Well, they could be remote shangri-las, or perhaps third-world sh*t-holes, depending on one's perspective, but the Swat Valley and Buner regions of Pakistan, closest points less than two days' walk from Islamabad and nearby Rawalpindi (respectively, political capial and military h.q./ home of nuclear program) of Pakistan, should have the world's complete and total support to shore them up against Taliban onslaught... but this WaPo report makes it clear that things is very, very bad there.
The Pakistani government remains conflicted over whether the cancerous political monster (largely of its own creation and nurturing), the fundamentalist-Sunni Muslim Taliban, are its friend or its foe, and so it keeps simultaneously battling, negotiating and making deals with the Taliban, while its own populace is in the cross-fire, and huge swathes of Pakistan are being destroyed in the process.
Insofar as Pakistan controls around 60 deliverable nuclear weapons, and the bomb-loving Taliban (think of the world-treasure giant Buddhas at Bamoyan that the Taliban enjoyed blowing up) would become the most irrational entity ever to get their hands on nuclear weapons (not to mention their best buddies at al Qaeda)... you can see that this situation isn't merely "bad"... it's potentially Apocalyptic, probably the most dangerous thing happening on a planet whose oceans are rising precipitously thanks to manmade climate change, whose economies are collapsing thanks to decades of financial mismanagement, and who are facing a potential viral pandemic... (not to mention, of course, all the usual stuff.)
Once again, we are obliged to hope that our own neophyte government, and Pakistan's incredibly incompetent and corrupt one, are ultimately up to the task. Logistically, the Taliban aren't significant compared to a standing national military; the problem, again, is Pakistan's internal issues, such as its hopelessly duplicitous ISI intelligence apparatus, its own fundamentalist elements and its corrupt government and military leadership... If it weren't likely to actually increase the odds of an ultimate Taliban victory, one might think that American ground-forces to support the Pakistani military against the Taliban might be a good idea... but... it probably isn't.
What is? Well... I'm not going to be so bold as to make a suggestion; to put it politely, "mistakes were made" with respect to the Pakistanis by American policy-makers thus far. I would strongly suggest, however, that someone in Washington pick up the phone and call someone in Beijing.
Zardari who says Pakistan's nuclear weapons are safe, and then in the next breath asks for more money and help to protect them. Keep in mind, we already gave 10 Billion to build up their forces, and meanwhile he's on easy street sackin up at the Regis in Washington while the Taliban is taking over his country,all the while asking us for a blank check. The nerve!
Posted by lawonthestreet at May 11, 2009 12:21 PM