Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: WORLD POLITICS, War on Terror — Rick Moran @ 3:26 pm

It’s a helluva war when you can’t tell who your friends are.

That goes double for Pakistan. After creating the Taliban, they appear reluctant to annihilate them.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has resisted a direct appeal from President Obama for a rapid expansion of Pakistani military operations in tribal areas and has called on the United States to speed up military assistance to Pakistani forces and to intervene more forcefully with India, its traditional adversary.

In a written response to a letter from Obama late last month, Zardari said his government was determined to take action against al-Qaeda, the Taliban and allied insurgent groups attacking U.S. forces in Afghanistan from the border area inside Pakistan. But, he said, Pakistan’s efforts would be based on its own timeline and operational needs.

The message was reinforced Monday by Pakistan’s military chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani, who told Gen. David H. Petraeus, the head of the U.S. Central Command, that the United States should not expect “a major operation in North Waziristan” in the coming months, according to a senior U.S. defense official. North Waziristan, one of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas on the Afghan border, is a sanctuary for the Afghan Taliban.

What do we get for tripling our aid to Pakistan?

In return, the United States wants Pakistan to “move on our mutual interests, which includes the Haqqani network and includes the Taliban in Pakistan,” Vice President Biden said Tuesday in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” His reference was to the North Waziristan-based faction led by Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son, Siraj, and the main Afghan Taliban organization, which are fighting U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Pakistani counterinsurgency operations this year have primarily targeted separate but allied groups — the Pakistani Taliban based in South Waziristan and operating in the Swat Valley region — whose attacks are directed toward Pakistani government targets.

“We’re committed to this war, but we’ll fight it on our terms. . . . We will prioritize targets based on our interests. We don’t want them to be dictated to us,” a Pakistani intelligence official said. He added: “The Pakistani Taliban is the clear and present danger. They are what matters most. Once we are done with them, we will go after the Haqqani network.”

Considering the fact that for the last 7 years, they have failed to close off their own borders to Taliban incursions into Afghanistan - with enough evidence that they are if not facilitating such crossings, they are ignoring them - one might legitimately question their commitment.

And those questions include wondering whether Pakistan is being deliberately obtuse in their statements about the Afghan Taliban. After all, we are not going to be there forever. They know that now. The idea of the ISI keeping a connection to the Taliban so that they can shape a post US Afghanistan to their liking should not be ignored by the Obama administration. Bottom line: They don’t want to destroy the Taliban in Afghanistan. And they certainly don’t want to do us any favors.

And remonstrances are legitimate when it comes to the way the Pakistani government has dealt with the Taliban in Swat as well as South Waziristan in the past. From Mushrraffs Faustian bargain with them in 2006 to Zardari’s weasel deal with them earlier this year that allowed the Taliban a free hand in Swat, our urgings for the last 5 years to crack down on these thugs were met with contempt. The Pakistanis thought they could ride the tiger and not get mauled.

Recent events would seem to show them the error of their ways.

Yes, they have their hands full now in the FATA. But we have every right to question their commitment to assisting us. They will be glad to take our $7.5 billion and, when we’re not looking, spend it on killing Indians rather than terrorists. Their objection to that caveat for the military aid was so strong, the brass almost started a coup against the government.

But, we need them - desperately. There is only one major supply line to our troops in Afghanistan and it runs through Pakistan. The Iranians aren’t going to help us. And Russia has been helpful at times but not to the extent that we could rely on Putin to keep the chow line open.

If we want to stay in Afghanistan we need Pakistan’s full cooperation. That, unfortunately is the way of the world at the moment.


  1. Demonstrating the art of droll understatement:

    — one might legitimately question their commitment.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 12/16/2009 @ 3:50 pm

  2. It’s from the Pakistani’s the NFL buys towels the fans wave at games. I guess no American company knows how to make them!!!!

    Comment by pete dukoski — 12/16/2009 @ 10:01 pm

  3. Love it when we agree Rick; Pakistan is an unreliable ally in the extreme, yet we have no other country to turn to if we want to stabilize the region. Damned if we do; damned if we don’t….

    Comment by Surabaya Stew — 12/17/2009 @ 1:35 am

  4. We can’t even solve our own problems at home, but somehow think we can solve the Pakistan,India,Afghganistan puzzle?Karzai has no power beyond the gates of his own palace and he’s our main man. Afghganistan….the graveyard of Empires.

    Comment by Joe — 12/17/2009 @ 6:11 am

  5. What’s missing from Rick’s take and so many other commentaries on this subject is that not much has changed about Pakistan’s quarter-measure cooperation with the US since 9/11 and through various changes in the line-uo of Pakistan’s leadership. Pakistan was unwilling to do much of anything to facilitate the US military action in Afghanistan on 9/12/01 and it still is. The US had to bluntly warn Pakistan’s leadership in September 2001 that it faced American hostility if it did not provide the minimal support necessary — basically the ability to base US search and rescue teams (covertly) inside Pakistani territory in support of the US military in Afghanistan and some intelligence cooperation in running down important al Qaeda individuals (like KSM). In exchange, Pakistan got lots of dough, especially for its military.

    What kept the Pakistanis more or less in line with this grudging and inadequate support over the next several years was Bush’s work ginning up a closer alliance with India — a major diplomatic development that somehow never attracted the attention of the US media. This was a way to tell the Pakistanis that there might be more than one way to deal with them.

    A US-India alliance is always an option, and American policies in the sub-continent should continue to make that plain. Otherwise, what leverage do we really have with Pakistan? Money? That’s hardly much of an alternative for the Pakistani Army, which worries more about Indian influence in Afghanistan and the prospect of another war with India — the key reasons for Pakistan support to both the Taliban and Kashmiri separatists.

    It’s not an easy balancing act; the US can’t appear to be jettisoning Pakistan as a “major non-NATO ally.” But it’s silly and pointless to fret about what will make the Pakistanis like Americans more. They do not like having the US military in Afganistan, period. Nothing will change that. We can only make Pakistan’s leaders accept it and make do.

    Comment by John Burke — 12/17/2009 @ 3:30 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress