The Endless Pakistan Tragedy
Image Credit: U.S. Navy

The Endless Pakistan Tragedy

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Yesterday’s tragic friendly fire incident along the Afghan-Pakistan border, and today’s response, are eerily familiar to any observer of Afghan-Pakistan-United States ties over the past decade.

NATO aircraft “highly likely” – in the words of an alliance spokesperson – killed 24 Pakistani troops and wounded 13 others at two posts located about 1,000 feet apart on a mountain in the Mohmand region of Pakistan’s semi-autonomous Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Pakistani militants based in this mountainous northwest frontier use the FATA as a safe haven for conducting cross-border guerrilla and terrorist attacks in Afghanistan as well as Pakistan itself.

In response to the pre-dawn attack, which found most of the garrison still asleep, Pakistani authorities have again blocked vital supply routes for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The government also said it would review all diplomatic, military and intelligence cooperation with ISAF forces.

Pakistani authorities also repeated their demand that the Pentagon leave the Shamsi Air Base in Balochistan Province used to service U.S. drones that launch missiles at al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in Pakistan’s tribal region. This time they included a 15-day deadline for the withdrawal.

A spokesman for NATO forces, Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacobson, said Afghan and ISAF troops were operating in the border area of eastern Afghanistan when “a tactical situation” prompted them to call in airstrikes in support that “highly likely” caused Pakistani casualties.

Ironically, the airstrike came one day after a meeting between Gen. John Allen, in charge of ISAF, and Pakistan army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in Islamabad to review border operations. According to a Pakistani military statement, the two discussed “coordination, communication and procedures…aimed at enhancing border control on both sides.”

This is only the latest crisis to befall the border region during the last decade. Relations among Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the United States have been extraordinarily troubled for most of the past ten years. Historical conflicts, different priorities, and personal animosities have combined to weaken the collective ability of the three countries to repress Islamist extremists operating along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.

The United States has pursued several initiatives to reduce tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan and to encourage both governments to concentrate their attention on countering the Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists operating inside their territories. Despite these efforts, the border region remains a major source of tension in their trilateral relationship.

Most recently, the intensified fighting in Afghanistan, due in part to increase cross-border support from Pakistan, has prompted ISAF to adopt a more aggressive policy along the frontier. Hence, yesterday’s incident was bound to happen someday.

For some time, the U.S. helicopters assigned to ISAF have been engaging in a more aggressive campaign to defend Afghan border outposts. Taliban and Haqqani network guerrillas sally forth from their sanctuaries in Pakistan and attack Afghan army outposts in eastern Afghanistan, then flee back across the border with NATO aircrews in hot pursuit. ISAF commanders had been justifying the border air strikes by citing the failure of the Pakistani Army to occupy and suppress the guerrilla and terrorist bases in the tribal regions, especially in North Waziristan.

Comments
19
Neil
January 11, 2012 at 07:12

Much of what you say is true, except for the fact that it is not America who has kept you entangled in regional disputes. It is your own Army that has done so, with its misguided concept of “strategic depth” in Afghanistan and eternal enmity with India. Change these two policies and you can change Pakistan. Also, keep your army in its barracks where they belong, like Indians have done.

