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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

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   US Says Pak Not Doing Enough on Terrorism

 

Pakistan reacted angrily to comments of US State Department Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism Henry Crumpton in Kabul that Pakistan was not doing enough to curb terrorism spilling into Afghanistan and Kashmir. Crumpton was commenting on complaints by Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf is not doing enough to stop Taliban incursions from Tribal Waziristan and Southern Baloachistan.

Pakistan claims that it has 80,000 troops fighting the remnant Taliban force and al Qaeda in Waziristan and says it has lost 600 troops in this war on terror and that it has done more than what the US, its allies, and Afghanistan put together. However, no country is willing to buy the claim. Pakistan has a history of deceit in denying involvement while the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), operates as a State within a State with impunity to fund, train, arm, and deploy terrorists.

Despite repeated representations by India, international media, and its own intelligence agencies, the US chose to ignore the warning that Pakistan is the epicenter of world terror. When September 11 happened, the US political machinery running on Pakistan lobbyists and maintained by Cold Warrior veterans was stupefied and shell-shocked. Even now, except for intermittent and inconsistent remarks, the US continues to ignore threats of terror factories nurtured by the ISI in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and Waziristan. 

During the visit of the US President George Bush to South Asia, Karzai complained bitterly about Pakistan's apparent incompetent handling of terror. Coincidentally, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf launched large-scale attacks on politically inconvenient rebels in Baloachistan and parts of Waziristan. But such showmanship did not wash well and Bush was unstinting in his public admonishment of Musharraf while acknowledging him as an ally who literally risks his life on a daily basis. 

Pakistan's subsequent actions have been inconsistent with its claims of being an active part of the war on terror. It protested loudly when a CIA drone fired missiles into Pakistan and destroyed a house set to host a set of senior al Qaeda operatives. It publicly objected this move and when Pakistan Prime Minister tried to bring it up with the US Administration, he was firmly told that his country would have to accept such border transgressions from a well-meaning partner. Again, when the US banned Lashkar-e-Toiba front organizations Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq (IKK), Pakistan refused to follow through with the ban saying that it will ban groups only "when it is convinced." 

Unfortunately Musharraf, this policy of hunting with the hounds and running with the hares has not won him any friends. The US needs him and tolerates him because there are no other alternatives. The al Qaeda calls him very uncharitable names such as "slave of Bush," "enemy of Islam," etc and has called for his assassination and Army desertions. Various insurgent groups call him a "traitor," "liar," and a cheat. 

Interestingly, only India is willing to work with him. The dialogue peace process has seen moderate success in exchange of people, export of goods, bus services, a possible Siachen Agreement, etc. Barring the Siachen Agreement, assuming it does happen, the rest of cosmetic in nature. The fault for this lies with Pakistan as it refuses to even grant India favored status in trade, allow over-land permission to send aid to Afghanistan, control terrorist infiltrations from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and Northern Areas, share intelligence on LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and control ISI activities in Bangladesh and Nepal.

Musharraf is ostensibly unfazed by these developments. Left behind times, he thinks that debunking India on Kashmir and not "giving in" on that issue alone is going to redeem him and his nation. Recently, Pakistan was rated as the 9th likely nation that could fail. While some in India could gloat over Musharraf's inconveniences, the danger of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists if Pakistan should a fail or Musharraf be assassinated is real and its effects potentially devastating for India, US, and Europe. 

This is the real motivation for the US to be calling on him to do more on terror. As seen during the Kargil, Changi nuclear tests, and war on terror, Musharraf is a brilliant tactitian but a strategy-weakling often indecisive or unable to take a long-term view and adopt a sustainable plan. Musharraf seems to think that "resisting" India or US may win him time and friends from the terrorists. It actually works the other way-- the more time he takes to hunt down the enemy deep in his country, the more is the danger for him, his country, and the world.


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