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December 04, 2009

Perhaps Some Elaboration Is In Order . . .
Posted by Michael Cohen

Seth Jones has quite an op-ed in the New York Times today. After discussing the importance of Afghan Taliban safe havens in Pakistan to the insurgency in Afghanistan (a point made repeatedly here at DA), Jones drops in this rather audacious solution:

The United States and Pakistan must target Taliban leaders in Baluchistan. There are several ways to do it, and none requires military forces.

The first is to conduct raids to capture Taliban leaders in Baluchistan. Most Taliban are in or near Baluchi cities like Quetta. These should be police and intelligence operations, much like American-Pakistani efforts to capture Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and other Qaeda operatives after 9/11. The second is to hit Taliban leaders with drone strikes, as the United States and Pakistan have done so effectively in the tribal areas.

First of all how is hitting Taliban leaders with drone strikes NOT the use of military force. I mean I get that you're not sending a brigade across the Durand line, but still.

But my larger reaction is this is a great idea . . . and why would the Pakistanis not throw a fit if we tried to do exactly this. Seriously, is this realistic at all? And for once I'm not even being snarky.

Honestly, would the Pakistanis allow us to do this? Not long ago I watched a Frontline special where the Pakistan Army Chief of Staff and the country's Interior Ministry basically denied that the Quetta Shura even existed or that Mullah Omar was not in the country - statements that if Jones op-ed is to be believed are simply laughable.

So how do you get from that to the Pakistanis just letting the US go in and arrest Afghan Taliban leaders or send Hellfire missiles into what are likely populated areas? This would represent an absolute sea change in how Pakistan deals with the Afghan Taliban in their midst. In other words, it would be a huge deal.

Perhaps, in retrospect, the Times could have pushed Jones a bit on this point.


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It's not military power if the CIA is the one ordering the drone strikes. Ha!

Yeah, this op-ed isn't that great. His book isn't much better. KSM was caught because the Pakistanis wanted to catch him, not because the FBI did a great job in Pakistan.

OTOH, if you have any constructive suggestions on how to hit the Quetta Shura, I'd like to hear them.

Ha is right! But I think that might qualify as a distinction without a difference. Or more precisely, I dont think the Pakistanis will make your fine distinction.

As for hitting the Quetta Shura, that is of course the $64,000 question and I don't have the answer. But seeing as how Jones is a "civilian advisor to the military" writing this piece perhaps he could elaborate on the point. I'm actually genuinely curious to know why he thinks this is doable

Because CIA tracks thousands of projects, you aren't just setting up a notification bot.The Certified Internal Auditor designation is the only globally accepted certification for internal auditors and remains the standard by which individuals demonstrate their competency and professionalism in the internal auditing field.

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