May 28th, 2009
09:05 PM ET

Pakistan in chaos?

Editor's Note: Pakistan looked like it might be descending into chaos over the past 48 hours. Several bombs went off in two major cities on Thursday, just hours after the Taliban warned people to flee. That's on top of attacks in another city the day before that killed more than two dozen people. All this despite - or because - the Pakistan army launched an offensive to push militants back from the capital. Is Pakistan - a nuclear power and key U.S. ally, with an army long focused on India, not on an insurgency - in imminent danger? We spoke with CNN's Reza Sayah, in Islamabad.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/05/28/pakistan.peshawar.blast/art.lahore.amath.afp.gi.jpg caption="Pakistanis look Thursday at the rubble of a police building in Lahore hit by a suicide bomb on Wednesday."]

1. Reza, what is the latest.. is Pakistan's stability deteriorating?

A: Taliban becoming more daring..and dangerous.. stepping up bombings of govt buildings..of civilian targets.. in key cities that were thought to be under control.. showing how much power and control they wield by threatening bombings, and carrying them out, with the government or military unable to stop them

2. It wasn't supposed to be this way, right? Pakistan launched a major offensive against the Taliban, and push them back from the capitol. Isn't it working?

A: The Pakistan military did attack the Taliban in the Swat Valley, northeast of Islamabad. The problem is the Taliban isn't a conventional military.. they don't wear uniforms.. they look like civilians.. so it's not clear who the enemy is.. So the army has just swept hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.. setting off a massive refugee crisis.. the army SAYS it has killed 1200 militants and captured more.. but if you look at the pictures, you can't tell who those people are.. there's no proof they're Taliban..

3. Is there a solution? Can the Pakistan army stop the Taliban?

A: That's an open question... Here's the key problem. This is not a conventional army. They don't pull back when attacked.. They they welcome dying..they only become more determined and willing to take greater risks–because they believe there is god's glory in it.. So they are hitting more civilian targets, more government buildings.. the most sensitive targets in Pakistan..

Filed under: 360° Radar • Pakistan • Reza Sayah • Taliban
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