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Importance of Human Intelligence in

War against terrorism

Masood Ur Rehman *1

"Knowledge of the spirit world is to be obtained by divination;

information in natural science may be sought by inductive reasoning;
the laws of the universe can be verified by mathematical calculation:
but the dispositions of an enemy are ascertainable through spies and
spies alone."

Sun Tzu
(Art of War)
One of the major reasons of the failures in the Global War on Terrorism
is the human intelligence failure in the Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Without credible information we cannot win this war. Lack of
intelligence has proven to be a major hurdle in the tribal areas of
Pakistan where Pakistan army is engage in brining peace and stability.
Keeping in mind the importance of human intelligence we have to
formulate our further policies to accomplish our long term aims and
objectives. Today we are facing an enemy with better human
intelligence in tribal areas, if anyone found spying for Pakistan army or
the US is being mercilessly executed in public which deter the new
recruitment for the human intelligence. Despite technological
advancement there are few things which cannot be measured or
analyzed without active presence of ground spies. Main argument of
the article is human intelligence is very important as far as operations
in the tribal areas are concerned, without taking common people into
confidence we cannot achieve this goal.

* Author is doing M.Phil in Defence and Strategic Studies from Quaid-E-Azam University Islamabad.
And can be reached out at Soodi609@yahoo.com
Concept of Spying/Intelligence

“Knowledge of the enemy cannot be gained by reasoning from other

analogous cases." Nor by any deductive calculation”.

Sun Tzu was quit right in his approach, that knowledge of the enemy can only
be achieve by entering his area, deploying spies in the enemy area would
give an army with some accurate information which can be utilized later in
some military/commando operations in the tribal areas. The problem of the
tribal areas is the rugged mountainous terrain which is suitable for the
guerrilla warfare. In this type of warfare human intelligence plays a vital role.
It gives in depth information of the possible enemy maneuvering, its plan of
action and its future moves against the government’s security forces.
Furthermore it is quoted in the book Art of War that there are some
issues like

"Quantities like length, breadth, distance and magnitude, are

susceptible of exact mathematical determination; human actions
cannot be so calculated."

Which cannot be dealt with the assumption or suppositions, there is

need of active involvement of the men on ground who can give us
exact information about the following things. Additionally Sun Tzu
writes in his book that

“Knowledge of the enemy's dispositions can only be obtained from

other men”

This is a hardcore fact which cannot be denied, we need to have our

spies in extensive strength to know about the enemy nature,
character, strength, public support, and its exact location. Modern
technology like satellites, GPS, surveillance drones has their limitations
which cannot be 100% accurate as compare to the human intelligence
which is based on primary source. Moreover Sun Tzu has classified 5
types of spies; these types can be applied in Pakistan’s case in tribal
“When these five kinds of spy are all at work, none can
discover the secret system. This is called "divine manipulation of the
threads." It is the sovereign's most precious faculty”

Pakistan army should work on these lines and it must develop its
intelligence network on new lines in tribal areas, only then we can curb
these militants who are hiding in the suburb of FATA region.

1- Local spies: Sun Tzu says that local population of the area
should be taken into confidence and gets their support by giving them
opportunities, health facilities, development and most importantly
ownership, only then Pakistan army can succeed in these volatile areas
if it works on these parameters. Youth of the tribal population should
be given proper education, job opportunities in the armed forces and
FC (Frontier Core) so they don’t have any reservations against the
army and FC. These people will be more affected against the militants
because they are inhabitants of these areas, they are aware of the
terrain and can give more accurate information about the local and
foreign militants, their activities, movement and location.

2- Inward spies: from this option Sun Tzu means that making
use of the “officials of the enemy”. In our case we can also apply these
things on tribal areas, we can make utilize of the captured miscreants
and can give them hefty rewards if they agree to support the Army,
this option can be utilized in an effective manner and better
persuasion. We can ensure them of better future and career not only
for themselves but for their families too; in that reward we can utilize
them as “Inward Spies”. They can provide us deep information about
the plans and strategies of the militant; it would enhance our counter
terrorism and counter insurgency capabilities.

3- Converted spies: “It means getting hold of the enemy's

spies and using them for our own purposes.” It is also a possible option
for the Pak Army, we can utilize captured spies and convert them into
our agents in the tribal areas, and we can promise them for their
release with heavy amount and better future opportunities, but in
remuneration they will ensure their trustworthiness to Pak-Army and
provide it with handful information about the enemy’s position and
activities. Or they also can be used to provide false information to the
Taliban militants about Pak-Army; it would help us to deceive them.
4- Doomed spies: means “doing certain things openly for
purposes of deception, and allowing our spies to know of them and
report them to the enemy.” These types of spies can also be utilized to
mislead our enemies. Chankya Kautilya also believes in the same
dictum. In these types of spies’ deceptions plays an important role.

5- Surviving spies: are those who bring back news from the
enemy's camp. These are the people who possess great courage and
passion for the country, Pakistan armed forces and intelligence
agencies possess bulk of people like this who can endanger their lives
for the cause of the country. Furthermore Sun Tzu writes that the
people who are involved in such operations should be having certain
qualities like

“keen intellect”, but outlook should give impression of a fool

but with “Iron will”, active, robust, endowed with physical strength and
courage, thoroughly accustomed to all sorts of dirty work able to
endure hunger and cold and put up with shame and ignominy.”

All these qualities would make his operation more useful and
successful. We need these types of people to be deployed in FATA, who
can play their role effectively and provide security forces with more
accurate and timely intelligence which latest technology sometimes
unable to provide.

Pakistan in tribal areas is facing severe problems just because of the
lack of access to the appropriate information about the Taliban
hideouts and their movement. Our so called allies are unable to
provide us well-timed information because of trust deficit. So we have
to materialize our own resources instead of asking external help. Our
armed forces and our intelligence agencies have the potential,
capacity and will to carry out such operations. We can utilize our own
man power and use them for apt information. No doubt latest
surveillance systems, satellites, drones and other latest electronic
equipment are essential in spying today but all these latest equipment
and technologies have their own limitations which cannot be utilized in
certain conditions and situations, so in these circumstances human
intelligence can play a vital role in FATA. The spying tactics which Sun
Tzu many centuries ago had given are still possible today and can be
utilized in tribal areas to avoid any further collateral damage.