U.S. Troops Must Not Be Permitted on Pakistan’s Soil
Is the United States even now preparing to mount ground operations or ‘train’ elite forces inside Pakistan? The evidence to support the claim is piling up, and Pakistanis are not reacting well. According to this editorial from Pakistan’s The Nation newspaper, ‘American forces working with our elite units would be able to obtain strategically crucial information and might eventually control of these operations. … Tribesmen [in the Northwest Frontier Province] are already up in arms over our military campaign in their region. The presence of American troops would simply add fuel to the fire – and the consequences would be disastrous.’
February 27, 2008
Pakistan – The Nation – Original Article (English)
CITING State Department officials, The Boston Globe has revealed that the Bush Administration would like to set up special coordination centers on the Pakistani side of the tribal belt – not only for the purposes of intelligence sharing – but to have 30 counterinsurgency experts on the ground to train elite Pakistani units in the fight against terrorists, and ultimately for conducting joint operations with Pakistani troops. The U.S. administration has already asked Congress for $453 million for the project, which also includes an aid package.
[Editor’s Note: According to the Feb. 9 edition of the Asia Times, “Wana military airfield in South Waziristan and Miranshah airfield in North Waziristan have been upgraded from makeshift airstrips into proper runways with backup facilities, which indicate plans for a powerful air operation.” The article, written by the Asia Times Pakistan Bureau chief Syed Saleem Shahzad, also says that U.S. forces have been deployed at Lowari Mandi and Ghulman Khan checkpoints (both on the Afghan side of the border near North Waziristan) and that a new military camp is being built near Shawal (North Waziristan), on the Afghan side ].
President Musharraf’s endorsement of the plan, which sent a shock wave through the nation, undermines the firm stand Pakistan has taken against allowing U.S. troops on its soil since the start of the War on Terror. That’s to say nothing about allowing them to operate directly from our territory. Interestingly, the timing of the plan coincides with waning political support for President Musharraf, which leads one to wonder whether his acquiescence is a desperate attempt to help his party cling on to power [Musharraf’s party was trounced in Parliamentary elections last week].
American forces working with our elite units would be able to obtain strategically crucial information about our geography, and might eventually result in U.S. control of these operations. Tribesmen [in the Northwest Frontier Province] are already up in arms over our military campaign in their region. The presence of American troops would simply add fuel to the fire – and the consequences would be disastrous.