Pakistan should deal with its Taliban insurgency without US military help

For and Against arguments. Drones, US military support in Pakistan.

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Pakistan should deal with its Taliban insurgency without US military help by Mind Map: Pakistan should deal with its Taliban insurgency without US military help

1. Speakers, sample writing on the topic

1.1. Anatole Lieven


1.2. William Dalrymple


1.3. Imran Khan


1.4. Jonathan Paris


1.5. General Richards


1.6. Farzana Shaikh


1.7. Jaswant Singh


2. Agree

2.1. Pakistan's military are fully able to cope on their own

2.1.1. Of course the Pak military can cope on its own. It owns the national breakfast cereal for crying out loud!. It owns everything; it’s efficiently brutal. As Ehsan Massood writes on openDemocracy, "The Pakistan military is not just an apparatus of the state: it is the state."

2.1.2. The Pakistani army is in charge of the country in the same way that it is in Turkey, Algeria or Indonesia. Each of these countries has faced serious armed oppositions, but a strong state willing to adopt brutal tactics has proved to be very stable, even against committed Islamists.

2.2. It is important that the Pakistani army be seen to cope on its own

2.2.1. The army is the glue holding the country together, the one national instituion that works and is repected. As we have seen to our cost in the US-led attempt to rebuild Iraq, it is critical that sovereign bodies are accorded due respect. It's otherwise always easy for a nation to unite against the powerful, interfering foreigner. That would not help the West's interests, regional stability, or promote a democratic and pluralistic Pakistan.

2.3. The problem on its traditionally lawless North western border is in any case manageable

2.3.1. The Pakistani military is powerful and the state has had a modus vivendi with armed Pashtuns for most of its history. The Taliban insurgency overdid itself when it broke out into the Swat valley and got thoproughtly trounced by the army and is now largely confined to Waziristan.

2.3.2. The insurgency's popularity is decreasing. According to a Pew survey of opinion, in 2009 70 percent had unfavourable views of the Taliban, compared with just 33 percent in 2008 while 61 percent were hostile to al Qaeda in 2009 compared with 34 percent in 2008.

2.3.3. Even if there is local grumbling about corruption and slow, ineffective justice, there is also a great deal of local resistance to Talibanisation

2.4. A sure way to revive the popularity of the Taliban is to continue with "cowardly" drone attacks

2.4.1. For those whose loved ones - often innocents - have been killed, joining the insurgency is the only way to seek revenge. This is a society based on the blood feud principle of justice, so bombing innocents is flame to tinder. Before he himself was killed by a missile strike in August, Baitullah Mehsud, the commander of the Pakistani Taliban, boasted that every drone attack supplied him with three or four suicide bombers.

2.5. The real goal in the region should be Indo-Pakistani peace, which US support of the Pakistani military undermines

2.5.1. The United States has already protested at the amount of military assistance earmarked for fighting Al Qaeda that is being diverted to the border with Indian Kashmir. This reveals Pakistan's true heart in the region and in the war on terror.

2.5.2. Technology transfers to the Pakistan army, additional US training programs and coordination will further alienate India which will have good reason to feel that this hardware and know-how will eventually be used against it.

2.6. The US is only flying its drones to kill or capture bin Laden, which is the wrong war aim anyway

2.6.1. The best possible thing the US could do in Afghanistan would be to quietly drop its fruitless quest for Osama bin Laden (who is only too happy to see the US make countelss enemies in its search for him) and concentrate instead on winning over hearts and minds in the region. A stable Afghanistan would take the heat out of Pakistan’s external problems and let the Pakistani military get on with the job of nation building and the long-awaited transfer of real power to civilian institutions.

3. Disagree

3.1. Without US military support, Pakistan will collapse - a catastrophe all-round

3.1.1. Even the proud Pakistani military recognise that they need US assistance. The BBC reports that they are asking for technical assistance, including transfer of Drone technology, so that they can fight the counter-insurgency themselves, without the US violating Pakistani airspace and sovereignty.

3.1.2. Drone attacks have been very effective at killing top Al Qaeda chiefs The unmanned, armed planes that the US has been flying over the Pakistan/Afghan border have been a very effective weapon, killing a large number of senior Al Qaida and Taleban leaders. For example, Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a drone attack. He was the leader of the Tehrik-i-Taliban umbrella group and commanded an army of up to 5,000 fighters. Among many other attacks, he is thought to have been behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Mehsud urged jihad against the “infidel forces of America and Britain”. The Pakistani Taliban are significantly weaker without Mehsud.

