- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 22, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

A new American policy toward Pakistan will be needed if the Taliban and al Qaeda are to be defeated in Afghanistan. Pakistan is playing both sides against the middle in this conflict, seemingly aiding the United States by halfheartedly fighting the Taliban and al Qaeda, who find safe haven in the rugged Pakistani tribal areas next to Afghanistan. Pakistan’s strategy is to hedge its bet that once the Americans leave Afghanistan, a regime friendly to the West in Afghanistan can offset Pakistan’s perceived enemy, India, to the East.

The bottom line is that unless the United States toughens its position with Pakistan and takes control of the war on Pakistan’s turf, it will be unable to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda forces that are domiciled in the wild and rugged highlands between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

We should immediately curtail American dependence on the Pakistani military to root out the Taliban and al Qaeda in the tribal areas of Pakistan. It should be done by NATO forces and CIA operatives. This will cause the Pakistanis to boil over in anger, but it is necessary if there is any chance to defeat the enemy.

Next, we must cease and desist paying approximately $2 billion in military and humanitarian aid to Pakistan each year. We should surround, secure and remove the Pakistani nuclear arsenal with American forces. America would be wise to back the government of India in its ongoing opposition to the Pakistani government. This is justifiable given the reason we are in Afghanistan is to prevent the return of al Qaeda and to eliminate the Taliban protective shield it provided to the terrorists.

These actions - while threatening to expand the theater of war to encompass Pakistan - are the only realistic ones that will lead to a possible achievement of American objectives in Afghanistan. Otherwise, Afghanistan is a dead-end street.

BOB JACK

Las Vegas, Nev.

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