To hell with what the world thinks
The US will not fight India’s battles,
nor will it rein in Pakistan’s anti-India
At the worst, there was collusion between Pakistan’s mili- tary-intelligence complex and Osama bin Laden that enabled him to live safely till May 1 in Abbottabad, the cradle of the Pakistan army. At the best, the military-intelligence
complex was aware of his presence in Abbottabad —possibly as a
privileged and protected guest of Pakistani jihadi organizations
like the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi — and
chose to close its eyes to it not to provoke bin Laden’s jihadi allies
No third explanation is available or possible for the fact of
Osama having lived for months or years in the cradle of the
Pakistan army without any harm coming to him.
The United States 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, May 2.
Does it signal America’s 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
No. No. No. And No.
There is already an exercise on in the State Department to
respect Pakistan’s sensitivities, to
spare it of any undue embarrassment and to avoid any punitive
action against it.
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.
Yes. Some actions were taken in the past against some individual officers on the insistence of the US. Like Lieutenant General
Javed Nasir, the director general of the Inter Services
Intelligence, who was sacked in 1993 because of his alleged collusion with the Afghan mujahideen, and Lieutenant General
Mahmood Ahmed, another DG of the ISI, sacked in 2001
because of his suspected collusion with the Afghan Taliban.
Nasir was sacked by Nawaz Sharif, the then Pakistani prime
minister. Ahmed was shifted out of the ISI by General Pervez
Musharraf. That is all. Once action was taken against senior officers of the ISI, US-Pakistan relations were back to their normal
state of pampering the latter.
History is going to repeat itself now after bin Laden’s killing in
Abbottabad. 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
The state-to-state relations will be back to their sickening nor-
Al Qaeda after Osama: A hydra-headed monster
An Indian National Security Guard commando at Chabad House
during the 26/11 operation
malcy. The pampering of Pakistan will resume. The exercise to
feed and fatten the Pakistani army and intelligence will resume.
India and Indians, 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.
Let us guard ourselves against unwarranted euphoria over
The dramatic success was made possible by a dramatic improvement in US
human intelligence — HUMINT —
capability and by its spectacular covert
action capability. We have neither.
Our HUMINT capability is average,
not extraordinary. Our covert action
capability has been nonexistent since
1997. Let us revamp both — urgently, 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.
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 recreated. To hell with what the world thinks of our
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 while our citizens continue to be
slaughtered here, there and everywhere by jihadi terrorists.
B Raman is India’s best-known counterterrorism expert
Indian intelligence agencies believe that a
couple of years ago, when Osama bin
Laden took a back seat owing to health reasons, Al Qaeda put a command structure in
The most obvious choice to replace bin
Laden seems to be Dr Ayman al-Zawahri,
who has been holding the number 2 position in the Al Qaeda for years now.
An Egyptian national and a surgeon by
profession, al-Zawahri will be Al Qaeda’s
face, while Ilyas Kashmiri and Badruddin
Haqqani — one of anti-Soviet mujahideen-turned-Taliban ally Jalaluddin Haqqani’s
three sons — will head the outfit’s operational structure.
Osama and al-Zawahri first met in 1980
in Peshawar, Pakistan. They were fighting
for the same cause — garnering support
against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan.
Al-Zawahri practiced medicine for two
years after he finished his studies in 1974,
and soon after turned to jihad. He started
his first operation in Afghanistan against
Soviet troops. He then joined the Egyptian
Islamic Jihad and was part of the operation
that assassinated then Egyptian president
Anwar Sadat in 1981.
Al-Zawahri emerged as a face of Al Qaeda
after he appeared in a post-9/11 video,
explaining why the attacks were necessary.
Recently, he sent out a strong message to
fight the United States and North Atlantic
Treaty Organization forces in Libya.
The one-eyed Ilyas Kashmiri, who took
over as chief of Al Qaeda’s 313 Brigade, is
also expected to play a big role in the operations of the outfit. India’s Intelligence
Bureau sources said they believe Al Qaeda
has split into small cells to ensure operations continue.
Kashmiri will continue to rally his forces
in Afghanistan and has already made it
clear that his prime target will be US
troops. Indian intelligence sources said
Kashmiri had a fallout with Pakistan’s
Inter Services Intelligence, which had
asked him to stay away from Afghanistan
and focus on India.
Sharing the mantle with Kashmiri is
Badruddin Haqqani, who along with his
father Jalaluddin Haqqani and brothers
Siraj and Nasiruddin, makes up the
Haqqani network. Al Qaeda has strengthened ties with the network in order, believe
Indian intelligence officers.
They also believe that while the Haqqani
network will continue its activities in
Afghanistan, it will simultaneously focus
on Kashmir. Under the banner of Al Qaeda
and the Haqqani network, over 26,000
youth have been recruited into terror.