Washington: Pakistan`s powerful army
chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, long considered a close ally
by America, is now thought by President Barack Obama`s aides
to be stonewalling Washington`s call for decisive action
against terrorists` safe havens in the country`s turbulent
Top Obama administration officials say that Kayani has
refused to adhere to any of the four demands of the US
conveyed to him during a trip made by top aides in May this
year just after a failed bomb plot at Times Square in New York
by Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad.
The apparent American misgivings on Kayani, considered
to be the power centre in Pakistan, has grown so much that
Bruce Riedel, a top former CIA official and one of the
architects of America`s Af-Pak policy told Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of US Staff Admiral Mike Mullen recently not to
trust him (Kayani) as he is a "liar".
However, Mullen went ahead to build a person-to-person
relationship and had faith in the commitment shown by the
Pakistan army chief, said a new book `Obama`s war` by Bob
Woodward, noted investigative journalist.
At a White House meeting on March 11, attended by
National Security Advisor Gen (rtd.) James Jones, Defence
Secretary Robert Gates and Mullen, Riedel urged Mullen not to
trust Kayani as he was a liar.
"I have known every head of ISI since the mid-1980s,"
Riedel is quoted as saying.
"Kayani is either not in control of his organisation
or he is not telling the truth. The US should see the obvious
and connect the dots. The Pakistanis are lying," he said.
Addressing Mullen, he said, "you have met Kayani some
dozen times, you know him better than anyone else. My
impression is that he falls into the second category ? liar,"
the book says.
Woodward, who was given access to some of the
classified documents as part of writing his book, wrote that
Mullen did not disagree.
The book also draws on crucial visits undertaken by
CIA chief Leon Panetta and Jones to Islamabad to convey
Obama`s warning that US would have no other option but to
respond if Pakistan did not take decisive action against
terrorists and their safe havens.
The book says that after meeting Zardari, Panetta and
Jones met Kayani to tell the Pakistani army chief that the
clock was now starting on all the four requests made by Obama.
But Kayani would not budge very much. He had other
concerns. "I`ll be the first to admit, I`m India centric," he
said, according to the book.
Woodward wrote that Jones and Panetta left feeling
they had made only baby steps.
"How can you fight a war and safe havens across the
border? Panetta asked in frustration. The latest intelligence
showed trucks crossing the border that were full of Taliban
combatants with all kinds of weapons packed in the back. They
were being waved through into Afghanistan to kill Americans at
checkpoints controlled by the Pakistanis. It`s a crazy kind of
war," Panetta said.
The book says that Riedel bluntly told the President
and his team that they should not rely on Admiral Mullen`s
conversations with General Kayani. "As at best, it would be
half the story," Woodward said.