- Military news Analysis - -
Singapore,with inputs from correspondents at Jerusalem, and Islamabad:
The declaration that Pakistan will not be a part of any military offensive which the US would launch against the Taliban has more to it than meets the eye. The events of the 11th of September unnerved the Pakistanis and ironically and metaphorically, it was they who were trapped in the debris of the collapsed Twin Towers.
Pakistan was the One who was Trapped in the Debris of the fallen Twin Towers
With that catastrophe, the Pakistanis made a shrewd guess that the goose of the all Islamic terrorists would now be grilled in the fire of American anger and retribution. So the Pakistanis made a hasty show of friendship with the USA, without committing anything to the US in concrete terms. Contrast this with the offer of airspace, sharing of intelligence, military co-ordination made by those who really wanted to help the USA in its hour of crises.
The Pakistani President did go on Air, condemning the terrorists and pledging to join the fight against global terrorism. But then how was Pakistan going to help the US. Pakistan was conspicuously silent on this! It was only when President Bush said that the US was going to give Pakistan a full opportunity to co-operate in this war against global terrorism, the Pakistanis were really caught in their own mousetrap.
But Pakistani Goal remained Same only their Tactics were Reversed
After 11th of September the Pakistani Goal was same only their tactics were Reversed. They now knew that they could not paint the Kashmiri terrorists as "Freedom Fighters" so they remained silent, they knew that they could not say that Osama was innocent, so they kept on making furtive noises that there should be evidence against him. They said what the Taliban was saying, only their tone was diplomatic. Their aim in the new situation was still to get their hands on Kashmir and to push India into a corner. So they asked India to "Lay Off" and made a precondition that their stand on Kashmir would be endorsed by the US in return for the nebulous Pakistani co-operation. A demand that was politely rejected by the US.
Covert Pakistani Efforts to Protect its Baby - the Taliban
This obvious aim of the shrewd Pakistanis was going to be rejected outright by the US. So Pakistan started making covert efforts to somehow Protect its Baby - the Taliban. Shrewd that they are, the Pakistani remain silent on this too. But their efforts right from the time when the US wanted to work out the logistics of the US-Pakistani co-ordination; were to delay and scale down American efforts against the Taliban. This is evident in the last ditch Pakistani efforts to secure Osama.
Pakistan wanted the US to Engage the Taliban and not to Fight it
This is evident in their reluctance to sever ties with the Taliban, even after the Saudis and UAE have done so. From the inception the Pakistanis had a fond hope that they could make the US to engage the Taliban and not to fight it. Towards this end they acted as a go between they Americans and the Taliban and sent a high powered delegation to Kabul, to get the Taliban to agree on Osama. The Pakistanis are shrewd enough to sacrifice one man Osama, to stave off the American action that they know quite well, will not stop at Taliban; but will engulf Pakistan - sooner or later. The Pakistani want to outmaneuver the Americans.
This is what the Pakistani President meant when in his speech he invoked the actions of that insidious founder of Islam who made peace with the Jews when he was weak, only to attack and massacre them later. This is what the Pakistani President wanted to repeat. But here the stout headed Taliban refused to oblige him. For them surrender of Osama was unthinkable, since he was to them the "Gem of Islam."
Passing on American Plans to the Taliban
This has been the actual reason for Pakistan making the offer to join the Americans and offering to share intelligence on the Taliban with them. The Pakistani want to just the reverse. The Pakistanis know that with the passing American plans to the Taliban, the defeat of the Taliban could be delayed if not averted. This is the reason for Pakistan keeping the Afghan Embassy in Pakistan functioning, although they have withdrawn their diplomats from Kabul, since they know that Kabul would be a war zone, once the American action starts. Thus the Pakistani Trojan Horse in the Anti-terrorist camp has tried all tactics to thwart American efforts in the first phase of the War against Terrorism.
Now since all their tricks have failed! They see the Northern Alliance gaining ground. They fear an impending American offensive on Kabul followed by the installation of a pro-American, pro-West which also would incidentally be pro-Russian and pro-Indian. With these developments, the Pakistanis have decided to reveal their fangs and declare that they are neutral in the fight against global terrorism and so will not participate in the American military action. It is high time that the US takes a realistic policy on this and places Pakistan as an offender and treats it as a legitimate target of action during the coming war.
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