October 6, 2008

THEY NEVER HAD ANY CHOICE...::

Pakistan, US await militant showdown (Syed Saleem Shahzad, 10/07/08, Asia Times)

The executive director of the Pakistani Center for Research and Security Studies, Dr Farrukh Saleem, has claimed that 12,000 square kilometers of Pakistan have already been lost to the Taliban, and that their march continues. Pakistan has tried to counter the Taliban through military offensives, local pro-government militias and through the secular Awami National Party (ANP), which governs North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), all without success.

Last week, on the second day of Eidul Fitr, the Muslim celebration to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan, a suicide attacker tried to kill Asfandyar Wali Khan, the chief of the Pashtun sub-nationalist ANP, at his home about 20 kilometers from the NWFP capital, Peshawar. Four people were killed, but Wali Khan was unhurt.

Although the main target was missed, the attack had the desired effect - Wali Khan, an important American asset, has taken refuge in the capital Islamabad. Wali Khan had been groomed by the US after the September 11, 2001, attacks through many visits to the US, including this year's trip to Central Command headquarters in Florida.

Pakistan is acutely concerned over the situation in NWFP, as well as in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas which comprise seven tribal areas. Much of the tribal areas is already in the control of the Pakistani Taliban and militants; this is now spreading to NWFP. The attack on Wali Khan was followed on Sunday with rockets being fired on the chief minister's NWFP residence.

With Wali Khan in Islamabad, he attended an urgent meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani and army chief Parvez Ashfaq Kiani.

A special National Assembly session has been called this week for in-camera briefings on the "real situation" in NWFP, that is, that it has virtually fallen into the hands of the Taliban and the government has no option but to wage war against the Taliban - and with American help. Zardari also admitted in the press that a string of US Predator drone attacks on the Taliban in Pakistani territory had been approved by Pakistan. Islamabad initially expressed outrage at the incursions into its territory.


...it's just a matter of them accepting that Western Pakistan is where the War ends.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at October 6, 2008 7:12 AM
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