Arnaud de Borchgrave of the Washington Times reported breathlessly on July 17 that Bruce Riedel, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst, tasked by the Obama administration with evaluating security threats in Afghanistan and Pakistan had concluded:
A jihadi victory in Pakistan, meaning the takeover of the nation by a militant Sunni movement led by the Taliban ... would create the greatest threat the United States has yet to face in its war on terror.
What war on terror? This sounds like warmed up leftover rhetoric of the Bush administration. And what Jihadi victory? What threat does the Taliban (even if it does exist) present to the United States?
It’s Panikistan, stupid.
Eight years ago, a frightened U.S. President sent troops into Afghanistan because the ruling Taliban refused to Jail, arrest or extradite a Saudi Millionaire who claimed to have orchestrated a series of outrages against American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. His biggest crime was organize and finance a terrorist operation, which succeeded in destroying two skyscrapers and damage the Pentagon.
The American response was successful in overthrowing the uncooperative Taliban, but failed to capture the Saudi millionaire who is suspected to have fled to the Pashtun tribal areas, which straddle an imaginary border called the Durand Line. If you were to ask a Pashtun what is this line, you will get a blank stare.
Meanwhile, American troops stayed in Afghanistan. They stayed long enough to where the initial welcome wore off. Resistance to the liberators turned invaders spread among the various Afghan tribes, including the Pashtuns who were attacked inside their homeland.
Can we blame the Pashtuns for fighting back?
In the nineteenth and twentieth century the British Press and some notables like Winston Churchill, considered Pashtun uprisings as a grave danger to the British Empire. It took Britain until 1947 find a solution to the problem—the Brits left and the problem was solved.
Are we going to continue panicking over Panikistan. Or are we going to do the right thing, leave and let the Pashtuns drink tea and recite poetry in peace?