3.2. Even if the Pakistani army could deal with the military problem alone, there are too many unreliable elements in it for the West to want to leave it alone

3.2.1. Left to their own devices in 1990s, it was Pakistan's Dr Khan who spread nuclear technology to the world's hotspots. And Pervez Musharaf, the last general to rule Pakistan, had to purge senior officers of the military intelligence service, ISI, because of fear that they had grown too close to the Taliban. The recent suicide bombing of an Afghan CIA base by a Jordanian double agent illustrates the trouble with relying on the Pakistani army. That attack was masterminded by the Haqqanis of Wasiristan, a powerful local tribal family with close links to the military and who have recently switched allegiance from the US to the Taliban. In other words, the Pakistani army is an institution the West would be wise to stay close to with the goal of exercising a moderating influence. Even if Pakistan does not want or need the US to help, the US should stay as close as possible.

3.3. The controlling narrative of the Pakistani army is its fight with India over Kashmir

3.3.1. The Pakistani army's natural posture is belligerence towards India because of the dispute over Kashmir. The battle has now moved to Afghanistan, where Pakistan hopes to become the dominant regional power and to stop India taking that role. Unless the US is there to deflect this ambition towards the crucial goal of elimanating al Qa’eda and stabilising the region, the pak military wil escalate tensions rather than quell them.

3.4. And remember, this is not just Pakistan's problem, but the rest of the world's too

3.4.1. The spillover effects of Pakistani policy affect us all, both because of global al Qa'eda terrorism and because of the war in Afghanistan.

3.4.2. As Gordon Brown has repeatedly mentioned, three-quarters of the British Muslims involved in terror plots in the UK are trained in Pakistan. A disaffected teenager from Bradford can easily make contact with an Al-Qaeda handler in Peshawar and train in South Waziristan.

3.4.3. Winning in Afghanistan means stopping the supply of Taliban fighters from Pakistan and capturing Osama bin Laden, who is almost certainly hiding on the Pakistani side of the border. And remember why we are fighting in Afghanistan in the first place: it had become a haven for terrorism and a training ground for suicide bombers. This is a problem that the West needs to take responsibility for solving, even if it means deeper involvement in Pakistan.

4. Background

4.1. Geopolitics

4.1.1. Pakistan is a an ethically divided, class-riven, nuclear armed, Islamic state. Its collapse could be catastrophic for the whole world. It could become an even greater exporter of terror than it is today; it could bring India into a regional nuclear war; it could destabilise the Middle East and Central Asia; it could play off America against China and spark off global instability.

4.1.2. “The choices are stark,” writes Ahmed Rashid, author of Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia. “Afghanistan, Pakistan and central Asia are on the cusp of a critical historical moment on which the region’s future stability depends." Does conspicuous US involvement aggravate the instabilities? Or are the stakes simply too high to leave to the Pakistani state alone?

4.2. History

4.2.1. Political turmoil and military rule Founder and unifying figure Jinnah died within a year of the foundation of Pakistan in 1947. Immediately, the country went to war with India, the first of three bloody conflicts. In 1971 East Pakistan, separated by 1000 miles of Indian territory, seceded to form Bangladesh. General Ayub Khan seized power in 1958. In 1969 he was succeeded By General Yahya Khan, who imposed martial law. After a brief period of civilian rule, General Zia took control of the country in 1977 and ruled for 11 years before Benazir Bhutto was elected president. In 1999 another military coup saw in the rule of Pervez Musharraf, who only stood down in 2008.

4.2.2. Relations with the United States The US courted Pakistan from its inception as a rival to Soviet friendly India - signing a mutual defence agreement in 1954. Pakistan was an intemediary between the US and China and then supported US opposition to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. For the 12 years between the end of the Cold War and the start of the War on Terror, the US started to distance itself from Pakistan and to develop closer links with India. The US even imposed sanctions on its old ally in 1998 after the extent of its nuclear program had become clear. But in 2001 General Musharaf returned to favor as the War on Terror became the US's foreign policy priority.