Saturday, February 28, 2009

An Imperfect Ally

I am certianly frustrated by Pakistan's inability to focus on fighting the jihadi in their midst. I understand that too many Pakistanis are sympathetic to the jihadis to fully commit to this fight.

As I've mentioned repeatedly, it is better to have Pakistan as an imperfect ally than have them as an enemy.

Even as Pakistan retreats in the Swat Valley, they seem to have made some progress on the frontier:

Pakistani troops have defeated Taliban militants in one of their strongholds overlooking the Afghan border after a grinding six-month offensive, the general leading the military operation said Saturday.

Maj. Gen. Tariq Khan told reporters flown to the area by helicopter that the militancy has been dismantled in Bajur, the most northerly of Pakistan's semiautonomous tribal areas and a gateway for militants entering Afghanistan.

"They have lost," he said. "Their resistance has broken down."

Khan said he hopes military operations in the tribal regions will be over by the end of this year.

Also Saturday, Col. Saif Ullah, a commander in the nearby tribal region of Mohmand, said troops had repelled the insurgency there and that it is "under the control of law enforcement agencies."

Pacifying the two regions would be a significant achievement for Pakistani security forces and could lead to a reduction in cross-border attacks on U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

I keep hoping that we're averaging out to more steps forward than steps backward when it comes to Pakistan. We can want more. We shouldn't risk less.