Karzai’s hot pursuit of Pakistan

June 17, 2008

So which troops is Afghan President Hamid Karzai going to send to Pakistan to make good his threat to  hunt Baitullah Mehsud and his men, and stop cross-border attacks? The Afghan National Army, the Afghan national police ? Aren’t they already too stretched trying to cope with the Taliban inside Afghanistan to worry about them across the border ?

Hamid Karzai

Indeed Karzai spoke barely a  couple of days after 1,150 prisoners, an estimated 400 of them militants, escaped Kandahar jail after it was stormed by the Taliban in what must be one of biggest jailbreaks, even by Afghan standards

It is hard to see how Karzai can extend his reach into Pakistan’s rugged frontier region when his writ barely runs in his country. Or was he speaking on behalf of someone else, the United States, for example, as journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai asks in this piece.

“One is sure President Karzai doesn’t mean to carry out his threat to send Afghan troops across the border to Pakistan,” he writes. “The only manner in which he can hope to do so is to convince the U.S. and its Nato allies to undertake such a mission in Pakistan and then order some of his Afghan soldiers to accompany the Western forces.”

At a time when America has increased the  pressure on Pakistan by opposing its peace accords with Taliban militants and launching airstrikes in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan,  such a gameplan, however dangerous,  may not be impossible.


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