Sunday, June 8
America's war on terror goes awry in Pakistan
Ahmed Rashid, YaleGlobal, June 4, 2003
A year and half after American Special Forces swept away the Taliban government of Afghanistan, the group is alive and well - and spreading their ideology to new horizons - in neighboring Pakistan. The apparent survival of the Taliban - most of their senior leaders now live in Pakistan - and the persistence of their ideology point to the monumental failure of the American war on terror. The group's re-emergence as a political force also bodes ill for civil liberties in Pakistan - a key US ally - and for the prospects for democratization in other Islamic countries.
Last October, an alliance of fundamentalist Islamic parties rode on widespread anger at the American war in Afghanistan to take power in Pakistan's sensitive North West Frontier Province (NWFP), which borders Afghanistan. The alliance has since ordered compulsory prayers for the population and created a Taliban-style Department of Vice and Virtue to enforce their rules. Their broader campaign - to turn all of Pakistan into a state modeled after the Taliban - is only one of several crises that have paralyzed Pakistan and its nine-month-old civilian government. Many Pakistani politicians believe that President General Pervaiz Musharraf and the army may be on the verge of wrapping up parliament and re-imposing military rule [...]