Friday, July 07, 2006

Terrorism II: Don't Forget Pakistan

Think of terrorism and most people think of Afghanistan, or possibly Palestine or Indonesia, and of course Iraq. But northern Pakistan remains the Grand Central Station of global terrorism with its network of madrassas and training camps where jihadists cut their teeth before fanning out across the globe.

In a sobering assessment of Pakistan, The Economist notes that the U.S. and its allies have invested huge sums in General Pervez Musharraf, who seized power in October 1999, but the clown has taken them all to the cleaners:
[We] were prepared to give him a chance on condition that he acted swiftly and firmly to rein in extremism and sort out the economy, and then returned to barracks. He failed to do any of that. After September 11th 2001, however, he was recast as a provider of relative stability in a dangerous neighbourhood, and an essential ally in the “war on terror.” Money was showered upon him; he was feted in Washington, DC, and London. Only gradually has it started to dawn on his admirers that, in the past five years, he has not done very much to make Pakistan a less dangerous place.
In fairness, every U.S. presidential administration in my memory has marginalized or mishandled Pakistan, which you may recall has nuclear weapons, so the Bush White House does get a pass on this one to an extent.
But when all is said and done, Musharraf has been more interested in playing to provincial and tribal leaders in the north that spending political capital on trying to snuff out the network of hate-teaching radical Islamist religious schools and training camps.
The Economist also has put up an audio interview with James Astill, its ace defense and terrorism correspondent, on Parkistan.

The New York Times reports disturbing new allegations involving the CIA's secret rendition and detention programs involving an Algerian man who allegedly was held for 16 months although he had no terrorist connections.

No comments: