But the awful truth is, the victims of Tehrik-i-Taliban (or the "bad Taliban") are also victims of a shortsighted Pakistani military-intelligence strategy of supporting Islamist groups — including the Afghan (or "good") Taliban — in order to try to extend "strategic depth" (as it’s known in policy circles) in neighboring Afghanistan. It involves poverty, corruption, geographical and sectarian grievances, impunity, inefficiency, and some levels of local political complicity.Nothing is going change this: Pakistan will not stop trying to spread its influence in Afghanistan or getting at India. These are problems this former British colony has battled since independence.
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The rising levels of violence has effectively brought normal life in this northeastern corner of Nigeria to a standstill, with millions displaced, schools frequently closed, and residents coping with the checkpoints and curfews of emergency rule imposed last year. President Barack Obama has finally stepped in, sending a team of experts to try to locate the girls.
There was a widespread feeling that the Nigerian government was either impervious or not doing enough to address the spiraling security situation. The announcement came just hours after reports emerged that another group of eight girls was kidnapped on May 4 from a village in Borno state.
On April 14, militants stormed an all-girls secondary school in the remote northeastern village of Chibok in Borno state and kidnapped hundreds of girls.
On the same day, a car bomb exploded during rush hour at a bus station in Nyanya, right on the outskirts of the Nigerian capital, killing more than 70 people.
Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain was scheduled to arrive in the Nigerian capital of Abuja on April 21 with a group of around 70 officials and business leaders for a three-day visit aimed at boosting bilateral trade.
Days before Hussain’s arrival, a Pakistani Embassy official in Abuja told reporters the presidential agenda would include discussions on how Pakistan could help Nigeria address its energy and domestic gas challenges. This from a country where power cuts grind factories to a halt, bodies decompose in morgues, and the rich are forced to fan themselves in the peak of the summer heat when their backup generators blow up from overuse.
They may employ asymmetrical tactics, seeking soft targets and sowing a level of terror disproportionate to their military abilities.
But in the end, jihadi groups are only as effective as states, governments, and security services enable them to be.
The heart of the problem is corruption, of course, which everyone knows but no one seems capable of handling.