Yesterday, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik angrily insisted, as his government so often has in recent months, that there are absolutely no Blackwater forces operating inside the country, nor have there ever been.
The claims have long been scoffed at by Pakistani journalists, noting that retired CIA officials have been very open with the fact that they were using Blackwater security at an air base they have been using inside Pakistan to launch drone attacks.
What’s more, locals in the Pakistani city of Peshawar have been complaining for months about rude mercenaries in Blackwater uniforms roaming the streets of University Town with assault rifles. The organization, which has since changed its name to Xe, has been providing security to an American company there, completely openly.
The Pakistani government isn’t alone in these claims, as the US embassy in Pakistan has likewise denied that there is a single Blackwater agent in all of Pakistan. They’ve even gone so far as to get a Pakistani newspaper to censor an article to the contrary, claiming it was an incitement against America.
So how do the US and Pakistani governments explain the discrepency between their claims of no Blackwater employees being there and all the Blackwater employees operating in plain sight? In short they don’t. Pakistani media are condemned as “conspiracy theorists” when they report on Blackwater’s presence, accused of “endangering Americans” or supporting extremism. When it makes the Western press, it is simply ignored.