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Friday, May 22, 2009

DE BORCHGRAVE: Pakistan supplants Afghanistan

It's hardly surprising that the recent visit of Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai produced no hits, no runs, no errors, as one veteran player on the PakAf team put it. It was a non-meeting with various shades of the truth spoken by both sides. One of the participants, not for attribution, said, "Zardari came across as an Oriental rug merchant, asking high, settling low, as he knows Congress will approve economic and military assistance way below their immediate needs."

By creating that many refugees in a few days, the Pakistani army clearly is unprepared for counterinsurgency warfare. Two years ago, in the nearby Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the army sustained 1,400 killed and about 4,000 injured in operations against the Taliban. Yet the Taliban are still there, in safe havens in the mountains along the Afghan border. Charged with hunting them down is a Frontier Corps made up of local Pashtun volunteers and a small number of U.S. trainers.


Special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard C. Holbrooke is the latest American to call for incorporating FATA into Pakistan proper, in the Northwest Frontier Province. Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, while endorsing the suggestion, says he doesn't think Pakistan is ready to agree to something it has resisted for 62 years since independence. [thanks RJ}


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