mere mutabiq
December 6, 2011 at 03:38

Those who say Pakistan is a fail state are living in fools paradise because their incessestors who were looters, , robbers, invaders, aggressors, oppressors, killers, rapists, terrorists, war mongers, occupiers and colonialists forced Pakistan to become a fragile state and did their best to give an image of Pakistan as a failed state. They colonized 97% of the world through harassment and terror and whenever they invaded a country they installed their puppets & agents and did their best to dodge the local political system and forced the states failure to implement their own system of government and ideology. Although the imported and forcefully forced political system clashed with the local traditions and religions, it survived because of MIGHT IS RIGHT. Unfortunately same thing happened to Pakistan, before the partition of British India, the Brits distributed the land & resources of the nation to handful of influential people who became NAWABS, KHANS, CHAUDHRIES AND SARDARS etc. The powerful feudal became an agent of his masters and hijacked the political system of the state. They had the power; therefore they followed the footsteps of their masters of looting and robbing and transferred the wealth of the nation to the land of their masters. Not only this they bought properties, invested capital and settled their families there. Since they were corrupt, self interest oriented and greedy, they did not care for the state and only thought for their interest. With the help of this effective tool ( the ignorants and unpatriotic elements) the Western world started an anti Pakistan and anti Islam propaganda campaign against Pakistan and started accusing Pakistan and this tool was effectively used by US and other Western powers to enter into Pakistan because they had vested interest in Pakistan and the region. The Western powers achieved their goals through NGOs who were foreign spies which provided help to US and European powers to de stable and weaken Pakistan and present it as a fail state. Fortunately they failed to achieve this object because people of Pakistan got united and defeated the enemy of the state. Ignorants like you or the enemies of Pakistan might have accepted the assumption of a failed state but it is not. There is nothing wrong to accept that Pakistan is not a developed state because of her failed Economic policies due incapable, corrupt and unpatriotic politicians. I am sure it is not going to last long. It’s a special agenda of US and Western world to keep Pakistan entangled in regional disputes and other problems through their favoritism to India and discriminating polices to restrict its development. There is no doubt that they are successful so far but it will not last for long. Keep in mind that today’s modern Europe went through all this chaos and fought for 200 years with each other. They were failed states too and ultimately came out of the similar situation to become colonialists and invaders.

mere mutabiq
December 5, 2011 at 05:56

I think it was a coward, blatant, brutal and unprovoked attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty in which 24 innocent soldiers were killed. No matter whose mistake it was, in my opinion, the NATO, USA and Afghanistan (civil & military authorities) should have surrendered an unconditional written apology to the government & people of Pakistan. Afghanistan is included in the list because her soil was used to carry out the attack. The Afghan government should have warned NATO/USA not to use her soil to conduct any attack on Pakistan.
In addition, I would suggest the NATO & USA to take the following steps immediately to avoid further confrontation with Pakistan. If US authorities don’t act fast, it will be difficult for them to carry out their agenda and achieve their goals in future. I know for sure that without Pakistan US can’t succeed and have a successful access in the region, authorities know it very well. Ignorant people may react to my forecast harshly because they are not aware of what US is looking for? US sacrificed thousands of civilians and military personnel’s in 911 & Afghanistan. The threat of bombing Pakistan and push it to the Stone Age was baseless and a hoax to scare Pakistan & force her to follow US directions. There is no doubt that the threat & hoax worked very well and US got more than her expectations. Also, I don’t have any doubt that US A has the might to convert Pakistan in to ruins or send it back to the Stone Age or destroy it by intercontinental missile strike but it will not serve the hidden purpose of US to capture and occupy the rich energy resources of Central Asian countries as well as control of the region where a big joint CHINA is already present and monitoring of IRAN. USA needs an irreplaceable friend in the region to achieve its goals and I am sure that USA will do all that what Govt. of Pakistan has demanded. It is only a matter of time and pride, one day the US admin will come out and accept their mistake, may be after the investigation
1. The culprits and responsible involved in this deliberate or mistaken (according to Pak government) attack must be brought to justice.
2. USA/NATO must assure the authorities of Pakistan that the sovereignty of Pakistan will be respected at any cost and provide them the assurance in writing for not repeating the similar action in future because this was the 7th attack on the soil of Pakistan.
3. The USA/NATO authorities should pay the compensation to the families of the victims according to the Islamic Law (keep in mind the victims were Muslims and they were brutally killed without any fault or provocation).
The commentators are welcomed to correct me if I am wrong but make sure that the criticism on Pakistan is unbiased and not based on International, European & USA and anti Islamic/Pakistan propaganda. To me this act of aggression, oppression and invasion is a continuation of ISAF/USA to show their muscles and deliver a message to the world that their might can do whatever, whenever and wherever they want and they recently demonstrated it in the case of LIBYA. Did they forget that there is someone monitoring them? They should know that their might is very limited and dependent because the biggest might is watching the situation very patiently. NATO+USA is a lethal weapon and threat to the world’s peace, therefore the rest of the world should unite against this alliance and must form a group as RUSSIA, US, UK, FRANCE and other countries of Europe formed against HITLER OF GERMANY. I am a strong believer of “HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF” and have a belief that one day definitely it will happen and hope that history will repeat itself again because all the AGGRESSORS, INVADERS, OPPRESSORS AND HITLERS are trying their best to achieve their goals by force in the name of National Security. There is no doubt in my mind that the bunch of greedy foxes will be pushed back and limited to their dens. I strongly believe and trust on God too and according to the almighty, the might of God strikes very severely when cruelty, injustices and atrocities exceed the limits. There is no doubt in my mind that the described situation has arrived and at any time the real might will strike. I know some people say oh it is hard to defeat the might of FRANCE, CHINA, NATO, RUSSISA, USA AND UK but make no mistake that nothing is impossible for “GOD”. Without any doubt the only might to last forever is the might of THE “GOD” and it is not difficult to the immortal to do whatever the almighty wants. We are only the PAWNS of the WORLD like a game of chess. The almighty can kill or destroy the world creation, turn a specific piece of land upside down, convert into sea or hit any piece of land with natural disasters in a flick of an eye. THE “GOD” also say that the almighty will replace the (leadership of the earth) if they are involved in evil & satanic activities and are in direct disobedience of “GOD” commandments. History is a witness that JEWS disobeyed “GOD” and were replaced. Despite of chosen and beloved of “GOD” today they are in isolation and limited to a few millions and ISRAEL. I showed the mirror to those who are following the footsteps of JEWS and advise them to quit all the wrong doings of committing evil and satanic actives before the wrath of “GOD” strikes and wipe them out. It’s never too late.
In my opinion, the apology of President of OBAMA will be very sufficient for Pakistan and they will feel proud that USA apologized to them. I suggest president OBAMA to apologize to Pakistan in the best interest of the nation despite of being rude and proud; he is hurting the interest of the nation.

