Fierce Combat Continues in Tribal Pakistan

The military needs the politicians to back a military campaign if it will successfully dislodge the militants from the Northwest. That is not easy when the 5-month old ruling coalition collapses over allegations of broken promises, as it did this week.

"What the military is seeking is a national consensus on what to do, and what role the civilian and the military will play in this war against the militants," says Shuja Nawaz, author of "Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within."

"Without that concept and without widespread support for it, anything that the military does is not going to be very useful," said Nawaz.

And the military is also struggling to create a viable fighting force in the northwest. Pictures of frontier corpsmen in Bajour show young men wearing old helmets, carrying old guns with sandals on their feet. They are often outgunned, outmanned, and out motivated when they fight the militants. They need a vast overhaul that will cost them tens of million of dollars.

"They will obviously need to get much more assistance from the United States -- not just economically, but militarily, and they therefore need to work with the military to identify its needs and to set very clear targets with the military to retrain and re-equip itself and to improve its capacity for the fight against the militants," Nawaz says.

"If it is left to business as usual,if this issue is not tackled, the militants will gain the upper hand," Nawaz said, "and then it will be a much longer, and a much more expensive fight."

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