State Department critical of Pakistani response to Taliban

Friday, April 24, 2009

In another indication of the gathering strength of the insurgency, Taliban militants have taken control of a gateway district close to the Pakistani capital. The district of Buner, home to almost one million, is just seventy miles from Islamabad and leads to speculation that the Taliban could be making plans for a move on the city. This increases concern that the government is unprepared to fend off the strategic advances of the Taliban. Now, U.S. officials are questioning the government's willingness to take on the insurgents. Both Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have warned of the consequences, Secretary Clinton went so far as to call it an "existential threat". So is Pakistan fighting for its very existence?

To help us understand the Pakistani point of view of the Taliban insurgency and the government's reaction, we turn to Ambassador Munir Akram. Ambassador Akram was Pakistan's Ambassador to the United Nations from 2002-2008.

**UPDATE: Pakistani officials and international press outlets are reporting that Taliban militants have begun withdrawing from the Buner district.**
"Pakistan can do without American aid. This is my honest opinion. Whatever money is committed, half the aid comes back to the donors."
—Ambassador Munir Akram on U.S. involvement in Pakistan

Watch Secretary of State Clinton's comments on the situation in Pakistan below.

Guests:

Ambassador Munir Akram

Hosted by:

Katherine Lanpher and Todd Zwillich

Comments [1]

Sarosh Syed

Please guys, do your homework.

Islamabad is 70 miles from Buner, but the political terrain is entirely different and it's not falling to the Taliban. And just because Hillary Clinton says Pakistan is under an existential threat doesn't mean it's true.

Pakistan is a mess, but it's not falling to the Taliban tomorrow and its nukes aren't going to be flying towards New York next week.

Apr. 24 2009 08:30 AM

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