There are regular American soldiers in Pakistan; they ensure compliance under threat of overt occupation. Moreover, “the United States is engaged in a covert strategy to increase [their] troops’ role [in Pakistan] incrementally, with the goal of convincing Pakistan to be more accepting of [their] presence.” So says US Representative Kucinich, co-sponsor of a July 22 Resolution in Congress: “Directing the President…to remove the United States armed forces from Pakistan.” “We became enmeshed in a war against Vietnam with advisers leading the way,” he said: “[we] are seeking to nip in the bud an expansion of US ground presence in Pakistan.” Reportedly, 30 Special Operations soldiers, billed as military trainers, first arrived in Pakistan in October 2008, days after President Asif Ali Zardari took office, after four months of stalling by the Pakistan Army. Today, there are some 120 to 200 ‘trainers’ in Pakistan, with an expanded and growing scope of mission. While it is well-known that numerous US and allied – including Indian and Israeli – intelligence agencies have been operating inside Pakistan, this resolution confirms the presence of regular US military forces in Pakistan.
In parallel with CIA, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) soldiers of the US Special Operations Command, each with its own Blackwater/Xe and other mercenaries, have been long suspected to be active in Pakistan — recruiting spies, running faux terrorists, staging apparent terrorist incidents, buying friends, bribing the recalcitrant, and assassinating targets. A much wider presence, however, was confirmed when three foreigners, in civilian clothes, were killed in February, while on their way to inaugurate a girls’ school in Lower Dir built with American money. Although the government insists that only a handful of US troops are training the Frontier Corps, a US Army Special Operations Command press release identified two of the deceased as being from their 95th Civil Affairs (CA) Brigade (Airborne), and one from the fourth Psychological Operations (PSYOPS) Group. The Frontier Corps is not tasked with either of these activities.
Tracing its lineage to the 95th Military Government Group, the military government of American-occupied Japan (1945-1946), the 95th CA Brigade was re-activated in 2006 to provide provisional government services—in the event of state collapse, or of invasion and occupation. Speaking at least one local language fluently and “trained to meld into the populace extremely well,” CA soldiers analyse civic capabilities to identify and exploit country vulnerabilities (like ethnic and religious divides). They recruit local leaders, by providing them behind-the-scenes political, financial and ‘security’ services.
Where CA provides post-occupation governance, PSYOPS is aimed at “preparing the battlefield” to prop up puppet regimes, facilitate military invasion by weakening the will to defend, and implement post-occupation reconciliation. Although time alone will tell, the national hysteria created in April/May 2009 about the imminent fall of Pakistan to the Taliban—forcing the army into Swat—was probably a classical PSYOP. Clearly, the girls’ school in Dir was also a PSYOP/CA operation.
While the recently leaked logs kept by soldiers in Afghanistan don’t cover operations inside Pakistan, nor are beyond all suspicion, the methods they expose are fully consistent with the JSOC/CA/ PSYOP model of imperial governance. American spies, assassins, saboteurs, and soldiers, are in Pakistan—as in Afghanistan and Iraq—enabling coercive compliance, and ready for military occupation and government if necessary. Expectedly, Kucinich’s resolution failed 38/372 on July 27; only Pakistan’s citizens can “remove the United States Armed Forces from Pakistan”.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2010.