Pak fomenting chaos abroad
The damning public US indictment of Pakistan’s use of terrorism came from US Admiral Mike Mullen, who told the Al Jazeera TV network hours ahead of his meeting with India’s General Deepak Kapoor on Thursday that “in the long run, the ISI has to change its strategic thrust, which has been to foment chaotic activity in its border countries.” When the surprised anchor asked, “What do you mean when you say the ISI has had a strategic thrust to foment chaos in bordering countries?” Mullen did not mince his words. “What I mean is that they have clearly focused on support of ... historically of militant organisations both east and west. I mean that’s been a focus of theirs in Kashmir historically as well as in the FATA (federally administered tribal areas). And I think ... that fundamentally has to change.” Mullen’s observations are critical because Pakistan has lately taken to accusing India of fomenting insurgency in Balochistan and even backing the Taliban to offset its indictment in Kashmir, charges that have both New Delhi and Washington have scoffed at. The prevailing Pakistani narrative, encouraged by some of its high officials, is that India and Afghanistan are in cahoots with Washington in destabilising Pakistan, including the use of Pakistan’s own proxy, the Taliban, against it. Islamabad has also complained repeatedly to the US about the strong Indian influence in Afghanistan where Pakistan is now largely despised except in Taliban strongholds. There is palpable agitation in Pakistan over closer military ties between New Delhi and Washington, even though many in India remain leery of the US.