Bin Laden Said in Afghanistan; Pakistanis complain that Obama ‘Kept them in the Dark’

A Taliban guerrilla in Pakistani custody insists that he met Bin Laden in the mountainous province of Ghazni inside Afghanistan.

The allegation is plausible. The US has very good aerial surveillance of the Pakistani Federally Administered Tribal Areas, but has never seen a trace of Bin Laden there. He fought over on the Afghanistan side, and developed sophisticated safe houses during that struggle in the 1980s.

Pakistani sources not only continued to deny that Bin Laden is in their country, but they also expressed reservations about the new Obama Afghanistan policy.

They complain that they were “kept in the dark over the finer parts of the review policy” and say that their assessment of the proposed course of action would depend on those details.

Among Islamabad’s top concerns, according to Sajjad Malik of the Daily Times:

1. It is not clear where exactly the new US troops will be deployed (though it now seems clear that it will be Helmand and Qandahar provinces in the south).

2. Pakistan is “seriously perturbed” by Washington’s allegation that Pakistan is the “epicenter” of terrorism, and by the hint that the US might engage in hot pursuit of Taliban onto Pakistan soil. As a neighbor, Pakistan is concerned at the prospect that NATO will train up a big 150,000-strong Afghanistan Army.

3. The US seems uninterested in achieving reconciliation between Tajiks and Pashtuns, which would have to be part of the solution.

4. The US seems to be overly reliant on the military to impose social peace, which in any case they have not succeeded in doing for the last 8 years.

5. Pakistan is petrified that big US military operations will push a new wave of Pashtuns from Afghanistan into Pakistan, where they would become an element of instability.

6. Obama seems to be deliberately conflating the Taliban with al-Qaeda when in fact the two are distinct.

A Pakistani official told the Daily times, “Our stand is consistent that more troops are not the remedy for the war-torn country, as it will lead to more hatred and create more militants . . . We have been saying that only purposeful dialogue can bring peace and stability in Afghanistan.”

7. They complained that Obama seemed to lump Pakistan with Afghanistan.

Now that it has leaked that the US will also expand its drone strikes into Baluchistan, Pakistan is upset about that step, as well.

Nir Rosen, who knows the situation on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan intimately, dismisses Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s plans for counter-insurgency in Afghanistan as based on the advice of ‘celebrity pundits’ unfamiliar with ground realities and unduly influenced by their idea of what happened in Iraq.

The thing is, it only matters symbolically. Everything I read in open sources suggests that al-Qaeda has almost no command and control structure left.
Tom Engelhardt decries what he sees as President Obama’s surrender to the US military-industrial establishment on the issue of the Afghanistan surge.

Aljazeera English interviews Adm. Mike Mullen on Obama’s Afghanistan surge, and the interview is British-style combative journalism, though Mullen remains unfazed.

End/ (Not Continued)

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5 Responses

  1. Where to begin? Pakistan is part of the problem – for the President to consider them a key partner is so laughable. Anyone following this charade since 9/11 is just sick knowing all the money we have squandered on this partnership. I would love to have Musharaff's bank account. Good luck, team Obama – but I thought the US election was about change. You've changed nothing in Afghanistan – you're just piling more on the mistake hill you inherited from GW.

  2. When reviewing a story like this, always ask yourself: Who would gain by a story claiming that Osama is in Afghanistan, and that he and others prefers Afghanistan to Pakistan due to the drone-attacks in Pakistan? (as if there where no drone-attacks in Afgnanistan, or that this was not possible)

    The ones that would gain are the ones that would like to claim the drone-attacks in Pakistan a success, and who perhaps would like more attacks in the Ghazni province of Afghanistan.

  3. ref: [Pakistanis] complain that they were "kept in the dark over the finer parts of the review policy" see this fascinating essay by Michael Vlahos, Are We Not Romans? : “Imago. Rome saw itself as exceptional — unique among nations — and thus for Romans, remorselessly, "foreign relations were a competition for honor and status between Rome and barbarian peoples; by proving its superior force through war and conquest, Rome extracts deference from other nations, who then remain submissive." How perfectly this captures the contemporary rhetorical orbit of a renewed American mission in Afghanistan: which is less about what happens to them, than it is about how they make us feel about ourselves.”

    What we have done there for us thus saves the world and also, American reputation within its sacred narrative. When the President declares that "we must strengthen the capacity of Afghanistan's Security Forces and government, so that they can take lead responsibility for Afghanistan's future" — he is not talking about their future but rather the future we demand of them — The future that salves and salvages the image of America. In the Roman Way of course we will achieve this through battle — more legions.

  4. War does not end war–only diplomatic talks end wars. Eventually the US will have to talk to the Taliban, like we did with every other enemy we have had and eventually made peace with (including the Vietcong and the Russians). The Taliban will not go away, whether we send 30,000 or 300,000 more troops. And the war will not end without diplomatic efforts. No part of Obama’s strategy included diplomacy—the options were narrowed to surge or run. This is the true failing of Obama and his administration. There is only one reason why diplomatic talks weren’t even considered: we don’t want peace, we want to occupy their land for our own oil pipeline interests. Israel has been using the same strategy with the Palestinians: the Israelis don’t want peace, they want Palestinian land. When the occupier wants what he knows he is not entitled to and cannot fairly negotiate, then he has no alternative but to prolong the war.

  5. The Al-Jazeera interview is great. But that's not British-style combative journalism, Juan. That's actual journalism. We just don't get to see it in the United States anymore.

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