The Taliban Resurgence in Pakistan

Journalist Hamid Mir shared his thoughts on the US' strategy for Afghanistan and 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.

Mir 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.

Both 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