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  • Pakistan’s Leadership Slowly Awakening to Taliban Threat

    The Taliban’s agreement to pull out of Buner district in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) earlier today, following Pakistan’s deployment of paramilitary troops to the area, demonstrates that the Pakistan military has sent the right signal to the Taliban (at least for now). The Taliban’s occupation of Buner soon after the Pakistani Government conceded the Swat Valley to the militants seems to have raised sufficient alarm among the senior Pakistani Army leadership to coax them into action.

    The situation in Pakistan remains highly precarious, however. Unless the civilian and military leadership develop a comprehensive and pro-active plan to counter the growing extremist threat, the Taliban almost certainly will again try to encroach on other areas of the NWFP.

    In the final analysis, it will be up to the Pakistani military to decide how much of the country will be ceded to the Taliban. But Pakistani military leaders rightly acknowledge that they need the public behind them before they can take on the Taliban militarily. Pakistani civilian leaders have been too slow to awaken to the threat before them and too willing to sacrifice their constituents to the brutal policies of the Taliban. The combination of fatigue from the series of terror attacks in Pakistan over the last two years and high levels of anti-American sentiment have been obstacles to Pakistani leaders adopting firmer polices against extremism.

    Pakistani officials now know the costs of appeasement and there can be no more excuses for them to downplay the threat to the country. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s blunt warnings on Wednesday that Pakistan’s abdication to the Taliban was putting the rest of the world at risk indicates she understands the gravity of the threat. Other rumblings from within the Obama administration have been less helpful. For example, today’s Wall Street Journal, quotes a U.S. official working on Pakistan as saying, “Nawaz Sharif could be in a better position to deliver what the U.S. wants.” These kind of blanket assertions that give the impression the U.S. believes it can manipulate Pakistani leaders are not only unhelpful to U.S. policy objectives, they are flat wrong. This is the kind of misguided thinking that will get the U.S. into trouble at a delicate time for U.S. relations with Pakistan.

    The real question that Secretary Clinton’s warnings hint at is “what kind of a state will Pakistan become?” Will it contribute to development and stability in the region and remain globally engaged or will it need to be contained by the international community? The choice is Pakistan’s to make.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Pakistan’s Leadership Slowly Awakening to Taliban Threat

    1. Anjum Kiani says:

      I feel that the Pakistani government, army AND PEOPLE ARE MAKING the right moves towards peace and hopefully the steps taken will deny the extremists the call to arms. slowly the reason to call for arms are dissapearing. Western media sometimes are doing more harm to cause of Pakistan and also there own countries policies. We cant orget that after Russia left Afghnaistan the world forget Pakistan and the sacrifices it made in the war and after wiht the refugees. It had to handle this all ojn its own wihtout any help. Also we must remeber that some countires such as India are meddling in pakistan bu the world for whatever reason ignores this. Pakistan has yesterday given proof in relation to this to its parliament that India is suppoorting extremist elements inside Pakistan.

    2. Spiritof76, New Hamp says:

      Pakistan is the powder keg with a history of unstable governments and exporting terrorists. Pakistan has nuclear weapons which makes the situation grave to say the least. Since Taliban could not reside in Afghanistan, it has moved east into Pakistan. Pakistan supported the Taliban regime in Afghanistan prior to 9/11.

      The current US government is inept and that is making the problem even worse. Clinton doesn't have any diplomatic experience nor any governmental experience. Obama thinks that his presence alone will dissuade any Anti-American hatred especially since he is apologizing for the existence of the US. He is the Neville Chamberlain on steroid.

    3. omar says:

      I recently went on a road trip across the North-Eastern United States and at every stop, the Pakistanis I met were talking about the situation in Pakistan. As is usually the case, everyone seemed to have their own pet theory, but for a change ALL theories shared at least two characteristics: they were all pessimistic in the short term and none of them believed the “official version” of events. Since there seems to be no consensus about the matter, a friend suggested that I should summarize the main theories I heard and circulate that document, asking for comments. I hope your comments will clarify things even if this document does not. So here, in no particular order, are the theories.

      Things fall apart: This theory holds that all the various chickens have finally come home to roost. The elite has robbed the country blind and provided neither governance nor sustenance and now the revolution is upon us: the jihadis have a plan and the will to enforce it and the government has neither. The jihadis have already captured FATA and most of Malakand (a good 20% of NWFP) and are inevitably going to march onwards to Punjab and Sindh. The army is incapable of fighting these people (and parts of it are actively in cahoots with the jihadis) and no other armed force can match these people. The public has been mentally prepared for Islamic rule by 62 years of Pakistani education and those who do resist will be labelled heretics and apostates and ruthlessly killed. The majority will go along in the interest of peace and security. America will throw more good money after bad, but in the end the Viceroy and her staff will be climbing rope ladders onto helicopters and those members of the elite who are not smart enough to get out in time will be hanging from the end of the ladder as the last chopper pulls away from the embassy. Those left behind will brush up their kalimas and shorten their shalwars and life will go on. The taliban will run the country and all institutions will be cleansed and remodelled in their image.

      Jihadi Army: The army is the army of pakistan. Pakistan is an islamic state. They know what to do. They will collect what they can from the Americans because we need some infidel technologies that we don’t have in our own hands yet, but one glorious day, we will purge the apostate officers and switch to full jihadi colors. The country will be ruled with an iron hand by some jihadi general, not by some mullah from FATA. All corrupt people will be shot. Many non-corrupt people will also be shot. Allah’s law will prevail in Allah’s land. And then we will deal with Afghanistan (large scale massacre of all apostates to be held in the stadium), India, Iran and the rest of the world in that order.

