By lex, on June 24th, 2011
The cellphone of Osama bin Laden’s trusted courier, which was recovered in the raid that killed both men in Pakistan last month, contained contacts to a militant group that is a longtime asset of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, senior American officials who have been briefed on the findings say.
The discovery indicates that Bin Laden used the group, Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen, as part of his support network inside the country, the officials and others said. But it also raised tantalizing questions about whether the group and others like it helped shelter and support Bin Laden on behalf of Pakistan’s spy agency, given that it had mentored Harakat and allowed it to operate in Pakistan for at least 20 years, the officials and analysts said.
In tracing the calls on the cellphone, American analysts have determined that Harakat commanders had called Pakistani intelligence officials, the senior American officials said. One said they had met. The officials added that the contacts were not necessarily about Bin Laden and his protection and that there was no “smoking gun” showing that Pakistan’s spy agency had protected Bin Laden.
So, bin Laden talked to his courier, who talked to Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen, who talked to their sponsors in the ISI. And I suppose it’s possible that the “muj in the middle” compartmentalized the bin Laden discussions from the Pakistani security service.
Possible, but not, you know: Plausible.
Which is apparently why the US is shifting fires from one side of the Durand Line to the other:**
As the U.S. looks ahead to its phased withdrawal from Afghanistan, even more attention is being directed toward Pakistan, where Obama administration officials say al-Qaida and its allies are still plotting attacks against the West.
They argue that threat has been effectively neutralized in Afghanistan, a key justification for President Barack Obama’s announcement Wednesday that the U.S. will withdraw 33,000 troops from Afghanistan by next summer. The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001 because al-Qaida used it as the base to launch the 9/11 attacks.
Afghanistan could take on new significance for the U.S. as a base to launch unilateral strikes against militants inside neighboring Pakistan, an unstable nuclear-armed country that many analysts say is more strategically important than Afghanistan.
That future has become more likely as the relationship between Pakistan and the U.S. has deteriorated following the American raid that killed al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden not far from the Pakistani capital last month. The operation humiliated Pakistan, which cut back on counterterrorism cooperation with the U.S., a popular move in a country where anti-American sentiment is rife.
“We haven’t seen a terrorist threat emanating from Afghanistan for the past seven or eight years,” said a senior administration official in a briefing given to reporters in Washington before Obama’s speech. “The threat has come from Pakistan over the past half-dozen years or so, and longer.”
Seven years of fighting in Iraq, ten in Afghanistan, drone wars and raids in nuclear-armed Pakistan, God-knows-what in Libya, trouble brewing in the South China Sea and piracy in the Horn of Africa.
I actually kind of miss the Cold War. It was cold.
** 10-29-2018 Original link gone; replacement found – Ed