Friday, April 06, 2007

Pakistan's Strategic Goals and the Deteriorating Situation in Afghanistan

This is a fairly extensive summary of the dilemmas Pakistan now faces. For those who have followed the situation closely not much will be new here, but in a fairly short space it identifies several critical issues the Pakistani leadership faces right now. More and more analysts are seeing the situation in Pakistan as pivotal. And indeed it has been for some time. Despite the support the Americans have given Pakistan it is still a place where political interests that compete with American interests are active, perhaps to the point of threatening even the stability of the country. However events move in the Middle East and Central Asia, Pakistan's affairs will play a significant part.

Pakistan's Strategic Goals and the Deteriorating Situation in Afghanistan
By Dr. Harsh V. Pant

"Pakistan is reeling under a host of problems and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf seems unable to tackle them."
"The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, has been openly blaming Pakistan for the deteriorating security environment in his country"
"...during a recent trip to Islamabad U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney invoked ... the Democratic Party's threat to make aid conditional on a crackdown of Islamic militants"
"Musharraf's decision to sack the chief justice of Pakistan's Supreme Court, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, has ignited widespread public protests around the country "
"While Pakistan has apprehended some key al-Qaeda leaders and has acquired actionable intelligence, it has also not done enough to crack down on al-Qaeda's rear base on the border with Afghanistan."
"rising Western casualty rates in Afghanistan are ... encouraging a rethink about Pakistan's relationship with the West and its role in the global war on terrorism."
"former U.S.Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte cautioned the U.S.Congress that Pakistan remains a major source of Islamic extremism and that al-Qaeda leaders have found sanctuary in secure Pakistani hideouts."
"Tension between Afghanistan and Pakistan has intensified sharply recently amid growing concern about the implications of Islamabad's failure to crack down on cross-border militancy"
"Competition between New Delhi and Islamabad for influence in Afghanistan poses a threat to their peace process and to Afghan development. An improvement in ties between India and Pakistan could help to stabilize the situation, but peace talks are unlikely to yield substantial results in the short- to medium-term. "

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