January 6th, 2011
10:10 AM ET

Analysis: Pakistan heading in the wrong direction

The assassination of the governor of Pakistan's Punjab province is a major setback for progressive forces in that country and a deeply worrying sign for U.S. strategy in the region, says analyst Fareed Zakaria.

For the United States, this issue is actually at the center of whether or not it will be able to succeed in Afghanistan. Let's remember, the strategy in Afghanistan cannot succeed as long as there are sanctuaries for the Taliban and al Qaeda in neighboring Pakistan.

Right now what happens is the Taliban crosses the border from Afghanistan into Pakistan, regroups, gains support, logistics, resources in Pakistan, and then comes back to fight the U.S. forces or Afghan government forces. This has been the key to their ability to survive and thrive, so unless you can deal with the sanctuaries in Pakistan, you're not going to make any headway in Afghanistan.

The entire leadership of al Qaeda and the leadership of the worst elements of the Taliban are all in Pakistan now. In order to deal with that, to destroy those terrorist groups, the Pakistani army has to be willing to go into the areas where these various groups have their strongholds, mostly in a part of Pakistan called North Waziristan.

So far, the Pakistani army has refused to do so. The most important reason is that they fear a backlash within Pakistan. They're too nervous about the political consequences of having this frontal struggle against Islamic extremism. So if you can't confront Islamic extremism with things like the blasphemy law, what hope is there that they actually go ahead and mount large-scale military operations in North Waziristan?

Read the full story from CNN's Fareed Zakaria

Filed under: Pakistan • Taliban • Voices
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. A-Pakistani

    Hi Joseph,

    I just wanted to expose Indian acts of state sponsored violence and terrorism in Kasmir and Pakistan. You should do some research and try to find out what India has been doing in Kashmir for the past 20 years or so. You'll be shocked.

    January 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • A-Pakistani

      This article is for Joseph or for anyone else interested in knowing what India is doing in Kashmir:

      January 12, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. A-Pakistani

    Actually RealSanctuary and Zakaria has got it all wrong.

    India currently presents the greatest threat to the world peace. They've been waging a bloody terror and suppression campaign in Kashmir and elsewhere in their backyards. So far Indian paramilitary has killed more than 50,000 innocent Kashmiris, most of them innocent people, including women and children. To top it off, India continually funds and supplies monetary and logistical support to bombers and terrorists inside Pakistan.

    India is as much of a problem in South Asia as Russia was in Vietnam. Mr. Zakaria needs to get his facts straight. Frankly he seems to be the most biased and indoctrinated commentator on CNN. He wouldn't let go of any chance to malign Pakistan and yet when it comes to the real culprit, aka his beloved homeland of India, he turns a blind eye. His opinions and articles are reminiscent of the most pestiferous colonial projects of the British in India, when for example, in 1835 a colonial officer named Thomas Macaulay decreed: "We must do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern. A class of persons, Indian in blood and color, but English in taste, in opinions, words and intellect." Mr. Zakaria seems like a perfect embodiment of that swarthy skinned sycophant, only this time they're sucking up to US.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Gee A-Pakistani,I didn't know that. I guess that's because India's actions have of late been largely overshadowed by the aggressive policies of the United States,Great Britain and France to the west of there. It appears that the Axis of Evil now has 4 members instead of 3,if you're right.

      January 11, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dan in Lafayette, IN

        Joseph are you calling the U.S., Britain and France the axis of evil? How and for what reason can you call them that? I hope it has nothing to do with fighting Islamic extremism. These people are the most evil of mankind and even their own clerics have said that they will go to hell for their actions and beliefs.

        January 12, 2011 at 5:49 am | Report abuse |
      • Joseph McCarthy

        If taking over another country which is not yours for the taking in order to exploit their resources and killing people to do it is not evil,then what is? That's what started WW2!

        January 12, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dan in Lafayette, IN

    The army let your 360 cult control a valley near the northern tribal areas and you had no love for the people just your insane sharia laws and punishments and the army kicked your cult out because the people hated your way of life. Do you really believe you can control a population of 178,000,000 people in the sane way you did in that valley? The people will destroy your cult and the army would be fighting for them!!! Your dream of world domination is just that, a dream!

    January 6, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • RealSanctuary

      Which Generals are Hindu? I mean are there many?
      And you seem confident that the end is close for these Generals. How is that possible considering all the power, secret police and tones of money that they have?

      January 6, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette, IN

      The masses will overthrow your @sses!

      January 6, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. RealSanctuary

    As an addendum to the first paragraph above: I will bet my last dollar that as the militants cross the border and approach the US units, the Pakistani Army units on the Pakistani side of the border, provide mortar & rocket fire at the US bases to serve as a cover and a diversion.

    January 6, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. RealSanctuary

    Actually, what happens now is that the Taliban rests, regroups, gains support, logistics & resources at bases in Pakistan. At the signal of the Pakistani Army intelligence, they cross the border FROM Pakistan INTO Afghanistan. There, as planned by the Pakistani Army, they attack the U.S. units specifically chosen by the Pakistani Army. Then, after the attack, they RETURN to the safety of bases provided by their Pakistan hosts. Sadly, this Pakistani strategy is indirectly funded by the Billions of dollars of our own tax money.

    "Right now what happens is the Taliban crosses the border from Afghanistan into Pakistan, regroups, gains support, logistics, resources in Pakistan, and then comes back to fight the U.S. forces or Afghan government forces"

    Actually, it is far more likely & logical for the leaders of al Qaeda and Taliban to hide safely in Punjab, specifically in the Islamabad-Rawalpindi area. This way. they are protected directly under the wings of the 'establishment', which in Pakistan is the code word for the Army. For the terrorist leaders, this area is basically a 'Ḽaram', meaning sanctuary. Or as a secondary alternative, they may choose Lahore or Karachi. The US forces will never suspect the twin cities of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, because the allied(?) Pakistani Army headquarters are located there. The drones don't venture anywhere near these headquarters.

    "The entire leadership of al Qaeda and the leadership of the worst elements of the Taliban are all in Pakistan now ... Pakistani army has to be willing to go into ... mostly in a part of Pakistan called North Waziristan"

    January 6, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Umar M

    I think Zakaria has it all wrong. The sanctuaries are in Afganistan. Pakistan has more men committed to the Tribal areas than the US to all of Afghanistan. Do the math. I have seen some of the US/Pak army posts in the region and crossing the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is not all that easy.

    January 6, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Andrew Lubin

    Until the Paks have a legitimate, working government, nothing will happen, Right now it's a failed state harboring islamic extrmists and assorted criminals.

    However...if Karzai and his ilk would ever stop stealing money and practice good governance, the Afghan Army is sufficinetly good to stop much of the border intrusions. But they're reluctant to die so Karzai can continue to steal.

    January 6, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Joseph McCarthy

      What Pakistan needs is a Communist revolution. They need to rid themselves of all this foreign control,make some kind of accommodation with the Taliban and work to fix their national economy.

      January 6, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |