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Goodbye Buner

The BBC is reporting that the Taliban are withdrawing from Buner, the Pakistani district just 70 miles from Islamabad that they'd seized earlier this week. I know this is good news, but why does it make me even more uneasy? After all, the Taliban's move into Bruner--coming on the heels of their truce with the Pakistani government that allowed them to impose Sharia in the Swat Valley--revealed the utter bankruptcy of Islamabad's policy of appeasement toward the Taliban. Which is why the U.S. was stepping up the pressure on Islamabad to actually confront the Taliban. Now, with the Taliban withdrawing from Bruner almost as suddenly as they seized it, Islamabad can push back against that U.S. pressure and say their policy is actually working. You almost get the sense that Islamabad and the Taliban are in cahoots and don't want to do anything to upset the status quo--a status quo that, as Hillary Clinton said the other day, represents a "mortal threat" to world security.

--Jason Zengerle