Sunday, June 29, 2008

Speaking of crazy people, I would like to turn my attention to the Old Country, where militants armed to the teeth have surrounded the northwestern city of Peshawar. In response, one of the strongest, largest armies in the world has sent paramilitaries, mindful of the militants' threat to open up unrest elsewhere in the country. These militants, of course, are the same ones who fight Canadian, American and other NATO soldiers in Afghanistan, so more than Peshawar is at stake.

Peshawar itself is a city of supposedly 3 million people which may well have as many Afghans as Afghanistan itself. It's no coincidence that the population has tripled in the last 30 years, a period coinciding with the chronic instability (to put it nicely) plaguing Afghanistan. Peshawar is nestled against Pakistan's shadowy Tribal Areas, a lawless region that no one has ever been able to control. What's likely is that Peshawar will eventually return to some state of normalcy and the fighters will return to their turf. Still, it's troubling to watch Pakistan struggle to assert control over one of its major cities and a provincial capital.

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