Monday, March 19, 2007

Bhutto on the Taliban

Benazir Bhutto's warning that the Taliban may take over Pakistan if not stopped in 2007 is a joke for all the wrong reasons. The Taliban rely too much on Pakistan's support for their campaign in Afghanistan to risk a confrontation right now, though if they ever consolidate a position in Afghanistan, they may look to the south. (The Taliban still had not conquered the entire country in 2001.) If that happens, Musharraf will have problems within his own armed forces.

Bhutto should know all about such problems, however, because her government made the Taliban during the 1990's. Her party may be 'secular,' but it still wanted influence and stability in Afghanistan and needed to appease the country's conservative religious elements. Arming and funding a religious extremist movement killed both birds with one stone. For her to start playing the anti-Taliban card now is sheer opportunism as she tries to make a political comeback in the elections Pakistan will supposedly hold later this year.

(Hat tip: Moby Capital. This will be crossposted to American Footprints once the site is back up.)

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