Friday, January 30, 2009

Yo! Shape up ISI.

Somebody needs to tell those yokels to shape up and get it right ... (They're getting sloppy).

The spectre or reality of a resurgent Taliban has been a smoldering problem for the duration of U.S. action in Afghanistan. Obviously, such a variable challenges the stability of Afghanistan and the long-term interests of the United States. The fact that elements of the Taliban safely hide and raid from areas within Pakistan has made their prosecution diplomatically and operationally more difficult. Furthermore, the history and reality of direct support of the Taliban by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has categorically undermined U.S. efforts.

However, according to recent reports the problem of the Taliban may no longer be limited to U.S. and Afghan interests. As aforementioned, the influence and operations of the Taliban have been intermingled with the borderlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan. But now it appears that members of the Taliban have made moves against Pakistan proper and exercise an alarming level of control within the territory of Swat.

Swat, located North of Islamabad and well within Pakistan has witnessed increasing attacks by mobilized Taliban members with the intent of engendering their strict interpretation of Islam. Operating under the cloak of night and utilizing the radio in the vain of "Tokyo Rose" the insurgents have effectively terrorized the local population and carried out numerous murders of policeman and "targeted" individuals.

Unsurprisingly, this developing situation is of grave concern for the three main actors in the region at this time: Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the United States. To begin, the unchecked operations of the Taliban within Pakistan, and against Pakistani citizens, begs the question of whether the ISI - who for so long has supported and directed the extremist force - has at last lost control of the beast. Secondly, the reality of a freely operating force within Pakistan exposes the possibility that the Pakistani Central Government is either unwilling or incapable of restricting and terminating a insurgent force within its borders. Finally, for the interests of the United States, the reality of expanding Taliban influence and success generates great concern for the stability of our main ally in the theater and the successful conduct of the war against the remnants of al Queda and the Taliban.

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