A U.S. drone has killed Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, the terrorist behind the failed Times Square bombing in 2010 and countless attacks in Pakistan. The U.S. is doing the job that the Pakistani should be doing—and the response of America’s “ally” is furor, not appreciation.
Pakistan’s policy towards the Taliban is filled with contradictions and false hope. It treats the Afghan Taliban as a proxy, while it battles the Pakistani Taliban branch that wants to overthrow the government. The cost of this inconsistent and morally bankrupt policy has been thousands and thousands of American, Afghan and Pakistani lives.
The U.S. killed Mehsud just three days before Pakistani government representatives were due to meet with him for peace talks. One of Mehsud’s demands for peace was the imposition of Sharia law, so these negotiations were bound to go nowhere. Still, the Pakistani government invested its hopes in the imagined reasonableness of the Pakistani Taliban and Mehsud—and is furious at the U.S., at least publicly.
Tellingly, Pakistan’s interior minister didn’t point to Mehsud’s record – namely, his involvement in capturing about 300 Pakistani soldiers in 2007; killing U.S. soldiers; killing Afghan and Pakistani civilians; his ties to Al-Qaeda or his role in the attempted car bomb detonation in New York City in 2010.
Instead, Pakistan’s interior Minister said the U.S. killed him in order to “sabotage” peace talks. The foreign minister joined in, saying the strike “is not just the killing of one person, it’s the death of all peace efforts.” The people hearing these words are led to think that it is the U.S., not the Taliban, who is prolonging the war.
The Pakistani government and people would be cheering the drone strike if their perception wasn’t so perverted by radical Islam and reflexive anti-Americanism. More Pakistanis have been murdered by the Taliban and the other terrorists in their midst than Americans.
The outrage should be directed at the Pakistani government for appeasing terrorists. The U.S. is merely trying to contain the disastrous result of that appeasement.
According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, Pakistan is home to 32 transnational terrorist groups, 12 domestic terrorist groups and another four extremist organizations. This tally does not include Al-Qaeda, the Haqqani Network or Jamaat-e-Islami, the Pakistani branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Many of these Islamist groups are directly backed by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. They act as proxies for the ISI's undeclared war on the U.S. military in Afghanistan. Others are tolerated to the point where they act as a state-within-a-state.
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET), said to be the “most dangerous terrorist group operating in South Asia” after Al-Qaeda, has an estimated 150,000 members and is the most brazen example of Pakistan’s duplicity. The group is fundraising in Pakistan under a different name out in the open.
In 2008, LET said that it has over 200 schools in Pakistan. In addition, it has publications, mosques, hospitals, charities and even an ambulance service. The ultimate objective behind this “humanitarian” work is to extend Sharia around the globe. It has pledged to “plant a flag of Islam” in Washington, D.C.
After the U.S. announced a $10 million award for information leading to the arrest of LET’s leader, Hafiz Saeed, he held a public rally right across from a Pakistani military base in Rawalpindi, only about 40 minutes away from the U.S. embassy.
“America should give that reward money to me,” he joked. “I am here. I am visible.”
The Haqqani Network is linked to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and is clearly a Pakistani proxy headquartered in North Waziristan (a region in northeast Pakistan). In September 2011, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen left no room for doubt.
“The Haqqani network, for one, acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency,” he said.
Another Pakistani group named Jamaat ul-Fuqra is based in Pakistan and has an active branch in America. Its spiritual leader, Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani, lives in Lahore. Ul-Fuqra’s U.S. operation is done under the name of Muslims of the Americas, the International Quranic Open University and the United Muslim Christian Forum.
Jamaat ul-Fuqra’s 70-acre headquarters in Hancock, New York is called Islamberg. The organization has another headquarter called Islamville in York County, South Carolina. The group has a history of violence and criminal activity in America.
FOX News Channel’s “Kelly File” recently featured some of the Clarion Project's research on Jamaat ul-Fuqra, including footage from a secret ul-Fuqra training tape filmed in Islamberg. The tape, which can be seen on Clarion’s YouTube page, shows female members receiving guerilla warfare instruction. The Clarion Project also has an ul-Fuqra propaganda tape where it accuses Jews of being behind 9/11 and declares America to be a Muslim-majority country.
In addition to hosting terrorist networks, the Pakistani government has an extensive political influence operation in the U.S. that involves getting high-level access through campaign donations and lobbying. It often works in tandem with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood network.
The Pakistani government’s reaction to this latest strike by America is just another reminder of where its loyalty lies.
Ryan Mauro is the ClarionProject.org’s National Security Analyst, a fellow with the Clarion Project and is frequently interviewed on top-tier TV stations as an expert on counterterrorism and Islamic extremism.