This is from the Globe and Mail.
Not surprisingly MacKay is just spouting a U.S. line although there is certainly a degree of truth in what he says. No one seems to worry about Pakistan's troubles just the NATO (read U.S.) mission (read occupation) of Afghanistan. The tribal territories have always been a law unto themselves and Pakistan has never been able to make them a stable part of the country. There seems to be no understanding that Pakistan would at least like to have some degree of peace in the area and not face continuing loss of troops and violent attacks in the rest of Pakistan.
The groups on either side of the border are related to each other and a border created by authorities they have little regard for is not going to stop them from going back and forth as they see fit.
THE AFGHAN MISSION
Pakistan's deals a threat, MacKay warns
Agreements with tribal groups could give Taliban freer rein along border, Defence Minister says
June 14, 2008
OTTAWA -- Hopes that Pakistan's new government would prevent Taliban insurgents from crossing the border with Afghanistan are being dashed by deals with tribal groups that threaten to give them freer rein, Defence Minister Peter MacKay warned yesterday.
Pakistan's unstable new government has insisted it is only striking security deals with "peace-loving" tribal groups to secure control over its fractious tribal regions along the Afghan border, but U.S. officials have raised fears the agreements to withdraw Pakistani security forces will ease pressure on insurgents.
Yesterday, Mr. MacKay expressed concern that the Pakistani government was essentially cutting non-aggression pacts with the Taliban that would allow insurgents to move back and forth across the border as long as they do not engage Pakistani forces.
"With a new government, there was hope that this was going to lead to greater, more robust participation on their part. It hasn't quite turned out that way. In fact, some would argue that it may get worse if they're cutting deals with the Taliban," Mr. MacKay said in an interview from London, en route from a NATO conference in Brussels.
"It certainly could make it worse if they're making agreements that they will lay off - that is, the Pakistan security forces will not, essentially, press them, and arrest them if need be, and the understanding is as long as they don't cause problems inside their borders, they'll be left alone. Well, that doesn't do us any good. And it certainly doesn't do Afghanistan any good at all."
Canada's 2,500 troops operate mainly in Kandahar province, in Afghanistan's southeast, where insurgents are often able to slip over the Pakistan border to regroup.
Mr. MacKay said that more border police, checkpoints, aerial surveillance and even fences are needed, but also "various countries, at the highest levels" will have to apply intensified diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to do more to control the border.
"That border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is still a sieve. And you have insurgents being plucked out of those incubators, those refugee camps in Pakistan, and they're still flooding into the country," he said.
Whether Pakistan's shaky government has the will or the power to assert real control is far from certain, however.
Most of Pakistan's own border regions are essentially governed by tribal leaders and warlords who, at best, acknowledge Pakistan's suzerainty, but feel little real attachment to the country.
The new government of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has been shaken by the withdrawal of its coalition partner. It must also contend with pressure from a dominant army, which relies on U.S. military aid, and deep public frustration with U.S. influence.
In the interview, Mr. MacKay also expressed hope that NATO allies were moving toward additional "burden sharing" for Afghanistan's south, and said Canada made a pitch to countries who will not commit combat troops to send equipment or support units instead.