It was only a few months ago that he had Pakistan President Pervez Musharaff and Afghani President Hamid Karzai to dinner at the White House, and seemed to patch things up between the two allies in the Global War On Something Terror-like, Only Minty (GLOSTOM).
The Taliban had been upping the ante in Afghanistan, and operating out of bases in the Pashtun regions of Pakistan, something Musharaff freely admitted last fall, reiterating his commitment made to Bush to clear out the Talibani forces. At that same September dinner, Karzai promised to speed up development of the Afghani economy and security.
Both kind of nebulous promises and both pretty easy to keep but hard to defend to an adversary.
Well, here it comes:
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Afghanistan's foreign minister accused Pakistan on Friday of using terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy and said the Taliban could be beaten in two or three years if Islamabad cooperated fully against them.Pretty strong words for a diplomat. But, wait, there's more!
Rangeen Dadfar Spanta told Reuters his country needed more money to fight terrorism, improve government and bring better lives for the people.[...]
"Pakistan doesn't do enough," he said in an interview. "Pakistan is from our point of view part of the problem -- they have to stop interference ... in Afghanistan.
"They have to stop using terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy and I think it is high time the international community began to tell Pakistan to stop."
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice threw down the gauntlet to NATO allies to do more in Afghanistan on Friday, pledging extra U.S. troops and aid to help see off the Taliban.So the US seems to be taking Karzai's side in this fight, going so far as to say:
But U.S. frustration at what Washington sees as a lack of commitment by European partners was unlikely to be assuaged at a meeting in Brussels. The European Commission announced a fall in its future aid and there were only preliminary signs from U.S. allies that they would commit more troops or aid.
The Pentagon announced on Thursday it was extending the tours of 3,200 troops in Afghanistan by up to 120 days. Given other troop movements, the move means that in the next few months it will have 2,500 more soldiers there than planned.
Last year was the bloodiest since U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban in 2001. More than 4,000 people, a quarter of them civilians, were killed and more than 160 foreign soldiers.I believe the phrase you're groping for right now is "damning with faint praise": "Yea, Pakistan is helping. A little. Sort of. Maybe."
A tough winter, with snow blocking mountain passes, has contributed to the annual lull in fighting, but analysts warn the Taliban, bolstered by drug money and safe havens in Pakistan, will fight back strongly after the thaw in a few months.
"The Taliban phenomenon is largely a southern phenomenon. Now, it's very virulent. It's tough. But we're dealing with it," Boucher said.
"They're actually under pressure -- they're under pressure from all sides. Not only from NATO and the Afghan army, but also to some extent from Pakistan as well."
Bush crowed about his personal appeals to both Karzai and Musharaff at that ill-fated September dinner:
This Week, President Bush Met With Two Courageous Leaders Who Are Working For Peace – President Karzai Of Afghanistan And President Musharraf Of Pakistan. With their help, we have killed or captured hundreds of al Qaeda leaders and operatives and put others on the run. Osama bin Laden and other terrorists are still in hiding, and our message to them is clear: No matter how long it takes, we will find you, and we will bring you to justice.Apparently not. Just months later, Bush's own commanders on the ground are saying that Al Qaeda and the Taliban are marshalling forces for an all-out assault this spring. It looks like you won't have to do much "findin'", George, because they're coming to us.
But back to the cat fight: Karzai and Musharaff clearly don't like each other very much, as evidenced by this photo taken at the dinner:
Right. No tension between THOSE allies, huh? What's really interesting about the body language here is that just days earlier, Musharaff had revealed to the world that after September 11, Richard Armitage...you remember him, he was the idiot who claims he outted Valerie Plame and then waited three years to reveal himself as Robert Novak's source...had threatened to bomb Pakistan "back to the Stone Age," which is pretty funny considering Armitage's close resemblance to Fred Flintstone.
Not to mention that just days earlier, it was revealed that Pakistan had signed a peace treaty with Aghani border warlords, basically giving Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban free rein to run amok on the border.
Bush's reaction to Musharaff's treaty? "I believe him," when he says that in no way did this treaty is not meant to support the Taliban. The president said that Musharaff had looked him in the eye and vowed that "the tribal deal is intended to reject the Talibanization of the people and that there won't be a Taliban and there wont be al Qaeda (in Pakistan)."
Hm, I've been meaning to unload this old bridge I've got...
Afghan officials have alleged repeatedly that Taliban militants are hiding out in neighboring Pakistan and launching attacks across the border into Afghanistan. Pakistan, which has deployed 80,000 troops along the border, rejects the accusation and says it is doing all it can to battle extremists.
Somebody's wrong. I think it's us.
snarkasm, snarcasm, snarky