Taliban Threat

Taliban Threat
March 23rd, 2009  
Team Infidel

Topic: Taliban Threat

Taliban Threat
March 22, 2009

World News With Charles Gibson (ABC), 6:30 PM
DAN HARRIS: This week the Obama administration is expected to release its new plan for dealing with what many people feel is the number one national security problem facing this country right now: What to do about Afghanistan and Pakistan? And tonight, there is new evidence that once divided Taliban factions are now uniting to fight the U.S.
ABC’s Nick Schifrin has this report tonight from Pakistan.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Just over the Afghan border in this poor rural district of Southern Pakistan, the Taliban are hiding. You can’t see their black turbans anymore like you could just a few years ago when they appeared openly. But they’re still here, and locals say they’re as strong as ever, supported by the Pakistani military, which has received billions of dollars from the U.S. since 9/11.
MALIK SIRAJ AKBAR [Daily Times Newspaper]: They want to get dollars in the pretext of running a war against terrorism.
SCHIFRIN: Further north in the Pakistani tribal areas, also along the border, militants continue to train and launch terror attacks into Afghanistan, and once feuding Taliban commanders have pulled together for the common goal of fighting the U.S.
Maulvi Nazir is one of those commanders. “They’re attacking our land with drones, (paining ?) the people of Afghanistan, martyring the people of Palestine,” he says. “We’ve readied suicide bombers for them. They cannot escape us.”
SCHIFRIN: The two Taliban strongholds of Baluchistan and Waziristan are across from some of the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan, where violence is up this year as much as 90 percent. But do not expect the Pakistani military to confront these militants.
In Waziristan, the local government says there is unspoken understanding they won’t attack each other.
BUSHRA GOHAR [Senior VP, Awami National Party]: All these foreign extremist groups were able to operate from Pakistani soil.
SCHIFRIN: Here in Islamabad, the federal government denies that claim. But it doesn’t deny the fact that what happens here has a direct effect on the security of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and even on the security of the U.S. itself.
MEHMOOD SHAH QURESHI [Pakistan Foreign Minister]: If you want to protect the homeland, you have to invest here, because there is a linkage here to security over there.
SCHIFRIN: And so the U.S. will pour billions into trying to improve Pakistan’s military and develop Pakistan’s impoverished tribal areas. The fate of the war on terror may depend on it.
Nick Schifrin, ABC News, Islamabad.
HARRIS: And for more on all this, we are very glad to have with us tonight ABC’s senior foreign affairs correspondent, Martha Raddatz.
So Martha, we’ve got 17,700 new U.S. troops going in to Afghanistan per order of the president. What is their mission?
MARTHA RADDATZ: Their mission will be – and you’ll see this rolled out this week by the Obama administration – to go after al Qaeda, to make sure al Qaeda does not have a stronghold in Afghanistan. We’ll have about 64,000 troops in Afghanistan by the end of August.
HARRIS: So go after al Qaeda, but what about Taliban?
RADDATZ: They don’t really talk specifically about Taliban, but the plan calls for them going after the Taliban only if they’re providing safe haven, only if they’re cooperating with al Qaeda. So it certainly does include the Taliban.
HARRIS: So – but implicitly, can we read into that that the United States is now okay with having the Taliban run parts of Afghanistan as long as they don’t give safe haven to al Qaeda?
RADDATZ: Well, I think it’s a very different plan in tone and in nuance, Dan. And you hit it right on the head. They want to make sure Americans know we’re going after al Qaeda. What you won’t see in this plan is any call for democracy in Afghanistan. That is the change from the Bush administration. But they definitely do not think you can solve Afghanistan without solving Pakistan – just as Nick said.
HARRIS: And – right – what do you do about Pakistan? What’s in this new plan? A lot of people think Pakistan is the thorniest issue we face.
RADDATZ: You know, one of the officials who was involved with the planning of this told me this plan falls short on what we do in Pakistan. I think what you’ll see is the same thing the Bush administration was doing overall and that is going after high-value targets in Pakistan. There’ll be some benchmarks, there’ll be some accountability, but a lot of the same things.
HARRIS: We’re going to be living with this problem for years.
RADDATZ: Yeah, we will be.
HARRIS: Martha Raddatz, a pleasure to have you. Thank you.
RADDATZ: Thanks.

Similar Topics
Taliban Imperil Pakistani City, A Major Hub
Villages Cleared Of Taliban, Afghan And NATO Officials Say
Green Berets Recount Deadly Taliban Ambush
NATO Confronts Surprisingly Fierce Taliban
Afghan District Makes Own Deal With The Taliban