Why Pakistan may be more willing to help US target Taliban than it appears
A briefing on what the US wants from Pakistan – and why Pakistan might be more willing than it publicly indicates to help the US tackle the Afghan Taliban hiding in Pakistan.
Pakistan may be more willing to help the United States tackle the Afghan Taliban hiding in its country than it conveys in public – though at a much slower timetable than the United States wants, some Pakistani security analysts say.Skip to next paragraph
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A parade of senior US officials has called on Islamabad this month to stress President Barack Obama’s message: that Pakistan must move quickly against the militant groups to complement America’s troop surge in Afghanistan. This week alone saw visits from regional commander Gen. David Petraeus and top military official Adm. Mike Mullen.
Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders have rebuffed their request, according to media reports, insisting that the Army is tied down hunting its own militant group, the Pakistani Taliban. The government, meanwhile, is embroiled in a serious political crisis – 250 senior officials, including Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar, are facing revived corruption trials, political pressure to resign, and a ban on foreign travel issued Friday by an anticorruption agency.
But Pakistan’s military leaders may confront the Afghan Taliban eventually, not only to ease US pressure but also to reestablish the writ of government.
“There is a mismatch between the Pakistani priorities and what the US would like it to do, but I don’t think in the long run there’s any contradiction. It’s only a question of timing,” says Rifaat Hussain, a security analyst at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad. “Inevitably, Pakistan will have to deal with these elements.”
Here’s a briefing on what the US wants from Pakistan, and how Pakistan might be wiling or able to help.
What does the US want from Pakistan?
The US wants Pakistan to move against two Afghan insurgent groups that use Pakistan as a haven to plot attacks against US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
First, it is pressing Pakistan to launch an offensive against the Haqqani network in North Waziristan, one of seven tribal areas loosely controlled by the government.