Tuesday, May 3, 2011



At the worst, there was collusion between Pakistan's military-intelligence complex and Osama bin Laden which enabled him to live safely till May 1,2011, at Abbotabad, the cradle of the Pakistan Army.

2. At the best, the military-intelligence complex was aware of his presence in Abbotabad ---possibly as a privileged and protected guest of Pakistani jihadi organisations such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ)--- and chose to close its eyes to it in order not to provoke OBL's jihadi allies in Pakistan.

3. No third explanation is available or possible for the fact of OBL having lived for many months or years in the cradle of the Army without any harm coming to him.

4. The US is disturbed. Even angry and has been posing tough questions to Pakistan as one could see from the media briefings of John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, on May 2 .

5. Does it mean enduing US disillusionment with Pakistan? Une fois pour toutes (Once and for all)? Does it mean a tougher US policy towards Pakistan? Does it presage a greater US understanding of the Indian assessments since 1981, when Pakistan started using terrorism against India, that jihadi terrorism survives and flourishes because of the State sustenance from Pakistan.

6.No. And No. And No.

7. There is already an exercise on in the US State Department to respect the sensitivities of Pakistan, to spare it of any undue embarrassment and to avoid any punitive action against it.

8. Yes, tough questions are being asked. They will continue to be asked. Pakistan is embarrassed, but not unduly worried over these tough questions because it knows from the long history of its relationship with the US that tough questions are rarely followed by tough action against the State of Pakistan.

9. Yes. Some actions were taken in the past against some individual officers on the insistence of the US. As against Lt.Gen. Javed Nasir, the Director-General of the ISI, in 1993, who was sacked because of his alleged collusion with the Afghan Mujahideen. As against Lt. Gen.Mahmood Ahmed, another DG of the ISI, in 2001 because of his suspected collusion with the Afghan Taliban. Nasir was sacked by Nawaz Sharif, the then Prime Minister. Ahmed was shifted out of the ISI by Gen.Pervez Musharraf.

10. That is all. Once action was taken against senior officers of the ISI, US-Pakistan relations were back to their normal state of pampering.

11.History is going to repeat itself now after the death of OBL at Abbotabad. One or two senior officers of the Army and the ISI will be identified by the US as responsible for the collusion. The US will ask for their heads. Pakistan will happily offer their heads.

12. The State-to-State relations will be back to their sickening normalcy. The pamperiong of Pakistan will resume. The exercise to feed and fatten the Pakistani Army and intelligence will resume.

13. India and Indians, who are now gloating over the discomfiture of Pakistan, will find that they have become a sucker once again. As we became in 1993 when Nasir's collusion with the Mujahideen was discovered. As we became in 2001 when Ahmed's collusion with the Afghan Taliban was discovered.

14, Let us guard ourselves against unwarranted euphoria over Pakistan's discomfiture. Let us think hard what we should do and how to do it.Let us not indulge in pathetic talk of what the US should do for us.

15.The dramatic US success was made possible by a dramatic improvement in the US HUMINT capability and by its spectacular covert action capability.

16. We have neither. Our HUMINT capability is average, but not extraordinary. Our covert action capability has been non-existent since 1997.Let us revamp both---urgently and visibly. Let a message radiate from Delhi that we want peace with Pakistan, but we are prepared to act on our own in our own way and through our own capabilities should covert action on the ground become necessary.

17. Pakistan has been waging its terrorist campaign against India relentlessly because it knows we have neither the political will nor the covert action capability to retaliate. Let the political will be born again which will make Indira Gandhi proud of us in high heaven. Let our covert action capability be re-created. To hell with what the world thinks of our actions.

18. I proudly contributed to the building up of India's covert action capability. I proudly headed it for some years till my retirement in August 1994. I cry every day when I see the way it has been wound up for 14 years now and our citizens continue to be slaughtered here, there and everywhere by the jihadi terrorists. (4-5-2011)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies.E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )



( Written at the request of the Editor of the “Economic Times”, New Delhi )

Osama bin Laden (OBL), the head of Al Qaeda, was killed by the US Special Forces during a past midnight chopper-borne raid on his hide-out at Abbotabad, a garrison town, about 100 kms from Islamabad, on May 1. He influenced thousands of young Muslims , who grew to adulthood in the 1980s and the 1990s, to take to jihadi terrorism as a weapon of defiance. He wanted them to use this weapon to correct what he looked upon as the historic injustices done to the Ummah by the non-Islamic world.

