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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

America’s consistent interference in Pakistan

While using Pakistan as bait for the Russian bear, the Americans, with their characteristic duplicity, told ISI that it would be on its own and that no maps of the Soviet territory would be provided. It was not that their satellites were not taking pictures. They were, but somebody at the top in the American administration was getting cold feet.

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After a string of anti-American protests across Pakistan, U.S. State Department apologized for an American prosecutor’s derogatory comment about Pakistanis.

Robert Horan, a district attorney for Fairfax County, Va., was commenting in a television interview on reports the U.S. government paid millions of dollars to capture a Pakistani charged in the 1993 slayings of two CIA officials.

In the interview, Horan said suspect Mir Aimal Kasai could have been bought for far less because Pakistanis regularly “sell their mothers for a few thousand dollars.″

Read more: US-Pakistan relations ‘very good’, President Trump upsets Indians at rally

Mir Aimal Kasai was born in Quetta in 1967

It is said that he was on the payroll of the CIA and had been performing various intelligence gathering and other covert tasks in Pakistan at the behest of the agency. Like Osama bin Laden, he fell afoul of his US taskmasters and decided to pay them back for abandoning him after he had outlived his utility for the CIA.

On January 25, 1993, Kasai killed two CIA employees in their cars as they were waiting at a traffic signal and wounded three others outside the CIA headquarters campus in Langley, Virginia. Thereafter, he fled the US and was placed on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, sparking a four-year International manhunt. In 1997, Nawaz Sharif, then PM of Pakistan, authorized a joint FBI- CIA/ISI operation in Pakistan to capture Aimal Kasai who was reportedly hiding in Pakistan’s border area with Afghanistan.

While accusing Pakistanis of selling their mothers, the Americans have in mind people like Zardari, Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif, and Khawaja Asif who compromise with the foreign powers for the sake of money or power. We still remember the recent remark by PM Shehbaz Sharif in which he likened Pakistanis to beggars. In a similar remark, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif warned Pakistanis that their economy was on a ventilator that depended on Oxygen from America.

While some Pakistanis behave in a duplicitous manner to sell their nation’s honor, the Americans behave in the same manner.

Read more: What’s next for US-Pakistan relations after Imran Khan’s US visit?

However, they do it to safeguard their national interests

In 1984, during the fourth year of the Afghan War, William Casey, the then CIA chief, advocated that the ISI launch operations against the Soviets inside the Soviet territory. According to Yousuf & Adkin (1992), it was the US that initiated a major escalation of the war, which, over the next three years, culminated in numerous cross-border raids and sabotage missions north of the Amu Darya, the International boundary between Afghanistan and the three erstwhile Soviet Republics – Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. During this period, ISI specifically trained and dispatched hundreds of Mujahidin up to 25 kilometers deep inside the Soviet Union. They were probably the most secret and sensitive operations, anywhere in the world, after WWII.

While using Pakistan as bait for the Russian bear, the Americans, with their characteristic duplicity, told ISI that it would be on its own and that no maps of the Soviet territory would be provided. It was not that their satellites were not taking pictures. They were, but somebody at the top in the American administration was getting cold feet. The CIA produced detailed maps of anywhere the ISI asked in Afghanistan, but when the sheet covered a part of the Soviet Union, that part was always blank.

Talking about maps, during the Afghan War the US had been providing Pakistan satellite maps of the Indian Army’s deployment along the Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir. Considering the sort of two-timers they are, we can safely infer that they had, in the past, provided satellite maps of the Pakistan Army’s deployments also to the Indians. Maybe this is going on even today because India, at present, is America’s strategic ally.

Whereas the US, during the Cold War period, used Pakistan as the cat’s paw, it made sure that Pakistan would not pose a major military threat to India. The M-47and M-48 tanks, supplied to Pakistan, had their infra-red devices removed before they were shipped to Pakistan. Hence, Pakistani armor did not possess the night fighting capability during the 1965 and 1971 wars.

Similarly, the service life of the torpedoes that came with the US-supplied submarine Ghazi had expired. As a result, when Ghazi hit INS Nilgiri during the 65 War, the torpedo got stuck inside the frigate’s hull and failed to explode.

Well, this may be an unfortunate coincidence, but happened it did

It is worthwhile to mention here that in October 1965, a few days after the cease-fire between India and Pakistan, the CIA, with logistics support from India’sIntelligence Bureau, planted a nuclear powered remote sensing device atop the 25,645-foot mountain feature Nanda Devi, located in India’s UP (now Uttarkhand) state.

Read more: Another Fresh Start for US-Pakistan Relationship

Soon thereafter, another device was planted by the Americans on Nanda Kot, a nearby feature. Both the devices were planted to spy on China’s long-range ballistic missile program. Such was the extent of the US- India strategic relationship during the period Pakistan was proclaimed as America’s “most allied ally”.

Can India trust the Americans?

To claim that the US never wanted its military aid to be used by Pakistan against India should be taken with a pinch of salt. During the 1950s, the US administration under President Eisenhower was deeply resentful of Nehru for his insistence to remain non-committed, hence the concept of nonalignment. John Foster Dulles, Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, had snubbed Nehru by describing nonalignment as “sitting on the fence”.

The world knows about the Badaber air base leased out to the Americans, and the resultant Francis Gary Powers episode, which ended in the shooting down of a USAF U-2 spy plane over the Soviet Union. The plane had taken off from Badaber, in Peshawar’s vicinity. Premier Khrushchev of the USSR has threatened Pakistan with nuclear retaliation. He said he had drawn a red circle around Peshawar.

Besides Badaber, the US had established several electronic eavesdropping stations all over Pakistan. One such station was established in Model Town, then a sleepy Lahore suburb. One wonders why such a station was located just 30 km from Pakistan’s border with India. Perhaps Uncle Sam wanted to snoop on India too. The author says this with certainty because, in 1964, he lived in Model Town with his grandmother. The US electronic listening post was located in a rented house, a stone’s throw away from where we lived.

Read more: US-Pakistan relations: Will there be a shift?

Between 1954 and 1965, the US provided aid not only to enhance Pakistan’s economy but also gave enough tanks for raising two armored divisions. These armored formations were to be stationed at Multan and Kharian cantonments, both constructed with US assistance (The Americans had even recommended that the 6 Armoured Division should be located at Kharian). The Americans knew very well that armor would never be used against a purported communist threat either from the Soviet Union, or China. America’s ultimate objective in the Asia-Pacific region was to bring India within its sphere of influence. Towards this end, Uncle Sam was not averse to employing a carrot and stick policy with India.

The myth about the US aid to Pakistan will be discussed subsequently.


Saleem Akhtar Malik is a Pakistan Army veteran who writes on national and international affairs, defense, military history, and military technology. He Tweets at @saleemakhtar53. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.