Counter-Terrorism: The Pakistani Army and Islamic Radicalism

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March 2, 2006: Pakistani president Musharraf has survived at least four assassination attempts since December of 2003. Some of them have been pretty amateurish, but all have been taken seriously, and most of the perps are in jail. If Musharraf goes, it's likely that the Army will continue to support current policies, given his most likely replacements.

Most of the attempts on Musharraf have had Arab (al Qaeda) involvement. But the large Pakistani Islamic radical community also wants him dead. For over two decades, the Pakistani army has backed Islamic radicalism, but that support has declined of late. Islamic radicalism did not bring clean government, economic progress and a better Pakistan. There are still many Islamic radicals in the Pakistani military (despite several rounds of purges), and some of these fellows were involved with plots to kill Musharraf. While Islamic radicals are still strong in Pakistan, many Pakistanis are losing faith in this approach to a better tomorrow. But there are enough Islamic radicals left to cause major problems. The Islamic radicals have advantages in that they freely use terror to get their way, and their religious background gives them some protection from being held accountable for their crimes. As a result, the army sees its war with the Islamic radicals as necessary for the survival of Pakistan.

 


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