Indian Intelligence Report Paints Bleak Picture of Pakistani Military
By Daveed Gartenstein-Ross
Over the past year, I've devoted a great deal of attention to the developing situation in Pakistan (see my recent Weekly Standard cover story, as well as blog entries here and at National Review's The Tank). In my recent Weekly Standard story, I note that Pakistan's military "does not appear to be up to the task of confronting the militants" that dominate in the tribal areas. Now The Times of India discusses an Indian intelligence report that vividly illustrates the challenges that Pakistan's military faces:
The Pakistani Army is "bleeding", and quite profusely at that, in its ongoing bloody skirmishes with extremists in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, with a "high" casualty rate as well as "unprecedented" levels of desertions, suicides and discharge applications.
This is the "assessment" of the Indian security establishment closely tracking developments in Pakistan's federally administered tribal areas (FATA), especially the Waziristan region, as also the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Balochistan. . . .
"These outfits were once nurtured by ISI, and now the chickens are coming home to roost. Our estimates show around 1,000 Pakistani soldiers have been killed in the fighting. Casualties in 'Operation Al Mizan' in north Waziristan have been particularly high," said an official.
"As per our intelligence inputs, Pakistani officers are jostling with low morale among their troops. The abductions and killings of soldiers by militants have only added to the disenchantment among troops, which is being reflected in a large number of desertions, suicides and AWOL (absent without leave) cases," he added.
The Indian report mentions a full 160 desertion cases from the FATA and NWFP between just October 11 and 16, as well as soldiers "refusing to obey orders" in Waziristan.