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Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Leaked Reports Make Afghan War Policy More Vulnerable
Analysis by Gareth Porter*

WASHINGTON, Jul 26, 2010 (IPS) - The 92,000 reports on the war in Afghanistan made public by the whistleblower organisation WikiLeaks, and reported Monday by the Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel, offer no major revelations that are entirely new, as did the Pentagon Papers to which they are inevitably being compared.

But they increase the political pressure on a war policy that has already suffered a precipitous loss of credibility this year by highlighting contradictions between the official assumptions of the strategy and the realities shown in the documents - especially in regard to Pakistan's role in the war.

Unlike the Pentagon Papers, which chronicle the policymaking process leading up to and during the Vietnam War, the WikiLeaks documents chronicle thousands of local incidents and situations encountered by U.S. and other NATO troops that illustrate chronic problems for the U.S.-NATO effort.

Among the themes that are documented, sometimes dramatically but often through bland military reports, are the seemingly casual killing of civilians away from combat situations, night raids by special forces that are often based on bad intelligence, the absence of legal constraints on the abuses of Afghan police, and the deeply rooted character of corruption among Afghan officials.

The most politically salient issue highlighted by the new documents, however, is Pakistan's political and material support for the Taliban insurgency, despite its ostensible support for U.S. policy in Afghanistan.

The documents include many intelligence reports about Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul, the director of the ISI, Pakistan's military intelligence agency, in the late 1980s, continuing to work with the Taliban commanders loyal to Mullah Omar as well as the Jalaluddin Haaqani and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar insurgent networks.

Some of the reports obviously reflect the anti-Pakistan bias of the Afghan intelligence service when it was under former Northern Alliance intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh. Nevertheless, the overall impression they convey of Pakistani support for the Taliban is credible to the news media, because they confirm numerous press reports over the past few years.

The New York Times led its coverage of the documents with its report on the Pakistani-Taliban issue. The story said the documents reflect "deep suspicions among American officials that Pakistan's military spy service has for years guided the Afghan insurgency with a hidden hand, even as Pakistan receives more than 1 billion dollars a year from Washington for its help combating the militants."

The issue of Pakistani "double-dealing" on Afghanistan is one of the Barack Obama administration's greatest political vulnerabilities, because it is bears on a point of particular political sensitivity among the political and national security elite who are worried about whether there is any hope for success for the war strategy, even with Gen. David Petraeus in command.

One Democratic opponent of the war policy was quick to take advantage of the leaked documents' focus on Pakistan's support for the Taliban. In a statement issued Monday, Sen. Russ Feingold, Democratic member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said the documents "highlight a fundamental strategic problem, which is that elements of the Pakistani security services have been complicit in the insurgency".

In combination with "competing agendas within the Afghan security forces", Feingold argued, that problem precludes any "military solution in Afghanistan".

Afghan President Hamid Karzai took advantage of the new story generated by the documents to release a statement pointing to Pakistani sanctuaries across the border as the primary problem faced by his government. "Our efforts against terrorism will have no effect as long as these sanctuaries and sources remain intact," said Karzai.

Last February, then Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said what administration officials had privately conceded. Disrupting the "safe havens" enjoyed by the Taliban on the Pakistani side of the border, he said, "won't be sufficient by itself to defeat the insurgency in Afghanistan", but it is a "necessary condition" for making "progress" in Afghanistan.

Implicitly admitting its political vulnerability on the issue, on Sunday, the White House issued a compilation of statements by senior administration officials over the last 18 months aimed at showing that they have been tough with Pakistan on Afghanistan.

But none of the statements quoted in the compilation admitted the reality that Pakistan's policy of supporting the Taliban insurgency has long been firmly fixed and is not going to change.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, agreed in April 2009 that "elements" of the ISI were "connected to those militant organisations". But he suggested that Pakistani chief of staff Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, with whom Mullen had developed a close personal relationship, was in the process of changing the intelligence agency.

Mullen essentially pleaded for time, saying that change "isn't going to happen overnight" and that "it takes a fairly significant time to change an organisation."