Hammerin Hank
December 4, 2011 at 22:24

Pakistan is a failed state. I get so sick of the people blaming America for their own problems. Stop supporting terrorism, create freedoms and maybe you can be more like India – growing and safe.

jim
December 3, 2011 at 09:36

A nuke in Pakistan is more dangerous to China than a nuke in India.

Liang1a
November 30, 2011 at 17:53

Girish wrote:

November 30, 2011 at 1:58 pm

@Liang1a

By 2020, Trade between India and China will be more the the total economy of Pakistan. And India challange which China is not going to face in South East Asia, will acts as a bargain to keep Pakistan under control.
——————————–

Whether trade between China and India will increase will depend on the relationship between the two countries. There is no reason for China to increase trade with India if it continues to increase its aggression against China. The deliberate challenge made by India in the SCS is highly resented by the Chinese people. If the Indians think they can blackmail China into giving them concessions then they will be seriously mistaken. Even if the current timid Wen administration will not confront India militarily then the next Chinese administration will. Or there is every possibility as the Chinese people out of their disgust topple the CCP government as they nearly did in 1989. If the Indian businessmen value China’s trade then they better tell their leaders to get out of SCS. India’s insult to China in the SCS will ultimately strengthen China’s alliance with Pakistan. It is not a mere coincidence that the Chinese military has increased its military excercises with Pakistan in recent months. There is also rumors that more Chinese troops are moving into the Sino-Indian borders as well as into Pakistan-Indian border. India cannot intimidate China. China is not even intimidated by the US. Do you think they can be intimidated by you Indians? Don’t fool yourselves. You will only end up being targets for China’s target practise.

Girish
November 30, 2011 at 14:08

@Jim1980

We are not looking at China for solving Pakistan problem. Infact China has aggravated the Pakistan problem for India by proliferated Nuclear technology and missile tech to them.
We only want that China should better stay out and do not provide materials to Pakistan to be used against India. This has created huge gap between India and China relationship as well. Anyway India has understood that Chinese do not understand politeness. India has to get into creating some trouble for China to bring them to bargain table. India has already providing military support to Veitnam and getting engage with Aisan counties. And I personally want that India must supply Nuclear and missile tech to Taiwan one day. And I am sure it will happen one day.

