TIMOTHY NOAH SEPTEMBER 23, 2011
[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner]
On the same day that Rick Perry displayed a complete inability to answer a hypothetical question about Pakistan, Admiral Mike Mullen accused the Pakistani ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) of aiding and abetting the so-called "Haqqani network," which is believed to be responsible for a recent attack on the American Embassy in Kabul.
This news comes soon after a Guardian report claiming that America's Nato commander asked General Ashfaq Kayani, the most powerful man in Pakistan and the army chief, to "halt an insurgent truck bomb." According to The Guardian: "In reply General Ashfaq Kayani offered to 'make a phone call' to stop the assault on the US base in Wardak province. But his failure to use the American intelligence to prevent the attack has fuelled a blazing row between the US and Pakistan."
You might be wondering how the army leader could "make a phone call" to stop a terrorist attack. Put that aside, however, and focus on the Pakistani "denials" over these events. The first comes from the military's spokesman, General Athar Abbas, who said this:
"Let's suppose it was the case. The main question is how did this truck travel to Wardak and explode without being checked by Nato? This is just a blame game."
This may strike you as something less than a full-on refutation of the American claim. It was an improvement on the comments of Pakistan's defense minister, however, who only managed to say that the accusations were "baseless" and add as a non-sequitur, "No one can threaten Pakistan as we are an independent state."
But today, in response to Mullen's comments, General Kayani himself has felt it appropriate to make a statement. It is also not really a denial.
"Adm. Mullen knows fully well which…countries are in contact with the Haqqanis. Singling out Pakistan is neither fair nor productive."
Singling out? Translation: the Haqqani network has lots of supporters so why pick on us? The bottom line is that the de facto leader of an ostensible ally is not anxious to deny his country's role in an attack on an American embassy.