US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta stated in Kabul: ‘Dr Ayman-al-Zawahiri was hiding in Pakistan’s tribal region’. Panetta, who arrived in Afghanistan on Saturday on a surprise-maiden visit, was of the view that pressure will be mounted on Pakistan to kill Zawahiri.
He added that 20 top commanders of Al-Qaeda, might be living in Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen and North Africa, will be killed or arrested after Osama. Panetta said Pakistan has rendered great sacrifices in war against terrorism. May be Leon Panetta in his calculation is inaccurate. Dr Zawahiri is perhaps living in Rawalpindi’s Pearl Continental. As CIA’s manners warranted Osama was found, tracked and eliminated in Abbottabad may be if same Standard Operation Procedure is adopted Zawahiri could have checked in Rawalpindi’s PC. You never know.
Panetta elevated but not heading the CIA is advised if Zawahiri is in Pakistan who can stop another company of SEALs to track and kill him. After all the United States holds the licence to kill. So kill him. He is not Pakistan’s hero.
As General Cauliflower, I mean David Petraeus, took over as the Director of CIA we were anticipating a mild and reasonable approach in US policy if Langley has to frame policies. But a day never ends when a charge is not levelled against Pakistan. Panetta knows the game. General Cauliflower will take few weeks to learn the game. His briefings and debriefings will turn a soldier into a super spymaster. His induction as super spymaster simply reflects long-term engagement of the United States in the Central Asian, South Asian and Middle East regions.
The United States was left enemyless after dismemberment of the Soviet Union. It kept searching enemies around to keep its adventurers busy. So it began creating foes and friends.
Osama was a close friend of CIA at one time. Later he turned an enemy. A copycat organisation Al-Qaeda was created to keep the pot boiling. But at what cost. Involving South Asian region.
The game unfolded after 9/11 initially changed complexion of South Asian politics. With Afghanistan, a theatre of war, Pakistan an ally-at-a-distance and India a newly discovered ‘darling’. It was Rosenthal who commented in New York Times, “Ever since its independence, the US has made decisions about India and Pakistan fully aware that it was dealing with countries that would have increasing political and military significance, for international good or evil.