Islamabad, Aug 19 : Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's resignation yesterday left serious repercussions on the US-led War on Terror, as he remained actively involved in running the country's counter-terrorism policy with the military and was still a valuable ally for the US even after being sidelined by the country's military over the past few months after he stepped aside as Pakistan Army chief.
According to an article in timesonline.com, a lynchpin of his country's alliance with the West, Musharraf departure has come at a crucial moment in the battle against al-Qaeda and Taliban insurgents in the region. As he announced his resignation, thousands of Pakistani troops were engaged in fighting Islamist militants who now effectively control the country's lawless tribal region and large swath of NWFP.
It was, therefore, not surprising that news of Musharraf's resignation was greeted with glee by Islamist militants fighting in the region.
The West hopes that Musharraf's resignation would not weaken Pakistan in its battle with worldwide extremists. For almost nine years, the former military commander had provided the divided country with strong - if highly controversial - leadership. After the 9/11 attacks, he built a new alliance with the US, making Pakistan a crucial ally in the "war on terror".
Crucially, he abandoned his government's long standing support for the Taliban government in Afghanistan, which led to its quick fall at the hands of US-led coalition forces.
In the months and years after 9/11, Musharraf's government had a crucial role in fighting al-Qaeda. His forces captured more than 600 Islamist activists, including leaders like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, two alleged masterminds of September 11. Musharraf also banned Islamic militant groups which had once been patronised by Pakistani military intelligence.
The arrests and crackdowns on Islamist groups almost cost Musharraf his life. He narrowly escaped two assassination attempts in 2003 involving al-Qaeda backed Islamic militants.
According to the paper, his political exit robs the West of a stalwart ally who echoed its concerns about how Islamic militancy is destabilising Afghanistan and Pakistan, where al-Qaeda and the Taliban have regained strength. It is from the Pakistani tribal areas, the US and Britain say, that Taliban fighters cross into Afghanistan where they present a real danger to NATO forces.