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Pakistan’s double game comes under the spotlight once again

1 December 2010

9:31 AM

1 December 2010

9:31 AM

The leak that keeps on
leaking
has one or two embarrassing titbits about our domestic policymakers this morning. Yet far more noteworthy are the
documents on Pakistan. While they don’t tell us too much that is surprising – being mostly about the duplicitous game that country is playing with the West – they do highlight some
potentially worrying trends.

Chief among them is the growing influence of General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani, the head of Pakistan’s army. His name is littered generously throughout the US briefings, and it is often connected with
dangerous conspiracy and double-dealing. One document, for instance, suggests that Kiyani was prepared to overthrow
the Pakistani President, Asif Zardari, last year. Another advises the US government to take a strong line with
Kiyani over the Pakistan Army’s "overt or tacit support for militant proxies (Haqqani network, Commander Nazir, Lashkar-e-Taiba)". The last round of leaks highlighted Kiyani’s policy of arming and aiding the Taliban, when he was in charge
of Pakistan’s security agency.

This is more than just a matter of internal Pakistani politics. As Ahmed Rashid wrote in an insightful piece for The Spectator in July, the fact that Kiyani is now the "most
powerful man in Pakistan" makes him a determining factor in what happens to Afghanistan once Western forces leave. The result may well be concessions to the Taliban than few would have
countenanced even a few years ago.


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