The real crisis in central and south Asia — the one in Pakistan — is going from really bad to much, much worse.
Let’s review some of the more recent reports from Pakistan.
Earlier this month, in a terrifying analysis of the situation in Pakistan, the New York Times reported:
Some analysts here and in Washington are already putting forward apocalyptic timetables for the country. “We are running out of time to help Pakistan change its present course toward increasing economic and political instability, and even ultimate failure,” said a recent report by a task force of the Atlantic Council that was led by former Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. The report, released in February, gave the Pakistani government 6 to 12 months before things went from bad to dangerous.
A specialist in guerrilla warfare, David Kilcullen, who advised Gen. David H. Petraeus when General Petraeus was the American commander in Iraq, offered a more dire assessment. Pakistan could be facing internal collapse within six months, he said.
An even more frightening and graphic description of the spreading Islamist movement there was provided last week by the Wall Street Journal:
Thousands of Islamist militants are pouring into Pakistan’s Swat Valley and setting up training camps here, quickly making it one of the main bases for Taliban fighters and raising their threat to the government in the wake of a controversial peace deal.
The number of militants in the valley swelled in the months before the deal with the Taliban was struck, and they continue to move in, say Pakistani and U.S. officials. They now estimate there are between 6,000 and 8,000 fighters in Swat, nearly double the number at the end of last year.
The Taliban fighters are spreading from the ungoverned tribal areas (the seven agencies of FATA) to the settled areas, starting with the Swat Valley, a key part of the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan proper. And from there, they are spreading into neighboring districts, even as they carry out terrorist attacks in key cities, such as Lahore and Islamabad. They are butchering people, beheading police officers, and terrorizing the citizens, who have no way to fight back. The Journal notes that in Swat, one central plaza “has become known among residents as ‘Slaughter Square’ because the Taliban have begun using it to dump bodies after executions.”