Thursday, January 31, 2008

Walk the line

Here are a two stories touching on the Afghan/Pakistani theater of operations. The Asia Times says that the US has built a base right on the Afghan-Pakistan border for the purposes of raiding into Pakistan, with or without Islamabad's approval. The article goes on to say that al-Qaeda has repeatedly attacked to forestall establishment of the installation but to no avail. Now al-Qaeda's leadership is at risk and must apparently withdraw further into Pakistan. The Asia Times article darkly hints that al-Qaeda will redouble its efforts to inflame Pakistan and attack NATO supply lines in order to compensate for its loss of sanctuaries in the tribal areas.

The second story is from the Counterterrorism Blog and deals with interservice rivalry among the special forces units operating along the Afghan/Pakistan border. The focus of the story is a Marine special operations unit, which was viewed with disfavor by the existing chain of command because of differences in operating philosophy and structure. The Marine unit allegedly cooked up its own missions bypassing the regular chain of command and became involved in an incident in which 19 Afghan civilians were killed. The matter is now the subject of an official inquiry.

Bill Roggio writes in the Weekly Standard that Pakistan has finally admitted it has a counterinsurgency problem and is ramping up to meet it. However, the problem has now metastized beyond the tribally administered areas into parts of Pakistan. "Peshawar, the provincial capital, has been buffeted by suicide attacks and a host of Taliban inspired violence and intimidation since late 2006. The Taliban have been active in Tank, Khyber, and Peshawar since early 2006. A government report stated that settled districts of Bannu, Lakki Marwat, and Swat were falling into a state of "Talibanisation, lawlessness and terrorism" in April 2007." The nomenclature 'counterinsurgency' significantly implies a political dimension to the problem. And political problems exist on both sides of the border. Not only is Musharraf in the middle of a political crisis, but President Karzai recently manifested his displeasure with alliance politics by publicly and pointedly announcing that he would not accept UN viceroy Paddy Ashdown's appointment to Kabul.


Blogger Bill Carson said...

"Marine Capt. Robert Olson, the unit’s intelligence officer and executive officer, recounted on the witness stand "

The S-2 was also the XO?

1/31/2008 06:33:00 AM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Buried in the NT Daily News headline, "HELPED U.S. WIN COLD WAR; MARINES KILLED HIS FAMILY" it mentions that the informant from 20 years ago was also a part of an organization that joined the Taliban in 2003. His "family that was killed" consisted of a father shot and killed and 12 y/o nephew paralyzed by US gunfire in their truck. They may or may not have been part if the ambush, but it should take much more than conflicting evidence following the fog of battle to kick all our Marine special forces out of the country.

1/31/2008 06:49:00 AM

1/31/2008 06:57:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Kick 'em out, ask questions later.
Marines are presumed guilty 'til proven innocent.
If they're lucky.

1/31/2008 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 02/01/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

1/31/2008 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

“I swear to Allah and on the Koran not to lie to you,”

Court of Inquiry Report's Blog

The convoy took only 30 minutes to return from the incident, Elder said, but the gate guards at the base had already heard about it from other Afghans. Media reports about the incident also were posted before the Marines returned

1/31/2008 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

One way to make Pakistan take sides in our conflict with Islamic militants may be to force the battlefield right into the heart of Pakistan. It seems like the new base (an perhaps others like it) may be just the way to do that. If the militants are forced out of the wilderness and into the cities, there will be more confrontation with the government. After all, AQ can't just sit around and not blow people up.

Then, we just have to wonder which side the government will take (ours, the militants or some appeasing place in between). Given what we have seen of the Pakistani government to date (and other middle-eastern governments) I would unfortunately expect more fence-straddling appeasing. Muslim culture just does not seem to comprehend taking a clear stand and fighting to the finish (between Muslims, that is).

1/31/2008 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Is there any such thing as a "moderate" Pakistani? Or can we just start treating the whole population of the country as terrorists and therefore, liars?

1/31/2008 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Mastiff said...


Yes, there are such things as "moderate Pakistanis." I happen to know several personally. One in particular is a fervent supporter of Musharraf against the Taliban.

For shame.

1/31/2008 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger Gyan said...

Paksitan is Jihadist Nation par excellence. Its regime has already committed two genocides
1) 1947 of Punjabi Hindus
2) 1971 of Bengaladesh Hindus
. It is folly to rely on this State to arrest Jihad. Afterall this is Jihad Central of the World.

1/31/2008 09:05:00 PM  

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