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The BBC reports that the American military commander in Afghanistan is worried that the Pakistanis have gone somewhat wobbly in the war on terror, especially against al-Qaeda. The Pakistanis appear reluctant to actually capture "militants", as the BBC calls them, instead asking for pledges to renounce terrorism:
The commander of US forces in Afghanistan has expressed concern at Pakistan's strategy against foreign al-Qaeda and Taleban fighters. Lieutenant-General David Barno said Pakistan must eliminate a "significant number" of militants along the border.
"There are foreign fighters in those tribal areas who will have to be killed or captured," he said.
Pakistan says foreign fighters can stay in the region if they renounce terrorism and live peacefully. ... On Friday, Pakistan extended a deadline for foreign militants to give themselves up to authorities after no one surrendered.
Even apart from the war on terror, when a sovereign state tolerates the existence of foreigners on its soil that intend to fight against secular governments -- which is what Pakistan is in the eyes of the fanatics -- it indicates perhaps a fatal weakness, a corrosion in the state itself. To tolerate such a thing is to invite more foreigners to join them. At its base, it is a craven attempt to pander to those who would commit violence in an effort to direct their violence elsewhere. In fact, it comes close to the description of a nation which harbors terrorists, which we warned against following 9/11 and the launching of the war on Islamofascist terrorism.
Unfortunately, Pakistan is no Afghanistan; it's a certified nuclear power, which would make direct military action by the US in Pakistani territory extremely dangerous for the entire region. Moreover, Musharraf has risked his life in aligning with the US, even if he may wind up an unreliable partner. Any opposition towards Musharraf at this point would only signal undecided states that we won't maintain support for allies in this war, making converts in the war (Libya) less likely.
We need to stress to Musharraf that this policy of amnesty for foreign fighters only means that more of them will flock to the mountains of northwest Pakistan to train and plot -- and that their next assassination attempt may be more successful for it. Perhaps that will outweigh his reluctance to clean out the tribal areas of Waziristan.Sphere It View blog reactions
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