Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 10, 2008

The Attack on the Haqqanis

On Sunday the New York times published a report by Dexter Filkins on the Taliban in Pakistan. I excerpted the gist here.

That report included some information on the Haqqani clan:

In 2006, a senior ISI official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told a New York Times reporter that he regarded Serajuddin Haqqani as one of the ISI’s intelligence assets. “We are not apologetic about this,” the ISI official said. For a presumed ally of the United States, that was a stunning admission: Haqqani, an Afghan, is currently one of the Taliban’s most senior commanders battling the Americans in eastern Afghanistan. His father, Jalaluddin, is a longtime associate of bin Laden’s. The Haqqanis are believed to be overseeing operations from a hiding place in the Pakistani tribal agency of North Waziristan.

Two days later the U.S. attacked the residence of the Haqqani clan:

The drones were apparently targeting the house or the madrassa established by former Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani during the 1978-88 Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, residents said.

At least 23 people died in that attack. The Haqqani men are said to be in Afghanistan at the time of the attack and were not hit.

For the Pakistani security forces the Haqqanis are the good guys. The father was helpful in kicking out the Soviets from Afghanistan. It is said that Hamid Karzai offered him the job of the prime minister. The son fights the current occupation in Afghanistan. They do not make trouble in Pakistan.

So one wonders about this attack:

  • Is timing of the attack related to the Filkins piece that noted Haqqani's role?
  • Is this a message to the Pakistani security service ISI on the day the Pakistan parliaments voted for a new president?

I do not believe that this hit and its timing was random. There is a story behind this.

  • Who gave the order for the attack for what reason?
  • Did someone high up read the NYT on Sunday and picked up the phone?
  • Did someone decide that the ISI itself is the next target and sent a warning?

Let me know what you suspect.

Posted by b on September 10, 2008 at 18:16 UTC | Permalink


The Return of U. S. Death Squads

United Nations officials charge that secret “international intelligence services” are conducting raids to kill Afghan civilians, then hiding the perpetuators behind an “impenetrable” wall of bureaucracy.

Philip Alston of the UN Human Rights Council said that “heavily armed internationals” leading local militias have killed scores of Afghan civilians. Coalition forces have killed more than 200 Afghan civilians since January.

He called the raids, which operate independent of the US and NATO military commands, “unacceptable.” Alston pointed to a specific incident last January in which two brothers were killed during a raid in the southern city of Kandahar, an area where the Taliban have a strong presence.

“The [two] victims are widely acknowledged, even by well informed government officials, to have no connection to the Taliban, and the circumstance of their deaths is suspicious,” he said.

When Alston tried to investigate the murders, however, he hit a stonewall. “Not only was I unable to get any international military commander to provide their version of what took place, but I was unable to get any military commander to even admit that their soldiers were involved,” the UN official told the Financial Times.

Suspicion has fallen on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which led such teams into Afghanistan during the 1990s in an attempt to capture or kill Osama bin Ladin, and again during the 2001 invasion.

According to Alston, the shadow units work out of two bases: U.S. Camp Ghecko near Kandahar, and a base in the province of Nangarhar. “It is absolutely unacceptable for heavily armed internationals, accompanied by heavily armed Afghan forces, to be wondering around conducting dangerous raids that too often result in killings without anyone taking responsibility for them,” he wrote in a recent UN report.

The article goes on to say amaong other things, "Something very similar may be going on in Iraq." And I suspect soon to be Pakistan too.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Sep 10 2008 18:56 utc | 1

Also see the Chris Floyd piece on Azizabad which has been linked to elsewhere. The sheer horror of this atrocity - Empire Burlesque indeed, compete with fascist revenant par excellance Oliver North - ought to shake this regime to its foundations, but like the police crimes at the RNC, no one will remember it tomorrow.

Posted by: Tantalus | Sep 10 2008 19:28 utc | 2

if this were chess...we'd be talkin' about a battle amongst bishops & knights, etc* nothing major, yet definitely consequential**
i believe what we have here is a crypto-graphic message in a bottle to certain influences that suggests a duo-paradox of protectionism & antagonism. a) we know who you are and that you're important. b) that we really just don't give a f*** anymore about who you are, or where you've been, or what you've done....

the rules are changing people, at all levels...

play your roles acccordingly, and get in where you fit in*

Posted by: spoon of the stars | Sep 10 2008 19:33 utc | 3

It's the revenge of Saddam Hussein that we're watching: his "insurgent" loyalists have broken the American military, and it's losing its mind in Washington and Afghanistan. The loyalists have won in Iraq, because the Americans have to withdraw. No amount of outsourcing to mercenaries can change this.

