Me and a Pakistani Captain Chat

Pakistan. Are they our friends? Do we have the same goals in mind? Can we partner together? Can we trust them? Are they doing enough to combat their jihadi issue? An interesting write-up in Marine Times touches these questions: 

The wind was howling and the snow outside their bullet-pocked bunker lay knee-deep as the men of the 20th Lancer armored regiment bedded down for the night, nearly 8,000 feet up a mountain on one of the world’s most inhospitable borders.

They cheered themselves up by singing songs. Their commander gazed at photos of his 4-year-old daughter on his computer. But as the men chatted, it became clear that they were feeling a bit underappreciated.

Why did the West accuse Pakistan of not pulling its weight in the war on terror, they asked. Hadn’t large numbers of their comrades died at the hands of Islamist militants? Why else were they in this hellish place if not to keep them at bay?

Pakistani Army soldiers with the 20th Lancers Armored Regiment gather before a patrol atop the 8000-foot mountain near their outpost, Kalpani Base, in Pakistan’s Dir province on the Pakistan-Afghan border.

“They say we aren’t doing enough,” said their commander, Capt. Imran Tanvir. “What more can we do?”

Well Capt. Tanvir, let’s chat about Abbottabad, Osama bin Laden’s little summertime retreat. How unlikely is it that no one was aware of Osama in a town that is home to a major military academy, Pakistan’s Westpoint:

Pakistan Military Academy in Abbotswood

The Pakistan Military Academy (also known as PMA or PMA Kakul) is a two-year federal service military academy. It is located at Kakul near Abbottabad in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.

The Pakistan Military Academy is similar in function to Sandhurst, Saint-Cyr, and West Point, and provides training to the officers of Pakistan Army. The academy has three training battalions, and 12 companies. Another 2,000 guests each year, from over 34 countries, receive some training at PMA.

Or that, before his little Abbottbad retreat, Osama lived in a house near Islamabad:

But eight years later a shocking question is emerging: Could Osama bin Laden have lived in the four-bedroom house in Haripur, a bustling town just over 20 miles north of the capital Islamabad.

Shall I continue, Captain? Shall we talk ISI? Pakistan’s “premier” intel agency:

Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)

The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (Urdu: بین الخدماتی مخابرات; more commonly known as Inter-Services Intelligence or simply by its initials ISI), is premier intelligence agency of the State of Pakistan, operationally responsible for providing critical national security and intelligence assessment to the Government of Pakistan.

LGen Zaheer ul Islam will take charge of next DG ISI on 19th March 2012, currently he is corps commander Karachi.

This little ISI tidbit leaps out at me. Read it and then ask me whose side Pakistanis are on:

Five Pakistanis who worked as informant for CIA to pass information leading to the Death of Osama bin Laden had been arrested by the ISI. In particular the US is trying to seek the release of Dr Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani who worked for the CIA, passing intelligence leading to the death of Bin Laden.

ADM Mike Mullen and RADM Scott Van Buskirk, commander of CSG 9, talk with Pakistani Army Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, chief of army staff, and Pakistani Army Major Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, ISI director general, aboard USS Abraham Lincoln.

In a semi-related note, during my travels through the Middle East, I came across a sign over a trash-can that inspired me. It read: Trash Bin. How easy would it have been to add a  Laden to the ending?

Trash Bin Laden?

But I did not. Deface the sign. I don’t practice graffiti. Nor break laws, foreign or domestic. And I am too young to die in a Turkish jail. (Nevermind that I was not in Turkey.) And I don’t like international incidents. And and and. . .