What To Do About Pakistan?
This morning Bill Roggio is reporting that the Pakistani government has moved paramilitary forces, potentially to oppose Taliban forces should they advance on the capital:
Islamabad officials have moved paramilitary forces to block a potential Taliban advance into the nation’s capital as US officials question Pakistan’s ability to stop the creeping insurgency.
Islamabad’s deputy commissioner and its senior police official said they are taking steps to counter the Taliban encroachment from the Northwest Frontier Province, Geo News reported. The Pakistan Rangers, a paramilitary force under the command of Pakistan’s Interior Ministry, have been deployed to the Margala hills on the northern outskirts of Islamabad. The deputy commissioner said the Taliban will not be able to cross through the Margala hills and into Islamabad.
The move to reinforce Islamabad comes just one day after Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the chief of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl, an Islamist political party, said the Taliban are beginning to move into the districts of Haripur and Mansehra. Haripur directly borders Punjab province and Islamabad, and is close to two sensitive nuclear storage facilities.
Bill’s coverage of the situation in Pakistan has been uniformly good so I recommend you take a look at his several recent posts on the subject.
Meanwhile Pakistani venture capitalist and financier Mansoor Ijaz, in an op-ed in the Christian Science Monitor, proposes a “rescue plan” for Pakistan that has the following components:
- Redefine the Taliban as the foreign fighters, e.g. Tajik, Uzbek, Chechen, Afghans, etc. takfiris, in Pakistan.
- Convince specific far-left and far-right Pakistani politicians to jointly “declare all-out war on Taliban mercenaries”, presumably appealing to Pakistani nationalism and thereby creating political cover for the government to oppose the Taliban more vigorously.
- The U. S. would give the Pakistani government substantial military aid to prosecute the campaign.
- If the Pakistani military were to direct their attentions against Afghanistan or India, the U. S. would withdraw its support.
- U. S. civil aid would be increased and specifically dedicated to secular schools to oppose the Islamist schools being financed by the Saudis.
This plan, once set, would then be ratified by Pakistan’s National Security Council and Army corps commanders, and implemented.
If no plan is agreed upon, America walks out and previews its contingency plan for securing Pakistan’s nuclear weapons on the front page of The New York Times.
Frankly, I think it’s too late to implement such a plan, I doubt that we have the acumen or leverage to involve ourselves in Pakistani domestic politics in such a manner, I question whether we should involve ourselves in Pakistani domestic politics even if we had the acumen or leverage, and I see little practical way of preventing whatever military aid we convey to the Pakistani military from falling into the hands of the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
However, if the Taliban advances on Islamabad it may confront the Obama Administration with a truly serious dilemma: what is the U. S. willing to do to prevent Pakistan’s nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of the Pakistani Taliban and their Al Qaeda guests?