FOR well on three decades, Pakistan’s military establishment has been sympathetic to Islamist militancy, causing many to doubt its bona fides in the war against the Taliban, now in its ninth year.
But recent developments in this war suggest that military planners have finally realised the risks of this most dangerous of relationships. Army chief Ashfaq Kayani recently noted that a Taliban society at home and in Afghanistan was not in Pakistan’s interests. In the past, Pakistan supported the Taliban in Afghanistan and its own tribal areas in a quest to achieve “strategic depth” against rival India. Now, Kayani concedes, a stable and friendly Afghanistan is sufficient strategic depth for Pakistan.