Among such instances of historic injustices to the Muslims, he cited the Jewish occupation of Palestine and the occupation of lands, which, according to him, had historically belonged to the Muslims by non-Islamic forces. He also wanted the Muslims to take to arms against ideological influences that tended to corrupt Islam.

He initially fought against the corrupting influence of the Marxist ideology in Afghanistan against the Soviet and Afghan troops in the 1980s. He saw nothing wrong in accepting the assistance of Western ideological forces for countering Marxism and to force it to quit Afghanistan.

He might not have acquired the iconic image which he developed subsequently but for the use of him by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIAS) and the agencies of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia which projected him as a jihadi fighter par excellence in order to use him for mobilising Muslim youth of the Arab world for the jihad against the Soviet troops and the Marxist ideology.

With the assistance of these agencies, he forced the Soviet troops to withdraw from Afghanistan and helped to bring Afghanistan under the control of medieval Islamic forces in the form of the Taliban. His medieval version of Islam, which is condemned today by the US, was encouraged by the US in the 1980s to use it as a strategic weapon against Marxism .

Having tasted success in Afghanistan, he and his force of Arab youth, trained and armed with the help of these agencies in secret camps in Pakistan turned against their Western benefactors and mentors and transformed their jihad against Marxism into a new jihad against the Crusaders and the Jewish people in the 1990s. The icon of the 1980s, toasted by the US because of his success against the Marxists, became the dreaded Frankenstein’s monster of the 1990s and thereafter.

This jihadi Frankenstein’s monster, jointly created by the agencies of the US, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, became the world’s most dreaded terrorist who spread death and destruction across the world through his Al Qaeda and International Islamic Front (IIC) starting from 1996. The 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US Homeland made the US realize that the reach of this monster of its own creation had extended up to the US.

The slaying of this monster became the driving force of the so-called war against international terrorism. It has taken nearly 10 years and an expenditure of billions of dollars to slay this monster. At the end, the death of this monster came at the place where it was born , namely, in Pakistan. After 10 years of search the monster was traced .

The monster was found hiding in the place where the Pakistan Army was born and where its new officer-recruits are trained every year. Abbotabad is the cradle of the Pakistan Army and in that cradle was found the monster. There were indicators of a cosy relationahip between the monster and one of its original creators----the Pakistani Army and intelligence.

The death of the jihadi Frankenstein’s monster in the cradle of the Pakistan Army has thrown the spotlight even more intensely than till now on another Frankenstein’s monster---- namely, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan.

Since the 1980s,the ISI was was pampered, fed and fattened by the US along with the Pakistan Army. The US, which closed its eyes to the pernicious role played by this State Frankenstein’s monster in sponsoring terrorism of various kinds against India, Afghanistan and other countries, is confused and does not know how to act against this State Frankenstein’s monster after having killed the non-State monster.

The end of OBL will not be the end of international jihadi terrorism. The non-state head of international jihadi terrorism may be dead, but the State of Pakistan, which continues to use this terrorism, lives in a denial mode. Neither the State of Pakistan nor its civil society is prepared to admit that Al Qaeda and its surviving leaders have managed to escape arrest, prosecution or death so far, because of the support extended to them by the State of Pakistan. The same is the case with the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) and other jihadi affiliates of Al Qaeda.

Unless the US and other members of the international community are prepared to draw the right lessons from the discovery that OBL had been living and surviving in an important garrison town of Pakistan and force the State of Pakistan to stop using terrorism as a weapon of the State, OBL’s death may not mark the beginning of the end of international jihadi terrorism.

OBL may be dead but jihadi terrorism in some form or the other will survive so long as it enjoys the support of the State of Pakistan.( 3-5-2011)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India)