October 15, 2009

COIN 101

Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik has made a very honest, very dangerous admission. Having assumed a public role now that his jurisdiction is the main target, Malik told reporters in Lahore, "The kind of terrorism we are facing; our forces neither had capacity nor training to counter this."

Pakistan "is not prepared for these kinds of attacks," Malik said.

Though he promised the government was improving the country's security forces, such as importing Chinese-made scanners and bullet-proof jackets, he admitted the new security system will take another 6 months to a year to develop. Pakistan doesn't have the kind of time - the Taliban are just getting started.

Remember the words of TTP spokesman Azam Tariq: "This was our first small effort and a present to the Pakistani and American governments."

2010 could be brutal. Unless the TTP is puffing itself up expect attacks every week for months. After all, it's fulfilled its threats so far and Malik will only encourage them. He's in a tough position between the Pakistani people and the militants. The truth was the better choice, if only because the TTP already knows it can't be stopped.

But it gets worse. Malik also told journalists, "The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi are operating jointly in Pakistan," calling them a "syndicate."

The TTP's viral spread is the new "it" topic, as if it wasn't already happening. This plan has long been in motion. Indeed, Amjad Farooqi, spokesman for the Punjabi Taliban, reportedly claimed responsibility for the Lahore attacks. The Taliban umbrella is expanding.

Now that Pakistan has confessed its inability, will America use the opportunity to send more trainers, armaments, and weapons?

Ameen Jan, an analyst on Pakistan, perfectly explained to Al Jazeera, "The Taliban and insurgents are trying to send a very clear message: 'we're still here, we're still going to create hell for you and we are not going away anywhere soon.' This is an insurgency that is here to stay for some time and it will take all of the effort of the Pakistan military and the rest of the state apparatus, and will require the support of the Pakistani people to battle it for the months and years to come."

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