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Does The Time Not Arrive To Hit Terrorism With Full Force?

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Now the situation is coming to a head as there are reports that the US-led forces have been making preparation for a big attack on terrorist hideouts in tribal areas. The ruling elite of Pakistan has been creating the impression that the US attacks on terrorist hideouts will further complicate the situation. But the ground realities are totally different as now this is the demand of most of the tribesmen that terrorism must be eliminated from tribal areas. They are waiting for Obama to become the president of the United States as he is showing seriousness in war against terrorism.

But there are still some people within Pakistan, who are opposing the US strike in tribal areas. According to editorial comment of Dawn, the fog of war along the Durand Line grows thicker. Troops, helicopter gunships, tanks and armoured personnel carriers of the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) have arrived on the Afghan side of the border along the North and South Waziristan tribal agencies in what appears to be preparation for attacks inside Fata. A spokesman for Isaf has denied that plans are afoot to enter Pakistan and emphasised that Isaf's mandate "stops at the border." However, statements emanating from Washington suggest otherwise. Speaking at a White House press conference, President Bush said: "No question " that some extremists are coming out of parts of Pakistan into Afghanistan. And that's troubling to us, it's troubling to Afghanistan, and it should be troubling to Pakistan." Keeping up the pressure on Pakistan, presidential hopefuls, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain, have emphasised that the violence in Afghanistan remains a key issue for the US. Events in Afghanistan also suggest that the US may be ready to set aside restraint. The death of nine US soldiers on Sunday in an audacious attack by the Taliban on an Isaf outpost in northern Afghanistan was the worst loss the Americans have suffered in Afghanistan since June 2005. The 32,000 American troops in the country remain very much in the Taliban's crosshairs.

However, US or Isaf troops must not cross over into Pakistan, in hot pursuit of Al Qaeda and Taliban militants or otherwise. Doing so will be irresponsible in the extreme and will only fuel the cause of militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan while undermining the political process in Pakistan. The Taliban are itching for a battle with American forces, the "enemies of Muslims" according to Bajaur Taliban spokesman Maulvi Omar, and any US intrusion will further dent American credibility in this part of the world and burnish the credentials of the Taliban as defenders of Muslim populations under siege. Moreover, an attack by Isaf or American forces inside Pakistan will make it very difficult for the government to do its part in the fight against militancy, a war that is as much Pakistan's as it is Afghanistan's. Already the ominous troop build-up on the borders of Fata has stirred opportunistic political dissent that threatens to paralyse the government. However, it must also be acknowledged that frustration amongst the Americans and Isaf is on the rise because of the perception of political drift in Islamabad. What is missing and is urgently required in Islamabad is a coherent policy for dealing with militancy in Fata and northern Pakistan that goes beyond the vague three-pronged strategy mooted by the prime minister. The world and all of Pakistan is looking to Islamabad for leadership and vision. The time to act is running out very quickly.
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Muhammad Khurshid, a resident of Bajaur District, tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border is journalist by profession. He contributes articles and news stories to various online and print newspapers. His subject matter is terrorism. He is (more...)

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