Pakistan Lost Its Chance For Security

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by ajtr, May 18, 2012.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,038
    Likes Received:
    715
    Pakistan Lost Its Chance For Security


    WASHINGTON -- As America begins to pull back its troops from Afghanistan, there's one consequence that gets little notice but is likely to have lasting impact: Pakistan is losing the best chance in its history to gain political control over all of its territory -- including the warlike tribal areas along the frontier.

    Pakistan has squandered the opportunity presented by having a large U.S.-led army just over the border in Afghanistan. Rather than work with the U.S. to stabilize a lawless sanctuary full of warlords and terrorists, the Pakistanis decided to play games with these outlaw groups. As a result, Pakistan and its neighbors will be less secure, probably for decades.


    This is a catastrophic mistake for Pakistan. Instead of drawing the tribal areas into a nation that finally, for the first time since independence in 1947, could be integrated and unified, the Pakistani military decided to keep the ethnic pot boiling. It was a triumph of short-term thinking over long; of scheming over strategy.

    America has made many blunders in Afghanistan, which will have their own consequences. But U.S. problems are modest compared to those of Pakistan, which nearly 65 years after independence still doesn't have existential security as a nation. Like most big mistakes people make in life, this is one that Pakistan's military leaders made with their eyes wide open.

    The G-8 and NATO will hold summit meetings in the coming days, and announce the exit strategy from Afghanistan. Fortunately, President Obama is planning a gradual transition, with at least 20,000 U.S. troops remaining until 2024, if necessary, to train the Afghan army, hunt al-Qaeda and steady Afghans against the danger of civil war.

    But what can Western leaders say when it comes to Pakistan? Basically, the Pakistanis blew it. By playing a hedging game, they missed a moment that's not likely to return, when a big Western army of well over 100,0000 soldiers was prepared to help them. Instead, Islamabad used the inevitability that America would be leaving eventually as an argument for creating a buffer zone that was inhabited by a murderous mélange of the Taliban, the Haqqani network and other Pashtun warlords.

    Yes, it would have been hard to bring under Pakistani law the rebellious badlands known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. I have a shelf full of books describing how the process of pacification eluded the British raj and was gingerly handed over to the new government of Pakistan like a bag of snakes. But hard is not impossible -- especially when you have modern communications and transport, and the most potent army in history ready to help.

    What comes through reading these old books is how long the problem has persisted. A 1901 British "Report on Waziristan and Its Tribes" lists the tribes, clans and sub-clans the British were paying off more than a century ago through their political agents rather than risk a fight with these stubborn warriors. After their disastrous Afghan wars, the British decided that payoffs made more sense than shoot-outs -- a decision the Pakistanis have repeated ever since at the price of permanent insecurity.

    The notion of the tribal areas as a warrior kingdom impenetrable to outsiders has a romantic "Orientalist" tone. I was disabused of it in 2009 when I met a group of younger tribal leaders who had gathered in Islamabad to tell U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke that the region needed economic development, good governance and less hanky-panky from the central government. In a move that embodied everything that's wrong with the Pakistani approach, these brave young men were intercepted on the way home by the Inter-Services Intelligence and quizzed about why they had dared talk to the farangi.

    Surely the most foolish move the Pakistanis made was to compromise with the terrorist Haqqani network, which operates from its base in Miran Shah, a few hundred yards from a Pakistani military garrison. This was like playing with a venomous cobra -- something the Pakistanis seem to imagine is an essential part of regional realpolitik. No, you kill a cobra. If the ISI had been up to the task, it would have had some formidable snake-killing allies.

    The Pakistanis lost a chance over the past decade to build and secure their country. It won't come back again in this form. That's a small problem for the U.S. and its allies, but a big problem for Pakistan. What a shame to see a wonderful nation miss its moment so completely.
     
  2.  
  3. Bangalorean

    Bangalorean Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Messages:
    6,207
    Likes Received:
    6,495
    Huh - serves them right. They think they're too clever by half.

    They will be occupied with terrorists and fundamentalists for the next two decades, at the very least.
     
  4. KS

    KS Bye bye DFI Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2010
    Messages:
    8,008
    Likes Received:
    5,718
    Location:
    irrelevant
    Cant blame them Pakis....if they went after the Pashtuns then it can end only one way --- secession of them from Pakistan through revived Pashtunistan movement...And once Pashtunistan gets revived fruition of Balochistan is not far away...if they dont status quo remains.

    They prefer status quo, understandably
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2012
  5. Tianshan

    Tianshan Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2011
    Messages:
    675
    Likes Received:
    249
    that is not good news for anyone in the region, especially you, considering the porous india/pakistan border.
     
  6. KS

    KS Bye bye DFI Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2010
    Messages:
    8,008
    Likes Received:
    5,718
    Location:
    irrelevant
    :wat:........
     
  7. alphacharlie

    alphacharlie New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Bharat Ma ko Salami Dega..Jai Hind
    As per Mr Han we are sitting Idle and giving these Terrorists free access....
     
  8. Bangalorean

    Bangalorean Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Messages:
    6,207
    Likes Received:
    6,495
    Porous? Hardly. Almost the entire international border is fenced off with electrified barbed wire, and the whole border is lit up with floodlights. There are watch towers at regular distances, and constant patrolling. We've spent a lot of money on that fence, and the unbroken "line of light" is visible even from outer space. Google it.

    If I were you, I would worry about the open (not even porous, open) border between Pakistan and East Turkestan. My suggestion to you would be to seal the border like India has done, and block the entry of Pakis.
     
  9. Tianshan

    Tianshan Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2011
    Messages:
    675
    Likes Received:
    249
    check a map, the border between china and pakistan is very small, same with the border between china and afghanistan. if it needs to be blocked one day, then it will be.

    also, the terrain of the himalayas makes it very difficult for people to cross already.
     
  10. SADAKHUSH

    SADAKHUSH Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Messages:
    1,802
    Likes Received:
    758
    Location:
    Winterland
    Thanks for info regarding the Indo-Pak border update, I was not aware of it. I will google it to-day early in the morning. They (China) are not going to seal their border till these Pakis start entering their land for misadventures. Let them have it for a change.
     
  11. Bangalorean

    Bangalorean Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Messages:
    6,207
    Likes Received:
    6,495
    In fact, the border is visible from the aeroplane as you fly into India from Europe/ME etc. It is a spectacular sight.

    The problem is in Kashmir, near the LOC, where we have a much more porous border - but that is being corrected, and gradually being made watertight.
     
  12. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,518
    Likes Received:
    1,378
    Location:
    Hyderabad and Sydney
    If the GoP and PA/ISI was smart, they would have integrated FATA into NWFP and make it like any normal provide, allowed political activity and elections.

    Instead they thought the Taliban can be their "friends" and now have had their fingers burnt. FATA has become a hell hole, espicially after the aerial bombardment by PAF as part of their COIN efforst. The tribals now basically look at the Pakistani army as an occupying force there.
     

Share This Page