Who is Pakistan’s biggest threat? Not the Taliban, not even India, but the United States, according to an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis surveyed in a poll just out.
Pakistan: Now or Never?
The suicide bomb attack on the Pakistan Army in Pakistani Kashmir on Friday was not only unprecedented; it also raised questions about the state of militancy in Pakistan.
In a world used to watching war played out on television, and more recently to following protests in Iran via Twitter and YouTube, the Pakistan Army’s impending military offensive in South Waziristan on the Afghan border is probably not getting the attention it deserves — not least but because the operation is shrouded in secrecy.
The Pakistan Army is engaged in what appears to be a very nasty little war in the Swat valley against heavily armed Taliban militants. With journalists having left Swat, there have been no independent reports of what is going on there, though the scale of the operation can be partly measured by the huge numbers of refugees – nearly 1.7 million – who fled to escape the military offensive.
U.S. missile strikes in Pakistan have killed more than 50 people in the past three days in what appears to be an escalation of the military campaign in the troubled region along the Afghan border, conducted largely by unmanned drone aircraft.
America’s ramped-up Predator drone campaign against al Qaeda in Pakistan’s northwest is starting to pay off, according to U.S. and Pakistani intelligence authorities quoted in a clutch of media reports.
A U.S. raid into Pakistan’s tribal areas in September, which produced much furore, was not the only time U.S. forces had gone inside Pakistan in pursuit of al Qaeda, according to a report by The New York Times.
Despite the reservations of its principal ally, the United States, Pakistan’s new civilian leaders have gone ahead and sued for peace with militants in the Swat valley this week, and by all indications are about to cut another deal, and this with the head of the Taliban in the country.
Update – Since filing this blog, Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud has said he is pulling out of the peace deal with the government after it refused to withdraw the army from tribal lands on the Afghan border. So were the sceptics right all along? And what does this mean for the government’s new strategy?