Admitting that Pakistan's fundamental interests in Afghanistan conflict with U.S. war strategy would be a serious – and possibly, fatal – blow to the credibility of the Obama administration's strategy of using force to "reverse the momentum" of the Taliban.

To the extent that this contradiction and others are highlighted in the coming weeks as the news media comb through the mountains of new documents, it could accelerate the process by which political support for the Afghanistan War among the foreign policy and political elite continues to diminish.

The loss of political support for the war among the political and national security elite has accelerated in recent months and is already far advanced. More prominent figures in the national security elite, both Republican and Democratic, have signaled a developing consensus in those circles that the war strategy cannot succeed, paralleling the process that occurred in Washington in 2006 in regard to the Iraq War.

Just this past week, Robert Blackwill, former deputy national security adviser for George W. Bush, and Richard Haass, former Bill Clinton administration official and president of the Council on Foreign Relations, joined the chorus of doubters and called for ceding southern Afghanistan to the Taliban and withdrawing to the north.

Haas penned an article in Newsweek under the title, "We're Not Winning. It's Not Worth It."

*Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist specialising in U.S. national security policy. The paperback edition of his latest book, "Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam", was published in 2006.


NOTE:Plz also visit link to the NYT report on the same:


  1. It is the latest ploy to pressurize Pakistan into further submission and allow the NATO forces to operate from Tribal territories on the side of Pakistan.
    I wonder and cannot believe that such a huge pile of papers remained so secret and no action was contemplated from the beginning. Why these papers were allowed to pile up and one fine morning the connection of ISI is proven with Taliban? As a matter of fact, ISI had deep and close connections with Taliban and others since the time when both were waging a war against the Soviet Union army in Afghanistan .That connection was blessed, approved, and utilized by the American spy agencies then.
    However, the connections if these still exist should be a blessing in disguise for NATO and America because this might give them a way-out to bring about some understanding with the Taliban. That is the only hope for the occupation forces to exit honorably.
    Saeed Qureshi

  2. This is undoubtedly a new strategy to gain access Pakistan. First its was failed state, then it was porous borders, then it was revealed than there are two kinds of Taliban, one is Afghani and the other are Pakistani. Oh, but what is conveniently forgotten is the fact that the US Spy agencies were the ones who created this monster and unleashed it on the people of Pakistan in the name of "mujahideen."

    By the way, do these papers talk about the "hammer and anvil." While Pakistani forces were busy and hard at work, where was the hammer?

    Somebody should really make a good plan before starting to execute. Let the people of Pakistan deal with their brothers in Afghanistan. They are culturally, religiously and geographically linked with them and part of their ecosystem. These so called links between ISI and Taliban are probably a saving grace and should be utilized and leveraged to get out with a face saving, although it seems quite difficult now as we keep getting sucked in more and more.

  3. I think there is a problem in the media coverage of this collection of documents, including my own article: nowhere is it explained how the collection was generated. This is not some individual or group deciding to release a particular group of documents for political effect. It is the result of a decision by one or more people -- I'm guessing just one -- right in the U.S. command structure -- who had either already been opposed to the war who or who turned against it after seeing what was going on, and who simply electronically saved entire databases through his or her access to the "encrypted" streams of data. So there is no selection at all -- it's everything in the databases in question.

    That doesn't make it any less a political gesture on the part of the officer who did it, however, and that's why there is extreme consternation in the Pentagon about this.

    I agree with the observations of both Saeed Qureshi and Asim Shaf that U.S. policy should take advantage of Pakistan's connections with the Taliban. It is inevitable that it will have to do so. But the way the United States ends its major wars is by going through various stages of denial before finally accepting the truth fully. The national security establishment is now in the advanced stages of denial combined with early recognition that it has to do something different -- but not right now!

