Sunday, October 09, 2005

Pakistan Quake Complicates War Efforts

The devastating earthquake that struck the Kashmir section of Pakistan has added major complications to the US lead War on Terror. With estimates of a death toll possibly topping 30,000, the Pakistani military will naturally be redirected to provide much needed assistance in the ravaged region. Currently, the Pakistani military is being used to secure the border with Afghanistan and has been instrumental in the search of al Qaeda cells on their side of the border. (Washington Post: Up to 30,000 Feared Dead in Asian Quake).

Just last week, an intercepted leader from the al Qaeda leadership admitted that the terrorist organization was resigned to losing Afghanistan. With Pakistan's military refocused on disaster relief, al Qaeda may be afforded the opportunity to regroup, at least in the short term. Pakistan still has not allowed US troops to patrol on that side of the border, something they may need to reconsider now that their troops are needed elsewhere.

The other complication has to do with the status of bin Laden himself. There is already speculation that he was in that area and may be injured or even killed. It's all speculation since I don't think even his own mother knows where he is, but the last thing the US needs is a dead or incapacitated bin Laden without a body to show for it. We cannot afford to turn bin Laden into another Elvis, something that will certainly happen if he just disappears.

Disaster relief will also take its toll on US coffers. Pakistan - at least, the Pakistani government - is a major ally in the War on Terror and the US is sure to send a significant amount of financial aid to the regions hardest hit by the quake. Coming in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and following a herculean-sized bailout package for the Gulf Coast, aid to Pakistan will further strain an already over-sized budget.



Anilkumar said...

Its a known secret that Pakistan was the breeding ground of terrorists with govt. support until General Musharef took a volte face after Sept11 & became primary ally of USA on their war against terrorism. Earth Quake or not ,Pakistan dont intend to finish their job at one shot,even though bringing Bin Laden to his knees is very easy for them. They will prolong the excercise as far as they could practically extend, bleeding USA under the pretext of aid all along. And USA likes this ally since they can be bribed to do any dirty job without hesitation. Its the poor American public who is misled and taken for a ride. Ony wish Bush does not land Americans in the bush

Kannafoot said...

There was a very interesting report last week that confirms what you're saying here. Musharef was quoted as saying that it was not in Pakistan's best interests to capture bin Laden.

It's certainly no secret that people in the area are more sympathetic to the terrorists than they are to the US. Pakistan remains a breeding ground for terrorists and is a major training center for insurgents currently fighting us in Iraq.

In my view, using the Pakistani military or the Afghan warlords to flush out bin Laden was another bad case of outsourcing when we should have done it ourselves. Had we not used warlords to flush bin Laden out of Tora Bora, he'd have been captured three years ago.