Friday, September 22, 2006

The problems and potential of Pakistan?

General Pervez Musharraf could have a career in public relations.

The AP:
At a joint White House news conference, Musharraf said a peace treaty between his government and tribes along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border is not meant to support the Taliban.

He said news reports had mischaracterized the deals. ''The deal is not at all with the Taliban. This deal is against the Taliban. This deal is with the tribal elders,'' Musharraf said.

Said Bush: ''I believe him.''
The National Interest:
Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf gave a command performance yesterday at a small group discussion hosted in New York by Time Warner and co-sponsored by The Nixon Center, making a forceful case for stronger ties—a “long-term, broad-based, strategic relationship” between Islamabad and Washington.


The perception that Pakistan is part of the problem of international terrorism—something compounded in recent weeks by what was characterized as inaccurate reporting in the Western media about the arrangements brokered in Waziristan—comes from a lack of understanding about Pakistan’s strategy for coping with the threat posed by Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The strategy is to try and wean away as many people as possible from the violent and terrorist organizations—even those who may hold extreme viewpoints but who could be persuaded not to support Al-Qaeda and not to support violence in either Pakistan or Afghanistan. He felt that the assumption that religiosity automatically connotes a Taliban supporter to be a mistaken one, and one which could lead to mistakes in implementing an effective response. He stressed at several points that success means understanding “the environment” in which these movements have flourished and that, like it or not, the Taliban has had its roots among the people.

The Pakistani strategy combines a judicious use of military force against the “center of gravity” of the Taliban—in its core areas in Afghanistan, with subsidiary operations against other militant groupings, but requires Pakistan, in its own tribal areas, to use other means—political (working with tribal elders and others), administrative (revitalizing the civilian administration of agents and the like away from the over-militarization of these regions) and via economic reconstruction to provide opportunity.
CFR sums up Hamid Karzai's latest news:
Five years after the fall of the Taliban, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has come under criticism for Afghanistan's lack of security and slow economic progress. But in a series of high-level addresses so far in New York, Karzai has continued to emphasize the role of Pakistan-based Taliban and terrorist elements in threatening his country. “Terrorism has only enemies and knows no boundaries,” he told the Council on Foreign Relations on Thursday. “The only course is to kill it. You cannot train a snake to bite someone else.” Earlier in the week, Karzai told the UN General Assembly (PDF), “Terrorism sees, in the prosperity of the Afghan people, its ultimate defeat.” Karzai and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf are due to meet jointly with President George W. Bush next week on tackling the new Taliban threat.


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