Revival of Taliban attacks threatening American goals
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Afghanistan could prove to be a quagmire for President Obama, with the Taliban resurgence a threat to existing U.S. forces, which which will increase by 17,000 troops, and to Pakistan’s timid government, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Part of the problem for U.S. and NATO troops is that they are not trained for the type of insurgency that exists in Afghanistan. They are conventionally trained to go against an unconventional guerrilla Taliban force and are placed in remote outposts that would be in a position to be picked off before help could arrive.
This assessment comes as Pakistan within the past week has yielded the Swat Valley territory some 100 miles north of Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad.
While the capital is not under immediate threat, concessions of large swatches of land to the Islamic militants in the northwestern portion of the country that borders Afghanistan could embolden them to pursue further land acquisitions.
For example, the Taliban this week initially moved into the Buno district south of the Swat area, only 60 miles north of the Pakistani capital, but has offered to withdraw.
“Pakistan today is in dire straits where its very existence as a nation-state is at stake,” according to international relations and strategic affairs analyst Subhash Kapila.
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“Pakistan’s creeping Talibanization is no longer creeping but now galloping from its explosive western peripheries to the very heartland of Punjab. Pakistan’s galloping Talibanization is no longer a strategic menace for the United States and NATO Forces in Afghanistan only, or for that matter to India,” Kapila said. “Pakistan’s Talibanization has emerged today as an untreatable or malignant cancer afflicting Pakistan’s survival.”
The signs already are there for Pakistan. Its leadership under recently elected President Bilawal Bhutto Zadari is considered weak and doesn’t have the full confidence of the Pakistani military. In addition, Pakistan’s military isn’t trained to fight the growing insurgency in the country. Instead, Pakistani military doctrine is oriented toward conventional fighting to oppose Indian military forces.
Further, Pakistan’s intelligence service, the Inter-Service Intelligence Directorate, is increasingly being infiltrated by Taliban sympathizers and by mid-level military personnel who are sympathetic to it.
In fact, the Sunni Taliban originally was a creation of the ISI as a means of gaining influence in neighboring Afghanistan, first against the then-Soviet Union and to counter traditional Indian and growing Shiite Iranian influence in the country. Historically, Pakistan since its creation in 1947 has regarded Afghanistan as being in its sphere of influence.
“Pakistan is in the process of being gobbled by a Frankenstein’s monster of its own creation,” according to B. Raman, security expert with the South Asian Analysis Group.