By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Foreign Service
Reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Yesterday in these pages, I mentioned the notion of civil war in Pakistan. The term basically describes the situation in Afghanistan of the last nine years with a conspicuous imperial presence armed to the teeth, claiming continuous and impending threat to its homeland and hauling the rest of the international military community (Nato, the UK and a few other national armies) along. Efforts in the pages of mainstream media continue to propagandize the affected area as "AfPak" as though no legal or diplomatic implications exist for U.S. military operations in Pakistan.
If the houses of government in Pakistan--the executive, parliament, the courts--issue military orders to suppress an element in the population that holds some influence over that population, the resulting combat would, or should be, called civil war. When this became an issue in Iraq prior to President Bush's now famous troop surge, the Iraq war lost a great deal of support from the U.S. population.
Previous to the Hillary Clinton meeting with Pakistan's foreign minister and the pledge for billions more in military aid, the U.S. was considering diplomatic talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan. See "A Deal with the Taliban?" New York Review of Books Feb. 25, 2010; piece by Ahmed Rashid, pages 36-9. This refers to an entity separate from but intricately influenced by the Taliban in Pakistan. Both can be dissuaded from affinity with Al Qaeda, a much smaller group that leverages against state governments in Kabul and Islamabad for religious political influence within the Taliban and the larger populations.
It is arguable that negotiations that were a looming possibility in February may be rendered impossible or pushed back many months by the backlash of recent moves by Departments of State and Defense with leadership in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Karzai Threatens to Join the Taliban, as U.S. Involvement in Afghanistan Hits a New Low
The most recent news from Afghanistan shows how deadly and dysfunctional the U.S. mission there is.
Alternet story by Liliana Segura
April 5, 2010