re: #157 oaktree
The government (whether the current Zardari government or the Musharraf regime) had been beset by multiple assassination attempts, attacks against government installations, and other destabilizing events. The response was invariably a crackdown for a time, before a cycle of appeasement began.
That’s the second half of the equation here - if and when the appeasement begins, which leads to still more encouragement of Taliban and al Qaeda to take up arms against the Pakistani government.
The Pakistani government has always had a hands off relationship with the frontier provinces, allowing the Taliban and al Qaeda to sink their teeth into the ground there; the government has to engage in a fundamental change in its approach to the frontier provinces, which were always considered semi-autonomous. That’s changing here because of the ongoing military operations against the Taliban and al Qaeda. Whether Pakistan will keep it up remains to be seen. There are plenty of Islamists in Pakistan (who supported the Zardari government, along with those in the ISI who shape the intel picture in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the frontier provinces). Complicated doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface there…