Saturday, November 17, 2001

Arnaud de Borchgrave’s Nov. 15 Commentary column, “Tense dilemma in Islamabad,” is timely and makes a penetrating analysis of the Afghanistan quagmire. It is surprising that some observers seem to object to the quick victory achieved so far by the United States in collaboration with the Northern Alliance. They wish that it did not happen this far ahead of political progress in Afghanistan, which is moving at a glacial pace.

Pakistan, the major supporter of the Taliban until September 11, and its lobbyists are trying their best to discredit the Northern Alliance for their past failures. These pale in significance, however, compared to the tyranny that the Taliban unleashed upon Afghanistan with the help of Arab and Pakistani jihadis.

The Taliban’s reign of terror has been comprehensively documented by the respected Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid in his book “Taliban.” The thorough routing and annihilation of the Taliban and all foreign Islamic militants should be a matter of jubilation to all those who oppose terrorism.

In Pakistan, however, vociferous extremist elements in the madrassas and the military are upset by these positive developments. A considerable percentage of terrorist activity in the world originates from Pakistan’s notorious madrassas, where children are taught to hate America and the West. It is essential that there is some oversight of the U.S. government’s $600 million gift to Pakistan, so that these funds are channeled into economic development and reform of the school system.

Failure to do so could very well result in diversion of the funds to terrorist elements in Pakistan.


Irvington, N.Y.

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