Thursday, January 03, 2008


I think TalkingPointsMemo has badly missed the point of this AP newsfart.

Says Josh:
You know things aren't good when you see a headline about Pakistani refugees fleeing to Afghanistan.

But they're not fleeing into Afghanistan because they expect civil war any moment as a result of Benazir Bhutto's assassination; for a start, we're up in the mountains here, out in the kind of country that still fits in the poem...A scrimmage in a Border station/A canter down some dark defile/Two thousand pounds of education/Falls to a ten-rupee jezail. Moving between Pakistan and Afghanistan isn't unusual. Further, it's been down there in the reasonably stable bits of Pakistan where there's been serious violence as a consequence of the assassination.

What these people are fleeing is the Pakistani government's campaign, egged on by the US, against their warlords up in places like Swat; the government is now boasting openly that it's going to eliminate one of them they've decided is behind the killing. There is no reason to believe this is true; there is every reason, though, if you live up there, to expect all kinds of horrible trouble. Air raids. Artillery. Crazy foreigners whose God wants you for a guidance package. Bastard Punjabi soldiers wanting to search your house. Crazy foreigners making people disappear in their special aeroplanes. Who wouldn't leave?

Meanwhile, a scene from the north-west frontier of Surrey last night; I walk into my local 24-hour calorie shop and I'm immediately grilled about Pakistani politics, especially the Scotland Yard detectives going out. "Well, Musharraf obviously wants to look like he's investigating it," I said. Apparently Mr 10% getting to be the leader of the PPP is an Al-Qa'ida plot. I doubt it, but we agreed it was a stupid disaster.


Anonymous said...

It almost makes one want to open the books on Bob Woolmer again - now exactly who benefited from Scotland Yard's investigative powers becoming widely-known in Pakistan???? God that is such a good piece of "bong session cui bono" that I find myself wanting to resubscribe to the 7/7 troofers list just to troll with it.

albedo404 said...

A couple of years ago I recall discussing post-Taleban Afghanistan with an American who believed the NATO military effort was bringing civilisation and democracy to that benighted country. He was somewhat dismissive of my cynicism about the Pathan mindset.

Then this happened.

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