Pakistan’s Next Fight

It took a while for the Pakistani Army to move against the region’s rising violence and chaos, but its campaign against militants in South Waziristan is making progress. Sooner rather than later, however, Pakistan will have to move against other terrorist havens, and find common cause with India in order to stabilize Afghanistan and be able to focus on its serious domestic problems.

NEW YORK – The terrorist sanctuary in the South Waziristan region of Pakistan’s tribal frontier with Afghanistan is coming apart. It took a while for the Pakistani Army to move against the region’s rising violence and chaos, but its campaign in South Waziristan is making progress.

The campaign’s immediate impact consists in Pakistan’s determination to establish its authority in the area. But the window for the military to fill the power vacuum will be open only briefly. The terrorists have shown before that they can take a punch, strike back, and even rebuild their networks.

Indeed, even as the Pakistani Army launched operation Rah-e-Nijat (Path to Salvation) in October, a dozen devastating terrorist attacks in Pakistan’s major cities demonstrated the reach of the South Waziristan militants. In a few instances, senior army and intelligence officers were targeted outside their homes in Islamabad, despite extensive security measures in and around the capital.

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