No, says the New York Times. The Pak army is more interested in preserving its own institutional interests rather than playing the game for the United States in the region.
After glowing initial reviews by the Americans, General Kayani has appeared less interested in how to deal with the Taliban than with the sagging morale of his undertrained, underequipped troops.
“In my view they won’t do aggressive counterinsurgency because they can’t,” said Christine Fair, senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, of the Pakistani Army.
In the post-Musharraf era, she said, the army wants to concentrate on rehabilitating its morale and reputation, which were sullied by Mr. Musharraf’s unpopular political decisions. “This means they are less likely to cooperate, not more,” she added. “Right now, they care about what’s in their own institution’s interests.”
That does not include getting their noses bloodied in a fight with the Taliban. But more important, perhaps, over the longer term, the Taliban remain an important tool for Pakistan to influence events over the border if the Americans leave Afghanistan, as they did after the departure of the Soviets, she said.
That should firmly shut many commentators [Daniel Larison, Gen. Barry McCaffrey (retd.), Nirav Patel etc.] up in the US who have been harping on addressing the Pakistani concerns over India while US seeks Pakistan’s military support in the region.
There have been suggestions by the French military (even before they lost 10 soldiers in an ambush in Afghanistan) that the West cannot sustain Hamid Karzai for long and an agreement will have to be reached with certain moderate sections of the Taliban. That course of action would be playing into Pakistani hands and fulfilling the Pakistani game plan of having their cake and eating it too — Keep the US involved in Afghanistan for continued financial aid, while securing strategic depth against India through a favourable dispensation in Kabul, that will allow Pakistan to again raise the militancy levels in Kashmir.
The US intelligentsia needs to recognise that there is a distinct alignment between the Indian and US interests in Afghanistan. The Pakistani interests, in fact, run counter to the US aims and policies in the region. So, which country should the new US administration be really courting – India or Pakistan? Moreover, should India still continue to dither from military deployment in Afghanistan, while having nearly 9000 soldiers deployed under the UN flag in Congo, Sudan and Lebanon?
It boils down to two related policy decisions: the US should not pander to the Pakistani army; and the Indian government should seriously consider military deployment in Afghanistan.
However, going by the discourses at various thinktanks in the US, The Acorn put it rather well the other day- God save the US from its pundits.
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