The US continues to consider Pakistan is favored ally, even in the face of almost certain sympathies for the Taliban among its Government and people. Seems in many ways like the days of Vietnam. Oh well, its only money, arms, and supplies. What the hell.
Today's Washington Times says it well in its front page article by Raza Khan. in that article, "Pakistan Improves position to fight terrorists", the author attributes the continued infiltration of the Taliban by CIA and other clandestine operatives, along with increased accuracy of the drones for what the US claims to be the reduced influence of the Taliban in Pakistan. He cites Turkistan Bhitani, a tribal leader, recently broken with the Taliban in Pakistan as an example of leaders coming over to the Government in the face of attacks.
Well, the long history of Pakistan and is widely disparate tribal groups, has often seen splits from a central controlling figure or group, often in the face of attack. However, breaking with the main group has more often than not meant that several independent groups were now waging conflict against the central government where before there had been on ly one. No net gain for the Government unless each of the groups can be subdued and neutralized as an opponent. That the Pakistani Army has been slow to do, even with US drone attacks and other support. Why then should we assume it is the case now?
In another front page article, Brent Snowcroft, former National Security Advisor to Republican administrations praised the Obama efforts thus far, but counseled that he had to stay focused on the ultimate objectives. That would seem to be at least an indirect slap at the disorder in the inner circles right now, with VP Biden arguing for less troops and more airpower, a dramatic departure from the recommendations of the commander in the field--GEN McCrystal. No one knows who will win this battle, but my hunch is that it will not be Biden.
Meanwhile, the Taliban chief in Pakistan, Hakimullah Mehsud, thought by some to be dead in intra-Taliban leadership fighting, emerged to be interviewed this past week. The Taliban militants has tapped Hakimullah to replace the group 's previous chief, Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in a U.S. drone attack in his South Waziristan stronghold on the Afghan border on Aug. 5.
China Views reported that Hakimullah Mehsud said his group would avenge the killing of Baitullah Mehsud and strike back at Pakistan and the United States for the increasing number of drone attacks in the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan. “We have respect for Al Qaeda and the jihadist organisations — we are with them,” he added. Hakimullah said the TTP was “united and stronger than before”. “Our basic aim is enforcement of Islamic law and if thousands of human lives need to be sacrificed, we will not hesitate,” he warned.
Finally, in a show that demonstrated their continuing resolve and strength, the Taliban militants claimed responsibility Tuesday for the deadly suicide bombing at the U.N. food agency's heavily fortified compound in Islamabad, saying international relief work in Pakistan was not in "the interest of Muslims." The attack killed five workers for the World Food Program on Monday, pushing the U.N. to temporarily close its offices in the country. It also exposed the vulnerability of international relief agencies helping millions of Pakistanis ahead of an anticipated military offensive against the Taliban in their South Waziristan stronghold.
The bottom line here may be that the US, as it has in the past, is quickly becoming unjustifiably overconfident in its assessment of the state of pakistan in its fight with the Taliban.