While the Obama Administration has had some quick foreign policy success in recruiting Pakistan to battle Taliban insurgents as they attempted to close in near the capital city of Islamabad, huge hurdles still remain. So far the fighting between the Pakistani military, which is the seventh largest in the world, has left more than 1,000,000 refugees as villages and towns are torn apart by the fighting and bombing attacks.
Another serious problem is that continued tensions between India and Pakistan only continue drain off most of Pakistan's military resources. Some high profile terrorist bombings in India have all been blamed on radicals from Pakistan, created a sort of demagoguery among Indian politicians as well as the public in India calling for a military attack on Pakistan, which has amassed most Indian and Pakistani troops at each other's border draining off most of Pakistan's military assets. This continued military standoff off most Indian and Pakistani military divisions, leave few few troops available to battle the Taliban. This has only allowed the Taliban a fairly free hand to move on more Pakistani territory as the military is tied down in it's military standoff with India. One of the most important things that the Obama Administration can do is to reduce tensions here, which would prevent a possible war between these two nuclear nations with missiles capable of causing serious damage to both countries. More Pakistani troops need to be freed-up to be available to battle the Taliban, otherwise the Taliban might win out in some battles against a short-handed Pakistani defenders.
Another problem is the run-down state of the Pakistani military. The nation might have have a fairly formidable fleet of missiles and nuclear weapons. However, Pakistan has but 20 attack helicopters, with usually no more than just two operational at any point. Further, dropping bombs by aircraft on the Taliban costs lots of money. Pakistan's military really needs billions in a military aid package promised by the Obama Administration, however some in Congress might attempt to hold it up for various reasons.
Another major problem is that the huge refugee problem that the battle with the Taliban is creating is quickly eroding support for the Pakistani government and is probably only helping to boslter support for the Taliban in some parts of the country, especially among the very poor in Pakistan. This situation is unfortunately very similar to the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia and Laos, creating the larger Indochina War, where all of the problems of the expanded warfare into Cambodia, creating destruction and refugees only helped to destabilize and collapse that government, allowing the Khmer Rouge Communists to seize control. All of the problems associated with creating a massive refugee problem in Pakistan as a result of the battle with the Taliban just might serve the purpose of eventually allowing the Taliban to take control of the Western part of the nation near the border of Afghanistan, giving the Taliban and Al Qaeda a base of operations to prevent American and NATO success in Afghanistan.
The huge refugee problem being generated might just be the damning feature of success against the Taliban here. Further, the Pakistani government is so concerned about the backlash of anger against the U.S. by many in that nation, that the government is very careful about accepting American aid for the refugees such as tents, blankets, food or other relief supplies. This refugee aid is very vital. Yet the sensitive nature where the Pakistani government needs to disguise American aid because of a huge political backlash is a huge roadblock problem towards winning the battle with the Taliban. If really given a choice, many in Pakistan would far prefer the Taliban to the U.S., which is a huge problem for the United States to overcome.
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!