Some people liked to tell me that I wasn’t going to be able to achieve much in my life. Others liked to take advantage of me, thinking that I was weaker than them. My singular goal was to prove them wrong. My name is Kamal Khan.
My exposure to the Pakistan Army began at an early age through my paternal grandfather. He would tell me stories about the struggles and sacrifices for the nation during times of war and peace. My obsession with the uniform started there.
I studied at the University Public School in Peshawar, where I made some the best friends of my life, graduating with a generation of memories and experiences. I was never very strong in the classroom and decided that the best place for me was enlisting in the Pakistan Army. Best decision I ever made in my life! Although my father basically disowned me for “throwing my life away.”
My Army career has been filled with successes. Attending the prestigious Sandhurst Academy, Quetta Sniper School and being deployed to Fort Benning Army Base in the United States for extended sniper training against the best in the world. I have been honored to carry both the Pakistan Army and Artillery division flags to all these institutions. I have seen combat in some of the world’s hotspots prior to being accepted into the Intelligence Academy, Pakistan’s premier spy school. Much of what I have seen is classified for national security reasons.
Unlike the infantry and artillery battalions, or the flyboys in the PAF, people don’t understand what we do and we aren’t able to tell them. We don’t get the newspaper headlines for shooting down a drone or winning a war, but without us, there would be no victory on the military front.
Our national media takes great enjoyment in pointing fingers at military intelligence failures, calling our service into question when something goes wrong. Be it a terrorist attack, a foreign operative being caught on domestic soil or something even more insignificant, it is military intelligence that takes the blame while the civilian leadership stands quietly on the sidelines. When we succeed, they are the first to take credit, but that is what we signed up for when we joined the military.
We are the silent, the misunderstood and the maligned. We are Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence.
This is my story of life as a student, a soldier and intelligence operative.