Karzai’s Ashdown snub and the Pakistan link

January 29, 2008

Last week’s offer by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates to send U.S. troops to Pakistan in the face of Pakistani opposition has provoked a deluge of comments on the Internet and in the blogosphere.

Presidents Karzai and Musharraf

One of the more interesting takes comes from former Indian ambassador M.K. Bhadrakumar. He writes in the Asia Times Online that Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s decision to snub Paddy Ashdown as the west’s choice of UN envoy to Kabul may also help President Pervez Musharraf resist western pressure. 

“Increasingly, Karzai and Musharraf find themselves in a somewhat similar predicament,” he writes. ”They cannot do without American support, but they do not accept US pressure tactics.”

 His article is worth reading in full for a tour d’horizon which starts out in Uzbekistan and sweeps through Afghanistan and Pakistan, taking in Iran and China on the way, to highlight the extent of the opposition the United States would face in the neighbourhood if it were to try to send troops to tackle the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas.

Bhadrakumar also picks up on an editorial from China – Pakistan’s traditional ally – defending Musharraf.  According to the People’s Daily, it is “the effective leadership of the Musharraf government” which is saving Pakistan from further turmoil.  

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