Prior to the US invasion of Afghanistan, the Americans gave Pakistan a dire warning – either Pakistan was with the US or against the US.
The world knew that Pakistan and Afghanistan, then under the Taliban, had an alliance which was at the heart of Pakistan’s strategic war plans against India over Kashmir. Kashmir remains Pakistan’s obsession, and quite frankly, I have sympathies for the Paki case as Kashmir then had a Muslim majority population which made it rightfully a state that should have been allocated to Pakistan when British India separated into an independent India and an Islamic Pakistan. India had seized Janagadh and Hyderbad for precisely the same reason that Pakistan wants Jammu-Kashmir.
Pakistan and India had already fought three wars over Kashmir. Pakistani experience indicates that fighting against an India several times bigger in every aspects - population, resources, land, armed forces, etc - requires her to have strategic space, to trade for time, if necessary.
What this means is that should India overwhelm Pakistan by virtue of the former’s size and force, Pakistan could retreat into Afghanistan and regroup for a counterattack or conduct guerrilla warfare from.
Afghanistan provides four things attractive to Pakistan – namely, space in depth, kinfolk relationship (Pashtuns), similar Islamic doctrine and human resources. That has been why Pakistan was closely allied to the Taliban.
Even today, the majority of the Pakistani security forces and people still support the Taliban struggle. There are of course slightly different priorities between the armed forces and the Pakistani people, with the former keeping more of a strategic eye on Kashmir while the latter have lots of sympathy for its Islamic brethren.
I have blogged on the above before but it is necessary to refresh ourselves with the Pakistani concerns about Kashmir to put this posting into context.
Let’s examine the former, the Pakistani armed forces. They know that the US will eventually lose interest in the Afghanistan War, unless of course large reserves of oil are discovered. So, while the strategy is to recover Kashmir (or more correctly, India Kashmir) the tactic is to keep Uncle Sam at bay by pretending to play the good anti-terrorist regime.
What the Pakis have done to show the US it is an ally has been to round up many thousands of 'suspects' most of whom had nothing to do with terrorism but were simply there to make up the numbers to be surrendered to the Americans, either directly or via the Egyptians. Note how useful the word 'suspect' is! The American military made frequent use of this word in Iraq and Afghanistan to explain why they dropped bombs on villages killing innocent people. Yes, two can play at the same game.
By handing over large groups of 'suspects' the Pakis could show the Americans they have been enthusiastic in the anti-terrorist war without actually surrndering the Taliban. Such rounding up of 'suspects' usually increased in tempo whenever President Musharraf was going overseas to a Western nation.
Innocents were bundled off to Guantanamo Bay, the notorious US Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan or by extraordinary rendition to Egypt and other American sponsored venues to suffer torture and interrogation, before the US found out after their nth screams that the majority of those poor blokes had nothing to do with terrorism.
Canadian Abdullah Khadr, Dutch Sajeel Shahid, Adil Shahid and Sohail Shahid and an Australian, Mahmoud Habib were among those innocent bystanders unfortunate enough (down on their @r$e-luck) to be sacrificed by the Pakistani military before they were eventually released by the Americans.
The US military have now finally realised that their Pakistani 'ally' had been playing them out. The Pakistani militray weren’t quite ready to hand over their real brethrens, the Taliban.
(1) The True Obsession of Pakistan!
(2) Pakistan & Osama Playing Footsie?
(3) Pakistan - America's Afghan Problem
(4) Pakistan - Each Foot on a Different Boat!