  4. Please excuse my misspelling of Asim Shafi's last name. Sorry!

  5. ..."political support for the Afghanistan War among the foreign policy and political elite continues to diminish. The loss of political support for the war among the political and national security elite has accelerated in recent months and is already far advanced. More prominent figures in the national security elite, both Republican and Democratic, have signaled a developing consensus in those circles that the war strategy cannot succeed, paralleling the process that occurred in Washington in 2006 in regard to the Iraq War."
    Above extracts are concluding remarks of the writer. It tells us all about in conformance of that saying of Albert Aienstein Unless Americans come to realise that they are not stronger and superior in this world because they have bombs (and drones) but they are actually weaker because of their Vulnerability, they are not likely to conducttheir policy at lake success" The world must be safe for humanity & civilization. Its peace must be planted upon trusted foundations of political liberties and souveriegnities. A great silence was fallen on real soul of all allied nations when their war mongers in the name of search for WMD's they conceieved those brain dead doctrines of "Shock & Awe" / Preemptive Strikes / blood for oil and what not? End result of over a decades genocide What hv they achieved out of that venturism is a complete loss of face and miserable failure on their technology.

  6. I fully agree with Saeed Quershi assessment.This is an excellent opportunity for providing USA/Nato a safe exit from the war zone.USA policy makers are fully aware that they have no option other than negotiation with Taleban and Pakistan is well placed in facilitating this process for USA/nato.If the western media destroys this opportunity by their false utterance about the role of Pakistan, they will find Afghanistan a grave yard for their soldiers and their ultimate humilations would be worse than Vietnam

  7. The US was always on thin ice there. Like in Iraq. Maybe this is a timely "leak" to give US a reason to exit from there.

  8. I will quote Yasmeen from her reply to a reader on "Leak that wasn't?" posted on this blog, when she said:
    "t is my belief and I may be wrong, that this timely "leak" is to give face saving to the Allies to leave the shores. What no pakistani likes,and I have scores of mails pouring in, is the castigation of Pakistan for a botch up by someone else.No Sirs, we will not be the scapegoats!"
    Bull's eye!

  9. What do they want from us to join the special force 737 to kill innocent civilians in the name of decapitating the enemy.All the journalists including Gareth porter and the famous Elsberg point out that the Americans or on the wrong side and in their operation and the operation by their friends, killing of innocent and raping of 16 year old girl is common. They want us to join hands? It is American public which needs to call shot and ask their congress to stop the war.

  10. I share with you Gareth & readers, a mail recieved by a Mr Rabbani:
    My Dear Yasmeen Saheba,

    Thanks for asking me to stand up and be counted. Here are my humble comments on the continuous conspiracies with which we are now getting fed up.

    I am honored to know you and view some of your magnificent work you have been doing for the prestige, dignity and respect for the 170 million odd Pakistanis who are 99.9% are noble, peaceful and harmless until challenged. As a student of economics and political science, I clearly remember the events from 1960 and onward. Let me not talk here about the Americans have for the rest of the world except Israel. But surely wish to highlight some of the injustices which have been done to Pakistan despite our misconception that Pakistan is one of the most reliable allies of US. 1960 China invaded India and John F Kennedy rush to request Ayub Khan that Kashmir problem will be resolved and we should not take any opportunity to capture Kashmir.

    Pandit Nehru with his crocodile tears was able to convince US that they should be given arms although they were close to the Russians. There after despite Pakistan magnificent efforts opening a door for Henry Kissinger to visit China which resulted in a historical opening of a relationship between these 2 countries but in return we did not ask for any fees rather just after few months the wicked government of Indra Gandhi invaded East Pakistan and half of our country was lost. Exactly after 8 years the Russians invaded Afghanistan and foolishly our military dictator offered every thing possible to assist Americans to defeat the Russians. The war went for 10 years Americans spent billions of dollars and our army trained the Afghans and the other Muslim countries' young men for the Jihad and in return we got the entire country flowing with arms and ammunition and drugs from Afghanistan. After Russian President Garbachov was purchased and he surrendered to the might of USA our so called American friends abundant Pakistan like a used condom and additionally sanctions were imposed for our disobeying the orders of also becoming a nuclear power because it was only India's privilege to become a super power and their evil plans to dismember the rest of Pakistan still remain the main objective of their greater India. This time the 9/11 yesterday's friends in Afghanistan became the enemies of US and the entire world.


  11. .....continued

    All this leaked papers is a calculated game of Indian, Israelis who are adored by Americans.

