Intelligence: The Pakistani Disconnection


January 14, 2009:  Two years ago, NATO and U.S. commanders sought to get Pakistan to share information on Taliban movements, and do so in a timely fashion (so NATO troops or aircraft can catch the Taliban as soon as they cross the border.) This cooperation is now in place, but with mixed success.

The U.S. has been developing an informer network in this area for the last six years. But these were not as extensive as what the Pakistanis had in the area. In 2008, the new civilian government forced Pakistani intelligence to share, and that, combined with the U.S. informant information, led to a large number of reliable target locations, for a short period of time. This resulted in five senior terrorist leaders getting killed by Hellfire missiles, along with many more mid-level ones, in late 2008. But the terrorists appear to have taken down some key informants, as well as becoming much more stealthy in their movements and communications.

The Pakistani government continues to pressure their intelligence services (the ISI and military intelligence) to get rid of Islamic radical (and often pro-terrorist) members and to cooperate more effectively with the Americans. So far, cooperation has been uneven. Many military intelligence officials just go through the motions of cooperating, while some do make an effort, and deliver quality material.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has increased its efforts to recruit informants in the Pakistani tribal areas along the border, and cultivate those Pakistani intelligence officials who seem cooperative. The U.S. is putting more electronic monitoring aircraft over the area, and continuing its Internet monitoring work. The recent burst of success is a big incentive, because once you have good location information, dead terrorists tend to follow.





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