September 25, 2008

Pakistan War Launched on 9/11

It's just a matter of time before the mainstream media start to use the words "Pakistan War." Just like Afghanistan and Iraq, we will be busy with our lives and yet feel a vague discomfort. Someday I hope we become conscious of the suffering of innocent people, and put an end to it.
September 11, 2008
President Bush secretly approved orders in July that for the first time allow American Special Operations forces to carry out ground assaults inside Pakistan without the prior approval of the Pakistani government, according to senior American officials.
The classified orders signal a watershed [my bold] for the Bush administration after nearly seven years of trying to work with Pakistan to combat the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and after months of high-level stalemate about how to challenge the militants' increasingly secure base in Pakistan's tribal areas.
American officials say that they will notify Pakistan when they conduct limited ground attacks like the Special Operations raid last Wednesday in a Pakistani village near the Afghanistan border, but that they will not ask for its permission.
''The situation in the tribal areas is not tolerable,'' said a senior American official who, like others interviewed for this article, spoke on condition of anonymity because of the delicate nature of the missions. ''We have to be more assertive. Orders have been issued.''
[...] Pakistan's top army officer said Wednesday that his forces would not tolerate American incursions [my bold] like the one that took place last week and that the army would defend the country's sovereignty ''at all costs.''
It is unclear precisely what legal authorities the United States has invoked to conduct even limited ground raids in a friendly country. A second senior American official said that the Pakistani government had privately assented to the general concept of limited ground assaults by Special Operations forces against significant militant targets, but that it did not approve each mission.
The official did not say which members of the government gave their approval.
[…] Details about last week's commando operation have emerged that indicate the mission was more intrusive [my bold] than had previously been known.
According to two American officials briefed on the raid, it involved more than two dozen members of the Navy Seals who spent several hours on the ground and killed about two dozen suspected Qaeda fighters in what now appeared to have been a planned attack against militants who had been conducting attacks against an American forward operating base across the border in Afghanistan.
Supported by an AC-130 gunship, the Special Operations forces were whisked away by helicopters after completing the mission.
[…] Pakistan's government has asserted that last week's raid achieved little except killing civilians and stoking anti-Americanism in the tribal areas.
''Unilateral action by the American forces does not help the war against terror because it only enrages public opinion,'' said Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's ambassador to Washington, during a speech on Friday. ''In this particular incident, nothing was gained by the action of the troops.''
As an alternative to American ground operations, some Pakistani officials have made clear that they prefer the C.I.A.'s Predator aircraft, operating from the skies, as a method of killing Qaeda operatives. The C.I.A. for the most part has coordinated with Pakistan's government before and after it has launched missiles from the drone. On Monday, a Predator strike in North Waziristan killed several Arab Qaeda operatives.
[…] Spokesmen for the White House, the Defense Department and the C.I.A. declined to comment on Wednesday about the new orders. Some senior Congressional officials have received briefings on the new authorities. A spokeswoman for Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat who leads the Armed Services Committee, declined to comment.
[…] The commando raid last week and an increasing number of recent missile strikes are part of a more aggressive overall American campaign in the border region aimed at intensifying attacks on Al Qaeda and the Taliban in the waning months of the Bush administration, [my bold] with less than two months to go before November elections.
State Department officials, as well as some within the National Security Council, have expressed concern about any Special Operations missions that could be carried out without the approval of the American ambassador in Islamabad.
The months-long delay in approving ground missions created intense frustration inside the military's Special Operations community, which believed that the Bush administration was holding back as the Qaeda safe haven inside Pakistan became more secure for militants.
The stepped-up campaign inside Pakistan comes at a time when American-Pakistani relations have been fraying, and when anger is increasing within American intelligence agencies about ties between Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, known as the ISI, and militants in the tribal areas.
Analysts at the C.I.A. and other American spy and security agencies believe not only that the bombing of India's embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, in July by militants was aided by ISI operatives, but also that the highest levels of Pakistan's security apparatus -- including the army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani -- had knowledge of the plot.
''It's very difficult to imagine he was not aware,'' a senior American official said of General Kayani. […]

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