With friends like theseElements in Pakistan's intelligence service "involved in Times Square plot"

Published 12 May 2010

Many of the terrorists groups based in Pakistan are supported — and some were created — by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s secret service, to be used in the on-going conflict with India over Kashmir; for many in ISI, heeding the U.S. demand to dismantle the Pakistani terrorist networks is tantamount to Pakistani unilateral disarmament in its struggle with India; it now emerges that elements — perhaps rogue elements — within the ISI were involved in the Times Square plot

American tax payers would be forgiven for raising questions about the benefits to the United States and its security of the massive U.S. military and civilian financial aid to Pakistan. Since the 9/11 attacks, the United States has given Pakistan about $9 billion in military and civilian aid. President Barack Obama has recently signed into law the Kerry-Lugar-Berman legislation which would provide a civilian aid worth $7.5 billion to Pakistan in the coming five years.

Trouble is, the positive contribution this aid should make to advancing causes such as the war on terror has been diluted by conditions on the ground in Pakistan. The GAO has issued two reports charging that the U.S. government has not put sufficient safe-guards in place to make sure the money is used for what it is supposed to be used. This lack of monitoring allowed domestic Pakistani conditions to govern the disbursement of aid money, considerably undermining the effectiveness of the whole program.

  • The first of these conditions is the pervasive corruption of the Pakistani state. The result: Between 2002 and 2008, while al Qaeda regrouped, only $500 million of the $6.6 billion in American aid actually made it to the Pakistani military, two army generals told the Associated Press.
  • The second is the fact that for many in the Pakistani national security establishment, building and equipping an army for a possible war with India is more important than building and equipping an army suitable for fighting terrorists. The result: even the small amount of aid money reaching the military was misused. The Pakistani military, submitting false reports and fake invoices, diverted millions of dollars to building radar stations and other technologies aiming to address a potential Indian military invasion of Pakistan rather than using the money to improve the quality of infantry equipment, increase mobility, buy night-vision gear, and other technologies which would enhance the military’s ability to confront terrorists.

Beyond the questions about corruption and the misuse of U.S. aid money, there have always been questions — stated more mutely, but not less persistently — about how eager elements in the Pakistani national security establishment, especially the ISI, Pakistan’s secret service, were to confront the Islamic terrorists. Many of these terrorist groups are supported — and some were created — by the ISI to be used in the on-going conflict with India over Kashmir. In the past five years, the ISI