Sunday, September 9, 2012

State Department Still Playing Patty-Cakes with Pakistan over Terrorism

by Rick Moran

As Bill Roggio and Lisa Lundquist point out at the Long War Journal, Foggy Bottom is schizophrenic about Pakistan's role in sponsoring terrorism.

Specifically, a report given by two anonymous department officials refuses to finger the ISI - Pakistan's intelligence agency -- in giving aid to the Haqqani network:

OPERATOR: Okay. Our next question comes from Adam Entous, Wall Street Journal. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Yeah, thank you very much. I just wanted to follow up on Justin's question. When you say that this is targeting the Haqqani Network, period, I don't really understand how we can say that after what Admiral Mullen said a year ago about the Haqqanis being a veritable arm of the ISI. I mean, why isn't this a step towards looking at Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism at this point?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: I want to just unequivocally state that this in no way is the consensus, unanimous view of this Administration; that we are making absolutely no effort to begin a process to designate Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism. If anything, as I just noted, they have been an extremely valuable ally in countering extremism and terrorism, and we are committed to continuing and maintaining and increasing that coordination and cooperation.

With regard to Chairman Mullen's comments, I hope you also remember that he took great strides at the time to say there was too much focus on the first part of his statement and not on the second part, which was that we had to continue that engagement, we had to continue our efforts. And we are doing just that. So we have always said that we are troubled by safe havens that the Network has in Pakistan and that we will continue to work together with the Pakistanis to squeeze this, and there's more that we can do. This is part of that ongoing effort.


Ultimately, the State officials can't explain how Pakistan can be both a vital partner and one that actively sponsors terror groups like the Haqqani Network. It is no secret that Pakistan has repeatedly refused US requests to take on the Haqqani Network and other militant groups based in North Waziristan, while it has undertaken Potemkin operations to deflect further pressure. In response to Admiral Mullen's statements last fall, the Pakistani military again rejected the call to move against the Haqqani Network.

Admiral Mullen's policy proscriptions, like those of the Bush and Obama administrations and most Pakistan watchers on both sides of the aisle in Washington, make little sense in light of the ISI's active support of a terror group that continues to kill Coalition and Afghan soldiers as well as civilians in Afghanistan; that shelters al Qaeda and other terror groups; etc., etc.

Hard to fight a war when you deny basic realities like -- just who is the enemy?

Rick Moran


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