Samson Simon Sharaf For Pakistanis, this is not time to feel embarrassed and to hang heads in shame over the simplicity and quickness of the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. It is rather, a time for a long overdue bugle cry that Pakistan is at war. 1/5 was not Pakistans Day inasmuch as 9/11 exposed the vulnerabilities in USAs Homeland Security. Writing in TheNation in December 2009, I had assessed the next 18 months and beyond as crucial for Pakistan and reiterated that Pakistan must reassert itself on February 20. I had written: The next 18 months and beyond will test Pakistan to the verge. Between the 14th and 17th months, we have witnessed the Raymond Davis case, a drone attack on a peaceful jirga, a full-fledged conventional multi-directional night attack on a border outpost in Dir, a border skirmish at Angoor Adda and now the operation to kill Osama bin laden. Writing an article, Pakistan: A Rudderless State, earlier in TheNation in November 2010, I had cautioned the security planners of Pakistan to beware of the Cold Start type operations from across the Durand Line. I had also written about the heavily fortified US and ISAF citadels in Afghanistan that would be used as pivots of such operations against Pakistan. No one in our security establishment and the media took notice of the warnings. 2009-2010 had been remarkable years of Pakistans fight against militancy. During this time, joint intelligence operations led by Pakistan had resulted in the elimination of numerous prized targets both from TTP and Al-Qaeda. The efficiency of information gathering was such that many high value targets deemed missing and believed to be killed had been brought back into focus and neutralised, some amongst them US nationals. But by mid-2010, this cooperation began to wane due to the direct influx of the CIA agents into Pakistan. Since this influx was not a part of the working agreements between the ISI and CIA, Pakistans security establishment felt that they were being stabbed in the back. Counter security efforts, on part of Pakistan, identified hundreds of locations in the country in which the US agents had located themselves inside Pakistan covertly. Some of these locations were heavily fortified and the activities inside them were always dubious. After much rallying, Pakistan was able to force the closure of some of these locations, but not all. Meanwhile, the network of CIAs local informers was spreading, a reason why the agency forced budgetary reallocations for its operations in Pakistan. With huge funds to play around, the CIA could now buy off anyone, including Al-Qaeda agents whose data Pakistan had shared with the USA. They put tags on many such targets and monitored all their movements and places of visit. Consequently, what they have been able to track with their superior technical resources and heavy monetary disbursements is a trail of redoubts within Pakistan, where the militants have contacts and hiding places. Then came the Raymond Davis shooting and some issues became public. There is definitely a trove of very important information that the US has extracted from shared sources and double crossing. One such is the hideout of Osama bin Laden, his courier trails and much more. The biggest vulnerability that Pakistan faces is that some of its own assets within this Al-Qaeda trail may have been exposed, or double crossed and could be used to blackmail Pakistan into coercion. With all this information coming from electronic chatter, media and social websites, I was able to piece the 'most dangerous hypotheses that predicted covert sting and intelligence and overt JSOC operations inside Pakistan that subsequently became the theme of my articles on the subject. Having been vindicated, this does not end here. I have followed the information about the Kakul raid on a real timeline with startling conclusions. According to information available on twitter and TV channels, the explosion and helicopter crash were successively reported before midnight on May 1, 2011. The call to President Asif Zardari came well past midnight implying that it was made much after the operation had been completed. I am also sure that Zardari was told by President Barack Obama to ask the PAF not to interfere in the flight path of the US aircrafts. Concurrently, by the time the air force scrambled, the US troops were well outside Pakistans air space. As an operational planner, I am wary of the fact that Pakistans surveillance system on the Western front did not respond. The systems are deployed in layers in multiple redundancies to ensure that some elements of information do manage to beep through. The electronic systems are reinforced with human resources wherein even a section commander in a border post is trained to immediately report a violation or an activity in real time. Why such a credible system was forced into passivity should be the subject of an inquiry and a story of the future. Surprisingly, much credible chatter emanated when the US helicopters made the exit. I am also aware of the safety layers in US military procedures and purely on technical grounds feel that this operation was carried out by at least four or even more helicopters, including transport versions, with credible foolproof backups all along. Simply put, the operation had a sizable operational and logistical trail. Already information is available that the operation had ground intelligence and pathfinder support from US assets very close to the target area. Does this also imply that there was some sort of complicity by Pakistan to facilitate such an operation? Does this mean that the US helicopters did not enter Pakistans air space on the day of the raid and were pre-positioned for such an operation? However, what can be concluded with accuracy is that the CIA agents have penetrated every nook and corner of Pakistan under the eyes of its counter intelligence, a fact that will be vindicated in the near future. The reaction of Pakistans defence forces to the raid was slow in coming. Complicity at the cost of such a disgrace appears a bad bargain and unrealistic. The army and air force cannot absolve themselves. The reaction of the ISI that will never become public is perhaps that of betrayal by the US. Many of its intelligence assets that it had shared with the CIA have now double crossed and as an independent risk and security analyst on South Asia says made Al-Qaeda richer. My analysis leads me to conclude that some levels of selective complicity existed, and it is this that combined with pre-positioning of US assets inside Pakistan. Foreign aircrafts have operated in Pakistan with impunity during the 2005 earthquake, 2010 floods, training missions, etc. It is nigh possible that these flights were also used to dump hardware at secret locations that could subsequently become pivots for such operations. Troops for such operations could move into Pakistan under the garb of training, diplomatic staff and travellers coming to Pakistan from the USA or Europe, and local recruitments. Remember that some US soldiers as reported by the media spoke fluent Urdu in a Pakistani accent. Then there is also the much hyped issue of CIA contractors in Pakistan. Many of them have since returned, but not before completing the groundwork for an effective CIA presence in Pakistan all through the long war. The retired CGS of GHQ, Lt Gen (retd) Shahid Aziz had once claimed that he himself had reported evidence of USAs amphibious landing on the Balochistan Coast with the trails leading to interior Balochistan. If these landings indeed took place, where did these forces ultimately go, or where did they dump and move their cargo? There is also the case of over 22,000 missing containers. Even if a mere hundred of them carried military hardware and knocked down helicopters, where has all the cargo gone and has anyone noticed it. The theory gets credence from a fact that in one of the ambushes, a container had a complete disassembled Blackhawk helicopter of the type used in Kakul. My hypothesis is that from 2010 onwards, USA had built up a considerable covert military presence in Pakistan facilitated through visas bypassing the standing operating procedures, indiscriminate entry of containers into Pakistan, holding back of scanning equipment to scan these containers and bribes offered by the container operators from Karachi to the Afghan border. Even the NLC was foxed into this in the name of business. As a military professional, I know that you do not need huge radioactive machines to scan these containers. A good thermal imaging device abundant in Pakistan can do the trick. These are the reasons that put the Government of Pakistan and the Defence establishment at odds, something like a reverse replay of Kargil. While President Zardari like ever will use the occasion to push the army and ISI back and shore up new alliances to hedge his government, the security establishment may fight back in the name of national interest. If this happens, it will set a confrontational environment with realignment of strange bedfellows. As Pakistan will be destabilised further, Obamas war in Afghanistan would be over and the long war in Pakistan begun. The writer is a retired brigadier and a political economist. Email: