Crisis looming for US in Pakistan
- Crisis looming for US' Pakistan raids
There is deep resentment towards the US in Pakistan
Pakistan opposition lawmakers warn the United States to respect its
borders or else the country will stop all support in the war on
Tensions have intensified over Washington's decision to pursue
Islamic militant targets inside Pakistan and the recent rash of cross-
border strikes, which has claimed the lives of at least 15 civilians
in tribally dominated territory.
Since August 13, seven missile strikes have been reported as well as
a raid by helicopter-borne US commandos. The latest missile attack
left at least 12 people dead in the North Waziristan region of
Pakistan's troubled Northwest Frontier province.
On Friday, about 100 protesters burned American flags after residents
said they heard the sound of propeller-driven US Predator drones
circling overhead before the explosions.
The US says the frontier region is considered a likely hiding place
for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahri
where the raids are being carried out.
Pakistan army chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has made a rare and
particularly tough statement about his country's sovereignty, which
should raise alarm bells in Washington and London. He isn't acting
like he is going to be a pushover.
He has vowed to protect the country's sovereignty "at all costs".
Leaders, including new President Asif Ali Zardari, have reiterated
their commitment to fighting violent Islamic extremism and have aired
no threats to withdraw their cooperation.
Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar said Pakistan's armed forces
were "ready to meet any such eventuality if this is repeated" and
evoked Pakistan's war against India in 1965.
Officials say more than 1,000 troops and police have died since 2001,
far more than the losses for international forces in Afghanistan.
Pakistan has also suffered a wave of suicide bombings that began last
year and has killed and maimed thousands more.
ISLAMABAD: The next US president must halt missile strikes on the
Pakistan side of the Afghan border or risk losing the war against al-
Qaeda and the Taliban, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani warned
Gilani's remarks show the difficulties that will face the new
American administration as it seeks to eliminate extremists in the
lawless frontier region and revitalise Washington's shaky alliance
with nuclear-armed Pakistan.
"No matter who the president of America will be, if he doesn't
respect the sovereignty and integrity of Pakistan ... anti-America
sentiments and anti-West sentiment will be there," said Gilani in an
interview with The Associated Press at the Prime Minister House in
Over the last two months, the US has launched at least 17 strikes on
militant targets on tribal areas. Gilani said the US attacks by
unmanned drones in the semiautonomous tribal regions were "uniting
the militants with the tribes. How can you fight a war without the
support of the people?" he said.
The prime minister said the US should share intelligence with
Pakistan Army to allow Pakistan to go after militants
themselves. "Either they should trust us and they should work with
us, otherwise, I think it's a futile exercise," he said.
Democratic candidate Barack Obama and Republican rival John McCain
have roughly similar positions on Pakistan, though during the
campaign differences in emphasis have emerged. Obama has said if he
is elected, he could launch unilateral attacks on high-value
terrorist targets in Pakistan as they become exposed and "if Pakistan
cannot or will not act" against them.
McCain says attacks shouldn't be discussed "out loud" but has not
said he disagrees with them. The increase in strikes since August is
seen as a sign of the increasing frustration in Washington at
Pakistan's unwillingness or inability to tackle the threat emanating
from the region.
The attacks, and a highly unusual ground raid attack by US forces in
September, have killed at least 168 people, including some top
extremists but also many civilians, according to Pakistani officials.
Their frequency has led some people to speculate that Pakistani
leaders have privately agreed to the attacks on the understanding
they will publicly criticise them, something denied by Pakistani
Pakistan has little leverage with the United States to force it to
stop the strikes because it desperately needs Washington's help to
get it out of a crushing economic crisis. On Monday, Gilani held
talks with US Gen David Petraeus, who is making his first tour of the
region since taking over the US Central Command last week, a post
that puts him in charge of the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Gilani said Petraeus "looked convinced" when he told him of the
negative consequences of the missile strikes, but gave him no US
general says he will take criticism into account.
ISLAMABAD, Nov 4: The American general taking charge of his country's
two wars said he would consider Pakistan's rising criticism of US
missile strikes on militants' targets in the country's tribal areas.
In an interview with CNN, Gen David Petraeus confirmed the Pakistani
criticism during meetings on Monday.
"In fact, we got certain messages with each of those we talked today
and some of those were very clear and we have to take those on
board," CNN quoted him as saying.
"The tone of the conversation today was very frank and very
forthright, which is as it should be," he added.
Gen Petraeus met President Asif Ali Zardari and army chief Gen Ashfaq
Parvez Kayani, among other senior leaders, on Monday.
Gen Petraeus said he had discussed suspicions that elements in
Pakistan's spy service had been secretly colluding with the Taliban
militants, but declined to say whether he thought that was the
case. "Over time, there may be contact" with militants, he said. "The
key is that all are aware of what's going on and that goes two ways."
Pakistan: 30 die in clash with Taliban:
Taliban fighters, thwarted in their attempt to kidnap a tribal
militia leader, beheaded one of the man's rescuers in front of a
gathered crowd, then fought a running battle with tribesmen yesterday
that left as many as 30 people dead, police said.
20, including militant leader, killed in U.S. attack in Pakistan:
A missile attack carried out by a suspected U.S. drone in the tribal
regions of north-west Pakistan has killed 20 persons, reports quoting
officials and witnesses said.
Pakistan Taliban 'commander killed':
A Pakistani Taliban commander accused of launching cross-border
attacks in Afghanistan was among 16 people killed in a suspected US
missile strike, according to a senior Pakistani official.
U.S. Strikes in Pakistan Help Terrorists, Gilani Says:
``Such acts are counterproductive and help terrorists to strengthen
their position,'' Gilani told reporters yesterday after returning
from a summit in China, where he said no nation has the right to
Two people killed in Quetta bomb blast:
Two people were killed and several others were injured in a bomb
blast in the centre of the Pakistani city of Quetta on Monday.
Pakistan troops 'kill nine Taliban militants': -
Pakistan troops Sunday killed nine Taliban militants in separate
clashes in a troubled tribal region bordering Afghanistan, security
US training Pakistani forces to fight Taleban:
The sensitive mission puts rare American boots on the ground in a key
theater in the war against extremist groups, but it risks fanning
anti-US sentiment among Pakistani Muslims already angry over
suspected CIA missile attacks on militants in the same frontier
Islamabad in quandary over IMF bailout deal:
Pakistan may have to cut its defence budget by 30 per cent in the
next four years under tough conditions imposed by the IMF, according
to local newspaper reports, a move that would anger the military,
which holds considerable sway in the country
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