Nearly seven years ago, President Pervez Musharraf entered into an agreement with the United States Central Intelligence Agency’s National Clandestine Service (NCS) to kill high value human targets through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). On 18 June 2004, the first UAV operated by the Special Activities Division (SAD) of NCS killed its first human target in South Waziristan.
President Pervez Musharraf also entered into an agreement under which master trainers of the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the SAD were allowed to enter Pakistan for the training of commandos belonging to the Special Service Group (SSG) of Pakistan Army.
In 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 there were 1, 3, 5, 35, and 53 drone attacks, respectively. Between 2004 and 2011, Hafiz Gul Bahadar’s terriroty has been hit 70 times, the Haqqani Network 56 times, Abu Kasha al Iraqi 35 times, Mullah Nazir’s 30 times and Mehsud’s 29 times.
By mid-2010, CIA’s SAD and SOG along with elements of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) began sending in hundreds of additional operatives. In 2010, there were a total of 117 drone attacks out of which 104 took place in North Waziristan.
All those additional CIA operatives then began indulging into additional ventures like the gathering of intelligence on Pakistani militant organisations and perhaps even trying to map Pakistan’s nuclear infrastructure.
By late 2010, there is evidence that the ISI and the CIA were engaged in a serious tug-of-war. On January 27, Raymond Davis killed two Pakistanis and the ISI skillfully used the incident to renegotiate the terms of the ‘war on terror’.
On February 23, an extremely high-powered delegation consisting of Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Petraeus, Commander International Security Assistance Force and Admiral Olson, Commander Special Operations Command met with General Kayani, Chief of Army Staff and Major General Javed Iqbal, Director General Military Operations, in a not-so-secret meeting in Oman (the-then DGMO has since been promoted to Lieutenant General).
This is where some of the renegotiation took place. There is evidence that some of the renegotiation took place on February 23 because within a week of that meeting around 30 CIA operatives in Pakistan suspended their activities. Davis was released on March 16 and within two weeks there were reports that 331 CIA operatives were planning to leave Pakistan.
On April 7, Marine Corps General James Mattis met with COAS for some more renegotiation and four days later Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, Director General ISI, had lunch with Leon Panetta, Director CIA and Admiral Mullen presumably to frame new rules of engagement.
There is evidence that the renegotiation process is not going well. ISI is bent upon reverting back to ‘Reagan Rules 1979-1989’ whereby the CIA along with the Saudi Al Mukhabarat Al A’amah financed the war but the war was entirely administered by the ISI.
The CIA, on the other hand, no longer trusts the ISI. And thus the deadlock. According to Christine Fair, Assistant Professor at the Center for Peace and Strategic Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, “They need our money and our weapons to keep up with India and to maintain their rentier state economy” and “We need them because we are scared about their nuclear weapons, the militants and the intersection of the two.”
Deadlock is mutually harmful. But who will blink first? To be certain, there can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis.
By: Dr Farrukh Saleem
Dr. Farrukh Saleem is the Executive Director of Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), a think-tank focusing on Pakistan’s political / economic, security, regional and environmental issues.