US ‘rubbish peanuts’ won’t help Pakistan win war against terror: Editorial

May 30th, 2009 - 5:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, May 30 (IANS) The “rubbish peanuts” the US is offering Pakistan won’t help it win the war against terror, an editorial in a leading English daily said Saturday, noting that the price this country would have to pay “far outweighs” the $700 million Washington is offering annually for the next five years.
Another editorial, while pointing to the growing terror attacks in Pakistan in the wake of its efforts in the war against terror, said without striking at the roots of militancy in the country, “the pipeline that churns out suicide bombers and terrorists can never be shut down”.

The editorials come against the backdrop of terror bombings in Lahore and Peshawar that killed over 40 people and injured a few hundreds and the hush hush visit here of US Central command chief General David Petraus that is being viewed here as America’s attempts to arm-twist Pakistan into doing more in the war against terror.

“With the greatest of respect we have to tell you, General Petraeus, that this (annual grant of $700 million) is peanuts, and rubbish peanuts at that,” The News said in an editorial.

“This $700 million is not going to buy us anything other than cosmetics for the face of modern warfare, and no amount of promises to share intelligence gathered by drones and other cooperative military activity is going to mitigate the contribution to our own insecurity and instability that the fighting of ‘your’ war brings to our nation,” it added.

The price that Pakistan would have to pay in terms of lost incomes, another surge of Afghan refugees to add to the 1.7 million already here as well as the three million refugees generated as the military takes on the Taliban in Pakistan’s restive northwest “far outweighs the paltry $700 million you offer us.

“Come and visit us again. Bring better peanuts next time. And more of them,” the editorial maintained.

It also pointed to the “very real fear” in Pakistan that an upsurge in fighting in Afghanistan and pressure being brought to bear on the Taliban there, “is going to drive them not just over the Durand Line and into NWFP (North west Frontier Province), but into other towns and cities as well”.

The editorial also noted that the Taliban were “already active” in every province, have a strong presence in south Punjab and parts of Balochistan, “and for them to be reinforced by battle-hardened fighters fresh from tangling with the Americans is a prospect we view with some despair.

“The somewhat threadbare strategy for dealing with the inevitable comes down to another handout - $700 million,” the editorial contended.

Dawn, in its editorial, contended that “without striking at the roots of militancy in the country, the pipeline that churns out suicide bombers and terrorists can never be shut down”.

Thus, the anti-Taliban operation currently underway in NWFP and the one planned in the adjacent Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) “is the correct one, but it comes with two caveats”, the editorial said.

Firstly, the military option must be effective.

“If the state acts clumsily, it may well succeed in killing today’s crop of militants, but it would do so at the cost of possibly creating a new generation of militants culled from among the disaffected and abused local populations,” the editorial said.

Secondly, intelligence-gathering and policing in the cities must be stepped up.

“At the moment, riddled as they are with inefficiencies, the police forces in the cities are not up to the task of counter-terrorism activities,” the editorial contended.

The Pakistani military had April 26 gone into action against the Taliban in Swat, Buner and Lower Dir districts of NWFP after the militants reneged on a controversial peace deal with the provincial government.

The military says some 1,200 militants have so far been killed in the operations.

Similar action is now planned to evict the Taliban from the South Waziristan region of FATA.

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