Next US Prez will inherit challenge of persuading Pak leaders to fight war on terror

September 11th, 2008 - 10:09 pm ICT by ANI  


Islamabad, Sep 11 (ANI): Pakistans civilian and military leaders dont want to fight the war on terror as the United States want them to fight.

The new Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari will not likely be able to solve the problems in near future, so the next US President will inherit the challenge of persuading the Pakistani leadership that it needs to continue prosecuting an unpopular, but necessary, war, The International Herald Tribune reported.

The paper said the fact remains that if the US wants to wipe out al Qaeda, it will need Islamabads help, and if it wants to consolidate a stable democratic government in Afghanistan, it will need Islamabad to go after senior Afghan Taliban leaders and their Pakistani associates like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Jalaluddin Haqqani.

If Pakistan is to undertake these tasks, the next administration will need to make fundamental changes in its approach: It will have to strengthen the civilian government in Islamabad, while still maintaining a cooperative relationship with the Pakistani military.

These two objectives may frequently be at odds, and they embody genuine dilemmas for Washington.

The war on terror necessitates continued US engagement of the Pakistani military but, if not conducted appropriately, such a partnership could weaken civil authority in Islamabad and strengthen the national security state in Pakistan, which has historically been the chief cause of Pakistans problems.

The alternative strategy of emphasizing Pakistani civilian supremacy, on the other hand, could - if not managed carefully - undermine the Pakistani military cooperation necessary for the success of counterterrorism operations and could in fact become a double whammy if the Zardari regime fails to govern responsibly.

Washington must continue to assist Pakistan to fight the war on terror despite the fact that the Pakistan Army is tired, overextended and ill-equipped to fight terrorism and insurgency.

The first objective here must be to get the army and its intelligence organization, the Inter-Services Intelligence, out of the terrorism business altogether. The second objective must be to assist the army with equipment and training to do something it has never done before: recognize that Pakistan’’s real enemies are to be found within the country and not across its eastern border in India.

Helping the army make this conceptual leap will be a great achievement. But neither Pakistan nor the United States can afford to wait for a full transformation in the army’’s mind-set. Both countries are confronted by a pressing threat of terrorism now, and success requires that the Pakistan Army get back into the fight as early as possible.

A shift of this sort will take many years to materialize, but the next American president could do much to encourage it by showing the Pakistanis that the United States will not neglect them if they are willing to do their part. (ANI)

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