Pakistan is a failed state. They don’t have control of their territory or it’s inhabitants. We should have admitted that to ourselves before 9/11 when they supported the Taliban. We should have recognized that fact over the years since 9/11 when it became obvious that the government was unwilling or unable to stop their Western territories from being used as safe havens for insurgents fighting in the Afghan conflict. It should have been clear after AQ Khan, father of the Pakistani nuclear program, was caught selling turnkey systems for uranium enrichment to Iran, North Korea, and Libya. He might not have been acting with the full support of the Pakistani government, but therein lies the problem: he was acting at his own will.
Same story with the Mumbai attacks of November 26, 2008 or 26/11 as commonly referred to in India. Pakistan claims that “stateless actors” were to blame for the attacks that killed 170 people. Pakistan is finally coming to terms with the fact that the attackers were natives of, trained in, and alighted from their country. But the Pakistani government continues to distance themselves with the rogue actors assertion. Even if the attackers were acting outside of the direct or indirect support of any government body, it actually exposes a larger problem: they were acting at their own will.
Billions of American dollars in support for Pakistan have resulted in little progress and are probably working against us completely. The fundamental flaw in American support for the Pakistani government is that some of those funds are channeled from the pockets of American citizens, to US Government coiffures, to the Pakistani Government, to the Pakistani Intelligence Service (ISI), and then to insurgents on the Western frontier fighting against US forces and our immediate interests in the region.
Pervez Musharraf, with all of his flaws, was the enemy that we knew. A dictator, an enemy of India, and a former open supporter of the Taliban —- lots of mistakes were made on his watch that the world will pay for in human lives. We knew the depth of Musharraf’s incompetence well, but the current regime of Asif Zardari is far more dangerous because they are beyond incompetence alone — they’re naive and inexperienced. Look no further than Zardari lying about his academic history, his flirtatious comments when meeting with Sarah Palin less than a year after his wife was assassinated,
And it’s not schadenfreude that causes me to believe this — it’s fear.
A completely destabilized Pakistan, even more than it is now, is not just calamitous for her neighbors, but for the entire world.
And since the world did not recognize that Pakistan was a failed state before, it should certainly consider it now. The Government of Pakistan is ceding legal control over the Swat Valley to the Taliban. Why did they relinquish control? Because they couldn’t control the area effectively anyway and decided a cease-fire would be better.
The Taliban are winning.