Today's New York Times has an excellent front page article titled Pakistan Is Said to Pursue a Foothold in Afghanistan. Pakistan sees itself at war with India. Specifically groups like the Haqqani network are also helping in the conflict with India.
The Haqqani network has long been Pakistan’s crucial anti-India asset and has remained virtually untouched by Pakistani forces in their redoubt inside Pakistan, in the tribal areas on the Afghan border, even as the Americans have pressed Pakistan for an offensive against it.
The Haqqani network support the Taliban and al Quaeda and are crossing the border regularly to kill Americans and fight for the Taliban.
Hamid Karzai is being pushed by the Pakistani military and spy agency to make peace with the Haqqani network. From Pakistan's view point such a peace would end the conflict along their border with Afghanistan and allow them to concentrate on India and allow them to use Haggani network resources against India. Talk about nuclear war, this is a recipe for nuclear war between Pakistan and India.
So what happens to al Qaeda?
The Taliban, including the Haqqani group, are ready to "do a deal" over Al Qaeda, a senior Pakistani official close to the Pakistani Army said. The Haqqanis could tell Al Qaeda to move elsewhere because it had been given nine years of protection since 9/11, the official said.
But this official acknowledged that the Haqqanis and Al Qaeda were too "thick" with each other for a separation to happen. They had provided each other with fighters, money and other resources over a long period of time, he said.
A peace deal in Afghanistan and al Qaeda get a safe haven and an increased potential for nuclear war between India and Pakistan.
What is the solution? The solution is simple, education. If you don't believe me then read Three Cups of Tea. This book is about how Dr.Greg Mortenson is educating residents (in particular children and girls) of the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan. His efforts are bringing change and in particular reducing the likelihood of those who live in villages that he brings schools to ever becoming terrorists. By broadening such efforts to the entire world terrorism can be reduced to near zero, not to mention the great increase in productivity that will follow the education.
So let a peace be brokered. At the same time invest heavily in educating Afghans and Pakistanis, particularly along border areas. Double the amount of money spent in Pakistan to pay for this education. Then get the troops the hell out of there next year.