What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Khost attack on the CIA

Now that there is so much written about the bloody attack by Jordanian Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi on the CIA agents operating from FOB Chapman (see here and here) as well as on what can be assumed to be retaliatory drone attacks (see here), much of the attention seems to zero in on how CIA agents may have decided to personally meet with their supposed AQ double agent, "inherited" as he was, for the very first time, not even shying away from meeting him with so many of them there at the same time, getting conveniently near to someone who was only looking to apply a very kinetic kind of effect on them. An anonymous intelligence source is suggesting this may have been because he already gave information that was sufficient for kills in the past for the CIA, thus establishing a track record of reliability.
But there is an aspect to the story that is not thought through so much, in the press reports at least. How would an AQ "brick" suddenly decide he should go and meet CIA operatives deep in the middle of Haqqani land? How does he feel safe doing so? How does he think he will not be noticed or monitored rather? How can one assume he would have felt safe to go back after this meeting to his AQ associates?
(As an interesting aside, one may add that the Taliban have also claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that an ANA member committed the attack. H/t 2 Jihadica.)
Update: it seems like the borderland conglomerate as such may have been behind the attack, as the CIA is allegedly demanding the hunting down of, and extradition by, Pakistan of Ilyas Kashmiri, an ex-SSG Afghan hand, ex-Kashmiri, then and now HuJI militant, now anti-Pakistani government operative (a living legend in jihadi circles, essentially), in connection with the bombing, while the Haqqanis and AQ also remain in the limelight.

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