Berhanuddin Rabbani was assassinated the other day at his home in Kabul. After surviving the war with the Soviets and then as a leader of the Northern Alliance against the Taliban it was at the end a peace envoy who detonated a bomb in his turban that killed Rabbani.
Rabbani was nothing if not situationally aware. Surviving for 30 years in the most chaotic and dangerous theater of war in the world means that someone really is trying to kill you at all times. This time they succeeded and have thrown the peace process, which was tentative at best, into chaos. Once again, it has the hallmarks of the ISI at work.
Yesterday, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, called the Haqqani Network an arm of the Inter Service Agency, Pakistan's combination of the CIA and Military Intelligence. The history of the ISI in Afghanistan is long and bloody. Active duty Pakistani officers have been captured in Afghanistan a number of times in the past 10 years and have been responsible for many of the most gruesome suicide bombings, including those of schools, hospitals, and mosques. The more women and children the better.
The Haqqani Network, the most brutal of any of the bands of brigands in the region for the past 25 years, are up to their shoulders in the narcotics trade. As of 2009 according to Gretchen Peters' "Seeds of Terror' U.S. military intelligence believes that Sirahuddin Haqqani remains deeply dependent upon heroin smuggling for funding. The ISI, who provide weapons and material to the Haqqanis, is using the National Logistics Cell, a company wholly owned and staffed by the military, to transport the refined heroin to the port of Karachi. These trucks are, of course, never checked by the police or military. Export of heroin to the West both fills the ISI's pockets and carries out jihad by other means, and 95% of the world's heroin comes from Afghanistan.
The Haqqani network were one of the primary recipients of Pakistani, and by extension, U.S. aid during the war with the Soviets. They have remained favored by the ISI, and were based in Miram Shah in North Waziristan until recently. Their homeland is the rugged mountains of Paktia, Paktika, Khost, Kunar and Ghazni provinces where Sirahuddin said they had returned to in an interview just last week. As the heat from the United States has increased and American troops withdraw from the valleys and , it seems the ISI has found it expedient to move their pit bulls back across the border.
The Pakistani government's official policy is to ensure that Afghanistan remains divided and weak. One of their major fears is that the Pashtuns on both sides of the border unite for their own homeland. It is in their self defined interest to wreak havoc by any means necessary.
The Haqqanis have been tied to the murder of 7 CIA agents on December 30, 2009 at Camp Chapman. They were tied to the attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul in May 2010. They were tied to the June 2011 attack on the Kabul Intercontinental Hotel. On June 25 of this year, a suicide bomber drove an SUV packed with explosives into a civilian hospital in Logar Province, where the Haqqanis are very active. 35 men, women, and children were killed. None were military targets.
Jalalludin Haqqani, Sirahuddin's father, is known as the father of suicide bombing in Afghanistan. He was also very tight with Osama Bin Laden from the early days onwards.
All of these attacks were highly sophisticated and required major resources and perfect timing, something the Afghan resistance, including the Haqqanis, is utterly lacking. With so many threads leading directly to the doorstep of the ISI, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that they are at war with the United States. A war in which Americans and free Afghanis are taking most of the casualties.
In his testomony, Admiral Mullen directly accused the ISI of preparing and supporting the 9/11 truck bombing carried out by the Haqqanis in Wardak Province that wounded 77 American soldiers as well as last week's assault upon the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. This on the heels of what is perhaps a last meeting with the Pakistani military before taking decisive action.
As our attention has been distracted by the financial crisis and our president accelerates his exit strategy, our enemies are taking advantage of events to further their agenda. The ISI is at the top of that list.