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Barnett Rubin *Interview*: Author of "Return of the Taliban"

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rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 08:39 AM
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Barnett Rubin *Interview*: Author of "Return of the Taliban"


http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/taliban/intervi...

* Some highlights from this interview
* Is Pakistan a good ally in the war on terror?
* President Bush's "incompetent and counterproductive" message to Musharraf
* What was the U.S.-Pakistani deal made after 9/11?
* Why the U.S. needs to be tougher on Musharraf



Is Pakistan an ally of the United States and the war on terrorism?

Both the concept of war on terrorism and the concept of ally are deeply flawed concepts for trying to understand what is actually going on in the region. They're for themselves; they're not with us or against us. They're for themselves, pursuing their own national interests. They didn't suddenly come into being with no history on Sept. 11 in order to be for us or against us. Afghanistan and Pakistan have been at odds ever since Pakistan was created in 1947. There has been conflict along that border ever since the British tried to demarcate it in the 19th century, so this is not something new. It's just a new version of it.

Pakistan said it was our ally during the Cold War. It took billions of dollars of assistance that we gave during the period of the Afghan struggle against the Soviet Union, and it used it to build up its military and its nuclear weapons in order to balance what it saw as its main threat, India. It then used those same resources in order to strengthen the most fundamentalist elements of the Afghan resistance in order to try to create a government in Afghanistan that would be weak and subservient to Pakistan to assure that there would never be any threat to Pakistan from that side, that India could not get any kind of a foothold there.

In addition, Pakistan has, from the beginning, faced a tremendous problem of national integration. The main political parties of the Pashtun and Baluch ethnic groups actually opposed the formation of the state of Pakistan. They were allies of the Indian National Congress. And Pakistan, ever since the inception of the state, has poured resources, including resources it got from the United States for other purposes, into trying to weaken the secular, intellectual and tribal leadership of the Pashtuns and the Baluch, and it instead strengthened religious extremist leadership in those ethnic groups, which would be much more supportive of the Muslim state of Pakistan.........
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