With Admiral William J Fallon, US commander of CENTCOM, due in Pakistan on Thursday to finalize collaboration on pressing issues concerning the “war on terror” in Pakistan and Afghanistan, besides addressing the tension over Iran, top decision-makers in Islamabad are in a quandary. The issue is whether Pakistan can afford to take bold steps in the “war on terror” without taking extraordinary steps to solidify the regime of President General Pervez Musharraf.
The matter is one of extreme urgency. Almost the entire North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas have revolted against the state of Pakistan in favor of the Taliban. And polls conducted by US institutions suggest the hunt for al-Qaeda is extremely unpopular in Pakistan, which also faces wave after wave of suicide attacks in its bigger cities.
The Pakistani Taliban have refused offers of a ceasefire in North Waziristan and South Waziristan, and are extending their engagement of Pakistani troops in the Swat Valley in NWFP where Pakistani troops face attacks from all sides, including the local population. [complete article]