Pakistan giving US aid money to the enemy

Washington Times Editorial:

Incredibly, last week's Pakistani armistice with Islamic militants in the Swat Valley was apparently made possible in part by U.S. money that will now be used to launch attacks against U.S. and NATO forces.

Reports are surfacing that the cease-fire in Pakistan's Swat Valley was greased with back-channel payments of $6 million to the militants from a special fund overseen by President Asif Ali Zardari's office, which includes aid money donated by the United States. After the deal was reached, the militants vowed to stop all hostilities against Pakistani security forces and instead turn their murderous intentions towards NATO forces in Afghanistan. The $6 million payout was couched as compensation for families of those killed and injured by Pakistan's security forces - though apparently not those victimized by the militants.

How the money will be distributed is unclear, but given the militants' functional control of the area it will likely be used in part to underwrite their spring offensive. How ironic that peace in Swat, purchased in part by the United States, may come at the cost of American lives. This led one Pentagon observer to ask whether the U.S. was now "subsidizing safe havens."

On the surface the Swat armistice bears all the hallmarks of what the State Department calls "Smart Power." Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has stated that the agreement to allow the reinstitution of Shariah law is part of a "Three D's" policy: dialogue, development, and deterrence. This seems very close to Secretary of State Clinton's Smart Power definition as utilizing "the full range of tools at [the government's] disposal - diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal and cultural." The Obama foreign policy team was initially publicly skeptical of the agreement - "troubled and confused" according to special representative Richard Holbrooke. But the administration has not yet suggested an alternative approach to the Swat problem, and word is beginning to surface that the State Department gave the deal private support.

...

This deal may be a lot of things but smart is not one of them. It is a terrible deal even before the bribe money is paid to the enemy. Letting the Taliban despots impose Shari'a law on the people in Swat is criminal abuse. It involves a code based on corporal punishment and dismemberment. No one in their right mind would submit to the tyranny imposed by these religious bigots.

Pakistan abused its discretion by using aid money from the US to accomplish this deal and if the State Department agreed to the deal, those responsible for the decision should be terminated. This kind of bad judgment will get more Americans killed.

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