Pakistan Announces No New Offensives

January 21, 2010

United States Defense Secretary Robert Gates is in Pakistan for talks on combating the Taliban. Upon his arrival, the Pakistani army said that it wont launch any new offensives against militants for six months to a year so that the army can have time to stabilize existing gains.

The political, cultural, and economic problems in Pakistan are overshadowed by the security situation. While the neighboring Afghani Taliban’s struggle against the West remains highly popular among average Pakistan citizens, the Pakistani Taliban has lost much of it’s former credence. However, the Pakistani Taliban still benefits from emulating the fighters in the Afghan campaign. While the average Pakistani worries that the Pakistani Taliban may be too violent, many within Pakistan welcome the idea of Taliban-style cultural practices such as their enforced dress codes, and swift justice. Such attractions reflect Pakistan’s Deobandi sensibilities.

The Pakistani Taliban is most unpopular in places where it has governed, because it’s presence often attracts attacks by the U.S. or the Pakistani military. This is partially because neither the U.S. nor Pakistan’s army can distinguish between Taliban targets and surrounding civilians. This instability makes Taliban rule less appealing to ordinary Pakistanis.

Pakistan’s generals may be gambling on a hope that if the Pakistani military can foster a sense of stability and normalcy within the next six months to a year, the Pakistani Taliban may loose what appeal it has left to Pakistani citizens. However, a lull in the violence will only give the Pakistani Taliban time to regroup and plot its next move.

For more on Pakistan’s Deobandi movement, see my past post on the subject.

One Response to “Pakistan Announces No New Offensives”

  1. neel123 said

    Pakistani generals will not act against the Afghan Taliban, except as a last resort. They are playing the game they are good at, blackmailing the international community.

    Their strategy is simple, to raise the ante further, close to a point of no return. They know well that the world would not like to see a failed Pakistan with the nukes distributed to Al Qaeda and Taliban.

    The world must not succumb to this blackmail .. !

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