Girish
November 30, 2011 at 13:58

@Liang1a

Stop day dreaming. Pakistan control POK illegally and that has to be returned back to India. Also dealing with China is a bilateral matter between India and China, Pakistan is not qualified enough to put its legs into it.
Also stop dreaming that Chinese respect Pakistan in any sense. Its just that Pakistan suites their interest for access to he gwader port. Otherwise they are equally fadup with Pakistan sponsered terrorism into their Chinese territorty.
Also learn from the history. Nation has to stand on its own feets but strangly Pakistan always want some godfather to take care of its requirements. Earlier it was US and now China. But Chinese are clever, they only understand their own profit and they will not take time to decide if they need to abandand Pakistan incase they have to. By 2020, Trade between India and China will be more the the total economy of Pakistan. And India challange which China is not going to face in South East Asia, will acts as a bargain to keep Pakistan under control.

Liang1a
November 30, 2011 at 11:07

The best solution for all is for India to give back the land it stole from China and Pakistan. Then all can concentrate on developing their respective economies peacefully. The danger in this region is created by India’s greed and aggression.

For Pakistan to maintain good relations with China it must respect China’s sovereignty. It must not help any Muslims who want to break Xinjiang away from the Chinese motherland. If Pakistan can support the sovereignty of China then the two can be good friends. I don’t know why Pakistan is allowing the US to use its land to access Afghanistan. Of course, I would support defeating the Al Qaeda if its aim is to spread Islamic religion and aggression which would destabilize China’s Xinjiang Province. If Pakistan’s intentions are to ally itself with the Al Qaeda to the harm of China then I would not help it because it would ultimately be as dangerous as India. But if Pakistan can reject Al Qaeda and promote friendly relationship with mutual support of sovereignty then China and Pakistan could have solid grounds to develop mutually beneficial relationship.

Looking into the future, Pakistan needs to have a good friend to give it security. In this China is obviously in the best position to do so. China has a common border with Pakistan and can conduct trade through land routes. China can transfer some technologies to upgrade Pakistan’s industries and raise the productivity of its people and increase their incomes. I think it should be not a big problem for China to help Pakistan to achieve a GDP of $2,000 (1/3 bigger than India’s $1,500) simply by helping it to create a more organized and productive economy so that the Pakistani people themselves can produce more for themselves. Then China can do some export of critical products like electric generators, machine tools, regional jets, etc. I don’t know what Pakistan can export to China, maybe it can export more food such as fruits. What Pakistan should do is become more self-sufficient. If it can become energy self-sufficient it would eliminate most of its trade deficit. To be energy self-sufficient, it can use air-cars which are cars that run on compressed air. Such cars have been in use in Mexico for some time and are said to be acceptable. The biggest problem is that it is noisy. If Pakistan can generate wind power electricity and use compressed air to power its cars then it would have solved its energy problem. Then China can help it to develop its own oil and gas deposits to become totally energy self-sufficient. Then if Pakistan expanded its industries to produce all the manufactured products it needs then it can reduce all trade deficit and go on to generate some trade surplus. Or China can relocate some of its labor intensive manufacturing to Pakistan as China upgrades its industry to high tech capital intensive products.

Victor J
November 30, 2011 at 07:51

China will spend its billions in Pakistan …and over time it will buy the whole country for what it is worth… A trans “Pakistan-Tibet” road and oil pipeline is already in the works. We will see a lot of “unused” territory transfer from Pakistan to its all weather friend. In another 20 years we may see another “Tibet” in Pakistan. Pakistan has no Dalai Lama.

China’s road to claim dominance in the Asia -from “Pacific to Indian” Oceans goes through Pakistan. Pakistan has no economic means to pay back the loans and grants it keeps getting from China.

It’s not about being rich or poor..it’s about the intentions and priorities of its ruling class.

