Obama's Surge Policy for Afghan-Pakistan Border

Feb 16, 2009
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Obama's Surge Policy for Afghan-Pakistan Border: Waziristan & the Tribal Region, Pakistan?s Lawless Frontier | Suite101.com

Obama's Surge Policy for Afghan-Pakistan Border

Obama's Surge Policy for Afghan-Pakistan Border
Waziristan & the Tribal Region, Pakistan’s Lawless Frontier

© Frank W. Hardy
Mar 28, 2009
Pakistan , CIA
A haven for Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters, the Pakistan Northwestern Frontier has been the most difficult region for coalition troops and Pakistan Army forces to control.

The spear head of President Obama’s Afghanistan Surge Policy, the United States and Pakistan will attempt to control a region strong in family bonds, steeped in conservative religious ideology, undaunted by national boundaries and loyal only to local Maliks (chieftains.) The tribal regions became safe harbors for Taliban fighter fleeing Afghanistan (after coalition forces overran the country) as well as launching points for skirmishes against those forces stationed in Afghanistan proper. Operating with near impunity, the region’s citizens have joined the foreign fighters willingly or by coercion. Coexistence has become routine making identification of friend or foe difficult.

In his speech to the American people on Friday March 27th 2009, President Obama said, "For the American people, this border region has become the most dangerous place in the world.” Athena Jones of NBC reported, after the speech, that President Obama called “Al Qaeda…a ‘cancer that risks killing Pakistan from within,’ and he said intelligence estimates had warned the group was actively planning attacks on the United States from its safe haven in Pakistan.”

President Obama plans simultaneous attacks in four areas.

Political Pressure on Islamabad

The Administration plans to alter America’s stance toward the Pakistani government. Counter-terrorism efforts must show results and funds will be gauged using pre-described benchmarks. Pakistan must deliver better information about her internal situation and regional intelligence to coalition forces. As the president succinctly stated, “the era of the blank-check is over.”

Forced Changes to Pakistani Army Policies by American

The Pakistani military received unconditional funds under the Bush Administration that will no longer continue. Diplomatic editor Julian Borger of the English paper The Guardian reported on March 27th 2009, “Funds were given to the military for actions even when no such actions were undertaken….Four fifths of Pakistan’s military effort was directed towards the perceived threat from India.”
Relief for Pashtun People

It is necessary for the government of both Pakistan and the USA to give the people of the region the ability to rebuild and partake in the political process. Borger surmised, “There will be much more emphasis on drawing the Pashtun tribesmen who serve as the Taliban’s foot soldiers [in Pakistan] into full-time civilian life….Young men in the villages go off to fight…because there is no other gainful employment available.”

Civilian workers, armed with billions of dollars, will be dispatched into the region according to Obama. Jones wrote, Obama “…called on Congress to pass two bills -- one that would provide [$7.5 billion]…to build schools, roads and hospitals in Pakistan; and another that would create ‘opportunity zones’ in border regions to develop the economy.”

Regional Assurances against Terrorist Threats

In a Dallas Morning News article on the 27th of March, the editor writes, “Obama plans to recast the Afghan war as a regional issue involving Pakistan as well as India, Russia, China, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Central Asian nations.” Diplomatic efforts to convince, long time foe, India of this necessity have already begun by Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Problems Confronting American Policies

Are divided into three main areas.

* The USA can exert only a limited amount of pressure. Pakistan is well aware of her vital importance as a supply and suppression staging area for forces within Afghanistan.

* What civilian workers are capable of working in the region? Currently, NGOs argue for more grassroots projects through local village community leaders, yet many of these leaders have been targets of assassination by Taliban and Al Qaeda members.

* How does the government decontaminate Pakistan’s security forces of radical elements? Charged with aiding extremists in the Mumbai hotel attacks and forewarning militants of coalition and Pakistani army attacks, the security forces are a serious threat to regional and internal troops.

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