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Pak-US Relations: CIA Vs ISI


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By General Mirza Aslam Beg

There are two issues, which are the main cause of strained relations between Pakistan and the United States of America. One is, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), trying to reclaim its territory lost to CIA during the past regime and the second is the Taliban, who have won the war in Afghanistan, and are not prepared to talk, unless the occupation forces leave Afghanistan. Both the demands are related to “territorial sovereignty” of Pakistan and Afghanistan and there is no going back on it. It is upto the US therefore, to accept the reality and concede to the rightful demands and explore new approach to peace.

The Inter Services Intelligence (ISI)

It were the ISI and CIA mainly, who supported the resistance against the Soviets during the period 1982-1989, joined by “40000 jehadees from Pakistan and over 60,000 from seventy countries of the world.” Pakistan Army had no involvement, except General Ziaul Haq and a few of his close aids. The Pakhtuns living on both sides of the Durand Line, provided the hard-core base for the resistance against the Soviet occupation forces, who ultimately accepted defeat, in good grace and asked for a ‘safe-exit’, which was granted by the Afghan Mujahideen, and the Soviet troops exited unscathed.

The CIA which had worked hand-in-glove with the ISI, were awed by ISI’s professional prowess, in defeating the Soviets – a super-power. The Americans therefore decided to demonise the Mujahideen and pressurized Pakistan to “clip the ISI wings”. Pakistan government accepted the demand. The serving DGISI, Lt Gen Hamid Gul was replaced by Lt Gen Kallu, a retired officer and the purging of ISI started as early as 1989. The officers and the operatives having any kind of contact with the Afghan Mujahideen, were removed, so much so, that in 1994, when Taliban emerged, the ISI had no role in Afghanistan. In fact, by 2001, when Pakistan joined USA in their war on Afghanistan, ISI’s role was reversed, as the enemy of Taliban.

In 2003, on the issue of involvement of Pakistani tribals in Afghanistan, Musharraf agreed to pull-out ISI from the border areas and allowed the CIA and the Marines to monitor the entire border belt from Swat to Balochistan. This was the time, when RAW had already established its spy network inside Afghanistan, and joined hands with the CIA, infesting Pakistan’s entire border region with their ‘agents and support groups’ and by 2005, succeeded in turning the war on Pakistan. (See my article Global Conspiracies Against Pakistan, The Nation 14-8-2007). Since then Pakistan is fighting its own tribals (TPP) and terrorism, perpetrated by the enemy agents and provocateurs.

With the change of government in 2008, the ISI realized the threat to national security and gradually started reclaiming the lost territory. With the arrest of Raymond Davis, the Indo-US conspiracy was exploded and Pakistan demanded that all US spies and agents working in the border region and other areas of Pakistan must disengage and leave. Thus ISI now has extended its network in the border region, re-claiming the territory lost since 2004. And in so doing, they may have come into contract with the Haqqani Group, operating close to the Pakistani borders. And there is no going back on it. This development hurts USA badly as they need a safe exit from Afghanistan. Targeting ISI and calling it a terrorist organization, is counter productive and demonstrates American frustration at the changed situation, which they have failed to understand.

The Taliban

The Americans have tried several options to negotiate peace in Afghanistan on their terms – “A non-Talibanized peaceful Afghanistan.” Pakistan too has endorsed the idea. Both are on the wrong track, because in this brutal contest, the Talibans have won and have the right, to lay down the terms for peace and not the American and the allies who have lost the war. In fact the Americans have to demonstrate ‘diplomatic wisdom’ to accept defeat, as the Soviets did in 1989 and asked for the ‘safe exit’. In 1989 Pakistan helped the Soviets to withdraw, because Mujahideen were friendly, but now Pakistan has no such leverage over the Taliban. And the dilemma!

The Taliban of today are very different from the Mujahideen of 1989 – their elders. The hard-core of Taliban consists of the die-hard, 20-30 years old Afghans, who have grown under the shadows of war. They are hardened fighters, with life time experience of war. They are brutal and ruthless. They are guided by one single idea, that is, “to defeat the enemy and liberate the country.” That is the single purpose, which is a matter of life and death for them. As early as 2002, they defined it in these words:  “We have resolved to fight the occupation forces till they are routed. When we gain freedom, we would take decisions under a free environment. It is unthinkable for the Afghan nation to follow the American plans, as it was not in harmony with their national ethos and traditions. We will carry the war to its logical end, and Insha Allah we will triumph over the enemy and win our freedom”. Word by word, they have done, exactly what they claimed.

Mullah Umar and the senior Taliban leadership do have a soft corner for Pakistan and USA, for helping the Afghans to defeat the Soviets, but the “hard-core Taliban” consider USA and their allies, including Turkey as their enemy. They consider the Pakistan Army and the ISI as their enemy, because they joined America’s war on Afghanistan. Even Mullah Umar, who has full control over the movement, cannot take decisions against the wishes of the ‘hard-core Taliban’. Therefore, for the Americans, their allies and the Pakistanis, the only course open is to negotiate with the Taliban, who are “prepared to engage with the Northern Alliance to work-out a new constitution for the future government in Afghanistan.” Any other course to be adopted would lead to greater chaos.

