How many journalists does it take to fix an Afghan light bulb?
Ever since Amrullah Saleh, the head of Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) resigned after a Taliban attack on the Afghan Peace Jirga, the Pakistani establishment has gone to great lengths to malign the former intelligence official. This insidious campaign aims to both target Mr. Saleh’s credibility and restore a Pakistan-favorable narrative in Kabul’s corridors of power.
The News was one of the first media outlets to attack Mr. Saleh:
Amrullah Saleh has taken up the full-time job to malign Pakistan on one end while providing all sorts of assistance to terrorists to step up activities on the soil of Pakistan on the other. He throughout had been in league with Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to destabilise Pakistan but has been recently ousted by Afghan President Hamid Karzai due to his dubious role in the affairs of the state. Amrullah has also assumed the task of creating difficulties for the Afghan administration. [The News]
Rahimullah Yusufzai, editor of The News‘s sister publication, Jang, kept up the heat on Mr. Saleh:
Amrullah Saleh regards Pakistan and the ISI as Afghanistan’s enemy number one, but has no proof to support his claims. If Mr. Saleh believes that the ISI is responsible for the ills in his nation, why hasn’t he produced any proof to the effect? Amrullah Saleh is a Tajik, whose alliances lay with Ahmad Shah Massoud and Burhanuddin Rabbani — both of whom were rabidly anti-ISI….[S]aleh is anti-Pashto, has tried to give voice to the Northern Alliance, and holds Pakistan responsible for all the problems Afghanistan faces. [جنگ]
But no propaganda campaign is complete without input from former ISS Director, Dr. Shireen Mazari, who as editor of The Nation, opined thus:
It is in this connection that the story in Nawai Waqt regarding RAW hiring the ex-Afghan Chief Amrullah Saleh, who resigned recently and spouted venom against Pakistan’s ISI In the now infamous Sunday Times story, must be taken seriously by the concerned organisations in Pakistan. After all, as the Afghan intelligence chief Saleh would have had access to Pakistan-US information sharing of a sensitive nature, which could prove valuable to India in its ongoing covert operations in Pakistan. [The Nation]
That Amrullah Saleh is a Tajik is irrelevant. When a country’s intelligence and military establishment acts as chief patron to a group that unleashed unspeakable horror in a neighboring country, it is only understandable that the citizens of that country harbor resentment towards the patron.
There is deep concern in Rawalpindi that Mr. Saleh, while not being constrained by official capacity, might take the war to Pakistan and reveal things that ‘Pindi wouldn’t care to have disclosed in public domain. The attacks, therefore, should be considered as preemptive strikes against anything that Mr. Saleh will likely reveal against the Pakistani establishment. After all, when an aggrieved intelligence official speaks, solid matter is bound to hit the air circulating equipment.