Zardari: We Underestimated Taliban Threat

From CBS News:

Asifzardari Of all the challenges facing President Obama, none will be more difficult to solve than the basket case that is Pakistan. The Muslim nation – whose support is critical to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan – is not only broke and embroiled in another crisis with its arch enemy India, it is now at war with Muslim extremists trying to destroy the government of President Asif Ali Zardari. As correspondent Steve Kroft reports, the growing insurgency run by the Taliban and al Qaeda is threatening the stability of a key U.S. ally that is believed to have as many as a hundred nuclear weapons.

For all of its 62 years, the government of Pakistan and its military have been obsessed with one thing: India, the enemy next door to the east with whom it has fought three wars. And every day for 50 of those years its soldiers at one of the border crossings have stared down their Indian counterparts, as their flags are raised and lowered.

But the biggest threat facing Pakistan today comes from within, from its lawless tribal territories on the western frontier, where the Taliban and al Qaeda were allowed to regroup and carry out attacks against U.S. troops across the border in Afghanistan, and now against the Pakistani government. During the past year, Islamic extremists have launched more than 600 terrorist attacks inside the country, killing more than 2,000 people. One suicide bombing last September, at the Marriott Hotel in the capital of Islamabad, killed 60 people just minutes away from the presidential offices, now occupied by a very unlikely leader, Asif Ali Zardari. Asked how important it is to stop extremism, President Zardari told Kroft, “It’s important enough. I lost my wife to it. My children's mother, the most populist leader of Pakistan. It's important to stop them and make sure that it doesn't happen again and they don't take over our way of life. That's what they want to do.”

More here. (Note: Thanks to AVM S.J.Raza).

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