Monday, September 22, 2008

Pakistan supporting Taliban in Afghanistan; Shooting at American helicopters

Two interesting news reports.

First, the Army Times reports that Pakistani military helicopters have been flying over the border into Afghanistan and resupplying Taliban base camps.

Second, BBC reports that Pakistani troops have been shooting at U.S. military helicopters "forcing them back into Afghanistan".

Bush, of course, had pinned all the U.S. hopes on President Musharraf remaining in power in Pakistan. Now that Musharraf is gone, the opposition is reacting to their political base by opposing support for the American troops in Afghanistan. It is clear that at least parts of the Pakistani military Intelligence agency, the ISI, still support the Taliban. The ISI created the Taliban during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, using Saudi Arabian money. The Pakistani government has never controlled the borderland officially inside Pakistan but next to Afghanistan, not even when the British government in India was supposedly in control of that territory.

The combat in Afghanistan is more important than Iraq ever was, and if anything, the Afghan and Pakistani relations are more complicated than Iraq was or is. The Bush administration has never done "complicated" well, preferring brute force military solutions which often don't work. If anything, McCain is even less capable of dealing with complicated than Bush is.

Another reason to vote for Obama in November.

Addendum 9 23 2008 2:10 pm CDT
A real question is how close is Pakistan to being a failed state. The bombing of the Marriott in Islamabad over the weekend certainly leads to that question. According to the LA Times article, that bombing would have taken out the top leadership of the Pakistani government.
On Monday, the government described just how close those militants may have come to dealing Pakistan an almost fatal blow. A senior official said that President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yusaf Raza Gilani and top Cabinet members were supposed to dine together at the Marriott on Saturday night -- but switched venues just before the bombing.

"At the eleventh hour, the president and prime minister decided that the venue would be the prime minister's house," Rehman Malik, the Interior Ministry's top official, told reporters. "It saved the entire leadership."

Malik did not explain what inspired the change in plans. A representative of the hotel later cast doubt on the statement, telling the Associated Press that there were no plans for a government dinner at the Marriott on Saturday.

Malik's disclosure, if true, betrayed the alarming extent to which militants have beefed up their intelligence capabilities and upgraded their planning and operations accordingly.
These recent news reports indicate that Pakistan is having real problems not becoming a failed state.

Obviously the Bush administration has no solution to Pakistan's problems, but the entire Muslim world as well as America and India are effected by it. Both Bush and McCain will look for American military solutions to the problem of Pakistan, while neither can imagine any other possible solutions. But there better be some other solutions. Pakistan is too important to be allowed to fail.

In the meantime, spokepersons deny that U.S. helicopters invaded Pakistani airspace and that Pakistani military fired on them.
DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan - Pakistani troops and tribesmen opened fire on two U.S. helicopters that crossed into the country from neighboring Afghanistan, intelligence officials said Monday. The U.S. denied the report.

The helicopters did not return fire and re-entered Afghan airspace without landing, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media.

"There was no such incursion, there was no such event," said Col. Gary L. Keck, Defense Department spokesman.
So apparently the events that happened didn't really happen.

That's what the Associated Press reports, anyway. It's a good thing that the AP has such great and objective reporters on their staff - the Republican shill Ron Fournier in Washington, D.C. reporting on the American Presidential election, for example.

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