Monday, June 15, 2009

Pakistan Funding The Taliban

In an attempt to win its South Wasiristan area, the Pakistani government is contributing funds to certain dissatisfied factions within the Taliban to aid in the removal of Baitullah Mehsud, a Taliban commander in the region. However Pakistan in financing factions of the Taliban, though they are just factions, is nonetheless, financing the same Taliban that is fighting Canadian and other foreign troops in Afghanistan.

The New York Times reports:

The military has begun trying to exploit a rift within the Taliban itself to further isolate [Mehsud], analysts said....

One such faction is led by two of Mr. Mehsud’s former allies: Qari Zainuddin and Turkestan Bhaitani. Residents in the towns where they are strong say the group has killed as many as 30 people loyal to Mr. Mehsud....

The military denies giving any support to the group, but a spokesman for the group said in a telephone interview on Sunday that it received modest financing from the government, through a religious donations fund, Zakat. He said the group had about 2,000 members. Although it opposes Mr. Mehsud, the spokesman said, it supports the Taliban’s war against the Americans in Afghanistan.
Though this group shares a common enemy with the Pakistani government, they do not share others. For as they may wish death upon Mehsud, they, just as all Taliban, wish the same upon all foreign troops in Afghanistan. And this is the crux of the matter, the Pakistanis are funding Taliban fighters to win on their Western front, but as they do they provide the Taliban resources which ultimately threaten the stability in Eastern Afghanistan. This strategy demonstrates that Pakistan is only focused on securing Pakistan.

Such a strategy may be seen as beneficial as Pakistan would no longer have to deal with its threat of a Taliban expanding its territory within the country, however it is done at the cost of arming other Talibanis who maintain open hostility with Western forces. In the end though, not only is Pakistan funding fighters who oppose foreign forces in Afghanistan, but when Pakistan has to further crack down on the Taliban, it'll have to do so battling against the very same fighters it just funded.

Two years ago I wrote that Afghanistan cannot be won because of various factors, the most influential being Pakistan. I stand by that assessment more than ever. Afghanistan cannot be won..

Canada should stop participating in futile military engagements within the region.

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