Well, that's probably hyperbole. But it does seem like things in Pakistan are getting pretty dire. So says a Pakistani report put together by its Interior Ministry, providing ominous warnings about the increasing power of the Taliban in the country.
The Pakistani president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, was warned this month that Islamic militants and Taliban fighters were rapidly spreading beyond the country’s lawless tribal areas and that without “swift and decisive action,” the growing militancy could engulf the rest of the country. [my emphasis]
The report provides details--including some that pose significant risk to American troops in Afghanistan.
The mention of lesser-known but potent Taliban figures by name shows that the Pakistani government is aware of the far-reaching tentacles of the Taliban and other extremists but cannot do anything about them or chooses not to do anything, the Western diplomat said.
Among the particulars, the document says the Taliban have recently begun bombing oil tank trucks that pass through the Khyber area near the border on their way to Afghanistan for United States and NATO forces.
I'm particularly curious about the politics behind the report. The Interior Ministry, after all, is led by a guy who almost got killed by militants several months ago.
Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao, the prime mover behind the document, narrowly escaped a suicide bomb attack in April by extremists in his home area of Charsadda, 18 miles northeast of Peshawar, the capital of North-West Frontier Province.
The attack on Mr. Sherpao shook his confidence in General Musharraf’s policy toward the militants, which has included a series of peace deals.
And this is happening at a time when there is increasing debate--within and outside of the US--over whether the US should continue to blindly back Musharraf. Of course, we're almost bound to fuck this up--because Dick Cheney has hijacked our Pakistan policy, placing hacks in charge, and recommitting to Musharraf in spite of his failures. That makes me confident--how about you?