Pakistan has said NATO's supply convoys can cross the Afghan border so long as America's drones do not. Though the expanded use of cyberwarfare, covert special forces and drones is designed to overcome the frictional problems of waging war from a distance, logistics still matter. The world is not flat - even for the US military.
The tension between Washington and Islamabad over the former's drone assaults on targets in Pakistan is rising. But a prospective geopolitical rivalry involving both countries has even wider ramifications.
The complexity of local and regional conflict dynamics in
Afghanistan and Pakistan would be well served by the revivification of the
Jirga system, the only convincing institutional base through which to build
Peace in Pakistan and the entire region can only be achieved by the creation of genuine democracy in Pakistan, with its military institutions accountable to its elected bodies. Pakistan’s army consumes 38% of Pakistan’s budget without accounting for most of it.
The Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad made both friends and enemies in the course of his detailed reporting of Islamist groups and insurgencies in the country. An official report on his abduction and murder in May 2011 may leave key questions unanswered, says Nick Fielding, but read carefully and in context it brings the truth of his end closer.
The Afghan Taliban and the United States have begun talks, advancing prospects that coalition forces can withdraw from Afghanistan. But there are many potential pitfalls on the road to peace: a real risk of a political and military stalemate in Afghanistan, forcing the United States to leave the region under uncertain and possibly dangerous terms.
The negotiation of peace settlements with the Taliban remains an unpalatable solution to the problem of reconciliation. Power-sharing with the Taliban will effectively estrange Afghans from their leaders and possibly pave the way to civil war
There is powerful evidence for the argument that the al-Qaida movement is in decline. But there are other processes at work - including in United States presidential politics - that could yet create a different outcome.
After Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, the US has now turned its belligerent attention towards Pakistan. But opening up a new battlefront, this time in Pakistan, in the run-up to the presidential elections, will prove another quagmire for the Obama administration.
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