Musharraf allowed CIA base in FATA before Feb 18 polls, reveals new book

June 10th, 2008 - 3:25 pm ICT by ANI  

Pervez Musharraf

New York , June 10 (ANI): A new book has revealed that President Pervez Musharraf had allowed the US to set up a secret CIA base inside FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) in January this year to plan missile strikes by drones on militants.

In his book Descent into Chaos, senior Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid reveals that under US pressure for military actions in the tribal areas, Musharraf allowed a secret CIA base for attacks through predators.

On Jan 9, 2008, Mike McConnell, director of the National intelligence, and Gen Michael Hayden, director of the CIA, visited Islamabad where they discussed a plan to make operational in Fata a secret CIA base that could mount attacks on militants by drones armed with missiles, he writes in the book.

He further writes that Musharraf agreed and also accepted help from the US special-forces to train and mentor Pakistani counterterrorism units. The book also reveals that the US embassy in Islamabad had extensively reported back to Washington before the Feb 2008 vote, informing about the rigging plans being drawn up by the ISI to engineer the elections.

Ahmad Rashid also describes how the Bush administration remained soft on Musharraf despite all his follies and instead kept pushing late Benazir Bhutto to conform to the US-sponsored deal.

Two weeks before her death, Benazir Bhutto told me she was facing enormous pressure from the White House, particularly Vice-President Cheneys office, to conform, while there was no similar pressure on Musharraf to carry out his side of the bargain, Rashid writes in his new book, reported The News.

Ascertaining the reason why late Benazir Bhutto chose to strike a deal with Musharraf, the author said that she had calculated that this was the only chance for her to make a comeback, enjoy full support of the international community and cleanse her reputation. She knew that in the Army, only Musharraf, who was an Urdu-speaking Mohajir, now irrevocably weakened, could be persuaded to accept her. The next Army chief and the majority of generals were Punjabis, who would prefer to deal with fellow Punjabi Nawaz Sharif.

About her assassination, the author writes that the Afghan intelligence had privately warned her about a plot by extremists to assassinate her. Afghan President Hamid Karzai was the last dignitary who met Benazir shortly before her assassination. Karzai later told Rashid: She was very frank to me about the ISI and the role they were playing in undermining her. (ANI)

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