â€œPakistan is dependent on the American money that these games with the Taliban generate,â€ the official told me. â€œThe Pakistani economy would collapse without it. This is how the game works.â€
As an example, he cited the Pakistan Armyâ€™s first invasion of the tribal areas â€” of South Waziristan in 2004. Called Operation Shakai, the offensive was ostensibly aimed at ridding the area of Taliban militants. From an American perspective, the operation was a total failure. The army invaded, fought and then made a deal with one of the militant commanders, Nek Mohammed. The agreement was capped by a dramatic meeting between Mohammed and Safdar Hussein, one of the most senior officers in the Pakistan Army.
â€œThe corps commander was flown in on a helicopter,â€ the former official said. â€œThey had this big ceremony, and they embraced. They called each other mujahids. â€
â€œMujahidâ€ is the Arabic word for â€œholy warrior.â€ The ceremony, in fact, was captured on videotape, and the tape has been widely distributed.
â€œThe army agreed to compensate the locals for collateral damage,â€ the official said. â€œWhere do you think that money went? It went to the Taliban. Who do you think paid the bill? The Americans. This is the way the game works. The Taliban is attacked, but it is never destroyed.
â€œItâ€™s a game,â€ the official said, wrapping up our conversation. â€œThe U.S. is being taken for a ride.â€
2010-02-09 22:12:29 UTC