Get Rethink Afghanistan Updates
Join us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Twitter Get E-Mail Updates
Join Us on Facebook

Pakistan’s Master Manipulator Gets His Way Again

Posted by on July 24th, 2010

From our partners at

By Steve Hynd

General Ashfaq Kayani, the head of the Pakistani army, has been retained in that position for the next three years when he was supposed to retire later this year. The official narrative is that he has reluctantly agreed to continue serving although he had not sought to do so – and that this is an internal decision which the U.S. had no part in. If you believe either of those I've a bridge to sell you.

Some, like Shuja Nawaz, think this will allow Kayani to "continue the transformation of the Pakistan into army into a professional body ready to fight insurgencies and conventional enemies equally well" and will be a stabilizing move. Others, like Josh Mull, see the extension of Kayani's term as "bad news for us, due to his cozy relationship with militants and terrorist organizations, as well as his undermining of the democratically elected civilian government" and "could be considered another in Pakistan’s long history of military coups, albeit a completely silent one."

My own view, as anyone who has followed my posts about the increasingly Emperor Palpatine lookalike General, is far closer to Josh's. The Guardian's Saeed Shah puts the underlying dynamic succinctly:

The sudden move underscores the army's strength over the democratically elected government of President Asif Ali Zardari, which has been racked by political turmoil. Kayani will now outlast the prime minister and the president and is likely to oversee the next general election.

Just as importantly, Kayani's hand-picked man for running Pakistan's ISI intelligence agency, General Pasha, has already been given his own extension.

 Guess who really runs Pakistan?

The US government loves Kayani – he's the kind of strongman Clinton, Holbrooke, Mullen and Petraeus are comfortable with while being sufficiently "behind the curtain" as to not raise too much talk of supporting dictators as was the case with Musharraf. The Western media, following their military sources as ever, love to trot out cliches about him while reporting on how important he is to US plans in the region. It's almost impossible to read a piece about Kayani in the mainstream which doesn't use at least two of "shadowy", "soft-spoken" and "chain-smoker". Some have gone as far as noting that he's respected because he's so machievellian, describing him as a "master manipulator" and quoting CIA sources as saying “We admire those traits”.

However, what you'll rarely find in Western coverage is that Kayani was ISI head during the terrorist attack on Mumbai in 2006 and Pasha was ISI head during the Mumbai massacre of 2008 – planning for both of which led back to Pakistan's intelligence agency.

Share this:
Rethink Afghanistan Facebook is leading the charge to end the war. Get breaking news and actions.


Subscribe via RSS
Become a Peacemaker

Bronze Telly Award
For general questions, email us here.
For technical issues regarding this site, contact us here.


For Press inquiries, please contact Kim at:

Director: Robert Greenwald - Executive Director: Jim Miller - Producer: Jason Zaro - Associate Producer: Dallas Dunn, Jonathan Kim, and Kim Huynh - Researcher: Greg Wishnev - Editor: Phillip Cruess - Political Director: Leighton Woodhouse - VP Marketing & Distribution: Laura Beatty - Production Assistant: Monique Hairston

Anyone is allowed to post content on this site, but Brave New Foundation 501(c)(3) is not responsible for that content. We will, however, remove anything unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, racist, or that contains other material that would violate the law. By posting you agree to this.

Brave New Foundation | 10510 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232