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Global Terrorism -- Pakistan Hand Exposed

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Message James Duglous Crickton

On the lookout for Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan
On the lookout for Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan
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Declassified DIA cables of 2010 accessed by the National Security Archive at George Washington University indicate that Pakistan's ISI paid money to the Haqqani network to carry out an attack on a US Forward Operating Base (FOB) at Chapman in Khost Province.

While the USDIA cable states that this is an "Information Report and not finally evaluated intelligence", the details in the cable raise several questions and therefore merit detailed analysis.

The cable states:

"During discussions at an unknown date with Haqqani, Salar and an unidentified ISID officer or officers, Haqqani and Salar were provided 200,000.00 USD to enable the attack on Chapman. Haqqani provided the money to Salar, who then communicated the planning details to Mullawi (Sakh). Sakh then contacted (Arghawan), border commander of the Khowst (Khost) Provincial Force. Arghawan was promised 100,000.00 USD for his assistance in a suicide mission by an unnamed Jordanian national. Following the attack, Salar was believed to have kept 100,000.00 USD promised to Arghawan because Arghawan died during the suicide attack."

Other cables now made available note that until the end of 2009, regular monthly meetings were held between Haqqani ring leader Sirajuddin Haqqani, his brother Badruddin Haqqani and some ISI officers.

The cables name some ISI officers -- a Colonel Nasib and a Major Daoud [sic] -- who participated in a meeting in which an unknown amount of funds were disbursed to the Haqqani Network to launch attacks in Khost.

In another meeting, the ISI handlers told the Haqqani Network "to expedite attack preparations and lethality in Afghanistan".

Readers will be interested to know that Sirajuddin Haqqani has led the group since 2005 when his father and Haqqani founder Jalaluddin retired. He is presently deputy to Taliban leader Akhtar Mansour.

The DIA cable dated 6 February 2010, is labelled "Foreign Intelligence Service and Haqqani Network involvement in the 30 December 2009 on FOB Chapman".

The cable claims that Pakistan's ISI funded the Haqqani Network for the attack which occurred when a presumed al-Qaeda informant was allowed into a secure US base in Khost to meet with a team of American officers and handlers. The Jordanian doctor, Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, was the al-Qaeda double agent who penetrated the CIA, as Jordanian intelligence believed his bonafides.

Could the person identified in the cable as Mullawi be the al-Balawi, who carried out the suicide attack at Chapman base in 2009? The conjecture is worth entertaining.

The Haqqanis, through intermediaries, got in touch with Arghawan, who was working with the Afghan National Directorate of Security. This appears to implicate the Afghan official, while Arghawan was killed in the suicide blast.

Al-Balawi's coup came in November 2009, when, just months after the paediatrician was recruited by Jordanian intelligence, he announced he had become Ayman al-Zawahiri's doctor. Clearly, this was a lie, with Balawi trying to impress his Jordanian handlers. Strangely, everyone believed him; perhaps they were desperate to break into al-Qaeda. When the CIA met the man, they found they had nothing on him.

Al-Balawi was picked by Jordanian intelligence for his violent online messages against the West. He claimed that he had penetrated the inner al-Qaeda circle. Wanting to establish contact with al-Balawi, the CIA, using the codename 'Wolf' decided on a meeting at Khost.

Darren La Bonte, the CIA case officer dealing with the subject, did not trust al-Balawi and warned that it would be too early for a meeting. Interestingly, al-Balawi wanted to meet the CIA in Miranshah, the hub of many terrorist groups like the TTP and ETIM, but the US insisted on Chapman base in Khost.

Stratfor, the Texas based global intelligence company, had suspected the ISI hand in the Chapman base suicide attack. Its 2010 report said: "The hit was by all accounts a masterful piece of trade craft beyond the known abilities of a group like Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan." It quoted US and Afghan government sources saying that standard military grade explosives were used in the attack, pointing to Pakistan's ISI.

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A blogger since July 2008 James Duglous Crickton is a London based consultant working with a consultancy firm focusing on Asia, particularly South Asia and East Asia. Political Research is his functional focus area. While his interests are (more...)
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