It is time to work on how the War on Terror is going. In Pakistan, where it seems most of the activity is centred, the schools and colleges have been shutdown following a blast at the International Islamic University (IIU), and a series of high-profile targets aimed against the security agencies which began with an attack on Army GHQ. Also, though the refugees from the governments anti-militant operation have not returned entirely, more refugees are being created by the army operation in Waziristan. It is not entirely unrelated that Afghan President Hamid Karzai is going to face a run-off election against Abdullah Abdullah, having been adjudged not to have obtained 50 percent of the vote in the first round. The closing down of educational institutions reflects the success of the militants numbing campaign, with the first blast at an educational institution claiming six lives, taking place at a time when students had broken for lunch. This marked a new phase in the bombings, and showed that the militants were moving on to a new phase in their campaign. There had been warnings percolating through intelligence agencies of impending attacks on educational institutions which had caused some schools run by security agencies to shut up shop, but when the blasts did occur, the government reacted by closing down all educational institutions till October 26. This may or may not be the aim of the militants, who needed open schools and colleges to serve as targets, but it was still their first success, the first time that the sand they had flung at the machinery of the state had finally caused some gears to scream and grind to a halt. It also meant a new worry for parents throughout Pakistan, already seeing a shrinking job market for their offspring, now worrying about their safe return from school, college or university everyday. However, the mechanisms of the state are in good shape, as the militants found out not just in Rawalpindi, where they had attacked the army at GHQ, but also at Lahore, where they struck at the police. The Lahore attacks may well have had an Indian component, being so close to the border, but the terrorism was probably because of the operation which started later, but which was announced long before and well in advance, in Waziristan. The Waziristan operation is not the first, and is unlikely to be the last, with South Punjab rivalling Quetta as a potential target. The pattern has been for there to be a great American outcry about a particular region, followed by Predator missile attacks to be launched by the CIA on it, with Pakistan Army troops moving in afterwards to pacify the region. So far, Quetta and the South Punjab have been subject to the media outcry, and the missile strikes have not occurred in either region yet, so there is still some time before the military is told to 'put boots on the ground there yet. In the meanwhile, the militants will do their best to make the machinery of the state unviable. However, this also runs the risk of making the militant cause merely propaganda for the USA and those backing it. This has happened with the campaign against the students, with IIU students being quoted as saying that those who launched the attack had attacked students who were Islamic, and thus themselves could not claim to be Islamic. This is a claim the militants do not like even to be raised, not even if they win the debate, and thus the Americans do their best to constantly raise this claim, as well as find what they see as non-violent alternatives to the militants. The militants help them when they undermine the educational system, for they will find themselves blamed for the closure of educational institutions. There are other institutions that could be threatened. Health institutions are one, along with the many government offices which the average citizen is forced to go to, because he has to get the right form or the right signature on it. However, the educational institutions in government control employ the majority of government servants, followed (though not at all closely) by health institutions. Therefore, forced closures not only mean that the government is not delivering services, but also that the majority of its employees are forced to be at home. However, though the militants have kept the students and teachers at home, they still have a long way to go before they will touch the security agencies by this method. After all, the security agencies are the ultimate sanction of the state, and no state can allow them to be affected. However, even they have children to send to school, college or university, and thus the method chosen cannot but affect as wide a cross-section as possible, because everyone, especially the intelligentsia that mans the government departments, sends their children to school. After all, even teachers send their children to school. However, the parade of senior Americans continued, with Senator John Kerry in Islamabad to allay fears over the aid bill he had co-sponsored, which had recently been signed into law by President Barack Obama. The USA, which is putting down good money, and the American taxpayers at that, now expects Pakistan both to obey the conditionalities in the bill and to cooperate in the US War on Terror, by carrying out the operation in Waziristan. However, Senator Kerrys coming really did nothing, for he didnt really bring anything new, and the terms of engagement remained more or less the same as before. However, now Pakistan has been promised money, and therefore the state, or rather its coercive arm, the military, should buckle down and cooperate by taking action in the tribal agencies in the hope that they will be successful where the Americans themselves have failed, in the tribal areas of Afghanistan. The run-off election there on November 7 is proof not of the triumph of democracy in an undemocratic land, but of the rigging attempts by supporters of the incumbent, and also reflects the failure of Afghanistan to go by American rules, which foresee an occupation being succeeded by a democracy which looks up to the USA for guidance. This also reflects the failure of the USA in reversing historical trends by a successful occupation of Afghanistan. The failure of this occupation succeeding should send signals not only to Pakistans rulers, who stand fully committed to the USA, but also to the militants, and both should realise that the USA will increase all efforts to continue its occupation and to meet its goals in the region, which have to do with its ultimate survival. Neither should think that the USA is engaged on a mere whim.