To describe Bruce Riedel as an expert in Af-Pak is to engage in severe understatement. A former CIA officer, Bruce Riedel served as senior advisor to three U.S. presidents on Middle East and South Asian issues. At the request of President Obama he chaired an interagency review of policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan for the White House that was completed in March 2009.
So any article by Bruce Riedel deserves serious attention. But his July 20 article Lashkar e Tayyiba, Al Qaeda, and Pakistan: Time to Clean House is extraordinary. In this article, Mr. Riedel breaks new ground with his assertions as facts what has only been whispered or speculated before. So we suggest our readers run to this article on the Brookings website.
First Mr. Riedel discusses the blunt statement by Secretary Hillary Clinton that “somebody in this Pakistani government does know where Usama bin Laden is hiding” within Pakistan. Then Mr. Riedel turns to an even more explosive topic.
David Headley, an American citizen of Pakistani origin, is a convicted conspirator in the Mumbai attacks of November 2008. According to Mr. Riedel, Headley confessed in March 2009 and in the months that followed, Indian officials have continued to interview Headley extensively.
Mr. Riedel writes “According to leaked information to the Indian press last week, Headley reportedly told his Indian interrogators that Pakistani intelligence paid for the boat that took the ten terrorists from Karachi to Indian waters and that Pakistani naval frogmen had provided intensive commando training for them.”
Read what Mr. Riedel writes about this development in his own words:
- India’s Home Secretary G.K. Pillali said last week that the Headley revelations show that Pakistani intelligence was “literally controlling and coordinating the attack from the beginning to end.”
- Headley revelations, if true, paint a picture of official Pakistani military cooperation in an act of mass causality terror that raises very worrisome and alarming questions about our most important partner and India’s nuclear-armed neighbor.
- The truth about Mumbai and the future of Lashkar e Tayyiba is the ticking time bomb that could wreck the nascent U.S.-Pakistan partnership Secretary Clinton is rightly trying to build and that could take the subcontinent to disaster.
Mr. Riedel’s conclusion:
- There is no excuse for not executing a more robust crack down on Lashkar e Tayyiba and its front organizations from the Pakistani government and for not conducting a thorough house cleaning within the Pakistani army.
Contrast this clarity with the Pakistan Conundrum expressed by David Ignatius of the Washington Post and his conclusion:
- That brings us back to closing the Taliban havens in Pakistan. It’s a measure of America’s strategic difficulty that this uncertain option with a reluctant partner may now offer the best possibility for reaching the “acceptable end state.”
What a contrast?
Note: The fact that Pakistani Intelligence was “literally controlling and coordinating the attack from the beginning to end’ does not surprise us. Read our analysis dated January 10, 2009 titled The Mumbai Attack – It Was Not Terrorism
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