US doubtful about winning war on Pakistan border

By Arun Kumar, IANS
Monday, December 6, 2010

WASHINGTON - US diplomats in Pakistan are sceptical about eventually winning the military struggle in Pakistan’s badlands, saying peace talks go nowhere and murderous militants control key towns, a leaked State Department cable made available to Wikileaks reveals.

A long cable from the US consulate in Peshawar also says eight years of airstrikes, military patrols and added checkpoints have had little effect on securing the border with Afghanistan used by Islamic militants to attack US troops battling the Taliban, according to the Washington Times.

“The borders are porous,” the cable leaked by whistleblower site WikiLeaks states. “Taliban and militant extremists are constantly crossing the border with Afghanistan and engaging in terrorist and smuggling activity. The rugged terrain makes it difficult to patrol and control the border.”

Military analysts cited by the Times say that as long as militants can move freely from Pakistan into Afghanistan, and back, it will be difficult to defeat the anti-Kabul insurgency.

The cable informed Washington and US commanders about the cast of characters controlling Waziristan, a key tribal border region, as a prelude to an upcoming Pakistani military offensive, its fourth since the summer of 2009.

Chief among them is the late Baitullah Mehsud’s group, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, which is dedicated to overthrowing the Pakistani government.

Pakistan’s “divide and rule” strategy calls for isolating the TTP, but tribal leaders were “too cowed” to move against a man the cable called “the most notorious militant in Pakistan.” His successor and cousin, Hakimullah Mehsud, is just as ruthless.

The other key tribal-area militant is Jalaluddin Haqqani, a close ally of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, who controls an army known as the “Haqqani Network.”

While Mehsud targets Islamabad, Haqqani attacks Afghanistan and is thought to have support from some rogue elements of Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI).

A second cable lists “hostile third-country intelligence services” operating in Pakistan as Russia, Iran, Cuba and China.

“There is no corroborated information at this time to suggest that these intelligence services are directly targeting US interests in Pakistan or are engaged in anti-American terrorist acts,” the cable stated.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at

Filed under: Terrorism

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