Friday, October 19, 2007

Afghanistan and Pakistan as a single front and more dangerous than Iraq: Is anyone listening?

Today at Informed Comment Global Affairs, Barnett Rubin, a highly regarded expert on Afghanistan and Director of Studies and Senior Fellow at the Center on International Cooperation, posted Karachi Bombing: Afghanistan and Pakistan Are a Single Front:

“The bombing of Benazir Bhutto's motorcade in Karachi signals a new level of integration of the political arena of Afghanistan and Pakistan. If, as now seems likely, the attack is traced back to the 'Pakistani' Taliban of South Waziristan and al-Qaida, it will constitute a strike at the center of the Pakistani political process by groups based on the frontier who are part of both the transnational Afghan-Pakistani Taliban movement and the transnational global al-Qaida movement.”

Rubin quotes Lord Paddy Ashdown, former United Nations high representative and European Union special representative for Bosnia and Herzegovin, who warned in a recent Reuters interview that failure by the NATO-led force in Aghanistan would have far wider repercussions than any losses in Iraq:

"I think we are losing in Afghanistan now, we have lost I think and success is now unlikely.

"I believe losing in Afghanistan is worse than losing in Iraq. It will mean that Pakistan will fall and it will have serious implications internally for the security of our own countries and will instigate a wider Shiite, Sunni regional war on a grand scale.

"Some people refer to the First and Second World Wars as European civil wars and I think a similar regional civil war could be initiated by this (failure) to match this magnitude."

Rubin concludes, “Those who tried to kill Benazir Bhutto clearly perceive that a democratic Pakistan is the greatest threat their movement has faced in the region….Paddy Ashdown correctly warns that this situation is more dangerous than Iraq. Is anyone listening?"

(map of Pakistan: Desi Chat)

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