Two Observations:1. Military force wielded by Western powers is not going to solve or even improve the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan. No colonial power has ever been able to exert long-term control. We should not be there and we should get out, leaving the various factions to deal with each other.
2. Follow the money. Who do we think is funding the Taliban and the Pakistani government, both sides of the problem? The west - us. Either through direct contributions by the US government, contributions from Muslims who live in other countries or with the money you pay for your gasoline, heating oil, and other petroleum projects - billions and billions of dollars to Muslim oil producers who in turn funnel it to jihadis. When the gravy train stops, or even shows signs of slowing down, things will change.
If you really care about solving this situation, do everything you can to conserve energy and support alternative energy. And lean on your legislators to get our troops out, support development of alternative energy sources and stop selling arms to the region.
Palo Alto, CA
Wow! I was quite taken aback by the comments posted. I did not feel the program to be biased at all. In fact I think it revealed the side of the Pakistan govt and military that people in the western world should be aware of. Pakistan military just tested an ICBM missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads. I wonder where the money to fund programs like that come from in a country where the average person earns less than a dollar a day. We need more Pakistanis to be like Hayat Ullah if they want to save their nation from these heretics.
FrontlineExcellent program. It is time to get out of the Islamic Countries. Leave the people of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran alone.
Santa Barbara, CA
I am amazed but not surprized that PBS showed such a eurocentric or occidental view of Pakistan army and the government. While the interview shows Musharraf and other high officials complicit in the situation in Waziristan, not once does the interviewer expressed his powerful and privileged position in this whole game. by that I mean, he could ask such question of the CURRENT president of a sovereign country and its army chief. However, I am sure the interviewer and neither could PBS fathom a similar interview with General err. Commander in Chief..Bush and other army officials. ...
Its an extremely biased and skewed documentary. it places us in the usual "victim" and savior role. Poor US has to deal with the uncivilized country, whose people are not aware of what is good for them. Same old paternistic and condescending tone and message...nothing new for folks who have had 300 years of Western colonizers. Demonizing the country and its people is nothing new for the West, when it is in the best interest of for its country and for its corporation. What is the agenday...Occupy Baluchistan..or rather justify their occupation of Baluchistan?
Things havent changed much in centuries...same old colonizer greed..occupy other country and loot them. and Media like PBS is complicit in it.
los angeles, ca
The abject naivet� of Frontline in Pakistan is nothing short of pathetic...
Sending this business class, 4 star hotel , 32 hour wonder journalist - who drags his narrow minded, liberal activist journalism to the most complex and sensitive region in the war on terror. Frontline says a missile strike created many new terrorists...I say Frontline created more terrorists than 500 missiles strikes...
Funded by US taxpayers no less.
I watched the documentary and read some of the responses. They were intelligent remarks. I found some problems that the United States is not confronting. One is Pakistan's government. It's corrupt. The money being funneled into the Taliban areas from Arabia. We could open our own capped oil fields get free from their oil now! This hateful ideology they call religion. Uneducated people that follow a group of evil men. This war needs to be fought with some common sense and a desire to win.
Grand Rapids, , MI
I really enjoyed the program. I think the best option is for us to stop what we are doing now because it does not seem to be working. Perhaps let those who live in the area make the decisions while we just watch warily. Instead of giving Pakistan over a bilion dollars in weapons put that money towards our defense at home or towards our covert operations.
I would really like to see a program about what the Pakistan and Afgan people think about what is happening. I have read books that make me think they were happy to see the Taiban go. Perhaps we should empower the people of these nations to fight for their freedoms and see where we go from there.
The problem in Afghanistan is now like that of a fission reaction. The Pakistan government is both unwilling and incapable as an ally.
America needs to take quick and affirmative action in the region using the UN and coalition forces combine and not allow itself to be singled out as the enemy.
In doing this America might need to breach Pakistan borders for hot pursuit, but so be it. In any case if they are not guarded well enough then it can do so covertly without attracting much attention.
The Coalition and UN should also give more power and money in the hands of the Karzai govt. and encourage it to work on creating a political alternative even as they work to get rid of the armed militia.
I am myself a tribal and was greatly offended by this documentory, especially the type of image, of tribals, that its producers or various sides of the conflict have tried to propagate or re-inforce.
Why are they doing this? Why should some of the most powerful powers of the world and the region with dreadliest weapons at their disposal demonize tribals? Are not they human beings like others? Don't they have needs and families to attend to? Don't they want to interact with other people at human-level?
The answers to all these questions is yes. The problem isn't with tribals but the with the powers that are engaged in a war of interests with each other-be those Arabs or Americans or Punjabis of Pakistan. As they don't want to confront each other directly, they have started a long-drawn proxy war aginst each other in Tribal areas and Pashtoon land.
The Punjabi rulers of Pakistan, who are in a strategic alliance with Arabs and Chinese against the West, want to make US bleed a hundred wounds. These clean-shaven rulers who look very liberal externally are zealot fundamentalists covertly. They have grand ambitions. They want to make Pakistan leading Muslim military power that will one day revive the foregone Muslim glory. They want to make Afghanistan their zone of influence. They also want to nuetralize Pashtoon nationalism with a concept of nationalism based on religion. And that is why the Punjabi Army of Pakistan is supporting Taliban and has a strategic alliance with Mullahs and religious zealots. Further, they want to earn dollars from the war on terror. The protracted the war on terror, the more the American dollars for them. ...
