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Pakistan’s ISI and U.S.’ CIA Gives a Whole New Meaning to “Enemies From Within” Printer friendly page Print This
By Dallas Darling
Submitted by Author
Sunday, Oct 8, 2017

In war and peace, Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) and the U.S.‘s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) know too well that success in the battle for a population’s hearts and minds hinges not only on one side’s ability to operate comfortably in the other side’s physical terrain, but to also control its “human” terrain. However, and since the ability to affect the psychological battle space of an adversary and locals is dependent on the credibility of the message and the messenger, what happens when credibility unravels, or when the messenger even becomes an “enemy within” against the very state and its people from which it launches its wars and covert operations?

As Washington consequently dispatches advisers to Pakistan to teach it a lesson for harboring terrorist groups and “agents of chaos,” some warn to expect more chaos instead of less.

ISI’s New “Killer” Squads
For instance, Pakistan’s ISIS secretive apparatuses are once again being questioned-and quickly unraveling. In addition to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj alleging that ISI was creating terrorism, the Pakistani spy accused his agency of “protecting” terrorists. He and others moreover think the agency is taking no any action against terrorist groups from other countries but instead assisting them, such ISIS and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen in India. Even worse are reports that ISI launched a new terror group-Halal Dasta (“killer squad”) to terrorize local populations in India’s Jammu and Kashmir.(1)

CIA’s Old “Killer” Squads
Neither is the CIA a stranger to the same double standards. It too has connections with terrorist groups running its foreign policy. New evidence in fact just exposed cooperation between the CIA and ISIS terrorists. Coming on the heels of a Libya to Syria cash-for-weapons pipeline, Warfare Worldwide tweeted a video of Mohammed Moussa al-Shawwakh, an ISIS fighter from Deir Ezzor, recounting shocking details about U.S.-ISIS collusion.(2) Revealing how the U.S. protected ISIS in exchange for propaganda videos, he further detailed the delivery of weapons.

Russia, meanwhile, maintains the CIA is aiding and abetting ISIS too.(3) Consequently, was the real reason the U.S. finally sent ground troops to Syria, after attempting to topple the Assad regime, was to arm and train terrorist groups in fighting their archaic Cold War enemy, Russia?

Who Needs Each Other the More
Since the CIA came of age during the Cold War, it did immediately realize Pakistan’s strategic location in launching covert wars and acts of terror against the Soviet Union and China-and later Iran. Indeed, even Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, understood that: “America needs Pakistan more than Pakistan needs America,” for “Pakistan is the pivot of the world, the frontier on which the future position of the world revolves …Russia not so very far away.”(4) Not only did the CIA therefore help train ISI, but used it to funnel thousands of jihadists and billions of dollars worth of military aid as a bulwark against Communism in Afghanistan and its war with Iran.

Outlaw Agencies Waiting to Be Exposed and Tried
And yet, ISI knew it needed the CIA to continue its covert wars against Afghanistan and India and nuclear program. Not only did countless CIA and ISI intelligence officials work to achieve their own reality, redrawing Middle Eastern and Asian maps while encircling the Soviet Union and China, but they created and funded terrorist organizations. From the Mujahadeen of Afghanistan to LeT, al-Qaeda, JeM, Al-Shabaab, Haqqani Network, and ISIS, their goals were to not only manipulate terrorists groups to terrorize across border populations, but to instill fear and irrational panic at home, something which always paralyzes a population and excuses a need for more funding and extreme action.

The Real Danger May Be Enemies From Within
But then enemies from within, like the national elites of the CIA and ISI, have usually played covert roles in manipulating terrorist groups while managing the human terrains of what they consider to be “their” foreign and domestic populations. From the murder of John F. Kennedy to the Sept. 11 attacks or San Bernardino and now Syria and Libya, or the assassination of Benazir Bhutto to Abbottabad and attacks in Mumbai and now Jammu and Kashmir, such operations have been in fact likely hatched in Washington and Islamabad. Indeed, when an agency is only after increased power, money and influence, they have every reason to continue, even if in doing so wrecks the society they lead.

When Every Problem Looks Like a Nail…

It’s true the U.S.’ and Pakistan’s national security elites seem little different from each other-while only bringing Americans and Pakistanis grief. To shadowy and duplicitous agencies that only have a hammer, every problem look like a nail. Consequently, and just like the close ties between the CIA and ISI “publicly” dissolved in the 1990’s, when the U.S. lost interest in Afghanistan after the Soviet’s withdrew, the CIA and ISI are again becoming their worse enemies from within. Whereas ISI continues to bleed the U.S. in Afghanistan through the Taliban, the U.S. has increased its drone strikes in Pakistan-actually quite a lot. What’s more, both are vying for the same seedy terrorist groups.

…Even Manipulators Must Get Ready for Blowback
As President Donald Trump dispatches his top diplomatic and military advisers to Pakistan in the coming weeks, supposedly to turn up the heat on a nuclear-armed ally accused of giving safe haven to terrorists, don’t expect the real “agents of chaos” in the Middle East and Central Asia eliminate chaos. Indeed, Pakistan’s ISI and the U.S.‘s CIA will continue to use terrorist groups to accomplish their pathological goals. At some point, however, both ISI and the CIA may finally reap what they’ve sewn, experiencing blowback even between and among their own clandestine operations and ranks. Call it the “enemies from within” of my once allied “enemies from within.”

Dallas Darling is the author of Politics 501: An A-Z Reading on Conscientious Political Thought and Action, Some Nations Above God: 52 Weekly Reflections On Modern-Day Imperialism, Militarism, And Consumerism in the Context of John‘s Apocalyptic Vision, and The Other Side Of Christianity: Reflections on Faith, Politics, Spirituality, History, and Peace. He is a correspondent for You can read more of Dallas’ writings at and

(1) “Intelligence Bureau Accused of Protecting Terrorists By One of Its Own Spies,” by Malik Asad. September 26, 2017.
(2) “Captured ISIS Fighter Says We Work for the U.S. Government. September 28, 2017.
(3) “Russia Military Accusing U.S. of Supporting ISIS Group,” by Agence France Presse. October 4, 2017.
(4) Kelly, Christopher and Stuart Laycock. America Invades: Hw We’ve Invaded Or Been Militarily Involved With Almost Every Country On Earth. Bothell, Washington: Book Publishers Network, 2014., p. 226.

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