Archive for March 31st, 2009

Obama’s policy review

March 31st, 2009

In his speech President Obama said: “The situation is increasingly perilous. It’s been more than seven years since the Taliban was removed from power, yet war rages on, and insurgents control parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan.” What Obama said is obviously a matter of concern for Pakistan and Afghanistan because these two countries have literally been torn apart because of the seemingly endless war on terror. But is peace going to come through more military operations or through political initiatives? This is a question that the US review team needs to ponder upon once more. The time for peace initiatives had arrived long ago. New and bold peace initiatives are now warranted if this region is to have durable peace.

We must not lose sight of the proven fact that long-drawn low-intensity wars are mostly won by unconventional forces and with each passing day new militants are motivated and recruited. The cycle can only be stopped through political initiatives and not military operations alone. It is in America’s own interest that a quick political solution is now found to the Afghan problem–i.e., before there is an irresistible outcry from within USA itself to withdraw from Afghanistan.

Obama went on to say: “The future of Afghanistan is inextricably linked to the future of its neighbour, Pakistan. In the nearly eight years since 9/11, Al Qaeda and its extremist allies have moved across the border to the remote areas of the Pakistani frontier. For the American people, this border region (read FATA) has become the most dangerous place in the world.” This part of the speech is something that ought to be a matter of great concern to Pakistan because it shifts the emphasis of the American military effort to Pakistan’s north-western regions where drone attacks are usual occurrences. If Pakistan does not alert itself then the drone attacks being supplemented by ground incursions cannot be too far away.
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