The Taliban Resurgence in Pakistan
NEW YORK, March, 31, 2009 – US policy should focus on fighting
terrorism in Pakistan in the long term through dialogue, infrastructure
development, educational and employment opportunities, and in the short
term by resolving the border dispute by securing the porous and
ambiguous Afghanistan-Pakistan border, said prominent journalist Hamid Mir, editor of Geo TV.
In a discussion at the Asia Society with Mary Anne Weaver, author of Pakistan: In the Shadow of Jihad and Afghanistan,
days after President Obama's announcement of the United States' new
comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Mir also said that
the area in which the Taliban poses the greatest threat and has the
most active support, is in the Federally Administered Tribal Area, an
underdeveloped area where the Pakistani government is not in control,
and which would benefit most from infrastructure development.
and Weaver agreed that President's new strategy for Afghanistan and
Pakistan is, in large part, a continuation of past policies, most
notably in the use of drone attacks. The drone attacks, said Weaver,
were being employed to meet the US government's objective of
"destroying al-Qaida at all costs." She and Mir warned that this
strategy was ineffective and dangerous. Mir stated that, in addition to
violating international law, the drone attacks have been unsuccessful
in reaching their intended targets of top al-Qaida operatives; instead
they are killing civilians and serving to unite various Taliban
factions and increasing sympathy in the region.
Mir and Weaver stressed the cyclical nature of violence in Pakistan,
which is motivated primarily by politics and the quest for revenge.
Reported by Danika Swanson