Sunday, August 20, 2006

An unhappy marriage, but no divorce

The alleged London airline terror plot has prompted a slew of commentary in the American and British press on Pakistan's role in global terrorism.

The key concerns are summed up by an Aug. 14 article in the New York Times:

'A series of planned terrorist attacks with links to Pakistan as well as a sharp rise in crossborder Taliban attacks in Afghanistan have prompted renewed debate within the Defense Department about Pakistan, according to two people involved who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly.

They said that in particular, the sharply rising American casualty rate in Afghanistan had increased skepticism among some American military officers about the Pakistani intelligence service’s efforts to rein in the Taliban.

“There is an increasing view in the United States that Pakistan isn’t very helpful,” said one researcher involved in the debate, referring to frustration among some officers. “There are people who are really thinking twice about this relationship with Pakistan.”'

Lest one be tempted to think that support for Gen. Musharraf is ebbing, an op-ed column co-authored by Richard Armitage in today's New York Times dismisses that notion:

'We believe General Musharraf continues to stand for these principles (enlightened moderation) and deserves our attention and support, no matter how frustrated we become at the pace of political change and the failure to eliminate Taliban fighters on the Afghan border.'

So despite being caught in, according to Sengupta in her Aug. 14 article, 'one of the most serious political binds of his nearly seven-year tenure', Gen. Musharraf still has the support of his chief patrons. For Pakistanis, the 'war on terror' can more aptly be described as the war on democracy.

1 comment:

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