Wednesday, October 15, 2008

NIE: Pakistan on Brink

The new National Intelligence Estimate on Pakistan apparently depicts the country as 'on the edge,' with 'no money, no energy, no government.' The fear is expressed that an unstable Pakistan will become a center for al-Qaeda plotting against the US.

While I think the situation in Pakistan is worriesome and should be monitored, and the US should work to back the democratically elected government, lets not go crazy. The situation in Pakistan for ordinary people has always been tough.

Fuel and wheat prices have skyrocketed in Pakistan. However the worry shown in the NIE might have more to do with the fall of Pervez Musharraf considering a third of the population of Pakistan has had to live on less than a dollar a day and the NIE wasn't so worried about them a few years ago.

American reports about Pakistan are schizophrenic, because it says the Pakistani army is not fighting the Taliban. But the Pakistani military has chased 300,000 from their homes in Bajaur, one of 7 tribal agencies, and has engaged in firefights with dissident Muslim groups there. I mean, what do the authors of the NIE want?

The Pakistani military admittedly does not attack the Pushtun tribes it is paying to make trouble in southern Afghanistan, but then their activity is abroad and directed from Islamabad. The Mohmands and other tribes in Bajaur have been fighting the Pakistani military, which has hit them hard in retaliation. Fighting has been spreading across Pakistan's rugged northwest as the government tries to crack down on insurgents blamed for soaring attacks on U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan and a bloody campaign of suicide bombings against military and western targets within Pakistan.

The idea that the 3.5 million Pushtuns of the tribal areas could take over a country of 165 million with one of the most professional armies in Asia is just silly.

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