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Our "Ally" Pakistan: Safe Haven For Terrorists
New Duranty reports the following which makes me devoutly wish our troops were out of Afghanistan as well as Iraq where these globe-trotting jihadis would be drawn to fight the Shi'a in Iraq instead of being drawn to Pakistan to fight Americans in Afghanistan or to overthrow the Pakistani government.
WASHINGTON — American military and intelligence officials say there has been an increase in recent months in the number of foreign fighters who have traveled to Pakistan’s tribal areas to join with militants there.
The flow may reflect a change that is making Pakistan, not Iraq, the preferred destination for some Sunni extremists from the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia who are seeking to take up arms against the West, these officials say.
The American officials say the influx, which could be in the dozens but could also be higher, shows a further strengthening of the position of the forces of Al Qaeda in the tribal areas, increasingly seen as an important base of support for the Taliban, whose forces in Afghanistan have become more aggressive in their campaign against American-led troops.
According to the American officials, many of the fighters making their way to the tribal areas are Uzbeks, North Africans and Arabs from Persian Gulf states. American intelligence officials say that some jihadist Web sites have been encouraging foreign militants to go to Pakistan and Afghanistan, which is considered a “winning fight,” compared with the insurgency in Iraq, which has suffered sharp setbacks recently....
“We’re trying to impress upon the Pakistanis how bad things are,” said one senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of diplomatic sensitivities. “Before, we could go to Musharraf,” the official said, speaking of President Pervez Musharraf. “Now it’s more of a power-sharing agreement, and it’s more difficult. There’s no apparent solution at hand. The next six months look like they’ll be a lot like the past six months.” ...
Then there is this story which makes one wonder how long Musharraf, or any kind of moderate government in Pakistan, can realistically hold on. A radical, nuclear-armed Pakistan may make Iran seem tame by comparison. Our troops in Afghanistan can do nothing to stop this. We need a complete strategic withdrawal and to refocus our strategy on containing and weakening the entire "camp of Islam."*
Chanting slogans of "jihad is our way", burqa-clad women, some with babies, listened to fiery speeches from the daughter of the mosque's jailed cleric on the eve of the anniversary of a commando raid on the complex in which more than 100 people died.
"Our mujahideen (fighters) laid down their lives for the enforcement of the Islamic system in Pakistan. We are left behind to carry forward their mission," the daughter of cleric Abdul Aziz told the tightly guarded rally in the mosque compound.
Several thousand men attended a similar rally on Sunday to mark the anniversary of the July 10 commando raid that ended a week-long siege that began when gunmen from the mosque clashed with police.
Shortly after the Sunday rally ended, a suicide bomber attacked police who had been guarding the gathering killing 18 people, all but three of them policemen...
*"Camp of Islam" is a Fitzgeraldism.