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New U.S. Raids on Pakistan Constitute 'Naked Aggression'

Editorial

September 30, 2010 -- "The Frontier Post" - - Pakistan -- These
attacks are, plain and simple, a naked aggression against Pakistan by the Afghanistan-based and NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which is to say, America. What else could they be? On Sunday, two of their helicopter gunships intruded into Pakistan and killed over thirty people, claiming they were militants. A Foreign Office spokesman said that Pakistan had protested to NATO/ISAF over the incursion, yet the very next day their gunships trespassed into Pakistani territory again and slaughtered another six people.  

ISAF insists that it has a mandate for hot pursuit into Pakistani territory and targeted “militants” who attacked coalition forces in Afghanistan from Pakistan and had been fleeing after the assault. Our foreign spokesman denied such a mandate for ISAF, but his assertion must be taken with a pinch of salt. Islamabad has long clamored about how the incessant U.S. drone attacks are stark violations of our territorial sovereignty, yet it's clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that these incursions carry the tacit support of the Pakistani State, if not its explicit acquiescence. 

There is a foul air about the acts of Pakistani officialdom: it keeps too many things secret from its own people while playing the obedient and loyal slave to Western capitals, particularly Washington. After every drone incursion, it goes so far as to instantly endorse American claims of killing militants, while the locals often wail that innocent civilians, commonly composed of women and children, have been murdered. Even on Sunday, as ISAF officials and their Afghan puppets were crowing that their gunships had killed “militants” in two sorties in North Waziristan, local politicians were in complete denial that any incursion had occurred. Ultimately, the officials grudgingly bleated that only one assault had taken place, and that it occurred in Kurram Agency and not North Waziristan, where Monday’s attacks took place.

It's high time that the Pakistani government wake up to the potential costs of its trickery with its own people. It must know that, for all intents and purposes, the game is up for the U.S.-led occupiers in Afghanistan. Their soldiers know it, their commanders know it, their political bosses know it, and even their embedded journalists are now talking of the war being unwinnable. This frustration escalated sharply after the Marja adventure, which coalition forces thought would be a showcase for President Barack Obama’s troop-surge, but which has turned into a humiliating fiasco. The occupiers are in despair and growing desperate to cut and run, particularly as their own domestic publics, even in America, are becoming increasingly opposed to this war and want their army home at once.

Even Obama would find it hard to stay beyond the middle of next year. On top of the war’s snowballing unpopularity and the growing divisions within his administration, with a significant segment calling for a pullout, there are compelling political reasons to do so. A continuing stream of American soldiers in body bags and a yearly drain of $100 billion on the recession-hit U.S. economy, added to the economic woes of a skeptical public, could hurt his bid for recapturing the presidency. He would certainly be loath to risk that for a military adventure that has obviously gone irreversibly wrong. However, he wouldn't want to leave with his tail between his legs, but with a show of victory, no matter how false. Extending the war into Pakistan, in whatever fashion, would thus come naturally to him and other occupiers as a way to drive home a deceitful impression to their people that the war had been won in Afghanistan, that only Pakistan remained to be tackled, and that they had tackled it.

So they've escalated from drone attacks on our territory to gunship assaults, which in all probability will intensify in the days ahead. Don't forget that during the campaign, Obama had spoken of hot pursuit into Pakistan. Prime Minister Gilani must immediately hold an inter-agency meeting on this new U.S.-led adventurism and decide on how to respond, which should be tangible and no ruse. Otherwise the occupiers will go back laughing from Afghanistan while we're left in the lurch with our tribal compatriots unappeasably angry at Islamabad and the rest of our disdainful political and military establishment.

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Now NATO Gunships

Editorial

September 28, 2010 -- "
The Nation" --- AS so many had been predicting, if the Pakistani state did not delink itself from the misguided US ‘war on terror’, the US would eventually shift the centre of gravity of the war from Afghanistan to Pakistan and move militarily into Pakistani territory. This is exactly what is now happening.

Already the US has been carrying out drone attacks against Pakistanis, killing thousands of innocent citizens in their wake and perhaps in the process a few militants also. Meanwhile, US covert operatives and Special Forces have spread themselves all over Pakistan and these revelations and warnings in the Pakistani media have been there for some time. Now the US has begun the next phase of its agenda targeting Pakistan and that is the aerial gunship attacks from across the Afghan border into Pakistan.

On Friday NATO admitted that two gunship helicopters had entered Pakistan and killed 30 people – euphemistically termed “suspected militants” – just as Dr Aafia has been penalised for being a “suspected terrorist”!

Since the government of Pakistan has to its eternal shame, kept silent on this new military targeting of Pakistani citizens, NATO has undoubtedly become emboldened and on Monday two gunship helicopters again came into Pakistani territory and killed a few more citizens – so far the tally is five killed in Kurram Agency.

Accompanying this new upping of the military ante inside Pakistan, the US drone attacks continue – with their frequency rising rapidly especially after Obama’s coming to power in the US. Almost daily there are reports of 10 people or more killed by these unmanned drones – as if Pakistani lives were worth nothing. Perhaps the US is right about this as far as Pakistani rulers are concerned since President Zardari is said to have told the CIA Chief that collateral damage from the drones was not an issue that bothered him!

   
 

 

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