      Controlled burn: This theory holds that there is no chance of any collapse or jihadi takeover. What we are seeing are the advanced stages of a Jedi negotiation (or maybe a Sith negotiation would be a better term). The army wants more money and this is a controlled burn. They let the Taliban shoot up some schools and courts (all bloody useless civilian institutions anyway). Panic spreads across the land. People like John Kerry come to Islamabad and almost shit in their pants at the thought of Taliban “60 miles away from the capital”. Just as Zia played the drunken Charlie Wilson and the whole Reagan team for fools, the current high command is playing on the fears and ignorance of the American embassy and morons like Kerry and even Clinton. 5 billion is peanuts. The sting has been prepared with extreme finesse. When Obama coughs up a good 10-20 billion, things will be brought under control, but just barely. The scam will continue for the foreseeable future. The jihadis may have their dreams, but the army is in charge and can easily defend the “settled areas”. The rest can stay in jihadi hands as a suitable cash cow.

      The coming war on the Indian border: The border of India is on the Indus, not on the Radcliffe line. The taliban will take over the mountains, but they will be resisted at the edge of the plains. The Americans will train the army to fight this new war. There will be setbacks and loads of violence, but in the end the center will hold. America will fight a new kind of drone war in the mountains and in time, the beards will be forced to negotiate. Along the way, many wedding parties will also get bombed but you cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs. The Indian part of Pakistan will make peace with India and India will help us fight the Northern invaders. The army high command is NOT jihadi. But they lack capacity and need time to build it up. They need to be supported and strengthened. America should pay them more money and pay more heed to their tactical advice.

      Buffer state: a variant of the above theory holds that Punjab is the historic buffer of India. All sorts of invaders come in, fight over the punjab and capture it. Then the peasants get to work. We might even convert to whatever barbaric ideology they have brought, but in time the peasants outbreed and outflank the invaders. In the end, the invaders become Indian and help us outbreed and outlast the next invading horde. We win by “assimilation and attrition”. I am not sure if this is an optimistic theory or a pessimistic one. In India, the two are practically the same anyway.

      No one seemed to think that peace would break out soon. No one thought the “peace deal” is the end of the matter. Jihadi sympathizers regard it as a way for the taliban to consolidate in Swat before the inevitable advance into new territory. Anti-jihadis regard it as a necessary break to buy time while the new FC is trained, or as a surrender, or as an army plot, but NOT as a peace deal that leads to any kind of stable peace by some direct route.

      My personal opinion: The state is stronger than many people think. But it is grossly incompetent and the elite itself is split and infiltrated by jihadi sympathizers. It wont collapse soon, but all problems will continue to get worse for the foreseeable future. A big drone offensive is coming and there will be much secondary fighting in Pakistan. But there is at least a 50-50 chance that jihadistan will NOT be able to expand into the Punjab and Sindh (though much terrorism will surely happen). The army will be gradually purged of jihadis and will one day come around to being a serious anti-jihadi force, but it wont be easy and it may not happen. If the army continues to have jihadi sympathies, then all bets are off and many horrendous scenarios are imaginable.

      But we don’t have enough information to be sure of the outcome. The US embassy presumably knows more than we do. On the other hand, their declassified documents make it clear that they are incredibly naïve and racist in their assumptions and tend to regard the people they have colonized as mildly retarded children; so there is a good chance they don’t know batshit about what is going on, but are able to present impressive looking powerpoints about three cups of tea with Kiyani and the other brown children who inhabit the world outside the green zone..

    4. MAS1916 - Denver, CO says:

      Moving towards peace occasionally requires decisive action that may not be 'peaceful.' The chances that a military intervention will be required though, have been greatly enhanced by President Obama.

      By showing the world in Europe and Latin America that he will not even verbally defend his own country displays for our potential adversaries that Obama will be much less likely to defend his interests by force if necessary. This invites adversaries to be more aggressive since it reduces the chance of consequence to their actions.

      Obama has unwittingly made Pakistan's position much more difficult. It has made potential US adversaries stronger.


    5. downtowndubai says:

      re: anjum kiani's tale of poor Pakistan viz the west-bullocks !

      spoke like a ''yankistani'' playing the victim card. Pakistan has been on the recieving end of u.s. aid for decades. the late eighties was no exception.

      i should know. as a U.S.AID official i had the sad task of sending back usd 25 million to D.C. after power giant WAPDA couldn't get its act together, rather its general on the gravy train to decide how/when to spend earmarked cash. such a pity.

      simple…Pakistan has recieved since 9/11 a cool billion per year from Uncle Sap. like..where'd it go and when do we see payback.

    6. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      Slow to awaken? Wrong analogy. More like leading a horse out of a burning barn. Nine times out of ten, the stupid animal will rin right back into the barn!

      If Jihad takes over Pakistan, and Pakistan does have the Worlds most dangerous missles, the Taliban WILL use them.


      There is a time for talking, and a time for just getting it on and fighting. We have talked with these people for years, and their value of life is not compatible with ours.


    7. Marshall Hill MI. says:

      I am glad they can now see the Threat to their own


    8. sovi, New York says:

      Pakistan needs dictatorship, till everything gets settled and the unstable government is restored.

    9. Pingback: Morning Bell: A 9/10 Security Mindset | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

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