Sunday, May 18, 2008

More Bad News on the Real Terror Front

The New York Times is reporting that the Pakistani government has grown weary of the United States' bungling of the war in Afghanistan and has scaled back attempts to help prevent cross-border raids from the FATA region.

Pakistani officials are making it increasingly clear that they have no interest in stopping cross-border attacks by militants into Afghanistan, prompting a new level of frustration from Americans who see the infiltration as a crucial strategic priority in the war in Afghanistan.

This comes after a March visit with Pakistani officials by Admiral Eric Olsen in which he was told that the US was not welcome to conduct cross-border raids of its own. Concurrently, the new leaders of Pakistan have called off raids of their own in a renewed effort to negotiate with militants in the tribal areas.

Pakistani officials aren't pulling any punches:

“Pakistan will take care of its own problems, you take care of Afghanistan on your side,” said Owari Ghani, the governor of North-West Frontier Province, who is also President Pervez Musharraf’s representative in charge of the neighboring tribal areas.

Mr. Ghani, a key architect of the pending peace accord, believes along with many other Pakistani leaders that the United States is floundering in the war in Afghanistan. Pakistan, he said, should not be saddled with America’s mistakes, especially if a solution involved breaching Pakistan’s sovereignty, a delicate matter in a nation where sentiment against the Bush administration runs high.

“Pakistan is a sovereign state,” he said. “NATO is in Afghanistan; it’s time they did some soldiering.”

As to the proposed peace accord, the Americans are unlikely to greet it kindly. Aside from halting Pakistani efforts to eliminate militants, it also makes no mention of stopping forays into Afghanistan by the rebels.

The situation is basically thus: The US is being discouraged from launching its own raids, the Pakistanis have grown tired of doing NATO's job, and any peace deal undertaken will not stipulate that cross-border attacks on NATO troops be halted.

While the US military is concentrated in Iraq perpetuating a local war, it has abandoned Afghanistan and allowed a global conflict to fester in its eastern ranges: "The Americans specifically mentioned their concern that Qaeda operatives in the tribal areas were preparing an attack on the United States, [Afrasiab Khattak] said."

Far from making America safer, the Iraq war has allowed danger to reconstitute and simmer unmolested while simultaneously paving the way for an Iranian-led Shite swath across the Middle East.

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