Pakistan's army chief refuses to cooperate in rooting out Islamists

Pakistan's Chief of the armed forces Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has been put on the hot seat by his American benefactors and he doesn't like it. Kayani, who has spent time in America and has good relations with US military liaison officers nevertheless realizes that Pakistan's cozying up to Islamists is part of a long standing policy that seeks to use the terrorists to shape events in neighboring countries to its own advantage.

The New York Times:

The United States will now push harder than ever for General Kayani to break relations with other militant leaders who American officials believe are hiding in Pakistan, with the support of the military and intelligence service, a senior American official said.

These leaders include Mullah Muhammad Omar, the spiritual leader of the Afghan Taliban; the allied militant network of Sirajuddin Haqqani; and Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group that the United States holds responsible for the terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, in 2008, the American official said.

Pakistani officials, meanwhile, are anxiously waiting to see if any new intelligence about Al Qaeda in Pakistan spills from the American raid that could be used to exert more pressure on them, and what form that pressure might take.

But those who have spoken with General Kayani recently said that demands to break with top militant leaders were likely to be too much for the military chief, who is scheduled to address an unusual, closed-door joint session of Parliament on Friday to salvage his reputation and explain the military's lapses surrounding the American raid.

The American wish list is tantamount to an overnight transformation of Pakistan's long held strategic posture that calls for using the militant groups as proxies against Pakistan's neighbors, they said. It comes as General Kayani faces mounting anti-American pressure from hard-line generals in his top command, two of the people who met with him said.

If Kayani takes that attitude, there are going to be more raids without the explicit consent of the Pakistani government in the future. And congress will no doubt take a dim view of this attitude and seriously reconsider the $7 billion in aid we have pledged to Pakistan.

Kayani will not be able to successfully maneuver through this mine field. He is going to have to make a choice. Given the circumstances, he is much more likely to choose to continue supporting terrorists who kill Americans in Afghanistan and elsewhere. This leaves the next move up to Obama.

Slowing down aid already in the pipleline is an option, but a total cutoff seems unlikely. Instead, it appears that Americans are going to have to grit their teeth and endure Pakistani duplicity until we have the bulk of our forces out of Afghanistan.