US Intelligence Report: Pakistan in Danger of Becoming an Islamist State run by the Taliban and Warlords

 

Islamabad, Pakistan- There is growing concern in intelligence circles in the US that the Taliban in Pakistan are determined to make Pakistan an Islamist state controlled by warlords and terrorists and little or no central government authority or power to stop them.

 

Their strategy had its beginnings in the alarming success of the Taliban in gaining concessions from the authorities in the Swat valley this winter after fighting the Pakistan army to a standstill and getting the government to agree to instituting Islamic Shariah law in the valley and in parts of the NWFP province.

 

US intelligence officials believe that it is just a matter of time in as little as 10 years the the growing influence of the Taliban will overrun all the rural towns and communities and the government and the army will be relegated to city centers across the country with large swaths of land and power in the hands of the Taliban and other militant groups aligned with them and Al-Qaeda hell bent on instituting a new Islamic order throughout the country.

 

This scenario presents a very troubling outcome for Pakistanis, Pakistan’s immediate neighbors and the world at large. Pakistan is not a small undeveloped country torn by three decades of war like Afghanistan with only 3 million of its 30 million people living in Kabul and the rest spread out all over the country. Or like Iraq, another country of nearly 30 million people that also has experienced its share of turmoil the last 6 years.

 

Instead, Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world with over 170 million people living in major cities like Lahore (population 11 million) and Karachi the twentieth largest city in the world with a population of nearly 20 million people. With at least 100 nuclear weapons, several dozen highly organized and heavily armed militant groups, a weak and getting weaker by the day central government, abject poverty and high unemployment mixed in with rampant corruption and lawlessness, the country is ripe for a revolution. The Taliban have stepped into the vacuum created by the ineffectiveness of various governments who are more concerned with getting to and holding onto power and plundering the nation for their own personal wealth rather than be concerned with the future of the fragile nation with enemies of the state getting stronger from within. Many Pakistanis are more adept to believing in conspiracy theories of American involvement in various plots across the country rather than opening their eyes to the fact that the biggest threat and enemy of the nation is the Taliban and militants who use violence and terror in gaining bigger control across the country.

 

Furthermore, add religious violence amongst its Sunni and Shiite communities, a raging war and Al-Qaeda at its border in Afghanistan to the west. And an ever present historical feud with arch enemy India to the east who has fought three wars with Pakistan in the last 60 years makes this a country that has reached a boiling point. The disillusionment and hopelessness is very high amongst the majority of its moderate citizens who are intelligent and educated enough to know that the real enemy is the Taliban and militants that are determined to bring about Shariah law across the country but who do not see an effective partner in the government that will stand up to this growing threat. Instead the government capitulated to the Taliban in the Swat valley earlier this year and allowed Shari ah law there and agreed to a truce with the Taliban. Now their power and influence is growing in other parts of country as the Taliban are focusing on gaining strength in the populous Punjab state and other provinces across the country. The future has never looked bleaker for the country.

 

We at Pakistanis for Peace believe and have always believed that the biggest threat to the sovereignty and stability of Pakistan is the Taliban and Islamic militant menace that has begun to sweep the country after originating in the mountains of Afghanistan. The government of Asif Zardari has been quite ineffective in fighting the militant threat and there is not clear counterinsurgency strategy to tackle the Taliban and militant threat. Instead the government has done itself little favor by both half heartedly fighting and taking on the Taliban earlier this year and then agreeing to various truces with the militants to end the fighting. Pakistan needs to learn a lesson from the recent high drama at sea near the Somali coast involving the kidnapping of the American captain by the pirates. You do not negotiate and accept demands of the pirates, kidnappers, or terrorists. You speak to them in a firm manner to give up and surrender, if they do not do so, you bring the full force of your military and do so relentlessly until you gain victory. The country of Pakistan is too vital to regional and global peace for it to become a failed state like Afghanistan did in the 1980’s. Its possible failure and falling into the hands of the Taliban will be the greatest challenge and threat to US and world security for the next 30 years and all efforts must be made by Pakistan and its allies to ensure that never happens. Sometime to keep the peace, you have to go to war.

 

Reported by Manzer Munir for www.PakistanisforPeace.com

 

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