Opinion: Pakistan needs help against terrorism | World| Breaking news and perspectives from around the globe | DW | 10.06.2014
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Opinion: Pakistan needs help against terrorism

The bloody attack on Karachi’s airport shows once more that Pakistan cannot handle its terrorism problem. It needs outside help - but not military support, says DW’s Florian Wiegand.

It seems to be an inescapable reflex to blame the neighboring country when terror attacks happen - something that holds true of the attack on Karachi's airport. The battle there was still in full flight when Pakistani media reported that the attackers' weapons and ammunition were from India. But it wasn't true. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks just a few hours later. It seems clear now that the reasons behind the well-planned attack in the middle of Pakistan's biggest city were home-grown.

Months of cautious circling and peace talks between the government and the holy warriors have now been wasted. The fighting continues. The Pakistani air force has bombed Taliban positions in the areas bordering Afghanistan, and the Taliban has attacked Karachi airport again.

Some of the military and secret service might wonder if it was really a clever tactic to keep the Taliban as an ace up the sleeve in the regional power game. Pakistan, fearing being crushed by its neighbors India and Afghanistan, consistently coddled the Taliban - secretly - as a thorn in the flesh of the Kabul government and its western allies because Islamabad wanted to secure its influence in Afghanistan. In return, it accepted extremist bases in Pakistan, which the Taliban used as a retreat and training camp for their fight in the Hindu Kush region across the border.

But the spirits that the sorcerer's apprentices in Islamabad have summoned won't listen to them anymore. In fact, while Afghans rejected the Taliban in April - they queued at the polling stations despite the extremists' threats, the Taliban is growing increasingly stronger in Pakistan.

Pakistan will wait in vain for the great magician who ends the nightmare. Deploying fighter jets in tribal areas is not a proven tool against violence. The renewed attacks on Karachi airport show once again that conventional armed forces can't win a guerilla war. The Pakistani military should take lessons from America's experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On the other hand, negotiations with extremists are a bitter pill and hardly lead to long-term success either. Peace requires other means. One of them is economic development in regions where extremists are strong. Investment in infrastructure, health care, and energy would deprive the extremists of their breeding-ground. That's why the international community is needed, because peace in this region is of global importance. Pakistan is a nuclear power. The thought that the holy warriors could get hold of nuclear weapons is too terrible to contemplate.

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