Cabinet and Senate briefings: ‘Military to up the ante on western front’

Published: December 9, 2011

“We can expect more attacks from our supposed allies,” says DGMO. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: 

Pakistan has matched its recent verbal offensives against Nato and Isaf forces with major changes on the ground.

An air defence system will now be deployed along the country’s border with Afghanistan to retaliate against attacks similar to the Novermber 26 incident, in which two dozen troops were killed after helicopter gunships attacked two check posts in the Mohmand Agency.

During two separate briefings on Thursday, Major-General Ashfaq Nadeem, the director general of military operations (DGMO), also announced that Pakistan would no longer tolerate the presence of US intelligence operatives on its soil.

The move comes just a few days after army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani removed restrictions on Pakistani forces, effectively freeing them to retaliate against any attack from the Afghan side, including those by Nato forces.

“We can expect more attacks from our supposed allies,” Nadeem was quoted as saying during his briefing to the Senate standing committee on defence. Rejecting claims by the US and Nato that the attacks were unintended and the result of a misunderstanding, he said that the airstrikes were a “pre-planned conspiracy” against Pakistan and suspected that the CIA and special forces in Afghanistan might be behind the incident.

The comments are an escalation of Nadeem’s remarks last month, when he said the Nato attacks were an “unprovoked act of blatant aggression”.

Piecing together the events

The DGMO said a US sergeant at the Nawra coordination centre informed a Pakistani officer that they had noticed fire coming from the Pakistani side, from the Gora Pari area.

“This was a move to deceive the Pakistani troops as the check post was located 15 kilometres away from the two check posts that were attacked later on,” Nadeem is said to have told the committee.

Apparently, he went on, while Pakistani troops were focusing on that complaint, US helicopters attacked well-marked check posts, which are located on a high mountainous terrain in an area where there is no civilian population — therefore, according to the DGMO, ruling out any possibility that the attack was carried out in pursuit of militants hiding in the area. He added that the two check posts were set up in September 2011 and their maps were exchanged with the US.

“The first attack was carried out at 12:15am and all communications were blocked. After the first attack they returned and conducted a second attack. The whole operation was completed in two hours,” he said. GHQ knew about the attack by 12:35am and informed officials and their counterparts.

“Keep in mind that all this happened in the middle of the night and our troops were killed in cold blood,” Nadeem is quoted as having said.

Suspicion grows

The DGMO told cabinet members that Isaf commander General Allen was in Pakistan on the day of the incident. “He was discussing with us how to resume tripartite talks and he had been proposing the meeting in the third week of December that evening. The next morning, when we asked him about the attack, he said he was completely unaware.”

In Nadeem’s view, this gives the impression that the CIA and US special forces conduct certain operations on their own – keeping Isaf in the dark.

When asked about Pakistan’s refusal to be part of joint investigations, he said in three such incidents in the past Pakistan fully cooperated, but these efforts did not bear fruit. “Because of mistrust created due to three previous incidents we have decided to stay away from such investigations,” Nadeem said.

‘US spies unwelcome in Pakistan’

Earlier, briefing the federal cabinet on the airstrikes, Nadeem is quoted as having said that Pakistan would no longer allow the presence of US intelligence operators.

Pakistan, it seems, does not want to completely shun cooperation with the US in the ‘war on terror’, but plans to reduce the “direct and independent” operations of the CIA inside the country to a “minimum” level, a top military official said.

The DGMO told the meeting that several hundred individuals with direct or indirect links to the CIA had already been expelled from Pakistan since the secret raid by US Navy Seals in May which killed Osama bin Laden. The exact number of CIA operatives who flew out of Pakistan after the midnight raid in Abbottabad is not known, though conservative estimates put the number at more than 500.

An intelligence official told The Express Tribune last week that the army wanted the US and Nato to rely on the information provided by Pakistan, instead of running their own underground networks.

(Read: Other side of Salala)

Published in The Express Tribune, December 9th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • Cautious
    Dec 9, 2011 - 6:45AM

    Has anyone every asked what possible motive NATO or the USA has in attacking a remote Pakistani outpost — the concept of the USA making a premeditated attack which has no apparent strategic or tactical value to NATO/USA is absurd.

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  • A. Khan
    Dec 9, 2011 - 7:06AM

    This is truly classic.

    CIA could be keeping ISAF in the dark. It is a well established fact that CIA reports directly to US President and not to US military or NATO. Only our beloved military could come up with this one.

    And the Iranians have captured, read again, captured an undetectable US drone. US claims it crashed. However, from its loitering altitude of 50,000 feet, the drone would have been completely destroyed. And they have also published photographs so show that it is fully intact.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/8944248/Iran-shows-off-captured-US-drone.html

    Who is telling the truth here ?

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  • Usman
    Dec 9, 2011 - 7:29AM

    The exact number of CIA operatives who flew out of Pakistan after the midnight raid in Abbottabad is not known, though conservative estimates put the number at more than 500.

    So all of Mr. H. Haqqani’s efforts to welcome CIA operatives into the country by giving those 700+ visas came to nothing. He has had terrible luck these past few months.

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  • Shafiq
    Dec 9, 2011 - 7:38AM

    With our economy in trash, our defence are being deliberately stretched in all sides.. We will
    see the impact on rupee-dollar crossing 100 mark, Inflation at 15%, shrinking forex reserves &
    more acute poverty.. This will automatically compel us to ask more aid..We are in a spot
    I dont see any future for the country. May God bless Pakistan

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  • Hu Jintao
    Dec 9, 2011 - 8:29AM

    I Really like the tone Pakistan military has now applied.
    Heads have turned in the GHQ and InshAllah they are turned for good.

