The Atlantic has an informative article on Pakistan (I believe it is subscription only) that provides some interesting exchanges with members of the Pakistani military.  This part seemed most relevant to an American audience:

“Major Khaled,” as I’ll call him, grew up in northern Punjab—the “martial belt” that has traditionally provided the vast majority of soldiers and officers in the army—and he received his training at the Pakistan Military Academy. His career mirrored that of many other ambitious young Pakistani officers, and until recently, he had followed his orders without questioning them: He had participated enthusiastically, for instance, in the 1999 invasion of Kargil. All of that changed after Pakistani troops were deployed in the tribal agencies along the border to put down local insurgents and foreign fighters.

“I’ve met people of all ranks, in the line of fire, and nobody is happy with this way of solving the problem in Waziristan,” he told me. “The terrain is hard. It’s difficult to hold the ground. The insurgents know every inch of the area.” Major Khaled told me he resented the implication, which he felt the U.S. government had fostered, that Pakistan was serving as the main refuge for Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters. “The terrain around Kabul is similar, so why do they say that the only hideouts are in Waziristan?” he said. “Why is Pakistan singled out? Pakistan has suffered a lot. I’ve lost colleagues in ambushes, to time bombs, to improvised explosive devices. The Pakistan army is bleeding for you people.” I asked Khaled if his doubts about the mission had ever caused him to disobey the commands of higher-ups. He shook his head. “I’m not a policy maker. We just have to follow the orders, but people down below don’t go into battle from their hearts. There could have been other options. This is not our battle. This is your battle, and we’re paying the price.”

Bear this in mind the next time you hear some pundit complain about Islamabad’s “appeasement” in Waziristan.  (In principle, their deal with the tribes was fundamentally no different from the deal we have struck in Anbar, with the main difference being that we cajoled Musharraf to resume using failed tactics against the tribes.)  The article is a smart, balanced one that makes it clear that Musharraf and the latest bout of militarisation of Pakistani politics have become a liability to Pakistan and America.  I had hinted at how we should start looking beyond Musharraf in one of my early columns this summer (sorry, not online).  Obviously, with the state of emergency that Musharraf declared, the dangers of sticking with Musharraf have become clear for all to see, but it may now be too late to remedy the error of putting virtually all of our chips, so to speak, on Musharraf.

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