Archive for the ‘cross-border’ Category

NATO in Afghanistan fire on militants in Pakistan

November 18, 2008

The NATO-led alliance in Afghanistan said its troops fired at militants inside Pakistan in coordination with Pakistani soldiers.

French soldiers of ISAF on patrol near Kabul on November 8.

Above: French soldiers of ISAF on patrol near Kabul on November 8.
The coordination, announced Monday by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, was noteworthy since Pakistan has, in recent months, complained that international forces were violating the country’s sovereignty by going after militants on its soil.

ISAF said Sunday’s artillery fire was in response to an attack on an allied base in Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan. Militants twice fired rockets into the base from across the border, the alliance said.

Once ISAF soldiers pinpointed the origin of the rocket launches, they fired 20 artillery rounds in coordination with the Pakistani military.

“ISAF and Pakistani soldiers observed all fired artillery rounds,” an alliance statement said. “The Pakistan soldiers assured ISAF that they would engage any insurgents attempting to flee deeper into Pakistan.”

No NATO soldiers were hurt in the rocket attack.

Read the rest from CNN:

Pakistan: A Very Personal War Against Terror

October 16, 2008

Nuclear-armed Pakistan remains critically important in the war against terror, critically important in halting the ugly tide of extremists and militants, critically important to regional peace and stability and critically important to U.S. national security.

On February 10 of this year, Pakistani journalist Muhammad Khurshid joined with me to write a commentary essay for the Washington Times.  We started by asking, “Given just 10 minutes with a candidate running for the White House in the United States, or ten minutes of discussion with a citizen-voter in America, what points should be made about Pakistan?”

A lot has changed in Pakistan and in the U.S. since that time.  President General Musharraf is no longer the dominant political figure in Pakistan.  Now, as we write, Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari is in China currying favor and gaining much needed financial backing. That support from China to Pakistan is needed, in Mr. Zardari’s view, due to doubts about his U.S. ally and because of Mr. Zardari’s inability to deliver on very basic promises.  

Pakistan’s new government is unable even to deliver round-the-clock electricity to the nation’s capitol, Islamabad, and the safety and security of the Pakistani people is eroding steadily due to an onslaught of terrorist killings. 


Chinese honour guards march past Beijing's Tiananmen Square ...
Above: Chinese honor guards march past Beijing’s Tiananmen Square during a lavish official welcome ceremony for Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, outside the Great Hall of the People October 15, 2008. Zardari arrived on Tuesday for his first visit to China as president, and has said he wants his four-day trip “to remind the leadership of the world how close our relationship is”. Pakistan is set to usher in a series of agreements with China during the trip, highlighting Islamabad’s hopes that Beijing will help it through economic and diplomatic troubles.REUTERS/David Gray (CHINA)    

Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) smiles with his Pakistani counterpart ...
Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) smiles with his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari in front of their respective country’s flags during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing October 15, 2008. Zardari arrived on Tuesday for his first visit to China as president, and has said he wants his four-day trip ‘to remind the leadership of the world how close our relationship is’. Pakistan is set to usher in a series of agreements with China during the trip, highlighting Islamabad’s hopes that Beijing will help it through economic and diplomatic troubles.(David Gray/Reuters)



The U.S. has doubts about Mr. Zardari, Benazir Bhutto’s widow, who was called “Mr. Ten Percent” for his corruption and bribe-taking during his wife’s administration of Pakistan.   And Americans wonder if he is truly committed to the war against terrorists.
Many Pakistanis say that the U.S. is raining down missiles upon Pakistan’s innocent civilians — missiles from unmanned Predator drones.  The U.S. says the cross-border attacks from Afghanistan are eliminating Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists.  Terrorist inside Pakistan are waging a daily war of bombings, killing and kidnapping that have surpassed the violence in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The devastation of Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel is the most visible evidence of this hate and death campaign.     

The Pakistani Army has entered Muhammad’s homeland in the Bajaur Agency of the tribal areas, creating at least 200,000 refugees and displaced persons, and probably more.  Muhammad has had friends and relatives killed and he has lost track of his own wife and family several times.  He has taken to asking Western journalists for funds and support.

Pakistani army soldiers take up positions in the troubled Swat ... 
Pakistani army soldiers take up positions in the troubled tribal areas in early October.
(AFP/File/Chand Khan)

In short, Pakistan is now at a cross roads that cannot be ignored.  An uncerttain and problematic economy and government have fueled militant extremists that are exploding in numbers and ferocity.

“Given just 10 minutes with a candidate running for the White House in the United States, or ten minutes of discussion with a citizen-voter in America, what points should be made about Pakistan?”

First, we would remind both Senators Obama and McCain and all Americans that the number one task of the President of the United States is his role as Commander in Chief of the armed forces, as defined in Article II of the Constitution.  Then we would suggest that the president has great singular responsibility and authority to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, ” as his oath states.  He is also tasked with defending the United States “against all enemies” and is the man who, arguably, has more singular authority than anyone else for the conduct of war, the preservation of the United States and the safety of Americans against the assaults from enemies including terrorists.

