Pakistan fooled entire world by hiding Omar’s death: Sedney
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Stating that it is impossible to believe that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) did not know about the death of Mullah Omar, an ex-top Obama administration official from the Pentagon, has alleged that the Pakistani intelligence agency through its “tactical brilliance” has fooled the entire world but has put big question mark on its credibility with the United States.
“For me it is impossible to believe that they (ISI) did not know about the death of Mullah Omar,” David Sedney, who was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Afghanistan and Pakistan from 2009-2013 told Pajhwok Afghan News in an exclusive interview.
Narrating his own experience of interacting with officials from the Pakistani intelligence agency and its modus operandi while he was at the Pentagon, Sedney said he is “highly highly confident that at least few people” in ISI knew about the death of Mullah Omar.
This successful deception by Pakistan, he said, is also a failure of US-Pak intelligence co-operation and a failure of the American intelligence agencies as well. Sedney is now a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a top American think-tank.
Reflecting on the strong information network that the ISI has within the Taliban, Sedney pointed out to what happened in 2010 when Mullah Baradar and other Taliban leaders were reaching out to Afghanistan and to President Karzai and to the US and sending out feelers for peace talks.
“Pakistani intelligence picked up Mullah Baradar and about 40-50 people who were aligned with them and kept them in prison for four years. At that point it was in Pakistan’s interest to stop the peace talks. So they did that by arresting and in many cases torturing people who were engaging in the peace talks,” he said.
“So they (ISI) have that kind of knowledge of the Taliban. They certainly have enough knowledge to take some serious action to impact the Taliban's actions,” he said.
“In my default analysis Pakistan thought they would do a better job in controlling Mullah Mansoor with the image of Mullah Omar and they were afraid that the Taliban under Mullah Mansoor would disintegrate. … I think it may have been an issue of control,” he said.
“But, this also shows me some real tactical brilliance to carry off such a deception for two years. They fooled the entire world. But, at the same time it seems to me strategically questionable – the impact of the deception on Pakistan’s in the long term, I think is not that positive,” Sydney said.
Responding to a question, Sydney appreciated President Ashraf Ghani’s policy on Pakistan.
“I think President Ghani made the right choice in his reach out to Pakistan. If he had started off on a wrong foot with Pakistan, then he would have been even worse off. He has absorbed some political damage from a lot of anti-Pakistani people in Afghanistan for reaching out to Pakistan. He absorbed political costs for this outreach to Pakistan,” he said.
Ghani has been very clear with the Pakistani leadership about what he expects in terms of progress, Sydney said, adding that Afghan president has established a set of benchmarks, which have not been achieved.
“Real peace talks are not happening. The Pakistani military has not stopped the supply of any of the arms, ammunitions, and explosives across the border. President Ghani is going to call the Pakistanis to account,” he said.
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