Friday, April 24, 2009

Guarding the Yard While the House Burns

There have been numerous accounts recently about the surge of the Pakistani Taliban, who just advanced to within 70 miles of the capital. Today the New York Times has a detailed report on the situation in Pakistan. How has the Pakistani government and military responded to this threat in the heart of their country?
As some 400 to 500 insurgents strengthened their hold on Buner on Thursday, setting up checkpoints and closing down courts, Pakistani authorities deployed just several hundred poorly paid and equipped constabulary forces to Buner, who were repelled in a clash, leaving one police officer dead.
Why is Pakistan's huge army sitting idle, while insurgents occupy territory less than a two hour drive from their capital? Buner is not some village. It's a city of a million people. How does a country just let a major city be taken over by rebels and do virtually nothing?
the poorly trained constabulary force was sent Thursday because Pakistani Army troops were not available, and Pakistani generals were reluctant to pull reinforcements off the border with India
As insurgents rampage through the interior of their country, the Pakistani military is far more concerned with protecting the border with India. And this is the nation the Obama administration wants to provide with $7.5 billion in U.S. aid. We can only hope that Congress has a little less willingness to flush more taxpayer money down the drain. Here's House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wisconsin,
“I have absolutely no confidence in the ability of the existing Pakistan government to do one blessed thing,”
You aren't the only one Congressman Obey.

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