Sunday, January 4, 2009

Dispatch From Pakistan

Vanessa M. Gezari visits Peshawar in Pakistan and reports on the bleak situation for Slate Magazine:

"I don't see this as a problem of the province, of the frontier, of Pakistan," Khan said. "I see it as a very, very serious international problem."

"I want the West to know what we are in and to sound a bell of warning, because I have been telling everyone that this is not going to stop here," Khan said. "It will grow into the rest of Pakistan if it's not stopped here."

The reporter visits the city markets where all kinds of looted NATO goods are for sale.

The attacks on NATO supply convoys have other consequences for Khan and his police. The containers aren't just being burned, Khan said; some are being raided by militants and thieves. In the markets of Peshawar, anyone can buy military uniforms, helmets, night-vision goggles, and high-tech weapon scopes, he said. He himself had bought 500 or 600 pairs of U.S. military boots, at $30 a pair, for use by his traffic police. (He had considered buying bulletproof vests, too, but they weren't the right grade for the weaponry his men faced.)

The US and NATO troops cannot properly fight the Afghan War with this overwhelming problem with its "ally" Pakistan. It's been a sore spot from the start and eight years later it has gotten worse not better. Short of invading outright, there isn't a real solution.


  1. All the more reason to not cut and run or "pull out" of the region. With Iraq finally somewhat under Iraqi control, the focus can turn to Pak/Afghan.

  2. What are they going to do? Invade/nation build Pakistan? Spend another zillion dollars being nice to people who hate them? Or keep doing what they are doing now: ignoring that their phony "ally" are supporting the Taliban? You can't address the Afghanistan situation without seriously addressing Pakistan question. Avoiding the question, their strategy for the last eight years is getting old.

  3. Your right that it requires a regional solution and Pak is the real target with the Nukes, etc. Bizzarre situation with Nukes and 8th century values.

    Pulling out of there is not the answer, best to stay close to your enemies. There needs to be more done on the policing vs. military side of the house.

    Victory, if it's possible to define in this situation, will likely be if there is cultural change to embrace some form of modernity/gd govt. In keeping with the negative theme, they'll likely be a world war from some other unrelated problem in the mean time.

  4. Spending a lot of lives and treasure in the hopes that Pakistan or Afghanistan embrace some form of modernity/gd govt(your words) is folly. The effort takes a lot of money and patience, and probably won't work. Nothing has improved in 8 years. Pretty soon the US will not be able to afford staying and will have to "cut and run" anyway.

    In 2001 I thought we were going there to beat up Al Qaeda, not to "nation build" in the most backward region in the world.

    Bush said back then we will punish people who harbor terrorists. Laughable. Pakistan was doing it then and is doing it now. The US plays a game of pretend it's not happening.