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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The WikiLeaks "Coup“ : Gen (R) Asad Durrani

(This is an Exclusive Pakpotpourri Article) Posts Over 90,000 U.S. Military Reports From Afghanistan

· There is general consensus that these “tens of thousands of classified documents”
procured by the Wikileaks are mostly raw battlefield reports from Afghanistan,
and reveal little that was not already known. All the same, it has created an
impact and confirmed many fears: that the war in Afghanistan was not going
too well for the US led forces; that it was largely because of Pakistan’s interservices
intelligence (the ISI) playing a “double game”; also that the Karzai led
dispensation in Kabul did little to help; and that the indiscriminate use of force by the
American military, a euphemism for war crimes, too has contributed to this failure.
· If that was the intended message, the leak was obviously deliberate. The number
and the nature of reports reinforce this inference. The following developments lead
me to believe that it was done to win more support for the course correction that
Obama’s administration has undertaken.
o During the last two years, it has often been claimed, and may even be partly
true, that under the new counterinsurgency strategy, “collateral damage” was
generally avoided.
o Again, during the same period, since Pakistan has been successfully
persuaded/ coerced to undertake military operations against some of the
groups allied with the Afghan resistance, its support to the latter (must have)
considerably reduced.
o Most importantly, as the project Afghanistan has gone so hopelessly awry,
Obama’s decision to start withdrawing the military next year was, at the very
least, the least bad option.
· Pakistan and its sympathisers will indeed now find their own arguments to control the
o The official spokespersons cannot do much better than reiterating that
the “situation on ground” was different, that Pakistan has taken effective
measures against the militants operating on its side of the AfPak borders, and
that its policies have now won applause all around.
o A number of regional experts have rationalised Pakistan’s (alleged) support
to the Afghan Taliban because it needs a countervailing force against the
growing Indian influence (some of them even believe that in due course
Pakistan would employ them in the Indian held Kashmir). Since this
perception also exists in Pakistan and provides us with a reasonable excuse
to keep the Afghan Taliban in good shape, I have no intentions to contest it in
the present scenario.
o Not many would pick up the courage to suggest that some other countries in
the Region- Iran, Russia and China for example- too are genuinely concerned
about the presence of the US-led alliance in Afghanistan. All of them would
therefore take their own respective course to subvert the NATO’s “out of area”
missions. While Pakistan and Iran would be the obvious suspects interested
in a potent Afghan resistance, there are other players as well in this new
Great Game.
o An unintended consequence of these “leaks” may well be the ISI’s enhanced
stature in the eyes of the ordinary Pakistanis. With the all pervasive “anti-
Americanism” in the country, if the agency has had the gumption of
supporting the Afghan resistance against the US occupation, it would be
credited with “yet another” coup. Hameed Gul may also reap similar benefits
thought at a much reduced scale. People here have a fairly good idea that
his overt support to the Taliban notwithstanding, he has no wherewithal to
covertly contribute.

(The writer is the former Head of ISI).


  1. Dear Gen. Durrani,

    This piece is more 'diplomatic' than expected from someone who is no longer in government.

    The only thing undiplomatic is the last line, the remark on Gen. Hamid Gul.

    The best line is about ISI and the 'unintended consquences' of the leak.

    Even while not saying much directly, you did threw in some nuggets of interesting observations.

    Congrats on a concise summation and avoiding the temptation of unnecessary verbosity. Few can master that. Sometimes even the best ones don't.

  2. I have no doubt in my mind, Gen. Durrani understands the game of 'leaks'much better than any of us. Yet ,nagging thought keeps vexing me. Does America really need this overkill and drama to force Pakistan to DO MORE and to tarnish the image of our agencies. They do not need these tactics, when they can achieve all their objectives without the bother, by just pressing the right buttons of their robotic appointees.
    Unless I have missed something here.

  3. Just to remind that one time Gen Mahmood was removed tacitly but media did play up.Question is that did he leave some Mahmoods behind in his ex-Organization in the form of late Khawaja Khalid and some sultans who are weiging their wings today to revive old memories. Certainly this leak out is intended and targetd at somthing to twist Pakistan.

  4. Just for clarification: The author is Gen Asad Durrani , not Gen. Mahmood Durrani. They are two different persons.
    Best Rgds

  5. I agree with Ahmed Quershi observations that Gen Asad Durrani article is rather too diplomatic.Why cant our experts and think tangs blast USA directly for their follys when it is so obvious that they made blunders after blunders and maligning unnecessary Pakistan Army and its Intelligence agency to cover their failures.
    Our writers and analysts have to come in open and defend our institutions.

  6. More of "Miki Leaks".. Osama is residing in Shirin Jinnah Colony and supervising unloading of war ammunition in garb of cargo ships being hijacked by Somalies and diverted to Karachi Port. Mullah Omar is ferrying the same to Kandhar via Quetta- Chaman on his Honda 70 CD.Hameed Gul is transporting the rest of it via Khyber Pass through his daughter's owned Varan Bus service and Asad Durrani is arranging finances through Bankers and Business Community of Karachi. Mirza Aslam Beg is coordinating and directing the entire operations. Ahmed Quraishi and Zaid Hamid are training yet another secret Lashkar to invade Delhi........therefore,NATO forces are unable to accomplish their mission in Afghanistan and decided to pull back by year 2013.

  7. Good comments by Ajmal,except he didn't mention what AZ or the YRG or for that matter HH would be doing under the picture painted. Gen. Durrani has shared his fair assessment. I dont think he has been very diplomatic. Haven't we all undertood what he means. Why should one be blunt and undiplomatic, if you can achieve the same or better result through civilized means. It is for others to put in their tuppense on his assessment.

  8. HQ & Ajmel,Gen Durrani,AQ & friends,

    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).

    Now is USA saying Hamid Gul who was DG ISI for 2 years frm 1987 to 89 caused USA failing in Afghanistan after what.......20 years?

  9. Thank you everyone who has taken time to read and comment on this article. A few remarks from me seem to be in order.
    • The idea was not to be “diplomatic”, but to leave room for individual interpretation. This after all is what an enlightened reader wants. (I believe, this was often Iqbal’s philosophy when asked to explain some of his thoughts.) “Blasting” and slamming is for the battle tanks, not for the think tanks. Grateful to HQ for being so sanguine on this point.
    • I am not sure HH, if I could convey the US’ design (if indeed there was one) properly. Making us “do more” was not its part. Blaming us for the failure may have been implied.
    • And, thanks to AQ for his words of encouragement. About HG, I have only said what he himself has reiterated on a number of occasions. A very knowledgeable and respected AfPak hand from the US believes that he (HG) was the only beneficiary of this leaky episode.