The dual attacks earlier this week on the airport complex in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, mark a new level of brazenness by the Taliban.

A Pakistani Taliban assault on the Karachi international airport that began Sunday left dozens dead. And, in an audacious gesture, members of the group on Tuesday fired shots at a nearby training facility.

The consequences of the incidents are serious for Pakistan, since they happened in a city that provides roughly one-third of the country’s GDP and handles almost all of its foreign trade.

“The fact that the airport was attacked leaves open the question of which international airlines will continue to fly into the city, and will it continue to function as the commercial center it has been,” Rafia Zakaria, who grew up in Karachi and is a columnist for Pakistan’s premier newspaper Dawn, tells The Progressive. “There are no emerging answers and no comprehensive plans that can address this.”

Pakistan has long taken an ambivalent approach to militant groups operating from its soil, nurturing those it considers strategic assets against Afghanistan and India while going after those it considers threats to the Pakistani state. A recent book by New York Times reporter Carlotta Gall even alleges that the Pakistani security apparatus knowingly sheltered Osama bin Laden.

And the Pakistani establishment’s attitude still hasn’t changed. Instead of confronting the Taliban, it prefers to cast blame on India. Pakistan’s interior minister said “the attackers appeared to be foreign nationals, while the weapons they used also hinted towards a certain country.”

But the chances that Pakistan’s archrival India was responsible range from slim to none. In fact, the Taliban has already claimed responsibility for the Sunday airport assault, saying it was revenge for a U.S. drone strike that eliminated the group’s leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, last November.

“Sadly the continued presence of the United States (drones and CIA operations) casts a wide shadow of imperialist meddling, which obscures the fact that this is an ideological battle that Pakistanis have to fight themselves,” says Zakaria. “Furthermore, American involvement continues to strengthen the Pakistani military—not the civilian institutions—which again leave a country that is dominated by the military and is unable to have the people's will reflected in its foreign policy and security directions.”

In response to the Sunday airport attack, the Pakistani military has launched an operation in the country’s tribal areas that has already killed more than a dozen individuals, and a major campaign seems imminent. There will be a lot of suffering for the civilian population but no end in sight to the messy policies of the Pakistani government that led to this pass.


Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.


Trump's politics are not the problem.

The fiery Milwaukee Sheriff is on the shortlist to head the Department of Homeland Security.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project