4 years, 5 months ago
A fascinating interview by Fox News provides an infuriating look into all that is wrong with U.S. foreign policy and the so-called “war on terror.”
Fox News claims to have gained access to Dr. Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who cooperated with the CIA in verifying the location of Osama bin Laden in 2011. The magnitude of Afridi’s statements have both the Pakistani government, the ISI and prison officials all denying that the interview took place. Even Afridi’s lawyers deny that Afridi spoke to Fox News. On the other hand, this BBC news account raises the possibility that the interview could have taken place using a cell phone secretly passed to Afridi by relatives. The denials are, at any rate, less than categorical. Speculation posits that Dr. Afridi may be making a desperate bid to generate news and sympathy in the U.S. for his plight in the hope that he will be released or the prison term reduced.
According to the Fox News story:
PESHAWAR, Pakistan – Pakistan’s powerful spy agency regards America as its “worst enemy,” and the government’s claims that it is cooperating with the US are a sham to extract billions of dollars in American aid, according to the CIA informant jailed for his role in hunting down Usama bin Laden.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News, Shakil Afridi, the medical doctor who helped pinpoint bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound before last year’s raid by SEAL Team 6, described brutal torture at the hands of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, and said the agency is openly hostile to the U.S.
“They said ‘The Americans are our worst enemies, worse than the Indians,’” Afridi, who spoke from inside Peshawar Central Jail, said as he recalled the brutal interrogation and torture he suffered after he was initially detained.
The ISI, Afridi said, helps fund the Haqqani network, the North Waziristan-based militant group that was last week designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The agency also works against the U.S. by preventing the CIA from interrogating militants captured by Pakistan, who are routinely released to return to Afghanistan to continue attacks on NATO forces there.
“It is now indisputable that militancy in Pakistan is supported by the ISI […] Pakistan’s fight against militancy is bogus. It’s just to extract money from America,” Afridi said, referring to the $23 billion Pakistan has received largely in military aid since 9/11.
TCJ readers will not find any of Afridi’s statements surprising. Pakistan’s duplicity is well documented over the years since the 9/11 attacks. Nonetheless, the Afridi interview serves to highlight the futility of fighting a counterinsurgency in Afghanistan while allowing both Iran and Pakistan to actively support the insurgents. Moreover, the U.S. government goes out of its way to curry favor with Pakistan, providing billions of dollars in aid while they assist our enemies. This is simply immoral and an insult to the families who have lost loved ones in the Afghanistan theater of operations.
Finally, compare the treatment of Pakistan and their barely concealed contempt for the U.S. with the treatment given to Israel. Setting aside any considerations of cultural or religious ties to Israel, from a national interest perspective, Israel is an irreplaceable ally in the heart of the Middle East. Israel provides the U.S. with intelligence of all kinds that is otherwise unavailable (given our severe lack of human resources). Israel effectively ties down the military assets of Egypt, Syria and the quasi-states of Gaza and Hezbollah-stan in Lebanon. The Obama Administration is simply throwing Israel under the bus when it comes to a nuclear Iran. Israel has sensibly asked for some “red lines” to be set in an attempt to stop the Iranian rush to obtain nuclear weapons. Obama refuses. More than that, Obama undercuts efforts by Israel to act on its own to protect itself from an Iranian threat that is catastrophic.
This insanity cannot continue. It is hard to imagine that President Obama could have brought the U.S. to the brink of irrelevance in the Middle East in just four, short years, but, as U.S. embassies and consulates are attacked with impunity throughout the region, we are witnessing the first bitter fruits of what promises to be a horrific harvest to come.