Well, beggars can’t be choosers…

May 4, 2004

The key passage from this week’s cover story “The Hunt for Bin Laden” in US News & World Report

American commanders who have met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf profess unqualified admiration for his determination to press the military effort in the tribal lands, despite legal constraints on military operations there and, more important, intense local opposition by tribal elders. Some ascribe Musharraf’s determination to the two assassination attempts by al Qaeda that he survived within the past year. “For us, al Qaeda trying to kill him is a good deal,”said a senior commander who has met several times with Musharraf. “. . . He finally said, ‘That ain’t going to happen; I’m coming after you.’ And then he [got] the support of the military to do that.”

Well, sort of. Family ties between members of the Pakistani 11th Corps, which has conducted some operations in the tribal areas, and Pashtuns who live in the areas resulted in advance warning of several early raids on sanctuaries in the borderlands, U.S. officials say. “Before, it was a week’s warning before they were going to go in, then it was four days,” says a senior U.S. official, “and the last [time] I think it was one day.” [emphasis added]

Well, that’s progress, and I suppose we should be thankful for every little bit of it. Unfortunately, the key word is “little.”

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One Response to “Well, beggars can’t be choosers…”

  1. Nitin Says:

    Musharraf knows he will have mutiny on his hands if he goes hammer and tongs after the tribals.

    There are two factors linking the army and the pashtun tribesmen.

    The first is the less sinister angle of family and tribal ties that bind some soldiers and their co-tribesmen.

    The second is the sinister link between radical Islamic factions in the army and al Qaeda supporters from among the Pashtuns.


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