More than ever we believe that Pakistan is on the “tip of the spear,” teetering between total unrest and possible take-over by militant extremists.  Only close cooperation between the U.S. and the government of Pakistan can avert “loss’ of Pakistan, and emboldened Taliban and al-Qaeda, and continued and growing world=wide unrest and terror.

We ask God to watch over our friend Muhammad.  But we aslo ask God to keep in the fore of our presidential candidates’ minds the ongoing global conflict which has been tipping increasingly toward Pakistan.

China and Pakistan’s Strategic Importance: Background

Violence Wounds Pakistan’s Trust in U.S.

Jason Motlagh and Ayesha Akram
The Washington Times

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan | A large advertisement on the front page of a major Pakistani newspaper recently featured an image of the Marriott hotel, ablaze in the night after last month’s suicide truck bombing.

“This war is OUR war,” screamed the headline, asking why those responsible for the attack that killed 60 people “should be allowed to overwhelm a nation.”

The media campaign reflects a growing crisis of confidence among Pakistanis. They fear more militant violence and are also increasingly uneasy about an alliance with the United States that appears to be spurring the attacks. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 64 percent of Pakistanis say the United States is the greatest threat facing the nation.

“The public is confused and demoralized,” said Ayaz Amir, a leading political columnist. “They don’t like what the Taliban is doing, don’t like what the U.S. is doing, and there is not a clear sense of direction from the new leadership. No solution is in sight.”

In an indication of the gravity of the situation in both Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan, Gen. David D. McKiernan, commander of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, met Thursday in the military garrison town of Rawalpindi with Pakistan’s armed forces chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, and his Afghan counterpart, Gen. Bismullah Khan. It was the first such three-way meeting since U.S. ground forces raided Pakistan’s northwestern tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan, an area that remains a sanctuary for the Taliban and al Qaeda and may host Osama bin Laden. The Sept. 3 raid inflamed Pakistani opinion.

Last week, President Asif Ali Zardar  summoned Pakistani lawmakers and top security officials to a rare, closed-door session to discuss the situation in the tribal areas. The Zardari government hopes to devise a counterterrorism strategy that will affirm the primacy of a civilian government that followed nine years of military rule in February.

“The ongoing briefing session … is a step towards strengthening the democratic system as it is aimed at taking public representatives on board on the most important challenge the country is currently facing,” Information Minister Sherry Rehman told reporters last week. “Public ownership of the war” is critical, she said.

However, several lawmakers said afterward that the briefing lacked depth and diagnosis, especially on the terms of engagement with the United States.

A destruction at police station caused by suicide bombing in ...
Destruction at a police station caused by suicide bombing in Pakistan’s troubled area of Mingora in Swat district on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2008. A suicide bomber attacked a police station in northwest Pakistan Thursday, killing four security officers — the latest in a series of blasts that are eroding confidence in the nuclear-armed country.(AP Photo/Sherin Zada)

Meanwhile, militants appear capable of striking with impunity.

Hours before Mrs. Rehman spoke, four people were injured when a suicide car bomber attacked a police complex in a high-security zone on the outskirts of the capital.

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Pakistan again condemn US strikes in border regions

October 10, 2008

By MUNIR AHMED, Associated Press Writer

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – U.S. missile attacks on suspected militants inside Pakistan are destabilizing the country and “helping the terrorists,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry said Friday.

American forces have carried out at least 11 assaults on targets on the Pakistan side of the Afghan border since Aug. 23, killing more than 100 people, most of them alleged militants, according to an Associated Press count based on figures provided by Pakistan intelligence officials.

The United States rarely confirms or denies the attacks, which Pakistan’s military and civilian leaders have criticized as violations of the country’s sovereignty.

“We want (the United States) to realize that these attacks are destabilizing the situation and they are not helping them or Pakistan,” foreign ministry spokesman Mohammed Sadiq told reporters. “They are helping the terrorists.”

The strikes are unpopular among many Pakistanis and used by critics and Muslim conservatives to rally support for their campaign to unseat the country’s broadly secular, pro-U.S. government.

The most recent alleged U.S. attack took place late Thursday in north Waziristan and killed at least nine people, between six and eight of them suspected foreign militants, intelligence officials said.

The intelligence officials said they were investigating to try to establish the identities of the victims.

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Turkish Parliament Approves Iraq Mission; Wider War?

October 17, 2007

By SUZAN FRASER, Associated Press

ANKARA, Turkey – Parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a possible cross-border offensive against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, although the government appears willing to give diplomatic pressure on the U.S.-backed Iraqi administration more time to work.

Lawmakers voted 507-19 in favor of empowering the government to order the military to cross into Iraq during a one-year period, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan said. They then burst into applause.

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Turkish govt asks parliament to let troops enter Iraq

October 15, 2007

By Gareth Jones and Hidir Goktas

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s cabinet asked parliament on Monday for permission to launch attacks on Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq that Washington fears could destabilize one of the most peaceful areas of the country.

Government spokesman Cemil Cicek said Turkey still hoped military action against the Kurds, who use the mountainous region as base for attacks inside Turkey, would not be needed.

“But the most painful reality of our country, our region, is the reality of terror,” he told a news conference.

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