We all should be as good as Americans, who can realize promises in practice. Last week, it was published that the US Command was negotiating with Pakistani authorities about the participation of American soldiers in the operations against the Taliban and Al Qaeda on Pakistan’s territory. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf had originally answered neither "yes" nor "no" to the US initiative, but, later, Pakistan allowed the US army to participate in its anti-Taliban operations.
News agencies report that 35 US special forces soldiers have taken part in operations against the Taliban and other Pakistani extremist organizations in the province of Punjab, near the Afghan border. Dozens of terrorists have been killed or captured in the operation. However, the operation may not mean that the Pakistani authorities agree with the long-term participation of the US army in operations on Pakistan’s territory. Officials say that the captured militants are probably connected with the act of terrorism committed in a Christian church in Islamabad. It is not ruled out that this was the only joint operation with the partcipation of the US. This can be explained.
The Taliban are successfully sheltered by their countrymen, Pashtuns living in Pakistan. The Pashtuns, in their turn, do not wish to give their brothers up to Pakistan, not to speak of the USA. That is why Islamabad must be extremely careful when dealing with the Pashtuns living in Punjab, as any resentment among them may cause damage to the reputation of the ruling regime. Pervez Musharraf cannot simply order Pakistan’s Pashtuns to give up the Taliban and Al Qaeda militants up. The code of Pashtun honor says that brothers in trouble are to be rendered aid, regardless of the fact of whether they are right or not.
Therefore, the question of further participation of the US in military operations on Pakistani territory is still vague. The American leadership will pause for some time and wait for the Pashtuns’ reaction. If no resentment follows (which very much unlikely), the USA may pursue the Taliban on Pakistani territories as well.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Photo from NTVRU.com archives
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/03/29/39021.html