Good Reads: Pakistan summons outspoken envoy Haqqani, Kenya's Somali operation
Pakistan's envoy to the US, Ambassador Husain Haqqani, explains why Pakistan cannot simply clear out militants from its mountainous regions, while Kenya marches into Somalia to try a similar task.
Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States dropped by for breakfast with The Christian Science Monitor yesterday, and explained why Pakistan simply can’t go into its mountainous regions and clear out terrorists the way that Macy’s, for instance, can clear out its fall collection to make way for the winter.Skip to next paragraph
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The reason, Ambassador Husain Haqqani told reporters at the weekly Monitor breakfast, is that launching the kinds of assaults that it previously conducted in South Waziristan and the Swat Valley tends to stir up local resentment against the government and support for Islamist militant groups like the Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizb-i Islami.
As Monitor correspondent Howard LaFranchi writes:
Haqqani said Wednesday that US officials now understand better Pakistan’s internal constraints in confronting some groups. He listed two red lines that Pakistan has laid down with the US concerning what it will and won’t do in the battle with terrorism: Pakistan won’t act in ways that involve “taking risks with our own internal cohesion,” he said, or that would pose “risks to our own national security.”
IN PICTURES: Drones: America's unmanned predators
The downside of that approach for Pakistan is that it virtually guarantees that the strikes by unmanned US drones will continue and even increase.
And unfortunately, the downside of speaking too frankly to reporters is that sometimes you make your bosses upset. This may or may not have happened with Mr. Haqqani, who was summoned home to Islamabad just hours after speaking at the Monitor breakfast. Pakistani officials insist this is just a routine visit.
With the US seemingly unable to clear out antigovernment militants in Afghanistan – and Pakistan apparently unwilling to do so in Pakistan – one wonders why a government like Kenya would want to send its troops into Somalia to carry out a very similar mission. On Oct. 16, Kenya’s military moved into neighboring Somalia after a continuing string of pirate attacks and kidnappings began to take a toll on Kenya’s foreign trade and tourism business.