ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Undercover armed Americans are swarming the Pakistani capital in the latest sign that the elected government has allowed Washington to dispatch what is believed to be a large number of American special operations agents and contractual security guards, including the infamous Blackwater private militia.
This comes at a time when whistleblowers within the government and the military are reporting the arrival of a large number of US Marines in Pakistan. Some reports put the figure at 1,000 US soldiers, much of whom are thought to be arriving as part of the massive expansion of the US Embassy and four consulates across the country. While the US embassy continues to deny this, new buildings are under construction to house security teams. The expanded US embassy is supposed to become the largest US embassy in the world.
Above is an exclusive picture taken by a source at the entrance of Port Qasim near Karachi, showing US Hummers being transported out of the facility. According to the source, the shipment was not destined for Afghanistan. The picture was taken on Aug. 19, 2009 and being released here for the first time.
The latest evidence of the growing American military presence in the Pakistani capital is the arrest of four Americans carrying automatic weapons in a part of the Pakistani capital that foreigners seldom visit.
The four were arrested in Sector G-9 of Islamabad in the evening of Saturday, Aug. 29.
A police picket stopped two cars carrying the four Americans who refused to explain why they were carrying sophisticated automatic weapons in the capital city. Diplomats are not supposed to carry weapons because their security is the responsibility of the host government, and security guards are not supposed to be carrying weapons outside the embassy except during official assignments. The four were taken to a police station for interrogation but were released when two retired Pakistani army officers showed up and threatened police officers of dire consequences.
The police established that the four Americans carried diplomatic status and were part of the US embassy staff.
When I called today US embassy spokesperson Richard Snelsire about the incident, he refused to comment and referred me to the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Pakistani police.
“Do US diplomats normally carry weapons?” I asked.
Mr. Snelsire’s reply was, “Only if they are permitted” to do so by the Pakistani government. But he avoided commenting on the incident or explaining whether the four were diplomats.
The spokesman’s reaction confirms suspicions that private US security guards are active in Pakistan. For obvious reasons these guards do not come under the cover of US Department of State employees in Pakistan. This could be one reason why US embassy spokesperson declined comment on the story since the presence and the activities of the four armed men might be beyond the purview of the US embassy in Islamabad.
There is strong evidence that the private US mercenary army, Blackwater, has also established office in the Pakistani capital. Authorities have received several complaints of ill mannered military-type westerners misbehaving or recklessly driving by.
The Pakistani capital was the scene of at least two incidents recently where armed American diplomats verbally and physically assaulted Pakistani police officers. In one case, newspapers called for expelling an armed US diplomat who cursed and swore at the host country. The Pakistani government, which is known to be pro-American, refused to take action.
The Americans appear to have recruited a large number of retired Pakistani army officers, in addition to quietly hiring Pakistani civil servants without making any of this public. A famous government university professor in Islamabad who is active in US media campaigns against Pakistan’s nuclear program has also been hired as a consultant. Government employees cannot offer their services to foreign governments but this is happening now under an increasingly weak Pakistani state and government.
Who Is Inviting US Military To Pakistan
There are indications that the PPP government and some other politicians, like Nawaz Sharif, are encouraging the Americans to get involved in domestic issues especially as a hedge against a powerful Pakistani military. Politicians are aware they have led the country to a national failure on all fronts since the general elections in February 2008. The public mood is gradually turning against them. This has stoked the rumor mill about disgruntlement within the Pakistani military regarding the failures of the politicians.
Washington is spending nearly one billion dollars to expand its Islamabad embassy. On completion, the US embassy in Islamabad will become the largest in the world. Interestingly, both the government, led by President Zardari, and the opposition, led by Nawaz Sharif, refuse to question why Washington has been granted exceptional concessions to construct an imperial-size embassy and how at least 18 acres of the most expensive real state in the capital has been handed over to the Americans for this purpose at throwaway prices.