Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

US Forces Poised To Enter Pakistan?

Many people, including ourselves, have warned against such a move for reasons I will go into shortly, but the Times of London reports today that we may be prepared to launch such an incursion:

US troops in Afghanistan massed close to the border yesterday for a possible attack on al-Qaeda and Taleban bases in the lawless North Waziristan tribal belt in Pakistan.

Reports from the area said that hundreds of Nato troops were airlifted across the mountains from the village of Lowara Mandi, which has been an important base for cross-border attacks in Afghanistan. Heavy artillery and armoured vehicles were also being moved into position.

The deployment followed a claim by the Afghan Government on Monday that the Pakistani Army and its spy agency had become “the world's biggest producers of terrorism and extremism”. The Pakistani Foreign Ministry accused Kabul of creating an “artificial crisis to satisfy short-term political expediencies”.

President Bush said yesterday that the US would investigate the Afghan claims to “get to the bottom of the allegation”. He said that he was troubled by the movement of extremists from Pakistan into Afghanistan. ...

Western commanders say there has been a marked increase in cross-border infiltration in the past few months, fuelling the insurgency in Afghanistan. Nato troops have clashed with Pakistani units along the South Waziristan border.

US Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made an announced visit to Islamabad at the weekend and held a series of meetings with Pakistan's top civil and military leadership.

According to well-placed sources, Admiral Mullen warned Pakistan that the US could take unilateral military action if the cross-border attacks in Afghanistan were not stopped. The US official said that some elements within Pakistani security agencies could be helping the insurgents operate from their bases in the border region.

An influential Pakistani army official said there were strong indications that the US was ready to launch bombing raids against suspected al-Qaeda and Taleban camps inside Pakistan.The official said that any unilateral American military action could have serious repercussions and create difficulties for Pakistani counter-terrorism efforts.

This is a tightrope that we are walking right now, and it could be explosive if the Pakistanis either react against us, or in their next elections they vote in a pro-Islamicist government. There is the rub in this scenario. Such a radical government would be in possession of a nuclear arsenal, which will surely make India nervous. But the idea that we could jeopardize virtually non-existent counter-terror efforts is simply farcical. A recent strike against militants who had crossed the border resulted in the deaths of a few Pakistani army personnel. Pakistan protested the actions, but once we showed them the video of their soldiers fleeing our forces -- well inside of Afghanistan where they did not belong -- Pakistan grew silent on the issue very quickly.

India and Afghanistan have long said that Pakistani intelligence has been working with the Taliban/al-Qaeda forces in Waziristan, and given the capitulation of the Musharraf regime in that region, we knew there would be problems. Pakistan did not want to interfere with the tribal regions, and they really have not done much to curtail the cross border incursions.

There is a possibility of our involvement directly in the Waziristan region could spark a much broader regional conflict. But the gamble, in our opinion, is worth the risk. Back in January Thomas wrote of the possibility of a "Waziristan Awakening" similar to that of the Iraqi Anbar Awakening. It came on the heels of al-Qaeda targeting and killing several tribal leaders in the region, which did little to help their cause with the tribes.

We know that we have elements in the region that are relaying intelligence to our forces in Afghanistan. And Predator strikes executed by CIA officers have occurred many times against militants in the Waziristan region. But these operations are not enough.

It is time that we shore up that border problem, and quickly. Captain Ed Morrissey observes correctly that the status quo is unacceptable, and that if the Pakistanis will not take responsible action to deal with the Taliban/al-Qaeda elements that we will be forced to act on behalf of our efforts in Afghanistan.



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