India-Pakistan: January 15, 2003


The US and Pakistan are deadlocked over who can do anything about al Qaeda and Taliban gunmen based in Pakistan, but launching attacks across the border in Afghanistan. American generals, mindful of the thousands of American soldiers killed in Vietnam because of  enemy sanctuaries across the border in Laos and Cambodia, demand the right to go after the enemy in Pakistan. The US government is reluctant to expand the war like that. But what other choice is there? Pakistan has approached the lawlessness in the northwest very slowly, not wanting to trigger an uprising among the Pushtun tribes. There are more Pushtuns in Pakistan than in Afghanistan and they are just as heavily armed and unruly. American efforts to buy or negotiate deals with the Pakistani tribes proceeds slowly, with many tribes and clans still willing to shelter al Qaeda and  Taliban gunmen. Al Qaeda has apparently re-established training camps in this border area, although these camps cannot operate as openly as they used to in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda puts these training facilities among civilian housing as much as possible, to discourage American bombing. But the al Qaeda operatives also keep moving. They no longer belittle American military capabilities. 


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