In the Arena

South Asia Uh-Oh

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Word that Pakistan is moving troops toward the Indian border seems very bad news on several counts. Obviously, the prospect of a military confrontation between Pakistan and India, and the possible nuclear exchange that might ensue, is scary, to say the least. And then there is the corollary effect of removing Pakistani Army troops from the Afghan border where they are allegedly fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban. 

Problem is, there are lots of Pakistani troops stationed in the northwest–an entire division in Waziristan–who aren’t fighting the jihadis at all. They’re just stationed there. So it seems unlikely that the movement of Pakistani troops away from the Afghan border will have much, if any, effect on insurgent activity. 

But this crisis does reinforce the need for a U.S. special envoy to the region, shuttling between the capitals, trying to calm things down. This presidential transition is beginning to seem endless.

By the way, this seems the ultimate use of soft power, after a fashion, in Afghanistan.