Friday, September 21, 2007

Ahmed Rashid: Pakistan's Future Looks Bleak

Recently, Terry Gross, on NPR’s Fresh Air, interviewed Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid, who talks about Pakistan and its uncertain future.

According to Rashid, the military is so enmeshed in politics, and its credibility so damaged, that its capacity to fight the Taliban and al-Qaeda has been severely compromised. There are large swaths of the border area where the Taliban and al-Qaeda are firmly in control, and are even imposing their will—like they did in Afghanistan—on an already terrorized populace.

Rashid is also critical of the United States and its steadfast support for President Musharraf. Rashid believes that the United States should pressure Musharraf, not coddle him, into relenting on democratic reforms. The United States lost a lot of credibility with its rather meek reaction to the forced exile of Nawaz Sharif after the Supreme Court ruled he could return. This has increased anti-American feelings in Pakistan; long the domain of Islamists but now spreading to moderates and liberals alike.

It’s a great interview and a must listen.