09 December, 2006

Afghan-Pak problems.

The diplomatic spat between Afghanistan and Pakistan has been pursued at the United Nations. On Thursday Afghanistan's ambassador to the UN blamed Pakistan for Afghanistan's violence. Yesterday, Munir Akram, Pakistan's ambassador to the UN answered, at length. The Associated Press of Pakistan and the Daily Times both cover the story. In brief, Akram said, we are willing to help you, but do not blame us for your problems.

Pakistan Dawn, which I have found a fairly reliable guide to official Pakistani thinking, focuses on Akram's suggestions that the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan should be relocated to Afghanistan and that the deteriorating security problem in the south and south-east [Helmand and Kandahar] be addressed through a "Marshal Plan".

It is hard to interpret Akram's remarks, especially since we have no idea how much pressure is being applied on Pakistan behind the scenes, but it seems fairly safe to say that Pakistan almost certainly wants rid of its foreigners - the Taliban and allies - before they start becoming an internal problem. Dumping them on Afghanistan would, for Pakistan, be the optimum solution. If it was to happen, I suspect that NATO's ISAF would have severe problems finding sufficient reinforcements to cope with the inevitable deterioration in the security situation.

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