Mr. Rashid is perhaps less enthusiastic about the Taliban:
Meanwhile down south, the Balochistan provincial government is controlled by a coalition of pro-Taliban fundamentalist parties, which came to power in elections in 2002. Jamiat-e-Ulema-i-Islami, the party that controls the key ministries, openly supports the Taliban.There's that pesky Baluchistan again (or Balochistan, whichever you please), now world famous as the boyhood homes of Ramzi Yousef and KSM. Yousef also had a wife and kids in Quetta. The bonus question is: which branch of Islam do these folks subscribe to? The answer--yep, it's Sunni. That seems to put them at odds with Iran, doesn't it?
But, the fact Bush is heading to Pakistan so close after Hamid Karzai's visit there should tell us the fate of Afghanistan is far from decided. The Soviets set up a government there, too, which eventually failed due to pressure from Taliban/AQ like insurgents. The big difference is WE helped them, and this time they don't have a super power behind them. That we know of, at least.
Bush will try to accentuate the positive as always, as he did Tuesday in his interview with ABC's Elizabeth Vargas:
VARGAS: Do you think he's doing enough, the Pakistanis are doing enough to find bin Laden, since everybody believes bin Laden is in Pakistan?He made a stopover at Bagram AFB today for a pep talk before heading to the summit. He'll need more than a pep talk with Musharraf. Bush needs to make it clear the American people are losing patience with Pakistan's foot dragging about the tribal regions, which amounts to harboring terrorists. After all, harboring terrorists accounted for part of the reason we took out Saddam, and it certainly was a seminal part of the "with us or with the terrorists" speech.
BUSH: We're looking and we've had some success against some of his lieutenants and allies. The war against terror requires constant pressure, the sharing of intelligence, the capacity to find these people lurking in remote regions of the world. And, you know, Western Pakistan is pretty remote. But I'll be talking to President Musharraf about the need to work together to find these killers.
THE PAKIS REACT 3/1/06
Apparently Musharraf is capable of "rounding up the usual suspects" too, or in his case just shooting them. Anything to do with Bush's visit? Nah.
Bush needs to sit hard on this guy. If he can fireblast some AQs before a state visit, surely he can do it when the state's not visiting, too.
THE INDIAN SOLUTION 3/2/06
CNN is splashing Bush's "historic agreement" with India pertaining to nuclear technology, peaceful only, of course. There's no doubt that the real meat of this deal is behind the scenes. It's also likely Bush's trip is a lot more mportant than we're being led to believe.
Since we have occasional visitors to this blog from India I'd be very interested in their opinions of this development, should they wish to share. Here's mine, for what it's worth:
Bush must realize the precarious situation in Pakistan. I came down a little too hard on Musharraf for not rousting AQ from the tribal frontiers, perhaps he simply cannot. If Pervez is removed Pakistan will likely fall into fundamentalist hands, giving AQ their coveted nuclear program. Bush is simply choosing sides here and setting up a deterrent. Thing is, unless this is all pre-arranged, wonder how he's going to explain this move to Musharraf? I'd certainly like to be a fly on the wall in his meetings in Islamabad.