Obama Obama in Newsweek:
‘ Our success in Afghanistan is going to be deeply dependent not just on getting more troops there, which we need, but also some sustained high-level engagement with Pakistan—something that I discussed before but I think is significantly more urgent than even I had imagined. Basically there doesn’t appear to be any pressure at all being placed on Al Qaeda, on these training camps, these safe havens, in the FATA [Federally Administered Tribal Areas].’
Although there have been cease-fires between the Pakistani military and FATA militants at certain points and with regard to some groups (and as part of political negotiations), the Pakistani military took on tribal forces in Khyber recently and it is not fair to say that nothing is being done. Hundreds of Pakistani troops have died fighting the tribes and al-Qaeda in recent years. In his Berlin speech Obama also talked about terror training camps “in Karachi.” None existed to my knowledge. Karachi is a stronghold of the secular MQM. There is lots to criticize about the Pakistani government, but this level of animus and misinformation is odd and you have to wonder where it is coming from.
The increasing violence in Afghanistan is threatening the country’s ability to hold scheduled presidential elections in 2009, according to Aljazeera International:
NATO forces killed a car full of innocent civilians on Friday, one in a series of such incidents. Even NATO is admitting that its troops’ killing of innocent civilians is alienating the Afghan population.
Barnett Rubin weighs in on the issue of whether Afghanistan is a “narco-state.
Pakistani Taliban are attacking Shiites. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani has called on Pakistani Shiites to rally to the support of their brethren in Parachinar, who say that they have been interfering with Taliban infiltration of neighboring Afghanistan.
Remember how the US Pentagon kept claiming that Shiite Iran was helping the Taliban? Fairy tales for children courtesy Cheney.
Taliban factions are suspected of informing on each other to British and other NATO troops, thus using them to decapitate their internal rivals.
Taliban propaganda is becoming more effective.
Pakistani Taliban are threatening merchants who conduct cross-border trade with Afghanistan.