…why Osama bin Laden has successfully hidden himself in Pakistan for years but Baitullah Mehsud was easily killed. Pakistan killed only those Taliban in offensive who have turned disobedient to ISI, or it killed foot soldiers of obedient faction. Mehsud died for he turned disobedient. Laden continues to be a hero for a majority of people in the country…
It didn’t take us aback when US Secretary for State Hillary Clinton, in two different interviews, one with a German newspaper Der Spiegel and another with Charlie Rose Show, came out with self-contradictory but popular American stands that ‘safe haven’ for al-Qaida in Pakistan is ‘very troubling’ and that Pakistan is certainly ‘evidencing’ that the Taliban is their enemy as much as their long-held opposition to India. Nothing could better explain the American confusion on the issue. Clinton’s own earlier statement that she finds it difficult to believe that Pakistani officials are not aware of al-Qaida leadership’s whereabouts and her most latest ones that it is helping Pakistani Taliban and a gentleman plotting against a subway system in New York got training from al-Qaida camps in Pakistan make one thing crystal-clear: al-Qaida leadership have some solid support from powerful people in government and army. Clinton realizes this, no doubt. That’s why she said that she wanted to see a real effort made on the part of the top leadership to make sure that no one down the ranks is doing anything to give any kind of support or cover-up to the al-Qaida leadership. The US is very much clear, good-informed about al-Qaida. But when an American says that al-Qaida is ‘still actively engaged with the elements of the Pakistani Taliban’, it forgets – or, omits – to note that why the elements in Pakistani system who are aiding al-Qaida would see Pakistani Taliban (with which al-Qaida is actively engaged) as a foe or a threat to Pakistani state.
Right, there was a ‘very forceful’ army offensive against Pakistani Taliban by Pakistan government. Clinton sees it as a commitment to take on Pakistani Taliban. In fact, a question must rise in her mind as to why Osama bin Laden has successfully hidden himself in Pakistan for years but Baitullah Mehsud was easily killed in a drone attack. Reports have hinted that Pakistan killed only those Taliban in offensive who have turned disobedient to ISI, or it killed foot soldiers of obedient faction of the militant outfit. Mehsud had not been paying ears to ISI for quite some time and Laden continues to be a hero for a majority of people in the country, if thinkers are to be believed. In a nutshell, Pakistan has made sure that an obedient Taliban survives for strategic use in future. It is foolish to believe that the US would not have looked at all these aspects. What seems more true is that the US is not really concerned about Pakistani Taliban but about al-Qaida and Afghanistani Taliban, the latter two Pakistan’s strategic weapons. American soldiers are fighting with Afghanistani Taliban and the US has pressurized Pakistan to eliminate Pakistani Taliban, all this action having one hope – getting al-Qaida, its leadership, and Laden’s head, nothing more. Unfortunately, success has evaded the US hitherto.
It’s fathomable that the US – having trouble in Afghanistan, harbouring suspicion about safety of Pakistani nukes, sensing strong anti-Americanism in Pakistan which has sheltered Laden, with Pakistan and terrorists nurtured by it becoming American requirement against Iran – would appease Pakistan by acknowledging its commitment to terror, but its policy is hurting India, for Pakistan feels more free and continues to sponsor terror unabatedly after its commitment got an American approval. The policy is not only hurting India, it may hurt US, too. In the longer run.