Wednesday, August 08, 2007

More Pakistani background

Here's a little more background, with some historical context, on the tense situation in Pakistan from historian Gary Leupp of Tufts University. He reminds us that now US UN ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad negotiated cordially with the Taliban in Afghanistan in the 1990s, that most American diplomats saw the Taliban as a stabilizing influence, and that the Taliban has regained popularity in the Afghan-Pakistani border regions (which are ethnically Pashtun on both sides; like many borders this one is pretty arbitrary).

He thinks a U.S. military operation in the region would be disastrous for the Musharraf government and for what little remains of US prestige in the region. Yet that is just what our US neoconservatives (and to some extent, although confusedly, Barack Obama) are plumping for. They apparently never imagined a war they didn't want to start.

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