Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pakistan has a lot going for it, but optimism about its future is nevertheless hard to sustain, says Simon Long

Not only has it provided sanctuary from which terrorists have mounted attacks in Afghanistan. Not only is the Taliban’s most senior leadership—the Quetta shura—believed to be based in Pakistan. Worse, elements of the Pakistani state are accused of complicity in all this. And worse still, partly because of that complicity, Pakistan itself is prey to a fierce xenophobic Islamist insurgency. Rather than being able to declare victory in Afghanistan, a wild country of some 30m people, the West fears a nightmare: defeat in Pakistan, a country of nearly 200m that was once seen as a firm ally and a bastion of moderation.

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