A dire threat

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has threatened that if a future terror attack against the US is traced back to Pakistan, there will be “severe consequences”. Ms Clinton’s statement, given in an interview to CBS, comes on the heels of the failed bombing attempt in Times Square. The accused, Faisal Shahzad, is a naturalised American citizen of Pakistani origin. “I think that there was a double game going on in the previous years, where we got a lot of lip-service but very little produced,” was how Ms Clinton described the previous regime’s double-faced stance on taking out the militants. She appreciated the incumbent government’s cooperation and commitment but said that the US “wants and expects more”. Though Ms Clinton tried to water down her ‘warning’ by praising Pakistan’s efforts in the war against terror, the subtext of her statement cannot be ignored. In fact, the threat is very serious.

The US has not made any bones about how seriously it takes threats to its internal security. When the Twin Towers were attacked in 2001 by al Qaeda, the US launched an attack on Afghanistan where the terrorist network’s leadership was based. In this backdrop, we should not take Ms Clinton’s warning lightly. US Attorney General Eric Holder has made it clear that the Pakistani Taliban were “intimately involved” and “directed this [bombing] plot”. According to reports, US military commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal urged General Kayani to launch a military operation against the local Taliban and al Qaeda in North Waziristan. The Pakistani Taliban have already wreaked havoc in our country, but their global terrorist aims should be a cause of concern for the government and the army. In the past we have either not paid much attention to their ties with global terrorist networks or have turned a blind eye to these collaborations. Now that a terror plot has been uncovered in the US and the involvement of our local Taliban is suspected, there should be no procrastination on this front.

The Musharraf regime was not successful in hoodwinking the US administration when only the al Qaeda members were handed over to American authorities while the Afghan Taliban were provided safe havens in Pakistan. The “do more” mantra was done to death back then. After some successful military offensives in the recent past, we heard less of it but Mr Shahzad’s links to the Pakistani Taliban and in particular his reported training in North Waziristan has made it incumbent on us that we do not sit back complacently. The Haqqani network, considered an ‘asset’ for Pakistan in its ‘strategic depth’ policy in a post-US Afghanistan, has been given a free hand for far too long now. Haqqani has not only given a safe haven to the al Qaeda leadership in North Waziristan but is also involved in providing assistance to the Punjabi terrorists; the Asian Tigers being a formidable example. Reading between the lines, it can be safely asserted that Ms Clinton wants us to go after the Haqqani network. In case we fail to do that, the US has a number of options. It can bomb North Waziristan itself, intensify the drone attacks, bring boots on the ground, or declare war against Pakistan in the worst-case scenario. We cannot afford any of these options given how heavily dependent we are on American aid, both economic and military. Thus it is time for us to let go of our reluctant posture on North Waziristan and take some concrete action before the US does something sinister.

(my editorial in Daily Times)

Comments

Noemaun Ahmed said…
sad but true.
Sadia said…
Every state is held responsible for the actions of it subjects and it is no secret that the strings of every other major terrorist ploy can be traced back to Pakistan. Thus we are indeed the breeding ground of terrorism, so is the U.S support to Pakistan only a western interest? Most certainly not as we are THE primary beneficiaries. Incidents of this nature hamper the cordial relations between U.S and Pakistan, it is vital that we step up our efforts to eradicate religious extremism from our society.

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