Reaping What You Sow

by Joshua Foust on 9/11/2006 · 2 comments

Hakim Taniwal, the governor of Paktia province in southeastern Afghanistan, has been assassinated along with two aides. This is the 47th bombing since January, and includes a major bomb last week in Kabul.

Paktia, notice, borders recently-abandoned Waziristan. And it should come as no surprise that, since NATO troops will respect national borders by not crossing into Pakistan, the Taliban uses its Pakistani havens to stage attacks against local and regional officials. Furthermore, by choosing to abandon the region to the religious extremists, Pervez Musharraf sent the signal to any moderates or reformers in the area that they will not have the support or protection of the national government, essentially killing any hopes of developing and modernizing the area.

Expect more such suicide attacks on government officials. While NATO troops have been doing a good job of routing Taliban units in Kandahar province, they haven’t yet been able to extend their reach to the border areas near Pakistan. That is the epicenter of Taliban support, and it won’t be touched until NATO countries can bother to fulfill their current troop requirements, to say nothing of actually increasing their committments. Even then, we have so little credibility among the locals that I’m pessimistic anything can be done.

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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Laurence September 11, 2006 at 10:39 am

Thank you for another interesting post!

Nick September 12, 2006 at 2:43 am

Waziristan – very much the province du nos jours (as is Helmand). It should be remembered that the Pakistani army only entered the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) for the first time in 2004. The recent deal between the government and the tribal chieftans actually represents a return to the old order – and I dare say Musharraf et al have reached this decision based on their own needs rather than the needs of the GWOT. Whether or not it turns out to be a disastrous policy remains to be seen.

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