Last Pakistan Post In a While (We Hope)

by Joshua Foust on 12/31/2007 · 3 comments

South Asia reporter-extraordinaire Carlotta Gall has a dispatch detailing how many of the Islamist crazies in western Pakistan are no longer really foreign mercs out to murder kafirs but actually homegrown, local Pakistanis. This is an important development, as it means the relationship between the local tribes (remember, the ones the U.S. military wants to arm so it can import Anbar?) is no longer one of cultural hospitality, but now one of active collaboration. It also raises questions about the efficacy of Pakistan’s army in battling extremists—they have shown more than a little reluctance in firing on their own people, even when under attack. Perhaps there can be developed a system not unlike the arbakai of Paktia? Color me doubtful.

Meanwhile, Barnett Rubin has done us the courtesy of getting permission from The Wall Street Journal to post his essay, “The Musharraf Problem.” It is worth reading in its entirety, but especially this bit:

Most global terrorist plots since 9/11 can be traced back to these [tribal] areas. And Pakistan’s military regime, not Iran, has been the main source of rogue nuclear proliferation. It is therefore the U.S. partnership with military rulers in Pakistan that has been and is the problem, not the solution…

On Sept. 19, 2001, he told the Pakistani public that he would support U.S. efforts in Afghanistan in order to “save Afghanistan and Taliban, ensure that they suffer minimum losses.” He presented Pakistan’s support for U.S. efforts against the Taliban as reluctant compliance, required to assure the security of Pakistan from India.

Bhutto, however, had started to present a different message: that the people of Pakistan want a government and a state that serves them, not a state that serves the military’s pursuit of a failed strategic mission. She spoke of the Pakistani Taliban and their al Qaeda backers as the greatest threat to the country. She and other parties proposed to extend civil authority over the tribal agencies, ending their role as a platform for covert actions.

Remarkable—you’d almost think Musharraf is not the paragon of democracy and freedom the Right-o-sphere and National Review have made him out to be. All this makes for a fascinating contrast with what a clinical psychologist at PJM has to say.

In a sense, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto is a political and cultural version of an honor killing.

Oh, did I say fascinating? I meant REALLY FRUSTRATING. How the hell do these people get money to write this crap?


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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 Registan.net. 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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{ 3 comments }

ERS December 31, 2007 at 7:33 pm

Comparing Benazir Bhutto’s assassination to an “honor” killing makes for titillating headlines, but I don’t think it is a reasonable comparison. Bhutto was from a political dynasty. Three other members of her family have been assassinated, too. . .all were male.

Assassinations and “honor” killings are both horrible enough on their own. No need to overegg them.

Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
“Reclaiming Honor in Jordan”

Patriot January 2, 2008 at 2:15 pm

Bhutto helped, through the I.S.I., create the Taliban.
Thereby, breeding the climate of Al Qaeda
It is only fitting that she died by their hand.

Joshua Foust January 2, 2008 at 2:22 pm

No, she didn’t. Bhutto never had any control or influence over the ISI. See more here.

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