KCBS In Depth: The Future Of Pakistan And Afghanistan
(KCBS) – It has now been a week since the U.S.-led raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan that took the life of the al Qaeda leader.
But even with the death of bin Laden, the future of relations with Afghanistan and Pakistan remain murky for the United States.
Dr. Sanjoy Banerjee, a San Francisco State University Professor of International Relations, said he believes there had to be people in Pakistan who knew of bin Laden’s whereabouts.
“It is a high level army base. There are non-army people that live in the town of Abbottabad, but you can’t build large buildings like that in such a sensitive zone without the army being well aware,” he said.
KCBS In Depth: Interviews with Dr. Sanjoy Banerjee and Fred Kaplan, Experts on Afghanistan and Pakistsn:
Dr. Banerjee said the relations will remain tense with Pakistan, partly because the country continues to play both sides of the aisle.
“Since before 9-11, Pakistan has not been a trusted partner. It’s clear even before 9-11 that the Pakistan army was supporting Osama bin Laden,” said Banerjee. “It’s not clear how much advanced knowledge, if any, General Musharraf had of the 9-11 attack himself. The reality is the U.S. has known all along that Pakistan is playing a double game and the U.S. has allowed that to happen.”
Longtime journalist Fred Kaplan, whose “War Stories” column is featured in Slate magazine, has covered international relations and U.S. foreign policy.
He agrees with Dr. Banerjee that someone had to know of bin Laden’s whereabouts.
“If he’s been there for a few years, in a compound that is a half a mile from the Pakistani equivalent of West Point, I find it almost inconceivable that at least some faction of the military and the intelligence services wouldn’t know that he was there,” said Kaplan.
Kaplan also said the future of al Qaeda is up in the air with the death of bin Laden.
“For quite awhile, al Qaeda’s been sort of a network. If the leader goes, there are still these other heads. But they are smaller and don’t command the same allegiance,” said Kaplan. “The global reach of al Qaeda has been diminishing and polls have been showing that bin Laden and al Qaeda have been losing favor drastically in Muslim and Arab countries throughout the world.”
Both Banerjee and Kaplan see the war on terror continuing and are not sure exactly what the future holds for the United State’s role in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
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