How Will President Obama's New Policy Tackle Terror?

The political cartoon in the Pakistani newspaper Dawn perhaps said everything that Pakistanis wanted to say about a new American policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan.

A CIA drone flies above the tribal areas, but instead of firing missiles it waters a bed of terrorists. The message: The CIA and the military campaigns here help grow the militancy.

Across this troubled country, where the safest of places -- a mosque -- wasn't safe today, there is a hope that President Obama's new strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan replaces firepower with brainpower.

For years Pakistanis and Afghans -- particularly the Pashtuns living along the border -- have been looking for their lives to improve, their children's education to increase and their vision of the future to change.

And so they latched onto Obama's call today for a tripling of economic aid to Pakistan.

"A campaign against extremism will not succeed with bullets or bombs alone," Obama said. "Al Qaeda offers the people of Pakistan nothing but destruction. We stand for something different."

Winning Hearts and Minds in Pakistan's Tribal Regions

The Pakistani tribal areas have long been neglected, residents and analysts say, short on electricity, short on schools, short on government projects. And that has allowed militants to thrive. The Taliban pay 16,000 rupees per month or about $200. Until recently, the paramilitary troops fighting them only received 10,000 rupees per month.

"There is no cell facility in Waziristan. There is no Internet facility in Waziristan. There is no free movement for people to come in and out," said Ayaz Wazir, who grew up in the southernmost tribal area and later became an envoy of the Pakistani government to the Afghan Taliban government in the late 1990s.

Wazir said residents who join the Taliban and send their children to madrassas often do so out of a desperation to feed or educate their families.

"Develop the area. Try and win the heart and mind of the people," Wazir said.

For Obama, the focus on development has less to do with encouraging tribal structures recently broken by the Taliban than it does in preventing the Taliban and al Qaeda from using the tribal areas as safe havens.

But the new policy walks a fine line between building up the tribes and killing Taliban who live in the same area and have the same ethnic makeup.

Anger at Civilian Deaths Caused by CIA Drones

CIA drones regularly drop missiles into the tribal areas, hunting for senior al Qaeda or Taliban leaders. And U.S. officials acknowledge the drone attacks will continue under the new policy.

The drones, while increasingly accurate, have also accidentally caused civilian deaths. And so while the United States tries to win the hearts and minds of the Pashtuns along the border, it will also be risking creating new enemies.

There is a saying in Pashto, the language spoken on both sides of the border: "If you take a revenge after 100 years, you've made haste." In Pashtun society, if a member of your family is killed, especially a woman, it is mandatory to hunt down and kill whoever spilled your family member's blood.

"Kill one Pashtun tribesman," a U.S. special forces colonel once told Newsweek, "and you make three more your sworn enemy."

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