I admit to a certain degree of confusion over what has been going on along the Pakistan-Afghan border recently. According to Reuters the Pakistani ground forces guarding the border have been firing at American troops, firing at American helicopters and have downed at least one unmanned surveillance drone. I haven’t heard any reports of them firing on insurgents returning over the border after having carried out attacks in Afghanistan, which is what I thought they were supposed to be doing. The Pakistanis are supposed to be allies in this conflict aren’t they? The message obviously hasn’t gotten through to some of the sons of Mohammed who appear to have a greater affinity with the islamic insurgents than they do with the infidel yankees. Which is probably why the so called safe havens are still safe. And will remain so.
Reuters had this to say;
The day after U.S. and Pakistani forces exchanged fire along the Afghan border, the top U.S. military officer said on Friday he was comfortable Pakistani troops had not been told to shoot at American forces.
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he received assurances from the Pakistani military leadership during a visit to Pakistan last week and appealed for calm in the face of “hair-trigger tension” over the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.
But Mullen, top military adviser to President George W. Bush and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, said he had not spoken to Pakistani officials since the exchange of fire occurred.
“I’ve been given assurance by the senior military leadership in Pakistan that there is certainly no intent or plan to fire on our forces,” Mullen told reporters.
“I find no need, based on my discussions and the assurances so far, to pick up the phone and talk to (Pakistani military leaders) to see if we’re not understanding each other.”
Pakistani forces opened fire on Thursday on two U.S. helicopters that U.S. officials said were supporting a U.S.-Afghan ground patrol inside Afghanistan’s Khost Province. Pakistani officials said their forces fired warning shots after the helicopters entered Pakistan air space.
U.S. and Afghan forces shot back and an exchange of fire ensued. No one was injured.
Well now, Mullen may be comfortable Pakistani troops had not been told to shoot at American forces, but the boys on the ground probably have another perception of that situation. Somebody must have given the order to shoot. Not just once, but several times. At troops, at aircraft, at helicopters. It would appear that the Pakistani Army chiefs have one agenda while their troops have quite another. If I was Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, I would make it very clear to the Pakistanis, that any fire from their troops will be answered by an air strike directly on the positions where the fire came from. I’m sure the Pakistani Army chiefs would understand. After all, if they can’t control their own troops, then they are suffering mutiny and would surely applaud the putting down of such actions. If, however that is not the case, then one could always point out that if the Pakistani troops have been told not to shoot at the American forces, then it cannot possibly have been Pakistani troops that were firing from those positions. So the air strikes on those positions are justifiable.
Either way, that would maybe give the Pakistanis cause to pick up the phone and check that there was no “misunderstanding”.