Good Reads: Pakistan's Musharraf speaks, US talks tough, and Congo's elections loom
Pakistan's former president Musharraf says the US, which has accused Pakistan of complicity in terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, must understand Pakistan's national interests.
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There's something about launching a frontal assault on a US embassy and then having a shootout inside a CIA station that captures the attention of US policymakers and news media.
The US blames a Pakistan-based group called the Haqqani network for the US embassy attack in Kabul on Sept. 13, and for more broadly cooperating with the Taliban in their long guerrilla war against the Afghan government. Now, Washington has been considering a number of strong actions against the Haqqani network and its perceived sponsors, the Pakistani military. One US senator even hinted at military action.
But in London, former Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf told the Telegraph's Duncan Gardham that the US needs to keep working with Pakistan to find a solution to their common problem, the instability of Afghanistan. And, he told the Telegraph, Washington needs to understand that Pakistan has a right to defend its own national interests in a region dominated by Pakistan's existential rival, India.
Responding to a specific question on why Pakistan might be working with the Haqqani network, Mr. Musharraf replied: “If I was in government I would certainly be thinking how best to defend Pakistan’s interests."
“The United States must understand Pakistan has its own national interest. The United States must accept the compulsions of Pakistan and give assurances."
He added: “When the coalition talk of leaving in 2014, Pakistan has to really think, what will be the environment and fend for itself against all the exterior pressures, all the exterior manoeuvrings and political manoeuvrings against Pakistan.”
So that's it, then. Pakistan's interests and America's interests are at odds, and it's up to diplomats in Washington and Islamabad to come up with some compromise that makes everyone, if not happy, then at least a little less aggressively homicidal. Which means that the seemingly decision of whether to label the group behind the US embassy attack a "terrorist organization" is not as simple as it sounds.
Haqqani and Taliban
The Monitor's Howard LaFranchi writes from Washington that putting the Haqqani network on the US State Department's terror watch list could scupper any lingering chance of peace talks with the Taliban – already stalled after the Taliban killed the Afghan government's chief negotiator – and could further worsen relations with Pakistan.