Where Pakistan is Winning - Haider Mullick
The military is barely holding off Islamists in some areas--but in others it has notched up a string of successes.
By Haider Ali Hussein Mullick | NEWSWEEK; Published May 2, 2009
Pakistan is under siege. Late last month the Taliban, empowered by a peace deal struck with the government in the Swat Valley, advanced perilously close to Islamabad, where they remain, shooting it out with Pakistani troops. Some pundits have started predicting the nation's collapse, and many Pakistanis are joining the call to abandon ship. Yet the situation is not actually as dire as it seems. While the military is barely holding off the extremists in some places, in others it has recently notched up a string of surprising successes—victories that offer a way forward for the nation as a whole.
Ground zero for the turnaround is Bajaur, a northern tribal district abutting Afghanistan and, until recently, a Taliban stronghold. Last fall, the military sent Gen. Tariq Khan to take charge of operations there. It wasn't an easy job: Qaeda operatives had been operating there for years, since escaping U.S. firepower during the initial Afghan campaign. These jihadists bankrolled the Pakistani Taliban and used kangaroo courts, public beheadings and other forms of terror to extend their sway.
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