Since the government of Pakistan made some peace deal with the Taliban under the outgoing Musharraf regime, the Taliban has only managed to take control of area after area in Pakistan in a sort of domino effect. Now these religious radicals and allies of Al Qaeda have taken armed control of new territory only 60 miles outside of the capital city of Islamabad. Soon the Taliban may not only control the capital of Pakistan, but eventually be in control of their nuclear weapons as well. This could give enemies such as Al Qaeda or even the rival Sunni sect Shia controlled Iran some quick access to nuclear weapons. The threat here cannot be understated.
Pakistan is a huge Muslim nation, in fact the second largest Muslim nation in the world next to Indonesia, with over 165.9 million estimated citizens. For the Taliban to control a nation of this size armed with nuclear weapons would present a serious threat to neighboring India as well. According to the CIA, only about half of Pakistan's population is able to read and write, and this number falls to mere 36% for females as many are kept from getting an education by elements such as the Taliban which is opposed to girls being allowed to attend school. Taliban elements have violently attacked girls who attempted to attend school. Education is the enemy of this Taliban movement that rules by ignorance and imposing strict religious law. The economic situation in Pakistan is also worsening as well according to CIA information.
A real problem for the U.S. and NATO effort in Afghanistan is that Pakistan becomes a major area for both the Taliban and Al Qaeda to stage military activity in cross border military assaults on NATO forces. These forces are thought to bankroll their murderous wars with drug revenues from heroin, opium and morphine sales, worsening the quality of life in many Western World states with these drug sales while arming their forces from the international arms market.
Pakistan might have as many as many as 48 nuclear warheads, and this is pretty alarming when irregular forces from Pakistan's Swat Valley were able to move in on the the Buner District using pickup trucks in the last day, establishing a Taliban radio station and other communications in the area close to the capital. Secretary Of State Clinton has voiced the most concern today about this threat as being "grave".
Clinton is surprised to not see more concern in other communities such as intelligence and the military community over this serious move by the Taliban to establish control very close to the nation's capital. Islamabad's government condemns the move by these Taliban forces as a violation of the terms of the peace deal that was struck with them, yet it is unclear whether the government will deploy any government troops to remove these Taliban forces or not. But the fact of the matter is that the Taliban could attempt to end the government in Pakistan if they should gain control over the capital city. Certainly not all in Pakistan wish to accept Taliban rule, as many parts of the country value education, better living conditions, and some modern world culture. This could leave Pakistan split in two as well, where no one government exists with a large Taliban controlled countryside and larger cities in the hands of a declining traditional official Pakistani government.
It's a important sign that Secretary Of State Clinton is right on top of this potentially important issue, However, the U.S. really lacks the ability to do much to change the situation on the ground in Pakistan. A best guess is that this government is far less likely to authorize the deployment of military troops to defend the nation than even former strongman Musharraf by any means. This government is probably more likely to simply allow the Taliban to grab territory, issue a complaint, and then do nothing while the Taliban takes more control of the nation.
Unfortunately, the quickest path to nuclear weapons among radical Muslim elements might not be through Iran at all, but a Taliban takeover of Pakistan.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!