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Helping Pakistan's Musharraf Protects American Interests

January 06, 2004

Re "Pakistan Affirms Leader's Term," Jan. 2: President Pervez Musharraf is our only hope in Pakistan. Without his cooperation these past two years, it would have been nearly impossible for the United States to have prosecuted this war against the Al Qaeda network throughout Southwest Asia.

Musharraf walks a very thin line at home. Muslim fundamentalists throughout Pakistan twice have tried to assassinate him and are apparently poised to launch a counterinsurgency against his administration. Should these fundamentalists gain control of the country, the United States would be forced to intervene to deal with this power vacuum. This would be folly. Such would begin another Vietnam-style quagmire in the 21st century. In this context, the U.S. retains no other option than to ensure Musharraf's continued existence in power, and to do so by whatever means necessary.

Earl Beal

Terre Haute, Ind.


Re "With Friends Like These," Commentary, Jan. 1: Max Boot completely ignores the history of these jihadi groups, which were created and funded by the CIA to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989. Saudi money and Pakistan's territory and military help were used to help defeat the Soviets. After 1990, Pakistan was totally abandoned and placed under layers of sanctions for developing nukes, which had been encouraged and somewhat assisted by then-President Reagan. It was only after 9/11 that Pakistan made a U-turn to assist the U.S. war on terror and, in three short years, Pakistan has helped capture over 500 Al Qaeda terrorists. Musharraf is trying his darnedest to straighten out the mess that the CIA and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan brought to Pakistan.

The Bush administration is also working hard behind the scenes in reining in these fundamentalist groups in both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. But it will take some time. We must show patience and perseverance.

Arif A. Khan

Rancho Cucamonga

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