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

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora