According to Reuters, the head of the CIA said on 19 Oct that a U.S-Canadian couple kidnapped by Islamist militants in Afghanistan was held inside neighboring Pakistan for five years before being freed. American Caitlan Coleman along with her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle and their two sons were rescued by Pakistan army through a sting operation few days back and immediately shifted to Canada.
“We had a great outcome last week when we were able to get back four U.S. citizens who had been held for five years inside of Pakistan,” CIA Director Mike Pompeo told the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank in Washington.
This disclosure comes after exchange of encouraging words from President Trump, as reported by the press, Donald Trump appreciated the recovery of the Canadian-American couple from Taliban captivity by Pakistan’s terming it as a “positive moment” for US relations with Pakistan. The Pakistan government’s cooperation is a sign that “it is honouring America’s wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region”, Trump said in a White House statement.
With U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson heading to South Asia and Middle East, including Pakistan and India, in a week-long trip starting on 20 Oct, the spoilers in US and India want to put maximum pressure on Pakistan through gimmickry and bad mouthing.
Before the disclosure by CIA Chief, there was a dramatic story run through New York Times by Adam Goldman and Eric Schmitt that Navy Seals were ready to pounce on the target in case Pakistan failed. As stated by NewYork Times, ‘a C.I.A. drone was circling a remote valley in northwest Pakistan last month when it picked up an unusual sight: a young woman and children in a militant camp. To intelligence analysts, she appeared to be an American abducted five years earlier while backpacking in Afghanistan with her Canadian husband.
Military planners mobilized members of the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, an elite group of commandos, to mount a rescue, according to senior American officials. But the operation was called off amid concerns, and days later, the C.I.A. watched in alarm as militants drove the family out of the camp and across Pakistan’s lawless tribal lands.
The top American diplomat in Pakistan, Ambassador David Hale, turned to his host country, one of the officials said, delivering an urgent message to the Pakistani government: Resolve this, or the United States will.
Earlier attempts by US intelligence to free the Boyles from Haqqanis in 2016 had failed and as per Goldman, ‘American officials said communications with the Haqqani network had gotten garbled, causing confusion, and the death of the leader of the Taliban, killed by a United States drone strike last year, also set back efforts to rescue the hostages; the diapers that F.B.I. agents in Afghanistan had bought for Ms. Coleman’s children would go unused’.
With 50% Afghanistan under the Taliban and other splinter groups, how many Boyles and Colemans are being kept under captivity within Afghanistan by Taliban, TTP; JuA, Daish, CIA and Indian RAW? This could be a million dollars question.
Pakistan being the whipping boy of the West, especially when it comes to Afghan imbroglio, is the easiest target. With those Navy Seals and plethora of forces of ISAF, ANA, NATO, and high tech drones and satellites, why did US lead coalition fail in last five years to rescue the Boyle’s family.
Why the Navy seals placed and positioned in Afghanistan always launch covert operations within Pakistani territory bordering Afghanistan and not in Afghanistan? Why we witness an increase in drone strikes and terrorist attacks on both sides of Pak Afghan border, the moment there is some high level visit or talk between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Indian intervention and mischief cannot be ruled out, as we saw Ajit Doval rushing to Afghanistan last week and briefing President Ashraf Ghani before his scheduled visit to Pakistan.
Taking a leaf from our previous article published in The Nation, it may be prudent to apprise the public within Pakistan and international community that so called Global war on Terror has added more terror to the targeted states and nations in last two decades. With induction of dark forces like Blackwater into Iraq, the US and the West paved the way for sectarian conflicts, laying the foundation of ISIS. It is also not a coincidence that Blackwater came into being before 9/11 and was ready to be unleashed in the ungovernable areas of the Middle East after the governing structures and military machines of Iraq and Syria were dismantled by the mighty US. The West has probably forgotten that the Taliban are a by-product of the anti-Soviet jihad whose syllabus was prepared in Florida; that CIA-led campaign created thousands of madrassas across Pakistan to feed the engines of this asymmetric war.
Pakistan, with its establishment and intelligence agencies, has been always been made a scapegoat when things don’t go the West’s way.
Unfortunately, such attitudes have not helped peace in the region, whether it is the Middle East or Afghanistan. In case of Afghanistan, Pakistan’s efforts to build a case for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process are clearly manifested in the diplomatic initiatives undertaken by the Pakistani leadership.
With almost 1,680,000 registered and 1.5 million illegal Afghan refugees, Pakistan tops the list of refugee hosts in the world. Afghan transit trade is the only viable option available to Afghanistan; Karachi serves as the main conduit for commerce and trade. The Pakistani military and general public has borne the brunt of terrorist attacks across the country and is rolling back the scourge of terror with one of the largest military operations in its tribal areas. Since 2003, the US-led NATO’s lifeline of strategic logistics not only passed through Pakistan but was also protected by the same military that US and Indian media keeps targeting.
The US is also advised to look at shifting sands in Eurasia. Being helped by China and Russia in economic spheres, which are the best way to empower people and uplift the masses, Pakistan is looking at indirectly defeating terrorism. Trump has already indicated a positive stance towards Pakistan and appreciated her efforts to collectively fight the terrorism in the region. Instead of mudslinging and Pak-bashing, which has become stereotyped and boring; there is a need to come together and genuinely help the region in coming out of the morass of terrorism, let us march for peace together.