    Else please leave us in peace and stop even giving 1 more dollar of economic aid. We will manage our self and live with less comforts but grace and honors.

    I also want to caution the Indians please stop your evil designs. Let Kashmir problem resolved for the Kashmiris, but we will not compromise on judicial sharing of waters. As one of our prominent journalist said yesterday, instead of dying with thirst it will be better to use the nuclear bomb and finish every thing. Let the Indian paid American consultants and lobbyist that this time the Pakistanis can be fooled and pushed to do more and more.

  12. Mr Porter
    The House on Tuesday approved spending an additional $37 billion on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, overcoming the opposition of some Democrats who have concluded that the Afghan conflict is unwinnable(Washington Post).
    The disclosure Sunday of more than 91,000 secret documents about the war had little impact on the debate; most of the 102 Democrats who voted against the funding had already expressed doubts about the war in Afghanistan and Obama's decision last December to add 30,000 troops there. They were joined by 12 Republicans.
    Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates had urged Congress to approve the legislation, saying the money will be needed soon to support troops in the field. Along with funding for operations by the Defense and State departments in Afghanistan and Iraq, the $58 billion measure includes $13.3 billion to provide payments to Vietnam War veterans exposed to Agent Orange and about $3 billion for relief efforts in Haiti.

    "I am confident General Petraeus and the troops will succeed in Afghanistan, if given the time, space and resources they need," said Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (Calif.), the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, who backed the war
    What's the whole point of this hype?

  13. this is not at all a big head lines news as the pak army ,civilian establishment in coherance with the jehadist islamist and right wing polt.parties are overtly been suporting ,harboring ,and doing what every possible for them to let the talibans and other alike buggers prevail to win against the humanism ,democray and progressive rational values .
    its very pathetic again to see US and NATO forces are runing after to get down a few dehumanised chaps in the mountains of afganistan or pak ,where the churining mills of thier production are let allowed to produce in thousands every day all accross pakistan.

  14. This should be no strange story for the US politicians and men of its elite establishment, they knew about it from the the time they left Afghanistan, without patting the backs of the Mujhideens, had they gone in for massive rebuild at that time, they would not have seen this day,billions of US tax payers money gone, hundreds of young youth lost their lives for what.
    Today its the Ex Soviets ghost that haunt them, all blaming the so called self named TALBAN, there is no taliban, just a name for a pretext to attack Pakistan. The US, Pakistani and NATO troops are being hunted by the allies of Russia and India for the revenge of the 90s in Afghanistan.

  15. Main point regarding Pakistan in these leaked papers is that this country's establishment has not been sincere with the US and its ISI has been playing double game in Afghanistan.
    I just want to ask one question from Americans: Are you very sure that your Govts. have been sincere with Pakistan during all these long years of our 'friendship' ? Whenever you needed us we extended our unconditional help and support (count from China to Afghanistan). However, after every crisis you left us alone and when we complained, you said, 'Well, let's be frank. We base our international relationships on our national interests alone'. Our country was dismembered and you, our biggest friend, were among the silent spectators. You committed to us that after the downfall of Taliban there will be a national govt. in Kabul, representing all groups including Pashtuns. But you established a totally anti Pakistan regime there and on top of that you brought in the Indians in a real big way. Now, I am amazed as to why these leaked papers are quiet or clueless about what Indians are doing in Baluchistan......?? Why there are no leaks about that.....??? Are you really sure you don't know anything about this and you have nothing to share with the world about this ????
    Now, if you people base your international relationships purely on your national interests, don't blame Pakistan and its patriotic agencies if they, taking a clue or two from your way of working, also base their international behavior on what they consider as their NATIONAL INTERESTS.

  16. I think the "leak" is deliberately contrived to a)Get out of Afghanistan or b)Stay & justify WHY so far they could not succeed.
    Either way, a leak it was not so let's not be fooled by it.

  17. I have read this,seen the video,read Yasmeen's article too. Gareth,the lady is spot on. This is no leak. I agree too with Anne's comment here, that right now, it serves USA both ways. The question is: what is the way USA wants to take?
    Has anyone inquired into where, who "leaked" these documents?No. Why not?

