What the Pashtun can teach America about foreign policy.
What the Pashtun Can Teach America about Foreign Policy.Peshawar, Pakistan Here, at the base of the fabled Khyber Pass, the British Raj not only trained the famous Khyber Rifle Regiment but, knowing they were in for a long haul, also built a rail network and the structures that are still used as civil and army offices to oversee Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province. The guest book of the Khan Klub, a Peshawar guesthouse, is filled with thank you notes from British tourists who are still welcome here. By contrast, throughout the 1980s, America used Pakistan as a base from which to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan, and all Pakistan got in return was several million refugees who now overwhelm Peshawar's once bustling bazaars. The blessing of being an oasis near the rugged peaks of the Afghan-Pakistani border has long since become a curse.Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi recently led a Congressional delegation to Pakistan and Afghanistan to urge the two countries' embattled leaders to work together on routing Taliban forces straddling their porous border, and Vice President Dick Cheney recently visited the region as well to reiterate Congress's threat of cuts in military aid if they fail to do so. But this borderland is not truly part of any country. It belongs to the Pashtun people who have lived here for centuries, and who care little for the nominal existence of states called Afghanistan or Pakistan. This is their country-all others are invaders. It is widely believed that Osama bin Laden is hiding among the Pashtun, who gave birth to Afghanistan's Taliban regime. Certainly, if bin Laden is not here already, he would be welcome any time.
|Military might does not scare those who wore down the Soviet Union.|