So far, the United States has given the government of Pakistan more than $12.3 billion in military and economic aid. Vice President Joe Biden proposed last summer that we throw another $7.5 billion in non-military aid Pakistan’s way over the next five years.
But that isn’t enough to keep Pakistan from failing as a state, says the Atlantic Council. The Atlantic Council describes itself at its website as “promot[ing] constructive U.S. leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic community in meeting the international challenges of the 21st century.”
The Council is chaired by former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is honorary chairman.
The Council’s report says that “we (presumably America) are running out of time to help Pakistan change its present course toward increasing economic and political instability, and even ultimate failure.”
The Council is concerned that Pakistan is unable to curtail al-Qaida, which operates openly in many parts of Pakistan, and the Taliban, which recently took over Swat, a region the size of Delaware. About 3,000 Taliban managed to fight off 12,000 Pakistani troops, forcing Islamabad into a truce.
The Pakistani government agreed to a very dangerous compromise that allows the region to be governed according to Shariah law. In effect, this was a capitulation to the Taliban that greatly increased their stature among the militant tribes along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. This now puts the U.S. military at greater risk along their vulnerable eastern flank and endangers their supply route that must go through part of that territory from the Khyber Pass. It has also left a safe haven for the leaders of al-Qaida.
The Taliban is now free to keep order in the region by using such barbaric punishments as floggings, stonings, beheadings, burning of schools and execution of women for infractions in the Western view are minor. These are things that supposedly the U.S. went to war to correct.
Under the terms of the accord, the chief minister of the province, Amir Haider Khan Hoti, said that Pakistani troops would now go on “reactive mode” and fight only in retaliation for an attack. In effect, these regions are now mini-states controlled by al-Qaida and the Taliban.
All of the above issues pale into insignificance compared to the danger of Pakistan’s government failing and being taken over by the large number of Islamic Fundamentalists there.
If these Islamic fanatics take control of Pakistan’s nuclear missiles, it will immediately be a much greater threat to the world than that posed by Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq put together.
Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is estimated to contain as many as 100 warheads. They have intermediate-range ballistic missiles to deliver them. They have also acquired the lethal nuclear-capable Babur cruise missiles. This year, Pakistan commissioned its first nuclear-missile capable submarine, the PNS Hamza. The Hamza can also fire Babur cruise missiles mounted with nuclear warheads.
So, what does it all mean? The big fear is that Pakistan’s government will fall and be taken over by forces loyal to the Taliban and al-Qaida. Can you imagine what it would mean should Pakistan’s considerable nuclear arsenal fall into the hands of al-Qaida?
I have always felt that we should have done everything possible to keep Gen. Musharraf in power. As one president rightly said, “He may be a S.O.B., but he is our S.O.B.” He kept the Islamic militants at bay – something that the leaders the misinformed “human rights” activists pushed into power cannot do, no matter how much money we give them.