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  • bilal
    Dec 9, 2011 - 8:38AM

    some strong statements by the General.

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  • Dec 9, 2011 - 9:04AM

    Viva and thank you Mr. Kayani for your courage and steadfast decision “regardless of cost and consequences.” We stand by the armed forces and not with the FEUDOCRATS.

    The blunders of sixty-four years have to be gotten rid off and Pakistanis must remember the the USA and Europe is not our LIFELINE. Our “Lifeline” is ourself, which is put to well thought out plans and hard work. Nothing comes easy. ALLAH is there to help. Remember Thomas Alva Edison’s words after inventing the light bulb, “I did not fail, I just discovered 1,000 ways that did not work.”

    Pakistanis must realize their usefulness in the land of rivers, lakes, fields, mountains and the presence of the Arabian Sea. Where can you go after that?

    Salams to you Mr. Kayani, Corp Commanders and all Pakistanis

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  • faraz
    Dec 9, 2011 - 9:42AM

    If there is a high value target like Zawahiri, US will certainly attack without permission. Like OBL raid, our airforce would be left clueless by the advanced US military

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  • antanu
    Dec 9, 2011 - 9:50AM

    @Cautious:
    Its very clear…US wants an excuse to prolong its stay in Afghanistan for STRATEGIC DEPTH….what do you think..they in the country for 10 years for charity?

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  • You Said It
    Dec 9, 2011 - 9:56AM

    “The first attack was carried out at 12:15am and all communications were blocked. After the first attack they returned and conducted a second attack. The whole operation was completed in two hours,” he said. GHQ knew about the attack by 12:35am and informed officials and their counterparts.

    OK, so the army knew about this by 12:35am. Since the operation lasted 2 hours, they still had 1 hour 40 mins to send help to the soldiers. Again, what was the excuse for not sending help? To paraphrase Twain: there are lies, damn lies and army tactics.

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  • Yasir
    Dec 9, 2011 - 11:04AM

    The US has used forces of the countires that have no enemies and have promised them to give them security, but, security against whom if they have no enemy?

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  • Mirza
    Dec 9, 2011 - 11:28AM

    It is the first time the army is telling that there were more than a few hundred US operatives in Pakistan. However, no US boots in Pakistan? They have no shame in lying to the Pakistanis and the whole world. BTW, how many US boots are still in Pakistan or the general would tell this after another incident?

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  • MarkH
    Dec 9, 2011 - 11:33AM

    So basically they’re saying they’re going to protect a border they were supposed to be protecting to the best of their ability already?
    There would still no be true offensive taking place that didn’t account for fortifications so it changes little on the odds of it happening though they were low to begin with. The initial weaponry at the site did not reflect that of a force with intentions to an attack.
    This changes nothing beyond making the puppets smile a little more.

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  • Zaman khan
    Dec 9, 2011 - 1:04PM

    @Cautious: How can you say that the post did not have importance for NATO. Or US did not have any interest in attacking. May be they wanted to check our response after the OBL APC and lot of clamour of giving befitting reply in future. May be it has links with the memogate. Why would an ambassador, who was the architect of KL bill, who was involved in issuing hundreds of visas to CIA contractors like Raymond without checking their credentials, resign if he was not involved in MEMO. US might have thought that People would rise against its own Army and it would divert the attention from MEMO. In HH they lost a loyal and obedient servant who was ready to sell his country interest for his personal gains. There are so many reasons and any one or combinations of these might have encouraged CIA to launch such attack

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  • pakistani
    Dec 9, 2011 - 1:42PM

    @You Said It:
    some time when i read such comments I think from where do our people think.Read the article carefully. Pakistan Army didnt have proper air defence in that area as Taliban have no airforce, so they didnt need one.

    You were attacked by an so called friend that why you didnt retaliate till they fired on you. Once they started attacking its late to attack back.

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  • Aamir
    Dec 9, 2011 - 1:51PM

    There should be an order for all CIA operators :-
    ”Leave pakistan immediately otherwise you’ll be killed at spot”

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  • CommonSense
    Dec 9, 2011 - 3:39PM

    @MarkH
    Oh here you are with your usual Pakistan-cant-protect its own borders’ bashing as usual. Tell me can your Supreme United States protect its own borders against illegal immigrants? Or have you guys being succeeded in the war against the Drug Cartels infiltratating your borders? You guys cant protect your border with Mexico, and you expect us to air-tight seal proof the Durrand terrain which has been so rough and porous for centuries?? Forget that, 72 countries led ISAF force cant protect their designated areas in Afghanistan, against a bunch of Old Rusty AK-47 clad ragamuffins and you keep complaining against Pakistan.
    So please stop the sanctimonious whining, it makes you appear ignorant and aloof of the irony and contradictions in your statements.I would suggest cut your losses and exit ASAP, this war has spun beyond anyone’s control. Leave before you turn into the Soviet Union in the 1990.

    Recommend

  • Jadugar
    Dec 10, 2011 - 4:03AM

    Only time will tell, How good are the Generals in keeping their promise of defending the Motherland, Enough Talks Lets see some work.

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  • Nauman
    Dec 10, 2011 - 11:20PM

    @Cautious:
    Lack of logic and motive did not keep US from attacking a country in the past…it certainly won’t come in the way of assaulting mere two border outposts.
    And yes, Iraqis are still waiting for an expression applogy and regrets…keep waiting . Get in line behind residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.Recommend

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