Counter-Terrorism: Be Careful What You Wish For, Or Create

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November 18,2008: Pakistan is asking the UN for more help in supporting Afghan refugees on its side of the Afghan-Pakistan border. As Pakistan sees it, Pakistan has suffered the most from the Taliban violence in Afghanistan. Pakistan has spent over $150 billion over the last three decades, supporting these refugees. That doesn't count the cost of the 110,000 troops it now has on the border fighting the Taliban.

But as the Afghans see it, Pakistan created the problem they now complain about. In the 1990s, Islamic radicals in the Pakistani military created the Taliban, by arming Afghan students in Wahhabi religious schools in Pakistan, providing some training and technical support, and sending the lads off to end the civil war raging in Afghanistan. But when the Taliban gained control of Afghanistan, the Pakistanis began to have second thoughts. In fact, by then, the Pakistani generals and politicians had abandoned Islamic conservatism, for it had proved no solution to Pakistans problems. Too late. When September 11, 2001 came along, and American troops engineered the overthrow of the Taliban government two months later, the Pakistanis found Islamic terrorism had become entrenched among their Pushtun tribes, and was spreading to some urban areas. After al Qaeda was chased out of Afghanistan, the terrorist group declared war on the Pakistani government, for siding with the Americans. That war continues, with al Qaeda losing, but not yet destroyed.

Be careful what you wish for, or create, as it may come back to haunt you.

 


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