News / Asia

Analysts: Fear of India Drives Pakistani Support for Militants

Supporters of political party Pakistan Muslim League hold a picture of army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in Karachi, Pakistan. Pakistan's intelligence chief, Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, admitted "negligence" on the part of authorities in failing to find bi
Supporters of political party Pakistan Muslim League hold a picture of army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in Karachi, Pakistan. Pakistan's intelligence chief, Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, admitted "negligence" on the part of authorities in failing to find bi

The furor over the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden has again spotlighted charges that Pakistan supports militant groups.  Many analysts say such support is rooted in Pakistan’s concern about what it sees as growing Indian influence in Afghanistan and in U.S. policy circles.

U.S. officials have said no proof has yet emerged that Pakistan was actively sheltering Osama bin Laden.  Nevertheless, the fact that the world’s leading terrorist was discovered in a comfortable compound not far from major military installations has again drawn attention to suspicions that Pakistan has backed Islamist militants as part of its anti-India policies.

At a recent forum, former deputy assistant secretary of defense James Clad said Pakistan’s obsession with India colors all its policy decisions. “I think Pakistan is in business to leverage outside situations, outside power, to their advantage vis-a-vis the existential threat, which doesn’t come from Afghanistan at all, but in the minds of the officer corps, which is preeminent in that country, comes from the east, from the Indians,” he said.

At a U.S. Senate hearing, former National Security Advisor, retired Marine Corps General James Jones, said Pakistan is particularly concerned about growing Indian influence in Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, their concern with India has something to do with Afghanistan.  If you’re looking at it a little bit through their eyes you’re a little bit worried, perhaps, that you have India to the east, Afghanistan to the west. And an Indian presence in Afghanistan just incites their fears for the long-term future,” said Jones.

India, which is a growing economic powerhouse, has strengthened diplomatic and economic links to Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban government in 2001.  

U.S. officials have cited links between Pakistan’s powerful and controversial spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, or I.S.I., and the Afghan Taliban, which has used safe haven in Pakistan’s tribal areas as a base from which to attack U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.  

Since the 1990s, the I.S.I. has also trained and deployed Islamist militant groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba to wage a proxy conflict with India in the Indian portion of the disputed territory of Kashmir.  But in 2008, Lashkar-e-Taiba, or L.E.T., mounted a stunning terrorist attack in the heart of the Indian city of Mumbai in which more than 160 people were killed.

The direct role of I.S.I. in the attack remains murky.  But a U.S. citizen, David Coleman Headley, had pleaded guilty in a U.S. court to terrorism charges for his role in scouting targets for the attacks.  He is preparing to testify against a Chicago businessman charged with helping him, which may shed some light on the I.S.I. role.

Owen Sirrs is a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst who is writing a history of the I.S.I.   He says the U.S. cannot ignore the I.S.I. connection to militant groups.

“You can no longer continue to persist in the notion that, ‘well, I.S.I., it’s a problem that we can eventually work out.’  Because at bottom what we’re dealing with here is a Pakistani fear of India, a Pakistani fear of Afghanistan,” said Sirrs. “There’s a mentality that is locked up into the I.S.I. organization that is something that they’re going to have to work out themselves.  But we can no longer just pretend that this is not a problem.”

The bin Laden raid, in which U.S. Special Forces were able to helicopter in and out of Abbottabad without interference from Pakistani forces, was an embarrassment to the Pakistani military, which is focused on protecting Pakistan from India.  If the U.S. could cross our border with impunity, officials in Islamabad said, could not India do the same?

Former national security advisor Jones said he sees no sign of any change in Pakistan’s attitude. “It will take political courage, and military support of that political courage, to recognize that there is a better way here with regard to India.  But so far, they have been extremely reluctant, and in some cases resistant, to grasping that opportunity,” he said.

Islamabad is not likely to listen to the United States when it comes to India, analysts say.  Ties between Washington and Islamabad are frayed, and not just because of charges of I.S.I. support for militants.  Pakistan, which receives billions of dollars in U.S. aid, is also concerned about the growing closeness between Washington and New Delhi.  To Islamabad’s alarm, the U.S. and India came to a landmark agreement on civil nuclear cooperation - a deal Pakistan would like to have itself.  And President Barack Obama last year voiced support for a permanent U.N. Security Council seat for India.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid