Tom Wright in WSJ:
When Pakistan appointed Hina Rabbani Khar, a 33-year-old politician, as its first female foreign minister earlier this year, there was some suggestion that she lacked experience for the job.
On Friday, sharing a podium with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, she certainly appeared out of her depth.
Mrs. Clinton masterfully chided Pakistan for not invading North Waziristan and managed not to sound too schoolmarmly in the process, although she did ask Islamabad to “squeeze” the Haqqani militant group a few too many times.
Ms. Khar, by contrast, seemed to get lost in her own rhetoric, saying very little during overly-long answers to reporters’ questions. She often repeated phrases like “both sides of the border” numerous times in one response. It was unclear at points exactly what she wanted to get across. More:
Pervez Hoodbhoy at Viewpoint:
Pakistan has many more drones than America . These are mullah-trained and mass-produced in madrassas and militant training camps. Their handlers are in Waziristan, not in Nevada . Like their aerial counterparts, they do not ask why they must kill. However, their targets lie among their own people, not in some distant country. Collateral damage does not matter.
The human drone is infinitely better manufactured than its aerial counterpart. The motor, feedback, and control systems have been engineered to high precision by natural evolution over a million years. This drone never misses its target, which could be a mosque, Muslim shrine, hospital, funeral, or market. But military and intelligence headquarters have been targeted with deadly precision as well.
The walking (or driving) drone’s trail is far bloodier than that of the MQ-1B or MQ-9; body parts lie scattered across Pakistan . Detection is almost impossible. The destructive power has steadily increased. The earlier version had a simple bomb strapped on the back but the newer one carries plastic explosives packed into vests both on the front and back of the chest. For additional killing power, the explosives are surrounded with ball bearings and nails. This killing machine is far cheaper than anything General Dynamics can make. Part payment is made by monthly installments to the family, and the rest is in hoor-credits, encashable in janat-al-firdous.
What must be the last thoughts of the bomber as he sits in the eight row of mosque worshippers, moments before he reduces dozens of his fellow Muslims to bloodied corpses? Can he think beyond instrumental terms? As a murder weapon, the human drone has no room for moral judgment, doubt, remorse, or conscience. More:
Ahmed Rashid at NYRB Blog:
The Pakistani media is in a state of apoplexy about the would-be Times Square bomber, the Pakistani-born US citizen Faisal Shahzad. Predictably a great many commentators in the press and on the non-stop talk shows that run on over 25 TV news channels have discussed whether it was a CIA plot to embarrass Pakistan or provide an excuse for American troops to invade us: Was Shahzad an Indian or Israeli agent? And in any case, why should Washington hold Pakistan responsible, since he was an American citizen?
Not surprisingly, the Zardari government, the army, and Pakistani politicians have also muddied the waters. Although the government has said it will fully cooperate with US investigators seeking to find out which extremist groups trained Shahzad and where, Islamabad continues to fudge the paramount issue—the need for Pakistan to launch a comprehensive campaign against all extremist groups rather than the hit-and-miss anti-terrorism measures it is presently pursuing. That selective campaign leaves untouched the Afghan Taliban based in Pakistan—including Mullah Omar and other top leaders—who are not killing Pakistanis but are organizing attacks against US troops in Afghanistan; it also has ignored the Punjabi Taliban groups who have been attacking Indian nationals and government buildings in Kashmir, Kabul, and elsewhere, as well as killing numerous Pakistanis in suicide bombings in Lahore and other cities.
Both the Zardari government and the press have also made much of the conflicting statements by US officials, with Hilary Clinton threatening Pakistan with dire consequences if it does not deal with terror attacks, while General David Petraeus, the head of US Central Command, and other military officials suggesting that Shahzad may have been a lone wolf. But what about the US press? More:
Asif Ali Zardari, the president of Pakistan, in the New York Times:
Now that President Obama has recommitted the United States to stand with Pakistan and Afghanistan in our common fight against terrorism, extremism and fanaticism, it would be useful for Americans and Pakistanis to consider what has brought us to this point — and what the conflict’s true endgame must be.
Despite the noise created by an often hyperactive press in Pakistan (an essential and preferable alternative to the censorship that prevailed during my country’s military dictatorships), and the doubts expressed in America, Pakistan’s democratically elected government is unambiguously on the right path toward establishing a moderate and modern nation.
Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and I are working closely with our national assembly and our military and intelligence agencies to defeat the Taliban insurgency and the Qaeda-backed campaign of terrorism. Simultaneously, we are pursuing policies that will re-establish Pakistan as a vibrant economic market and finally address the long-neglected weaknesses in our education, health, agriculture and energy sectors. This isn’t just rhetoric — it is an active policy with new budget priorities and a reoriented national mindset. More:
Also read in NYT: ‘Obama needs a ‘Plan B‘ by Anatol Lieven, a professor in the War Studies Department at King’s College London and a senior fellow of the New America Foundation, and Maleeha Lodhi, senior fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Center and a former Pakistani ambassador to Washington and London.