The Taliban’s Silent Partner

While the Afghan government, led by US-backed President Hamid Karzai, controls the country’s major cities, the countryside remains subject to Taliban infiltration. Over 75 percent of Afghanistan’s population lives in rural villages. Thus, using Pakistan as a rear base, Taliban units provide security and other concrete needs to villagers that the government fails to deliver. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, a US ally, finds himself in the precarious position, forced to crack down on Taliban bases enough to satisfy US demands, yet also avoid infuriating a population that remains indifferent to the status of the Afghan central government or supports a fundamentalist regime. The future of Afghanistan rests with the villages, which now depend on poppy fields and the drug trade. The US must combine a more forceful US policy toward Pakistan combined with development projects, economic support and security provisions for the Afghan people. – YaleGlobal

The Taliban’s Silent Partner

Robert D. Kaplan
Friday, July 21, 2006

Click here for the original article on The New York Times website.

Robert D. Kaplan is a national correspondent for “The Atlantic Monthly”
and the author of “Soldiers of God: With Islamic Warriors in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company