Pakistan has just switched up leaders, and has nuclear weapons, so nobody much wants to talk about it, but the War on Terror is fast expanding from Afghanistan into Pakistani territory.
Nelson Fraser of The Spectator wrote an important article on this disturbing development.
At a recent dinner party in the British embassy in Kabul, one of the guests referred to ‘the Afghan-Pakistan war’.
The rest of the table fell silent. This is the truth that dare not speak its name. Even mentioning it in private in the Afghan capital’s green zone is enough to solicit murmurs of disapproval. Few want to accept that the war is widening; that it now involves Pakistan, a country with an unstable government and nuclear weapons.
But in fact the military commanders know that they are dealing with far more than just a domestic insurgency. Weapons, men and suicide bombers are flooding in from Pakistan every day. Like it or not, war is being waged on Afghanistan from Pakistan.
Consider the evidence: British forces in Helmand have achieved striking success in repelling the Taleban, but they can never eliminate the enemy entirely because of the constant stream of new recruits flowing over the border from the Pakistani town of Quetta. To Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, head of Taskforce Helmand, it is a source of deep frustration. ‘When pushed out of Helmand, the opportunities are there for the Taleban to recruit, equip and retrain on the other side of the border, ‘ he told me when I visited two months ago.
Barack Obama has, since early in the campaign season, said that he would support incursions into Pakistan to fight terrorism—so whether we have John McCain as the next president, or Obama, conflict in Afghanistan will be widening, and almost certainly into Pakistan.