Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

On either side of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border: Bajaur and Kunar

damadolaWhat is going on in Kunar and Bajaur, two neighbouring regions on either side of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border?

NPR has a view from the Afghan side in this piece written from the perspective of U.S. troops fighting in Kunar. (h/t The Captain's Journal) Key takeaways are the level of mistrust about the Pakistanis, driven by the suspicion its military is supporting the Taliban, and the presence of a massive but newly abandoned CIA post there.

First the mistrust.  According to NPR, American officials acknowledge that the Pakistan Army had made significant gains in fighting the Taliban in Bajaur but still wanted them to do more to stop militants crossing over into Kunar. "Elements of the Taliban and al-Qaida are believed to cross the border at this point from safe havens inside Pakistan."

Yet having been to Bajaur in April, I have heard the same complaint from the Pakistani commander on the other side. In his view, the Americans need to do more to stop militants from using Kunar as a base from which to attack Pakistan. (The Pakistanis still seem to be making the same complaint, judging by this article in the Boston Globe.)