Friday, April 24, 2009

Disputed Reports Claim Taliban Forces Withdrew From Region Near Capital

Heavily disputed reports on Friday by the government of Pakistan claim that Taliban forces withdrew from the Buner District only 60 miles near the capital of Islamabad. However, other independent sources such as some human rights organizations have seen no sign of any withdrawal of Taliban forces. This all begs the question whether the government of Pakistan is simply giving Washington false information about this crisis just to get the Obama Administration's State Department off their back, while only ceding more territory to Taliban forces.

The Pakistani government might resent American pressure on them, though this government begs for billions of dollars in yearly aid and military arms from Washington each year. In addition, this government may be denying that any problem really exists with the Taliban breaking their peace deal and invading the Buner District. For whatever reason, what the official government of Pakistan is reporting and what human rights groups are reporting on the ground in the Buner District are two different things.

The fact of the matter is that the Obama Administration's efforts in Afghanistan are heavily dependent on having a dependable ally in Pakistan. However, the government has proven a real unwillingness to really raise substantial military force to counter this Taliban threat so near their capital, and pretty much relied on some lame excuse that the Taliban only violated the terms of their peace deal. But the Taliban has proven a history of breaking peace deals before.

Winning the war in Afghanistan is going to be very difficult with such an ally as Pakistan which is not really serious about much of anything other than ceding more territory to the Taliban, making failed peace deals with them, and restricting the American military from actions to stop Al Qaeda. This is one heck of an ally. At some point the Obama Administration is going to have to really access this relationship with Pakistan here and decide whether it really serves the interests of the U.S. or not before this becomes a complete disaster and the Taliban rules all of Pakistan and Al Qaeda is given new power in Pakistan, and the fate of Pakistan's nuclear weapons becomes frightening.


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