In the Arena

The Afghanistan Attack

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Here are more details on the attack that killed nine U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan yesterday. As I feared, this was a very well organized and massive–200 fighters!–assault. And then, there’s also this:

The Afghan cabinet accused the Pakistani Army and premier intelligence agency, the Inter Services Intelligence, or ISI, of being behind a recent spate of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and announced it was suspending three scheduled bilateral meetings with Pakistan.

Which is why this situation warrants far more attention than it’s been getting. And make no mistake, we have some very big decisions to make about how to proceed here. I disagree with Juan Cole that we’re walking into a trap, although the track record for foreign troops in Afghanistan is wall-to-wall dismal historically. But there’s a need for some heavy duty strategic thinking right now–and I see no indication that there’s any going on in the Bush Administration. And John McCain–egged on by Joe Lieberman, the neocons and the Israelis–seems far more concerned about Iran (which has been shooting off missiles in response to Israeli war games, a dangerous game on both sides).

But any threat from Iran pales in comparison to the active role being taken by elements of Pakistan’s Army and intelligence services in alliance with the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The common line has been that Pakistan’s nukes are out of the reach of these rogue Army and ISI elements. I certainly hope so, but I wonder how stable Pakistan’s new coalition government really is…and what, if anything, we can do about it.

OOOPs : Here’s the link to Juan Cole. Sorry.