December 23, 2009


The problem of Pakistan (Kapil Komireddi, December 23, 2009, Boston Globe)

[P]akistan’s ongoing battle with breakaway forces at home has not deterred the nation’s ruling elite from continuing with their policy of patronizing the Taliban. According to the CIA, the 2008 bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul - the deadliest since the Taliban’s fall in 2001 - was planned and executed in concert with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency. Afghanistan’s foreign minister, Rangin Spanta, confirmed that the “same sources’’ were behind the repeated attack on the Indian embassy in July this year.

Siraj Haqqani, the Taliban leader believed to be the operational mastermind behind both these attacks, is also considered the single biggest threat to American troops in Afghanistan. Yet Washington’s requests to dismantle his sanctuary in North Waziristan in Pakistan have yielded nothing more than silence from Islamabad. Pakistan’s refusal to dismantle the Taliban’s sanctuaries within its territory - coupled with Washington’s reluctance to do anything about it - means that militants in Helmand province have merely to cross the porous border into Baluchistan to evade capture; there, they will hibernate and regroup, poised to return as America begins to withdraw. The United States thus finds itself in the absurd position of fighting the Taliban with a partner that is an active patron and guardian of the Taliban.

By aggravating the crisis and refusing to cooperate, Pakistan aims to make the US mission in Afghanistan desperately reliant upon its support. In return for its indispensable cooperation, Islamabad seeks to extract a price from Washington: Kashmir. Pakistan’s quest for Kashmir, which is at the core of the problem, is tied up with the identity crisis that has paralyzed the country since its birth.

Partitioned from India as a homeland for the subcontinent’s Muslims in 1947, the rationale behind Pakistan’s foundation - that Muslims and Hindus could not coexist in one nation - was immediately impeached when India refused to become a Hindu state and embraced a secular constitution. As long as Kashmir, a Muslim-majority state, remains part of secular India, Islamic Pakistan’s sense of itself as the authentic home of India’s Muslims can not not be vindicated.

The sooner we force them to accept that they're Yugoslavia the better for all concerned.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 23, 2009 6:50 AM
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