The Reasoned Review

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Communication Breakdown

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The Times prints in today’s paper an informative report describing the bureaucratic side to Pakistan’s response to the recently ended Taliban hostage situation. Though the matter is referred to only in subtext, this incident exemplifies the disconnect between Paksitan’s various millitary structures, and the US-sponsored civilian government under Ali Zardari. It has been well known for quite some time that the Pakistani ISI (which operates much like our CIA) has extensive ties into militant organizations near Kashmir and Afghanistan, to the extent of linking to the commanders themselves.

Though the New York Times dresses the article in a recap of the general situation, a few significant passages present a new problem:

In a warning to authorities in July, the criminal investigation department of the police in Punjab said the militants who attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team in March would make a similar kind of assault on military headquarters. The warning, contained in a letter to the leading intelligence agencies, predicted militants would dress in military uniforms and would try to take hostages at the headquarters.

And again, farther down:

The assault on the headquarters represented a severe breakdown in military security and intelligence for the army, which is regarded with the highest esteem among the Pakistani public and is widely considered as the one institution that can keep the fractured country together.

“Intelligence”, of course, emphasized more than “security”. For if these reports are true, the hostage situation of late reflects a growing divide between the civilian government and the Army superstructure. That such detailed information as to the time and method of attack could be ignored or not delivered suggests some serious communication problems, which, as we are invested heavily in that country, pose us a difficult situation.

Thus far we have been quite willing to lavish funds upon anyone willing to publicly support us, be they Generals, like Musharraf, or, like Zardari, wealthy citizens. However it is not clear what to do if a power-struggle erupts for our favor, as is currently unfolding between General Kayani (Musharraf’s second hand) and current President Zardari. It seems very likely, however, that in light of such developments, further aid to Pakistan will have a very destabilizing effect.


Written by pavanvan

October 12, 2009 at 3:25 pm

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