Amid Taliban violence, key players differ on containment strategy
The divergent approaches of the U.S., Pakistan, and Afghanistan highlight the complexity of developing a unified front on terrorism.
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Pakistan took its own tack today to revise its counterterrorism strategy, replacing the chief of the InterServices Intelligence, or ISI, Pakistan's clandestine service, the Associated Press (AP) reports.Skip to next paragraph
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Pakistan named a new head of its main intelligence service, a change sure to be scrutinized by American officials who have questioned the powerful spy agency's loyalties in the war on terror.
Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shujaa Pasha, the new chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, oversaw military offensives against militants in Pakistan's restive northwest tribal areas in his most recent job as director general of military operations.
The AP outlined why taking on the Taliban is a directive with particular importance for the ISI:
Pakistani intelligence helped create the Taliban. U.S. intelligence agencies suspect rogue ISI elements may still be giving the Taliban sensitive information to aid militants in their growing insurgency in Afghanistan, even though officially, Pakistan is a U.S. ally in fighting terrorism.
An editorial in Pakistan's Daily Times called the new appointment a welcome move.
..[T]he new [director general of] ISI is handpicked by ... General Ashfaq Kayani, and not by [Prime Minister Yousaf Raza] Gilani. He was ... in charge of the anti-terrorist operations in [the Federally Administered Tribal Areas] and directly responsible for implementing the policy of the [Chief of Army Staff] there, first under General Musharraf and then under General Kayani....
Significantly, neither the [prime minister] nor President Asif Zardari has tried to influence General Kayani's choice, indicating a welcome degree of trust between the new military and new political leadership.... Clearly, under Gen Pasha, the ISI will be retooled to deal with the internal threat to the state from terrorism in FATA. This is great news.
General Pasha's appointment comes as the US military is changing its command in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Gen. David Petraeus, credited with turning around Iraq's crippling security scenario, is expected to take command "of all American forces in the Middle East and Afghanistan on Oct. 31," reports The New York Times.
In an interview with the paper, he says the battle with the Taliban is likely to worsen.
As he prepares to take up his post as head of Central Command, Gen. David H. Petraeus said in an interview this week that he expected the fight against the insurgents in Afghanistan and Pakistan to get worse before it got better.
General Petraeus's experience in Iraq has allowed him to develop a comprehensive approach to fighting the counterinsurgency. But the general was careful not to take any lessons from Iraq too hastily, and said he would not be directing things in Afghanistan and Pakistan with a "several-thousand-mile screwdriver" from Central Command.
"People often ask, 'What did you learn from Iraq that might be transferable to Afghanistan?' " he said. "The first lesson, the first caution really, is that every situation like this is truly and absolutely unique, and has its own context and specifics and its own texture," he said.