  18. Dear All Pakistani Patriots,
    America & Nato forces are getting crazy of their upcoming terrible defeat despite being solo super power and they could even envision more shameful defeat by barefooted Afghan nationals who are using their courage to put an end to this " Democratic Invaders of the unjust World, indeed."

    Why the whole so called civilised world close their eyes on the Ruthless Killings of Indians in Kashmir & Israeli's in Palestine for more than six decades now and gave them License to Kill the innocent civilians every other day... what the hell UN(a quiet DOG)is doing to create justice...UN should be tarnished...all the Muslim countries shall wake up & leave UN as we are the only victim worldwide and create its own active & bold "United Nations of Islamic Block, instead". They got all the resources need to apply such a concept and don't get black mailed for the power in their own countries by looking towards West & America instead of the " Only SUPER POWER ON EARTH WE BELIEVE IS ALMIGHTY ALLAH>>>".
    Wake up before its too late & be ready for the day of judgement when all the rulers of Islamic World as collaborators will be facing the just of massacres of Muslims all over...

    Time is running fast & PAKISTAN should have denied any access & partnership for this unholy war against its own territory & people and don't depend on foreign aid which is tunneling through max.0.2% of its Elite class and going back to the Western banks again but creating debts for its population with misery. Lets reduce the lavished expenses by Elite otherwise you will have no one to rule down and without having the Pakistani identity your dirty earned billions of dollars will give only running tears as slaves of the hegemonists, indeed.

  19. Hamid Gul was commissioned in the Pakistan Army in 1958 in the Armored Corps (19 Lancers). He was a Tank Commander at the Chiwanda front during the 1965 war with India.

    During 1972-1976, Gul directly served under General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq as a battalion commander, when General Zia was GOC, 1st Armored Division and Commander, II Corps at Multan. Gul was promoted to Brigadier in 1978 and steadily rose to be the Commander of the 1st Armored Division, Multan in 1980. Gul was then sent to GHQ as the DG Military Intelligence (DGMI) under General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq who then nominated him to be the ISI chief succeeding General Akhtar Abdur Rahman in March 1987. He was later replaced as the ISI commander by PM Benazir Bhutto in May 1989 and Gul was transferred as the Commander, II Corps in Multan. In this capacity, General Gul conducted the Zarb-e-Momin military exercise in November-December 1989, the biggest Pakistani Armed Forces show of muscle since 1971 Indo-Pakistani War and till now.

    General Asif Nawaz upon taking the reins of Pakistan Army in August 1991, had Gul transferred as the DG Heavy Industries Taxila. Gul refused to take the assignment on the account that it wasn’t in line with his military training. He developed differences with the then Army Chief and was retired from the army in 1992.
    During his meritorious service with Pakistan Army between 1958 to 1992 he got three awards, Sitara-e-Imtiaz, Sitara-e-Basalat, Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Military).

    So is USA saying that for the 2 years Gul was DG ISI ie 1987 to 89, he spoiled it for them in 2010).WOW! Must be a regular BATMAN!

  20. Of the 92000 leaks, only about 180 name Pakistan and yet the world will focus on us. As was done in Abu Gharaib leaks, the emphasis is in how the docs were leaked and NOT what trey contain. As far America is concerned, it may serve as a pressure tactic non Obama and for the Americans, these reports will start more use of the now old slogan of "do more" to Pakistan. Thes4 reports may also be used by the RAW to create a wedge between Pakistan and USA. That is about all there is to these reports---nothing can nor will happen to those who committed war crimes in Afghanistan just they did in Viet Nam and Iraq. They ultimate scapegoat is likely to be Pakistan. As you rightly said, the Indians are a darling of he west--at the cost of Pakistan. ass far as Hamid Gul is concerned, he is a patriotic Pakistanis---a commodity very rare in higher ups of Pakistan. His only interest is Pakistan and Pakistan only which under present circumstances is a crime both in the west and in our own ruling elite.

  21. TOPI DRAMA.This report appears to be written by some Hollywood film writer and now the media is marketing it to be taken up by some producer.