Here’s an interview with a Pakistani intelligence guy, published last week. I certainly don’t vouch for either his credentials or his statements, but if true it’s an interesting piece in light of the situation in Afghanistan.
Pakistani CIA Informant: ‘Drone Attacks Are the Right Thing to Do’
An Interview By Hasnain Kazim
The article you are reading originally appeared in German in issue 49/2013 (December 2nd, 2013) of DER SPIEGEL.
A Pakistani who works as an operative for the CIA spoke to SPIEGEL about his motives for helping the Americans, the civilian casualties of drone attacks and his fear of the Taliban.
Intelligence operative Mohammed Hassan (*) … works for the CIA.
He provides data and information for the Americans’ drone missions in the Pakistani tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan. He lives there and is of Pashtun ethnicity. He says that he has decided to talk because if he didn’t, he would drive himself crazy, and because the whole world is critical of the drone attacks — and in his perception, this makes the world critical of his actions, too. “However, I feel that this weapon is the right tool in the fight against extremists,” he says.
He is opposed to talks with the Taliban, which the Pakistani government supports. [My boldface. --J.] “What can you talk about with these kinds of people? About their share of power?” According to Hassan, the Taliban want an Islamic state according to their convictions, one with no roads, no schools, no music, no art and no enjoyment of life. “Nothing but pray, pray, pray. It has nothing to do with modern Islam.” He fears that chaos will ensue if the Americans end their drone missions in Pakistan, because it will descend into a dog-eat-dog struggle for power.
But he is also plagued by the fear of being discovered and murdered by the Taliban. He’s asked us not to print his real name or his real profession, or even identify the part of the tribal regions where he lives. He says that he can only speak openly under these conditions. He has brought along photos of meetings with Taliban commanders, as well as documents that he says serve as proof of his access to important information.
SPIEGEL: You don’t exactly look like a US spy.
Hassan: What did you expect? We Pashtuns look like Pashtuns. Just because I have a beard and dress the way we tribal people happen to dress doesn’t mean that we’re Taliban. There are also reasonable people among us.
SPIEGEL: You pass on information to the American intelligence agency, the CIA, which it uses to kill your countrymen with drones. You call that reasonable?
Hassan: We are at war, and I am part of this war. When does a war make sense? To be honest, I think the US drone missions are the right thing to do. Believe me, no weapon is more effective in fighting extremists. Hakimullah Mehsud, the head of the Taliban for many years, was killed on Nov. 1. Many other more or less high-ranking extremists were killed before that. From a military standpoint, it’s a success for the United States. And I contribute to that success.
SPIEGEL: The Pakistani government and the army complain that the US attacks are a violation of Pakistani sovereignty.
Hassan: What sovereignty? The nation of Pakistan has had no control over the tribal regions for decades. The military has a few barracks there. They are well-guarded fortresses, and the soldiers hardly dare to step outside. Pakistani law doesn’t apply in the tribal regions, neither the constitution nor any other law. Tribal rules are all that counts. The Taliban claim that they are very effective. But I think they’re more primitive than anything else.
[ . . . ] Continue reading quite a bit more at Der Spiegel on-line.