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Pakistan still going easy on militants, alleges US intel chief

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News Analysis |

On February 15, 2018, seventeen US intelligence agencies including Central Intelligence Agency, Defence Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency warned Congress, “Pakistan will continue to slip out of America’s influence and entering into China’s orbit in 2019 and will become a threat to Washington’s interests in the South Asian region.” As reported yesterday by a local English daily.

The review is part of an annual report which was presented on February 13 by Director of US National Intelligence Daniel R. Coats to the Senate Intelligence Committee which underlined global threat assessment of the American Intelligence community.

The agencies warned Congress that Pakistan will continue to threaten US interests through the deployment of nuclear weapon capabilities, having ties to militants, restricting cooperation in counterterrorism and inclining more towards China. It claimed that militant groups backed by Pakistan will continue to benefit from their safe havens in Pakistan to conduct terrorist attacks in India and Afghanistan and against US interests in the region.

The revelations by these 17 US agencies shows that US’s influence is relatively declining and world is no more unipolar instead it is moving towards multi-polarity where each state is ervinbg its interest.

The US intelligence director’s claims have come hours after Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa told a defense conference attended by US and Nato officials in Kabul “Pakistan has eliminated all militant sanctuaries from its territory and expects the same to be reciprocated by its neighbors.”

The agencies also claimed that Pakistan’s perceptions of its eroding position against India, its fragile economic condition and domestic security issues will exacerbate fears of isolation and will drive Pakistan’s actions against US objectives for the region.

Read more: US freezing aid will have little impact on Pakistan

The harsh truth is that American leverage over Rawalpindi and Islamabad is declining. And as United States aid levels have diminished expressing unhappiness with Pakistani policy, investment money from the Chinese has increased. China has invested around $62 billion in Pakistani infrastructure under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and this is purported to be increasing to $100bn. Its magnitude and its transformation for parts of Pakistan dwarf anything the United States has ever undertaken.

Whilst the tens of operations that have been undertaken the past decade or more and more have helped the domestic security situation. This includes: Operation Al-Mizan (2002-2006), Operation Rah-Haq (November 2007),  Operation Sher-e-Dil ( September 2008), Operation Zalzala (2008-2009), Operation Sirat-e-Mustaqeem (2008), Operation Sirat-e-Mustaqeem (2008), Operation Rah-e-Rast (May 2009), Operation Rah-e-Rast (May 2009), Operation Rah-e-Nijaat ( October 2009), Operation Koh-e-Sufaid (July 2011), Operation Zarb-e-Azb (2013), Operation Zarb-e-Azb.

Dan Coats told a congressional committee that Russia and other foreign entities were likely to attack U.S. and European elections this year and beyond, adding that Moscow believes similar efforts successfully undermined U.S. democracy two years ago.

On February 13, 2018 Pakistan’s federal cabinet approved in principle the much-discussed ‘Anti-Terrorism (Freezing and Seizure) Rules 2018’ to block funding of terror outfits, freeze their accounts and proceed against them.

US intelligence agencies informed Congress that Pakistan continues to produce nuclear weapons and develop new types, including short-range tactical weapons, sea-based cruise missiles, air-launched cruise missiles, and longer-range ballistic missiles. It says, “These new types of nuclear weapons will introduce new risks for escalation dynamics and security in the region,” the report added.

Since the USA sees India as a strategic ally it did not discuss the implications in South Asia of India’s technological advancements, its naval development, nuclearization of Indian Ocean, and Ballistic Missile Defence Systems (BMDS).

Read more: Pakistan complicates US’ Afghan mission

US agencies also predicted that relations between India and Pakistan will remain tense with continued violence on the Line of Control and the risk of escalation if there is another high-profile terrorist attack in India. Ceasefire violations on Line of Control lead to deaths almost every day may lead to a direct confrontation between the two countries. During 2017 over 1880 LOC violations have been recorded, resulting in the death of 87 civilians and soldiers.

In 2018 there have been more than 200 violations in the first six weeks which has left 14 people dead also need attention of international community. The agencies also informed Congress that bilateral relations between India and China will remain tense and possibly deteriorate further, despite the negotiated settlement to their three-month border standoff in August 2017 at Doklam. Report added, “Elevates the risk of unintentional escalation.”

U.S. intelligence agencies also warned that Russia will try to interfere in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections by using social media to spread propaganda and misleading reports, much as it did in the 2016 campaign.

Though Indo-China have strong trade relations their security relations are stressed given both view the other as a regional contester, India, especially sees China infringing in its background with OBOR projects involving all countries previously under its influence ambit. US intelligence agencies expect the overall situation in Afghanistan to “deteriorate modestly this year in the face of persistent political instability, sustained attacks by the Taliban-led insurgency, unsteady Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) performance, and chronic financial shortfalls.”

The agencies also warned that the “National Unity government in Kabul probably will struggle to hold long-delayed parliamentary elections, currently scheduled for July 2018, and to prepare for a presidential election in 2019.” They also assessed, “The ANSF probably will maintain control of most major population centers with coalition force support, but the intensity and geographic scope of Taliban activities will put those centers under continued strain.”

Read more: US suspends economic aid to Pakistan

Afghanistan’s economic growth is expected to continuing deteriorating to around 2.5 per cent per year, and the country is expected to remain reliant on international donors for the great majority of its funding well beyond 2018.

Since the USA sees India as a strategic ally it did not discuss the implications in South Asia of India’s technological advancements, its naval development, nuclearization of Indian Ocean, and Ballistic Missile Defence Systems (BMDS).

Lastly, Intelligence agencies also said that Russia was “bringing pressure on Central Asia’s leaders to reduce engagement with Washington and support Russian-led economic and security initiatives, and believe that “concerns about [the militant Islamic State group] in Afghanistan will push Moscow to strengthen its security posture in the region”.

U.S. intelligence agencies also warned that Russia will try to interfere in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections by using social media to spread propaganda and misleading reports, much as it did in the 2016 campaign. Adding to this, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told a congressional committee that Russia and other foreign entities were likely to attack U.S. and European elections this year and beyond, adding that Moscow believes similar efforts successfully undermined U.S. democracy two years ago.

The revelations by these 17 US agencies shows that US’s influence is relatively declining and world is no more unipolar instead it is moving towards multi-polarity where each state is ervinbg its interest.


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