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May 12, 2009
Refugee crisis brews as fighting continues in Pakistan

Pakistan’s armed forces are engaged in a widening offensive against Taliban militants in the northwest part of the country. On Tuesday, the Pakistani army claimed that more than 750 militants had been killed in the latest offensive and said 29 soldiers had been killed.

The operation is in the Swat Valley and neighboring districts, and while the army said there have been no civilian casualties, the refugee crisis is growing worse by the day — hundreds of thousands have been displaced by recent fighting.
 
Jeff Stein, who follows national security matters for Congressional Quarterly and writes a column called “Spy Talk,” speaks with Martin Savidge about ethnic dimension of Pakistan’s conflict and discusses the security of the country’s nuclear weapons. 

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3 comments

#3

In response to comment #2:

Mr. Stein isn’t whitewashing American responsibility. In fact, this is a short clip discussing a short column that Mr. Stein recently authored regarding multiple loyalties within the Pakistani military. Not every issue in Pakistan can be addressed in every column. What Mr. Stein is describing is the troubling infiltration of a key military ally, though given the history of Pakistan and its relationship to so-called ‘extremists’ that inhabit the Pashtun region, it is expected. These frequent entanglements that accompany foreign adventurism provide more weight to those of us who believe that the US should not have made nation-building attempts in Central Asia.

Another word on Mr. Stein’s reporting: He is a good reporter with great contacts within the American intelligence and defense establishments. You should consider what he authors in that light.

#2

It seems to me that Mr. Jeff Stein’s analysis of the current war against the Taliban in Pakistan was scripted by the CIA. He admitted upfront that he contacted a CIA acquaintance before he appeared in the program, and he, literally, lashed at anyone in Pakistan that the CIA suspects may not provide genuine help to the U.S. to achieve its objectives. And that tells us more about those so-called experts of Research Groups and Foundations that thrive where the news media is concentrated, and which the U.S. government has admitted funding to augment, support, and portray its policies and objectives in a positive manner.

I feel strongly that there is a betrayal of the viewers of the World Focus when a guest appears as a supposed neutral expert in the program, and serves his opinion in a platter prepared by CIA operatives before the program’s taping. And, I truly believe that Mr. Stein’s ranting of ISI officers taking the U.S. money and support the Taliban behind the U.S. back was utterly redundant as it has been reported hundreds of times before, and it is irrelevant to the present open war of the army and the Taliban.

Surely there are Pakistanis who betray the U.S. in Pakistan. After all, it is their country, and they are fighting a war imposed on them by the U.S. The PBS Documentary “Frontline” on April 14, 2009 televised interviews with Taliban that said “the Taliban have never fought the army before, but they do now because it follows U.S. policies.” And those policies are implemented at the behest of the whose aid “is lining a few pockets in Pakistan, but the common people get little or nothing” as the Pakistan Dawn editorial said on May 6, 2009. No surprise that a Reuters Poll today, May 14, 2009 shows a 19% public approval rating for president Asif Zardari who started the war against the Taliban on behalf of the U.S., and a 75% public approval rating for Nawaz Sharif who always favored negotiations with the Taliban.

It is becoming more clear every day that the U.S. imposed civil war on Pakistanis is becoming a cataclysmic event, and the U.S. tries to minimize the negative news coming out of Pakistan, as well as using its hired guns experts on talk shows to
whitewash any U.S. responsibility and blame it all on Pakistanis themselves. But Pakistan’s prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said today (Reuters) that “The internal displacement of people was unprecedented in the country’s history,
and Pakistan will win the war militarily, but it may lose it publicly,” on quote.

Mr. Stein aside, the U.S. propaganda on its imposed war on Pakistan is in full swing – like the battle in Swat Valley. But the flood of 1.3 million Pakistani refugees looks to me like a human Tsunami that may wipe out the U.S. fortunes
in Central Asia. The U.S. would certainly claim victory on the war on Taliban because it doesn’t want to look foolish on the world stage. But that
claim will be short-lived as the full scope of deaths, destruction, and refugee’s suffering become fully exposed.
Nikos Retsos, retired professor

#1

Wouldn’t it be great for the world to see USA cargo planes dropping supplies to the desparate Pakistani refugees?

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