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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 08-05-2008, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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the big party of all bearded men

with roughly more than half the population being urban and used to rouge fight I see the ground realities not much different that Iraq if not better either!!

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US eyes up Pakistan’s Taleban bases
Simon Tisdall | The Independent

THE turbulent prospect of direct US intervention against Al-Qaeda and Taleban bases in Pakistani territory adjoining Afghanistan appears to have moved closer following last week’s visit to Washington by Pakistan’s new prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani. Far from reassuring his hosts that Islamabad is on top of the situation in the so-called tribal areas, Gilani’s uncertain performance seems to have convinced US officials of the need to move quickly. Afghanistan is now more dangerous for US and British troops than Iraq. And US officials in Baghdad say leaders of Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia recently left for Afghanistan, taking new recruits and foreign fighters with them.

Primary US concern, plainly expressed to Gilani at the White House, focuses on the pressing need to stop the aiding and abetting of the Afghan Taleban by Pakistani counterparts and itinerant jihadis. But nagging fears also persist of a major terrorist outrage aimed directly at the US, mounted from the Hindu Kush and coinciding with the presidential election’s climax. Pakistani officials complain that Predator attacks invariably kill civilians and alienate the local population.

Such arguments are undermined by heavy fighting in the past week in Swat, where a May cease-fire with the Taleban has collapsed, and by US intelligence findings that members of Pakistan’s military-run Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate are collaborating with the jihadis and assisted last month’s bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul.

This latter claim was initially flatly denied. Later, Pakistan Information Minister Sherry Rehman admitted: “There are probably still individuals within the ISI who are ideologically sympathetic to the Taleban and act on their own.”

Apparently responding to US worries about rogue operations, Gilani’s government announced, as he was flying to Washington, that the ISI would be placed under the control of the civilian-led Interior Ministry. A day later, after the security services reportedly refused point-blank to agree to the change, the government embarrassingly backed down.

These events have underscored US suspicions that Gilani does not control the military and intelligence apparatus put in place by his political enemy and former army chief, Pervez Musharraf, who still holds the presidency.

They have also strengthened the hand of those in Washington who, egged on by an increasingly alarmed Indian government and by the beleaguered Karzai, feel the US must take charge.

Unless the political situation turns around dramatically, the extension of the Afghan war into western Pakistani territory now looks highly probable. By any measure, this is a fraught undertaking. And given the brutal history of an ungoverned region the British signally failed to tame, the Americans may come to rue the day they crossed the Durand Line.

Fuel economy!! whats that??
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