Foreign Policy Blogs

Seismic Shift? Militants Bomb ISI Headquarters

To the Pakistani military and Internal Services Intelligence: You are reaping what you sowed.

But it is not too late to give up the obsessed, crazed determination to retain ‘strategic depth’ vis-a-vis India that has wrought such terrible destruction upon the peoples of South Asia. As I’ve mentioned several times before, the continuation of the horrific militant violence inside Pakistan has a rather macabre yet positive twist to it: the more death and destruction the Pakistani Taliban and other militants cause, the more likely it is that public opinion in Pakistan will force the security institutions of the state to finally give up the goat. The attack last month on General Army Headquarters in Rawalpindi, and Friday’s bombing of the headquarters of the ISI in Peshawar, will hopefully convince Pakistani generals and intelligence agents that no sub-state actors are worth this terrible price in lives lost.

Pakistan’s civilian governments are notoriously weak and corrupt. It is this dismal failure of civilian power that at times makes military rule in Pakistan seem appealing. But the United States must continue to maintain that civilian, democratic government is the only answer to the failure of the Pakistani state. No potential future military coup will end up a positive factor in the development of the Pakistani state. The Army must be made to exist under the state, not as an institution unresponsive to the whims of civil authority and democratic governance. In that regard, America can only help Pakistan—the yeoman’s work will be committed by Pakistanis willing to believe in a South Asian future that is marked not by a paranoid-lunacy regarding their Indian arch-rivals, but by peace and stability between two peoples who up until 60 odd years ago were but one.



Andrew Swift

Andrew Swift is a graduate of the University of Iowa, with a degree in History and Political Science. Long a student of international affairs, he is on an unending quest to understand the world better.