Pakistan re-opened the Torkham crossing on Sunday, eleven days after it was closed in response to NATO helicopter incursions into the country. On Monday, Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani pledged that Pakistan would not allow flood reconstruction to detract from the country’s fight against terrorists. These are welcome developments in reducing US-Pakistan tensions that reached a very high point during the crisis.
|By: Jim White Tuesday October 12, 2010 6:10 am|
|By: Jim White Wednesday October 6, 2010 6:08 am|
Tensions between the United States and Pakistan continue to grow. At the same time that NATO and Pakistan were concluding an investigation of the helicopter attack that killed three Pakistani troops, a US assessment that Pakistan is not aggressively pursuing terrorists became public. Perhaps as a result, release of a joint statement on the investigation has been delayed in a disagreement about its wording and some trucks have now been delayed at the Chaman crossing into Afghanistan, while attacks on fuel tankers continue.
|By: Jim White Monday October 4, 2010 6:17 am|
The situation in Pakistan appears to have reached a point where a positive feedback loop prompts continued escalation on both sides. The US sees drone attacks as its primary weapon and has stepped up such attacks in the belief that they will create more security for military actions in Afghanistan and disrupt planning of terrorist attacks on the West. Instead, the attacks appear to enrage the surviving targets, recruit more to their ranks and lead to more attacks.
|By: Jim White Saturday October 2, 2010 7:53 am|
Tense relations between the United States and Pakistan are leading to a mixed set of signals today. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the US is secretly diverting military drones from Afghanistan for CIA use in Pakistan, resulting in a record month for drone strikes in Pakistan. As if to prove this point, Reuters reports that on Saturday two drone strikes in Pakistan killed 18 people. Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani on Friday addressed the Pakistan National Assembly and spoke of unspecified “other options” should the US continue its helicopter raids over the border, but a telephoned apology from General David Petraeus to General Ashfaq Kayani (Chief of Staff of Pakistan’s army) seems to have calmed tensions to the point that the closure of the Torkham crossing now is described as temporary. Adding to the mix, Iran’s PressTV trots out Zaid Hamid (Googling him brings many references to him being a conspiracy theorist and Pakistan’s answer to Glenn Beck) to comment on the situation, ascribing US actions to panic over the prospect of losing the war in Afghanistan.
|By: Jim White Friday October 1, 2010 6:15 am|
Less than twenty-four hours after Pakistan closed the border crossing at Torkham in response to a NATO helicopter attack that killed three Pakistani soldiers, insurgents set fire to 27 NATO fuel tankers that were waiting to enter Afghanistan at this strategic crossing. Rather than striking a conciliatory tone to tamp down growing unrest by Pakistan in response to ongoing US abuse, however, the Obama administration has chosen instead to venture into even more provocative behavior, planting suggestions in Friday’s Washington Post that the US would not be upset if there were a military coup in Pakistan.