It's almost interesting to watch--a guilty pleasure, like driving past a wreck on the Interstate. Shrieks of pain from the generals at the top of the pyramid, watching the mess all around them, and starting to wail like babies.

What would a real soldier do? I think he'd head for the woods with his gun and a bottle of whiskey, and do the honorable thing.

Posted by: alabama | Sep 10 2008 19:51 utc | 4

From the WaPo article link above (something froze up and I couldn't edit the comment):

President Bush secretly approved orders in July that for the first time allow American Special Operations forces to carry out ground assaults inside Pakistan without the prior approval of the Pakistani government, according to senior American officials.

American officials say that they will notify Pakistan when they conduct limited ground attacks like the Special Operations raid last Wednesday in a Pakistani village near the Afghanistan border, but that they will not ask for its permission.

“The situation in the tribal areas is not tolerable,” said a senior American official who, like others interviewed for this article, spoke on condition of anonymity because of the delicate nature of the missions. “We have to be more assertive. Orders have been issued.”{emphasis mmine)

This ought to strengthen the new president's hold on power, heh?

Posted by: jawbone | Sep 11 2008 3:05 utc | 6

geez jawbone

Pakistan’s top army officer said Wednesday that his forces would not tolerate American incursions like the one that took place last week and that the army would defend the country’s sovereignty “at all costs.”

It is unclear precisely what legal authorities the United States has invoked to conduct even limited ground raids in a friendly country. A second senior American official said that the Pakistani government had privately assented to the general concept of limited ground assaults by Special Operations forces against significant militant targets, but that it did not approve each mission.

The official did not say which members of the government gave their approval.

how reassuring. legal authorities? we no need no stinkin' legal authorities. we're the USofA.

Posted by: annie | Sep 11 2008 5:28 utc | 7

They can break every law known to man, and it won't make any difference. Because they've lost.

Posted by: alabama | Sep 11 2008 13:35 utc | 8

the umreekans have big guns which they like to point and shoot, unfortunately they do not have the brains to go with it. and they also dont like dealing with people who are shrewder than them. Here is Saleem Shehzad on asia times online

That the US set its sights on the Haqqanis is perplexing, and - given the failed outcome - indicates that it struck with inadequate, if any, input from Pakistan.

Although Sirajuddin Haqqani's network is the most resourceful and the strongest component of the Taliban-led Afghan national resistance, the Haqqanis - like Haji Nazeer - have long-standing links with Pakistan.

The US's information on the network was clearly sketchy. The madrassa targeted on Monday had been closed for some time and the Haqqanis are known by people in the area to have left the tribal region as they were on the US's radar.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) publishes posters saying Sirajuddin Haqqani is a wanted man, but it does not have a photograph of him - merely a portrait of his father.

NATO headquarters and US intelligence have tried to gain information on Sirajuddin by interviewing people from his Zadran tribe in Khost and Paktia provinces in Afghanistan. But the people accessible to NATO only interacted with Sirajuddin several years ago when he was militarily naive and irrelevant. (The reclusive Sirajuddin gave Asia Times Online a rare interview - see Through the eyes of the Taliban May 5, 2004.)

The Haqqanis have always been on good terms with the Pakistani security apparatus. Jalaluddin Haqqani was persuaded by Pakistan to surrender to the Taliban after the student militia emerged from southern Afghanistan in the mid-1990s and reached Khost and Paktia, Haqqani's domain.

Haqqani remained an outsider under Taliban rule, but he never betrayed them. After the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US and the invasion of Afghanistan a few months later, the only name Pakistan discussed with Washington in terms of regime change in Afghanistan was Jalaluddin Haqqani.

He was invited to Islamabad and urged to become Taliban leader Mullah Omar's replacement in Kabul, but he declined and returned to the mountains of Paktia, Paktika and Khost to organize a guerrilla war against the Americans.

After five years, Haqqani's network emerged as the leading component of the resistance and he was reckoned as Mullah Omar's rival (a charge he always denied).

This once again brought hope to Islamabad that if the Americans decided to abandon Afghanistan, Haqqani, who is friendly with top Afghan leaders, especially in the north, would be a most useful connection in Kabul.

It is most likely then that the US acted on its own in going after this key Taliban network.

the haqqanis are real threat, this strike was not aimed at the isi. it goes to prove that without the isi the umreekans are really groping in the dark.

Posted by: a | Sep 11 2008 15:04 utc | 9

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