said. Pakistan wanted a broad-based government that can end the civil war. This would include the Taliban, but not exclusively: "Such a govt can only come about when the Karzai government can reach a negotiated settlement with the insurgents, which is not going to happen by talking to the former Talibs like Zaeef, Mutawakkil, etc. I asked him if the Obama admin had approached Pakistan to help with the negotiations. He said no such thing happening, which he said was the problem. He added that DC and Kabul need to involve us in the process because if anyone can deliver it is us and we have an interest in doing so. Look at what happened during that incident with the meeting with the man who they thought was Mullah Mansoor but in reality he was a shopkeeper who swindled them for money and made a mockery of everyone including Petraeus who actually met the guy (laughs and smirks at this point)."
I think we all laughed and smirked at that point.

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