I have watched the program three times my assessment was true about the "blame game". I think the only person who acknowledged of their short comings was President Musharraf, and the rest, frontline reporter and other experts (Armitage being a exception) were only indulging in blame game aim towards Pakistan.
The US policy has failed in Afghanistan because we have resorted to our only game plan, install a puppet regime which Karzai along with his northern alliance thugs. He has been sitting in his fortified presidential palace under the protection of NATO forces for the past 5 years while the rest of the country is in the perpetual grip of drug trade and poverty.
If anyone of you have ever been to the Pak-Afghan border you will be shocked to see how the people cross the border on daily bases without any impediment. For these people there is no such thing as "International border" but they have been following their local customs of trade and family affairs for centuries before the times of Alexander the great.
The only way for a peaceful solution for the situation in Afghanistan is for the local people to solve their own problems amongst themselves without any outside interference notably the US, India, Russia, and NATO countries should keep their hands off.
It is difficult to convince a person to share the United States idea of democracy when he is standing outside the remains of a bomb strike that used to his village.
Chapel Hill, NC
Thanks for showing this program. No doubt the documentary was excellent BUT I felt sorry that the producer/director Mr. Smith only able torch the one sided story. Only people who been there or lived there understand the nature of that region. About Afghan Intiligence, Why they waited for royal visit to hand over the demand list, which they always do. If they not able to control there own demonstration, simple one, they start saying Pakistan behind this demonstration so I am not surprised that after evey single blast they imposed on Pakistan. I beleieve the whole purpose of this documentary to make people think that Pakistan is not doing enough? Dont forget they are the same people who US dealt in the past, they are the same people who US trained, they are the same people who US make deal to fought against Soviet and provided all the logistic support. So today if Pakistan making a deal with them then why it is portrayed as illfit or negogiating with terrorist? were they were not terrorist that time > because they were fighting against the Soviet not against the US or coalition forces?.
I like the piece on this subject it brings insight to an area of the world that doesn't want American intervention,or our way of thinking in there part of there world. These tribes have existed for centuries, and still thrive in a part of the world most people couldn't. The British tried and failed, the Russians have also attempted to control the region and failed I feel that the best way to handle this situation would be to isolate or quarantine the area, like a hospital would do if you had a infectious decease. It may not sound like the moral thing to do but what is war and who is it good for! The Bush administration is breeding a generation of America haters,and is only compounding a problem not solving one. If they keep sending our young men into harms way without just cause they better remember to bring one more thing with them, plenty of body bags.
Thank you for the outstanding programming on the Taliban - reports like these are valuable to Americans who wish to stay informed.
I continue to be concerned, however, about the misinterpretation of the names Allah and God. These are not names that are transposable and believers of Allah will not hesitate to agree. Islam does not believe that the being Allah is God, and the believers in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob do not believe He is Allah. The name, God, is not an all-encompassing, nebulous name for the gods of all religions.
When interpreting languages, please use the names correctly. When Allah's name is spoken, use the name of Allah. When God's name is spoken, use the name of God. To use them interchangeably is a reflection of the misunderstanding of the religions.
This is the first time viewing- Martin Smith's work is outstanding and knowing the dangers of working in Afghanistan and Pakistan, his dedication to professional journalism is of the highest degree.
I worked Afghanistan in 2003, based in part out of Gardez with travel into Khwost Province, north to Jaji and along the Pakistan border areas.
As the program notes, the terrain is compelling and operations in those areas is very restrictive. The opium poppy production in the areas traveled was abundant-and that was in the early days. Production of poppy at levels to exceed 10,000 feet was very common.
The Pakistan border area are indeed the home of the resurgence of the Taliban (Taliban means: those who seek religious knowledge-many a product of the madrassas religious Islamic schools). The program is so true when indicating the long association of the ISI with the Taliban.
So, what can be done. Nothing will result from interim combat operations cross border, except to inflame the already growing insurgency. With one death comes two more!
The only practical option is bring the Taliban into the Karzi government-but, this would mean a return to the strict fundamentalist Islamic thought; and moreover, severe restriction to human rights and more specifically women's rights.(One should point out that the US stood by for sometime while the Taliban enforce sharia law within Afghanistan; a group even came to the US during the Unicoal gas venture, which in part, was headed by the current US Ambassador to Iraq-but another story.
In short, options are few if Pakistan does not or will not cleanse the tribal areas, as mentioned in the program. Otherwise, we, the Brit's and the Canadians will be in for a long hard slog in Afghanistan.RH/Sudan-2002;Afghanistan-2003;Iraq-2005
An excellent program, thank you very much for making it.
Clearly, a confounding factor in all this is that Pakistan is a nuclear state. If Musharaf falls and extremist elements (of ISI or other sources) take power, then we're all really in quite a bind, aren't we? This may be the essential reason Bush has not been able to capture bin Laden, since doing so would de-stabilize Musharaf's gov't and put nuclear weapons in the hands of even more dangerous people. I'm not making excuses, but it is worth considering this angle. If true, it means that Pakistan is really the major issue for the US to consider, and to find a way to stop al Qaeda while at the same time ensuring Pakistan has a rational gov't to control its nuclear weapons. Also, it means that Iraq is a dramatic distraction, since the US lost credibility and is unable to muster considerable forces anywhere else.