By Keith Jones
Amid reports of a mounting, war-induced humanitarian crisis, Pakistan’s armed forces intensified their offensive against Pakistani Taliban insurgents in Swat and two adjacent districts in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) Thursday. The country’s political and military leaders, meanwhile, made a series of statements vowing that the offensive will continue until the state’s supremacy has been bloodily reasserted throughout the Pashtun-speaking province.
In a televised address to the nation late Thursday evening, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said the government would “eliminate the militants and terrorists.” Earlier in the day, army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani told a meeting of corps commanders that the “present security situation requires that all elements of national power should work in close harmony to fight the menace of terrorism and extremism.” The army, Kiyani continued, will “employ requisite resources to ensure a decisive ascendancy over the militants.” Continue reading
U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday held a trilateral summit with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai to try to come up with a joint strategy for combating a powerful Taliban insurgency that is now raging in the Pashtun-dominated areas on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border. Elsewhere in Pakistan, preparations were made for what is expected to be a major countermilitancy offensive aimed at dislodging Taliban fighters from their stronghold in the Swat region. Efforts are under way to provide shelter to some 800,000 people who are fleeing the district, and cell and landline phone service in the area reportedly has been disrupted. Continue reading
By Kapil Komireddi
Pakistanis must act to save their country. But Washington also must help safeguard its nuclear arsenal.
Writing From Lahore, Pakistan — Pakistan is still finding it difficult to accept that the forces it once created and nurtured, with a view toward influencing Afghanistan and crushing India in Kashmir, have now turned against their masters. Powerful elements within the Pakistan army still see the Taliban as an asset, which seems to account for their reluctance to move decisively in the Swat Valley or redeploy forces from the eastern border with India. Continue reading
By CHRIS FLOYD
We asked for signs,
And signs were sent.
— Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”
We are now in the midst of a full-blown campaign to “roll out theproduct” for a new war: this time, in Pakistan. Anyone who lived through the run-up to the invasion of Iraq should be able to read the signs –anyone, that is, who is not blinded by partisan labels, or by thelaid-back cool of a media-savvy leader far more presentable than his predecessor. Continue reading