Global Politics

Pakistan's battle against extremism

(What happened last night at the border?) we've spoken to Pakistani security forces by the borders who said there was an incident in which shots were fired at American helicopters which strayed into Pakistani airspace over these volatile tribal areas. The helicopters were not hit and they returned to Afghan airspace. It does underline the tensions between the Pakistani state and Americans over who has jurisdiction. (Could there be a real fight between U.S. and Pakistani forces?) The longer this scenario develops, I think the more potential there is for a serious firefight. The rhetoric could get heated and there's an urgent need to sort this all out. (Now Pakistan is in the midst of fierce fighting with Islamists in the tribal area so why is the U.S. still skeptical?) I think part of the problem is who's really in charge in Pakistan. The political leadership under the new president has made it clear the fight against terrorism is a priority. But there are elements within the state system, like the Pakistani intelligence, has long backed parts of the Taliban. So it's that internal battle that makes the U.S. nervous. (Pakistan has priorities besides terrorism, so what is it like to be living in Pakistan right now?) Pakistan is in a real struggle right now over its future, and people say these are some of the most difficult days they've ever experienced.

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