As for the Taliban, they are at peace with themselves. They have fought and sacrificed for over thirty years and will continue to fight, because their faith and commitment to the cause, provides them the abiding strength and resilience to face the mightiest of the mighty. They already have won the contest and will wait for the time they will be asked to define the peace parameters. There is a rethink in Pakistan also to establish friendly relations with the Afghans – our neighbours. The ISI is in the process of re-claiming the lost territories. The Pakistan Army is in a different frame of mind, as it punished the NATO and Afghan Army, recently, for violating our territory opposite Parachinar, killing five NATO troops and several others. This change in mood and temper therefore, must be correctly understood, to explore new possibilities, in order to establish a meaningful relationship with Pakistan.

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  1. Ayesha V says:

    After the downfall of the USSR, the US has engaged upon itself, on a contradictory basis, the mission of recreate the world in its own image but the representation of hegemonic disruption creates sub-national actors such as Taliban an imperative role in the global power relationships between great powers. It is not Taliban’s material power or its ability to utilize force that presents its greatest impact but their capability to use power to press forward an ideology that gives its position in great power politics that challenge the US to dis-engage in global or hegemonic war that leads to the dominance of one state, which then establishes an international order and act as “world –police”. In Afghanistan, finally the hegemonic scheme started to weaken, a challenger appears in the form of ISI and Pakistan Army, the recent action of Pakistan Army in punishing the NATO and Afghan Army for violating Pakistan territory opposite Parachinar, which killed members of NATO troops was noteworthy, now the cycle begins yet again with a hegemonic competition the hegemonic order weakens. As the world stand witness to scheming propagation of an ideology that the hegemonic ideology spread by the US; the so called war on terror. This only inspired the emergence of more traditional insurgencies; and the seizure of power in nation-states the manipulation of the ungovernable failed states to develop sanctuaries, the sponsorship of radical regimes already in power, and terrorist attacks against the US and its allies sending a unswerving coercive message: “back off!  From this part of the world which we considered OURS! We don’t need you! We don’t want you! Get the heck out of my country you dummy!

  2. The Taliban haven't won anything. They don't dare face US troops like men, so they resort to suicide bombings carried out by brainwashed idiots who usually only manage to kill civilians.  America isn't going anywhere. We will be in Afghanistan for as long as we choose to be, and no illiterate peasants or their enablers in the ISI will change this. I pray for the day when India destroys Pakistan.

    • Gerry Hiles says:

      I despize you and all your kind Draco … all psychopaths who, like Alexander the Ungreat and the British Raj, got utterly defeated in Afghanistan.
      Unlike the Soviet forces, your lot will not get safe passage out of your lost wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya.  You represent an empire in a terminal death spiral.
      BTW:  you are the "illiterate peasant". 

    • Draco you worm, the exact opposite of what you say is true. There is nothing more cxowardly than drones, and to use them in a war of aggression against civilians indiscriminateloy as you do, is about as lowlife and cowardly as it gets.

  3. Gerry Hiles says:

    I stand with you Ayesha, though I do not know what difference I can make from Australia and after sixty years of protesting against US/British and general Western hegemony.

  4. Gerry Hiles says:

    Thanks for your article Mirza.  It helps me better understand what is going on.
    Question:  I used to correspond with Jawad Raza Khan, but I have not heard from him for weeks, any idea why?

  5. Well written article Mr Beg, however, the only thing missing is when and why did the Americans give you permission to visit your wives!!
    i mean you mention that everything the american jews asked of pakistan they got, including security risks to paksitan, tampering with its intelligence agency and weakening it and even asking for its director to be changed to one who is acceptable to american jews in power!!

    Are you a country or nuclear powered whore?

    One Jewish American senator once stated that if enough money is provided the Pakistanis will sell their mothers!!!!!

    I beg to differ, if enough money is given, they can come and take our mother,kill our children,wives, brothers and sisters. relatives, rape torture and mutilate them at will and we will call it the security of Pakistan is ok with us!!!!!!
    Do not trust the Jewish American forces or others from the west, with India they will probably attack you sooner then later to ensure the territorial expansion of the Jewish terrorist state called Israel, only Pakistan and Iran stands in they way, if you true Paksitanis do not recognise your enemies then you and your country is doomed to the dustbin of history.

  6. india should not destroy pakistan…………india should help kill the scum in pakistan so that the good civilians can live free…………there should be no indian army or pakistani army there shall be only the anti-terror army i wait for the time these two countries have peace

  7. Mr Beg what ever you say is right. But the problem is that when you are in uniform you see things differently. Its only when you are retired that you start to see the darker side of the US….. And Gen Kiyani is still in uniform

  8. aurangzeb badar says:

    I think and this is my wish too that first of all pakistan and his leader ship should sit and decided not to take any aid or loans from any where but espacially from USA and his agencies because beggers are not the choosers then we can dictate our terms and conditions to other worldType your comment here…

  9. There was a door to which I found no key,
    There was a veil past which I could not see,
    Some little talk awhile of me and thee;
    And then no more of you and me! ………………What is the use of crying over spilt milk,specially when we know we can hope for no better from the pipeline built !


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