Monday, August 17, 2015

Wonders & Blunders of General Hamid Gul

Lieutenant-General (R) Hamid Gul, who has died aged 78, was a former Chief of Inter-Services Intelligence, who became famous as a "Fatherly-Figure" of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Hamid Gul was commissioned in the Armored Corps of the Pakistan Army in 1958. During the 1965 war with India, he served as a tank commander, in one of the largest tank-battles in history, and was decorated for bravery.

A couple of decades later, General Gul became head of the ISI in 1987 and masterminded a successful guerrilla war against the Soviets in Afghanistan by funneling in armaments to the Mujahideen (some later become the Taliban and Al-Qaeda), that proved instrumental in giving rather warm farewell to the Soviets in Afghanistan.

One of his proudest possessions was a piece of the Berlin Wall, presented to him by the people of the city in gratitude for "delivering the first blow" to the Soviet empire through his use of Jihadi fighters.

General Gul's wonderful fortunes turned around as soon as the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan, and he started making his share of blunders.

First, as Chief of Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, General Gul was unable to get a sniff of plot to murder President Zia-ul-Haq in plane crash on August 17th 1988, it was indeed an intelligence failure.

A year later, in early 1989, General Gul masterminded the unsuccessful Mujahideen operation to capture Jalalabad from the Afghan Army, an operation which triggered a civil war in Afghanistan that is still being fought in some forms and costed millions of lives. Pakistan not only suffered big from the fall out of Afghan civil war but is giving countless sacrifices till now.

Ostensibly as a result of this failure, General Gul was immediately sacked by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and in 1992 he took early retirement from the Army.

May Allah bless him for his wonders and forgive him for his blunders.

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