Commentary Magazine


The News from Pakistan Gets Bleaker

The news from Pakistan just keeps getting bleaker.

The Pakistan Taliban is now strong enough to attack and penetrate a major Pakistani naval base just six miles from the international airport in Karachi. The terrorists were finally defeated but only after a 17-hour gun battle during which they managed to destroy two U.S.-provided P-3 surveillance aircraft and to kill at least 12 security officers.

This comes amid news that Pakistan is talking about asking China to build a naval base nearby—a direct poke in the eye to India and the United States.

There is also another Wikileaks revelation, that Pakistani airmen allegedly sabotaged F-16s intended for use against extremists near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan.

And finally this meticulous report from Kim Kagan’s Institute for the Study of War, one of the best private-sector intelligence agencies around,  about how the Haqqani Network—the most dangerous terrorist group in Afghanistan—has established a safe haven in Pakistan’s Kurram tribal agency, which juts like a “parrot’s beak” into the middle of eastern Afghanistan and provides the shortest route from Pakistan to Kabul.

As I have written before, I am not at all sure of the answer to the problem of Pakistan. But the need to reassess our policy, and come up with a more effective approach (if such exists), is more urgent than ever. My Council on Foreign Relations colleague, Dan Markey, has some useful suggestions in this “policy innovation” memo.