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Sunday 1 August 2010

Straight Talking

Young Dave, fresh from putting French and German noses out of joint over the continuing messing around of Turkey on accession to the EU, has now gone to India and hacked off the Pakistanis over the equally touchy subject of terrorism, and more specifically the involvement of the Pakistani security services in it.

The agency involved, the ISI, does appear to have been on rather too close terms with the folks that Prince Harry called “Terry Taliban”. Some Taliban members, and elements loyal to Osama Bin Laden, also appear to be able to slip in and out of Pakistan at will, and use part of the country as a safe haven.

Which means that when Cameron says that Pakistan cannot “look both ways”, it is a case of stating the obvious. But the folks in Islamabad are not happy, and have cancelled a visit to the UK of some senior intelligence officers. Taking a suitably cynical view, I rate this as a potentially good thing: it’s one more opportunity not to give them the chance of getting hold of information they might prove unable to keep to themselves.

Moreover, the USA has also voiced its disquiet over the ambivalence of the ISI to the Taliban. Perhaps Cameron’s plain speaking could wake up the Pakistani leadership: it was all very well being on good terms with the Taliban back in the days of Afghanistan’s occupation by the then USSR, but continuing to help them now is harming its internal security.

And, while the UK and USA are embroiled in the Afghan campaign, it’s harming us as well. Someone has to tell the authorities in Islamabad.

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