Three bits worth your attention as a decision approaches related to the US strategy for AfPak:
The Sunday New York Times includes a piece by Scott Shane on Mullah Omar’s remarkable resilience as leader of the Afghan Taliban. This come back, how it was achieved, and what it really means is at the heart of current strategic considerations by the White House.
Sunday’s Washington Post reports on the competition between Pakistan and India for influence in Afghanistan. Understanding this aspect of regional geopolitics is essential to accurately perceiving Pakistan’s attitude vis-a-vis the Taliban. Please see Attack may Intensify India-Pakistan Proxy War by Emily Wax.
Late Sunday, Pakistan time, it sounds increasingly likely that sustained military operations will soon begin in South Waziristan. Yesterday’s attack on Army General Headquarters and hostage taking, while supposedly aimed to deter, has instead spurred government authorization to claim the offensive. See stories in DAWN, The Age, and The Telegraph.
While I claim no special insight, some of those who do claim expertise, wonder if — once again — the Taliban-in-Pakistan have overplayed. They say many in Rawalpindi were using the White House decision-making process to delay taking the offense in Waziristan. The same circles have exploited controversial elements of the Kerry-Lugar aid package to foster further distraction. Soon winter snows will provide another excuse for delay. But now the attack on Army GHQ is seen as requiring a response.