With President Obama escalating the war in neighboring Afghanistan, and centering much of that strategy around fighting militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas, that agenda is being undercut, some say, by a Pakistani government reluctant to commit its entire nation to fighting America’s war.
A key aspect is that despite grim predictions from the US that Pakistan may collapse in the relatively near term from the militants, the nation faces a myriad of other problems which, while not high on America’s priority list, seem at least as important internally. The economy is a disaster, there have been significant political upheavals, but most of all there’s India.
Since the November terrorist attack in Mumbai, chilly relations between India and Pakistan have turned quite hostile. Indian officials have repeatedly raised the spectre of attacking Pakistan, and Pakistan has responded by removing some of its troops from America’s war along the Afghan border to ready for a potential attack from the east.
America’s attempts to calm tensions between the two are failing on both fronts. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency has been blamed for terror attacks against India, as well as helping TTP leader Baitullah Mehsud elude American assassination attempts. Reining them in has been a top US priority, but Pakistan is likely relying on its most powerful spy agency in the event of a war with India. Yet the powerful spy agency is likely central to Pakistan’s defense strategy against a potential Indian incursion.