Pakistan lost the philosophical rationale to exist the day India has more Muslims that Pakistan. The hope that Pakistanis would make themselves better as a nation faded with Zia-ul-Haq. Its ruling class failed Pakistan in every way. Pakistan was and still is a “single agenda” nation with nothing to offer to the rest of the world.

Pakistan is not India’s problem but a global problem as evidenced by growth of terrorist bases, proliferation of nuclear, missile technologies. Pakistan may very well become another North Korea just a lot dangerous. It’s future may well lie as a Province of China…but surely not India.

jim1980
November 30, 2011 at 00:23

Girish and other Indian supporters:

China will not spend billions dollars on Pakistan. China is poor country. It needs to spend money on its own people. Although China is not democracy country, its rulers are in general are influenced by public opinion poll. @Anjan, stop dreaming.

India has Pakistan’s problem and China does not have Pakistan’s problem. India needs to provide solution to solve the problem. Stop looking at China to solve the problem for India.

Girish
November 29, 2011 at 14:27

China must Stop its “All weather Friend” Pakistan to harbor terrorist and shut down their shops. Otherwise it will be too late before their guns will be pointed to China too. Well it has already started.

Pakistan has no future as a country, first it was used by US and now will be used by China. What an unforchunate country.

If Chinese do consider them self to be a responsible power then they must tell to this brother that terrorism as state policy always backfire in long run.

Pakistan used terrorism as an instrument against India. Today India is must stronger where as Pakistan itself got eaten up by its own snakes.

Matt
November 28, 2011 at 23:40

To better understand the Pakistanis I recommend watching the Frontline documentary about David Headley. This guy was the cream of the crop in Pak society and the documentary sheds light to the fact the the Pakistani Elite in control of the country pretty much agree with Usama Bin Laden and are actively engaged in supporting Al Qaeda and all the other Jihadis in the country. They are totally in this war and the only reason they don’t go all out is they must use asymetrical terror warfare to have a chance at victory.

We will know when Al Qaeda is defeated when we see Pakistan defeated. Until then the war will never end.

Harry Khan
November 28, 2011 at 22:26

The Pakistani military leadership is traditionally cautious and it is not going to give a military response to the US’s provocation. (Indeed, the Taliban are always there to keep bleeding the US and NATO troops.)

Jayadevan, India
November 28, 2011 at 19:26

To be fair, common Pakistani does not deserve this.

It is the result of Jihadi’s, ISI and Pak Military’s stupid policies.

Common Man is helpless.

Remeber those intellectuals (recently murdered Governor), journalists (Saleem Shahzad who exposed ISI-Jihadi Link was murdered by ISI).

Birth of a New Pakistan can happen only at the death of Jihadi, ISI and Military.

Harry khan
November 28, 2011 at 08:06

Pakistan will pay this back in the centre of Kabul with utmost gratitude and kindness, very soon….

Anjan
November 28, 2011 at 05:54

@ Yang Zi,

There is no question of any compensation to Pakistan that is the epi center of global Islamic terrorism. It is time China come forward, replace the US and start providing Pakistan with tens of billions of dollars in economic and military aid.

Matthew
November 28, 2011 at 03:14

@ Yang zi
It divided the country because their country supports and harbors terrorists within their borders. They supported the attack on Mumbai in 2008, gave safe haven to Bin Laden, routinely help coordinate attacks on NATO forces, and tolerate large scale suicide bombings on their own civilians. They don’t take accountability for their own peoples actions and fail to provide basic protection to their own people.

As for the recent helicopter attack, it will be beyond a failure of NATO forces if they openly attacked an unprovoked Pakistani unit and should provide concessions to Pakistan in return. The world will need more facts because there is much about this we as news readers still do not know. There might be more to it than has been released, recently Pakistani army positions have been opening fire across the border on Afghan and NATO positions.

Yang zi
November 27, 2011 at 13:23

Pakistan is torn apart by the Afghanistan war. NATO should provide adequate compensation to Pakistan and apologize.

Afghan war probably stimulated Pakistan economy, but devided the country and destabilized the business environment. I bet many Pakistanies are looking forward to 2014.

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