What is CIA Doing in Kohat?

By Dr. Shireen Mazari

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Remember how US was desperate for visas and US media leaks decried ‘harassment’ from Pakistan? Our government capitulated as usual and that’s how tens and probably hundreds of CIA ‘analysts’ entered Pakistan recently. Blackwater’s twin sister DynCorp is also here, precisely 9 kilometers away from Pakistan’s most important nuclear buildings. The new F-16s coming to Pakistan will come with US ‘supervisors’ who will ensure we don’t ‘misuse’ the planes. Who in Islamabad is playing this cruel joke with our nation?

Now, just examining a few recent developments and news revelations from the US shows how the ridiculous is increasingly becoming the norm in Pakistan’s relations with the US and India.

Let us take the US first.

Last week The Washington Post (30 April) had a story by Greg Miller on how the CIA had a new strategy of stationing more analysts overseas. As he described it:

“The CIA’s overseas expansion since Sept. 11, 2001, has mainly been evident on the operations side, with more case officers, more drone strikes and the distribution of a lot more cash. But the agency also has been sending abroad more employees from its less-flashy directorate, in what officials described as a major shift in how the agency trains and deploys its analysts.”

According to his story, “hundreds” of CIA analysts are already in overseas assignments. Pakistan, of course, has been especially targeted on this count with CIA officials being discovered as far afield as Kohat and in FATA also. It is no wonder that the US was desperate that Pakistan expedite the hundreds of US visa applications and Prime Minister Gilani obliged on the eve of his departure to Washington for the so-called strategic dialogue. Not much happened strategically for Pakistan but certainly a whole lot of CIA agents got their visas and are now scouring the territory of Pakistan. What is even more disturbing is that the private security agencies are also still present all over including DynCorp in Sihala, but the Government is unprepared to exercise any sovereign control on these issues. Apparently DynCorp has refused to move out of Sihala despite being shown alternatives – and the general view is that Sihala offers the ideal location for them to monitor Pakistan’s nuclear installations.

It has also now become public that DynCorp not only came along with the US anti-narcotic program in Pakistan but, according to the information revealed as the result of a Congressional hearing recently dealing with a Pentagon audit, the US also contracted it to monitor the Pakistan-Afghan border. So they are present in FATA also. With DynCorp and third-country intelligence agencies also being brought in by the CIA – including from Muslim States of West Asia and the Gulf in Khost – and with covert organized terror groups like “Asian Tigers” the Pakistan government and military really do not have a clear idea of exactly who is doing what in the FATA region. But what has become clear is that efforts are on big time to drag the Pakistan military to a battle in North Waziristan and to bow completely before a US agenda in exchange for the proverbial “peanuts”. After all, the US has still to pay the bulk of the Coalition Support Fund for previous years and this Fund payment is Pakistan’s right as it has already incurred the costs of the services sought by the US. As for weapons allowed to be accessed by Pakistan, the much touted frigates apart from being old also have no viable weapons systems capabilities, such as surface to air missiles.

Even more ridiculous is the deal made to acquire the 18 F-16s that are expected to trickle down to Pakistan this year. According to a story in a leading US newspaper, the deal included the provision that US personnel will come with the F-16s to ensure that the hi-tech weapons and other systems are used properly! According to the story, US personnel may be on board when these planes fly!

The PAF was asked to explain this but their spokesman first went around in circles trying to show that such personnel always accompany the planes and then said he would get back with the exact provisions of the deal but never did.

So clearly if we do get the F-16s (and let us not forget our sorry history on that count with the US) we will also inherit US personnel to supervise how we use these planes! Is this not a bad joke on the people of Pakistan?

This links our US appeasement with our India policy – if there is such a thing at present. It is surely a first that a Pakistani Prime Minister, instead of pleading the cause of Pakistan, pleads the Indian Prime Minister’s cause to the Pakistanis as well as defending India on the water issue by saying that India is not stealing our share of river water. Perhaps if the Foreign Minister stayed long enough in Pakistan he would be able to see the dried up river beds.

But then the present government is faithfully following the US agenda for us including peace talks with India on a new agenda since India has cast aside the composite dialogue. It is also a supreme irony that having condemned the Musharraf economic policies, the Musharraf economic team is slowly being brought back into action and at more senior positions!

With such antics by the government it is not simply that we are destroying our country for the achievements of US goals, but are effectively we are fast being reduced to a joke.

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