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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pakistan Picks New Chief for Intelligence Agency

LTG Ahmed Shuja Pasha

It appears that GEN Ashfaq Kayani is consolidating his power over the very important Pakistani Army Officer Corps by replacing LTG Nadeem Taj, who was appointed to head the ISI by former Army Chief and President Pervez Musharraf, with LTG Ahmed Shuja Pasha. This goes along with "a host of other major personnel changes, most important of which is the appointment of Lt. Gen. Tahir Mehmood as corps commander in Rawalpindi — the second most critical position, behind chief of army staff, for any coup," according to The Pakistan Policy Blog

Although the article from The Washington Post hints that this is probably the result of a strategy review of Pakistani operations in areas bordering Afghanistan including the North-West Frontier Province, I think it is just GEN Kayani consolidating his power over the Army by getting rid of Musharraf appointees and getting ready to implement a new strategy. Hopefully, this strategy will be to the benefit of the U.S., but, frankly, the Pakistanis must be asking themselves, "What has the U.S. done for me lately?" This is especially true given the recent U.S. support of a nuclear pact with Pakistan's mortal enemy, India (see Nuclear Pact With India Gets Approval of House). This further illustrates how important it is for the U.S. to give Pakistan security guarantees that we will not withdraw from Afghanistan prematurely leaving Pakistan, and the ISI who deals with the Taliban on a daily basis, with a, to use a Rep. Boehner coined term, "mud sandwich." As I have advocated on this blog previously, a top priority for the U.S. should be to normalize relations between four of our current or potential allies: the Kurds and the Turks as well as the Pakistanis and the Indians. Right now, both Pakistan and India do not trust us, and with our track record, I don't blame them.

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