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Pakistan ISI - written January 2010

Pakistan ISI - written January 2010

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Published by mdderham

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: mdderham on Apr 01, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Pakistan¶s Inter-Service Intelligence Agency
After the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. Pentagon and the World Trade Center twin towers, theU.S. sent out a call for an international response to terrorism. Pakistan was one of the firstcountries to respond to this call. Since then, they have been an ally of the U.S. in the war againstterror. The problem is Pakistan¶s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) agency gave assistance to therise of the Taliban in Afghanistan after the end of the Soviet invasion (Stratfor, 2008, p. 4). TheISI has also given assistance to Al-Qaeda prior to 9/11. To this day, some ISI personnel stillsupport Al-Qaeda and the Taliban while Pakistan still supports several other terroristorganizations that oppose India (Stratfor, 2008, p. 1). Pakistan¶s government argues that anyremaining support for terrorist organizations comes from ISI individuals still sympathetic to theterrorist¶s cause, and the ISI as a whole is committed to supporting the fight against terrorism.Despite this reassurance from the government, there are still many that simply do not trustPakistan as an ally.In the 1980s, Pakistan served as a base for an Islamic militancy against the Sovietinvaders in Afghanistan (Otterman, 2003). U.S. ± Pakistan relations were crucial at that pointsince Pakistan benefitted greatly from U.S. monetary assistance, and the U.S. desired to cripplethe Soviet Union by helping Afghanistan defeat them. After the Soviets were defeated inAfghanistan, the U.S. aid stopped flowing into the region giving an open door for the ISI to pursue their state¶s agenda. This involved creating an Islamic militancy that was pro-Pakistanand could eventually take control of the Afghanistan government (Stratfor, 2008, p.1). As historyshowed, the Taliban, supported by both the ISI and Pakistan¶s government, was able to takecontrol of Afghanistan. After the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan switched their support to the U.S.creating a divide between the ISI and the Taliban. Despite Pakistan¶s open support for the U.S.,
the relationships that had been created between the Taliban and the ISI over two decades of Pakistan¶s support for an Islamic insurgency created doubt in the minds of many Americans as tothe reliability of Pakistan¶s alliance.Is there validity though in the belief that the ISI continues to provide assistance toterrorists in the post 9/11 era? For one, the ISI¶s two decade long relationship with the Talibanand other terrorist organizations undoubtedly created many close relationships that continuedeven after Pakistan¶s support for the Taliban was removed. This is supported by the fact thatPakistan¶s army¶s vulnerabilities are still being exploited by Islamic militants through the use oISI relationships (Stratfor, 2008, p.1). Kabul has claimed the ISI continues to support the Afghaninsurgency and a July 2008 think-tank report supported this accusation (Kronstadt, 2009, p. 21).Pakistani officials have even conceded the point that there is probable reason to believe the ISIhas members sympathetic to the Taliban, and these members likely act on this sympathy byopposing Pakistan¶s current policies against terrorism (Kronstadt, 2009, p. 21). Spies of the past,such as John Walker and Aldrich Ames, have proven that one man can give another nation asignificant advantage during war. Although the ISI may collectively support the war on terror,the few individuals that continue to harbor sympathy towards terrorists can still do major damage.A past ISI-Taliban relationship has been established and a present relationship has beenrevealed in the form of rogue ISI members. The questions still remains will the U.S. ever be ableto trust Pakistan as a reliable ally against terrorism and is there potential for a rift? To bothquestions, the answer is simply no. Pakistan is currently wrought with issues such as economicdisaster, new government difficulties, and several strategic concerns none of which has to dowith Afghanistan and terrorism. Pakistan is not at a point in their existence where they have the
capability, much less the real desire, to be a reliable ally against terrorism. Their original supportand continued support for counter-insurgency operations is tied to monetary assistance that ishelping keep their country afloat. I believe if Pakistan had stability back in 2001/2002, theywould not have switched their allegiance from the Taliban to the U.S. As for the latter issue of creating a rift, the potential is always there, but I do not believe the ISI will be at the center of the problem if a rift is created. There are too many other factors that must be factored into theequation.

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