Pakistan has long been reluctant to tackle head-on some of the nastier
Taliban factions teeming in the country's Western border region with
Afghanistan. Some Pakistan-watchers, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
, strongly suspect that the country tolerates or even supports some Taliban. But President Obama last month privately pressured
Pakistani officials to get tough against the
Pakistani Taliban plaguing the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. If they
don't, said American officials, U.S. forces in Afghanistan will cross
the border and do the job for them. It's no light threat and American
commentators, whether they agree cheer the bullishness or find it
irresponsible, are taking it seriously.
'Important' 'Turning Point' Time's Joe Klein endorses the plan. "This is important. For the Obama surge to work in Afghanistan, the
Taliban/Al Qaeda safe havens in Pakistan have to be cleaned out." He
writes, "If true, this is a turning point in the war. The Pakistanis
the George W. Bush question: Are they with us or against us? If true,
this is also a turning point in the Obama foreign policy: no more Mr.
- Pakistan's Useless 'Élites' MyDD's Charles Lemos sighs that Pakistan leadership will never come around. "[T]he reality is also the Pakistani élites (one percent of the
population) lack a developmentalist ethos and treat the country's 160
millions as feudal subjects on a medieval manor and more critically
much of the Pakistani military and intelligence services has an India
obsession and continue to perceive that the greatest threat to Pakistan
as lying across the plains of the Punjab and not within its own
territory. To expect this segment of the Pakistani establishment to
change their deep-seeded paranoia is futile. It's hard to know who is
more irrational the Pakistani leadership or us with our hopes that
Pakistan's élites have turned some proverbial corner."
- Partner With Pakistan The New York Times encourages Obama.
"In a world of difficult strategic and diplomatic challenges, this may
well be Mr. Obama's toughest," they write. "Mr. Obama will first have
to persuade Pakistanis that the United States
is in it for the long haul this time. The president sent conflicting
messages in his speech, promising Pakistan a long-term partnership
"built on a foundation of mutual interest, mutual respect and mutual
trust," but also suggesting that there will be a quick drawdown of
American troops in Afghanistan."
Kiyani, the all powerful military chief of Pakistan, holds the
key to Afghan peace. The question remains that the Pakistani military
-- or at least some elements of it -- are in cahoots with the Taliban.
In any case, India remains the top priority of Pakistani military and
they want to secure their interests in Afghanistan," he writes.
"Pakistani military cannot be coaxed into action by sweet talking and
there would be a mayhem in case of a direct offensive."
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