First U.S. troop incursion into Pakistan alleged, 20 dead

(9:00PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

The United States may have ‘invaded’ Pakistan.

The Washington Post reports, U.S. and Afghan troops kill 20 in Pakistan. This marks the “first known instance” that U.S. forces “conducted an operation on Pakistani soil since the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan began”.

According to the NY Times, NATO Accused of Civilian Deaths Inside Pakistan. The incursion and subsequent attacks were made “a little after 3 a.m. when three U.S. army helicopters carrying American and Afghan troops landed in Musa Nika in the Pakistani tribal area of South Waziristan… Troops then left the helicopters and launched a ground assault on three houses where Taliban fighters were believed to be hiding.”

Pakistan is not amused. The “hot pursuit” of Taliban forces across the Afghan-Pakistan border is contentious issue with Pakistan.

“We strongly object to the incursion of ISAF troops on Pakistani territory,” said Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, chief spokesman for the Pakistani military, referring to the International Security Assistance Force, the coalition of U.S. and other NATO troops that has been battling the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan since 2001.

The NY Times adds “Pakistan has lodged a ‘strong protest’ to the American government and reserved the right of ‘self defense and retaliation’,” according to Abbas.

According to The Guardian story, Reported U.S. attack pushes Afghanistan war into Pakistan, NATO, for its part, is denying involvement. “There has been no NATO or ISAF involvement crossing the border into Pakistan,” the NATO spokesman James Appathurai said. While a U.S. “military spokesman at the Bagram base near Kabul did not deny an attack had occurred but declined to comment.”

U.S. and NATO commanders have long held that “Taliban and al-Qaida fighters use the unruly, semi-autonomous tribal areas of Pakistan to stage strikes on coalition forces inside Afghanistan and to create ‘safe havens’ where they are immune from attack.” Pakistan, for its part, has warned the U.S. not to cross the border.

“This is a very alarming and very dangerous development,” said a former senior Pakistani official. “We have absolutely been telling them (the US) not to do this but they ignored us.”

Details of the cross-border attack are still sketchy. The NY Times, reports, “earlier description of the military action Wednesday given by a Taliban commander and local residents, the latest attack was aimed at three houses in the village of Jala Khel in the Angoor Adda area of South Waziristan”. And, according to the Washington Post:

One of the homes belonged to a villager named Pao Jan Ahmedzai Wazir, a local tribesman, said Anwar Shah, a resident of a neighboring village. Several women and children who were inside Wazir’s house and two other homes nearby were killed when U.S. and Afghan troops opened fire on the buildings. “The situation there is very terrible. People are trying to take out the dead bodies,” Shah said.

The NY Times is reporting locals are claiming most of the 20 dead are women and children, but the deaths have not yet been confirmed, but the Taliban commander, “known by the nom de guerre Commander Malang”, that allegedly the ISAF troops were after claims to have not been at the scene of the attack.

Last year during the presidential campaign, cross-border attacks on the Taliban in Pakistan became a campaign issue when Barack Obama said the U.S. must be willing to strike al Qaeda inside Pakistan. Obama said if elected president, he be willing to order an “attack inside Pakistan with or without approval from the Pakistani government, a move that would likely cause anxiety in the already troubled region,” according to Reuters in August 2007.

“If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will,” Obama said.

While, for his part, John McCain described as “naive”, Obama’s public willingness to pursue al Qaeda into Pakistan, according to the AFP.

“Well, the best idea is to not broadcast what you’re going to do. That’s naive,” McCain told reporters in Columbus, Ohio…

McCain warned America could not afford the “confused leadership of an inexperienced candidate who once suggested bombing our ally Pakistan”…

Well, Pervez Musharraf resigned as Pakistan’s president in August 2008. As political tensions within Pakistan’s ruling coalition heat up over competition for the open presidency, there is speculation that Pakistan’s government may collapse.

The situation in Pakistan is precarious. Coinciding with the beginning of Ramadan, the Pakistan government suspended their offensive against Islamic militants in the tribal areas, according to McClatchy Newspapers. Although “the fighting was not popular and led to a humanitarian crisis as some 300,000 locals fled,” some analysts believe the militants were in close to collapse and the ceasefire will allow them to regroup.

While also today, The Guardian reported that Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani survived assassination attempt.

The Pakistani prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, survived an assassination attempt today, officials said. Shots were fired at Gilani’s car in the capital, Islamabad, but he was not inside. It was going to the airport to collect him.

The prime minister’s press secretary, Zahid Bashir, said unknown assailants fired “multiple sniper shots” in a “murder attempt”.

Two bullets hit the front window on the driver’s side of the black Mercedes limousine.

One thing is clear, the events in Pakistan are becoming increasingly dangerous.


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  1. on Daily Kos. Today’s Four at Four is delayed, but will be posted soon.

    • Temmoku on September 3, 2008 at 22:48

    I know they are “right wingers” but they have F—ed up so much, it boggles the mind…….

    • Valtin on September 4, 2008 at 00:17

    and not the last. A very dangerous world. Every country, including the U.S., has suspect leaders. If only Bush and Cheney had not been left in office. This latter was a deadly miscalculation by the ruling class, with consequences likely for all of us.

    • Edger on September 4, 2008 at 02:09

    They Lied with Their Boots On

    Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired)

    It’s the eye-watering lies of the neoconservative oligarchy that everyone remembers, but I’ve come to believe the little lies they tell reveal more about their malignant nature, and I’m particularly interested when these venial mendacities get dropped not by our politicians, but by our ever growing phalanx of political generals. I recently ran across one of these gems in, of all places, The Times of India.

    At a late August Washington press conference, Marine Corps Commandant General James Conway said that al Qaeda members in Iraq are moving to the safe haven in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan. “I think the al Qaida knows that they have blown a movement in Iraq through a number of missteps over time,” he told reporters. The spine of the story, however, is not about the migration of al Qaeda fighters, but how Conway knows about said migration.

    “No intelligence agency would say this,” Conway confessed. Now that’s something, when they can’t bully a single intelligence source into backing up their fractured fables. So how did Conway verify his assertions to the vigilant fourth estate? “My guess is,” he told them, “my belief is that they probably have gone to that safe haven in the FATA.”

    My guess? My belief? My God.

    Conway’s crack talk is reminiscent of a July 19 Associated Press interview with top U.S. commander in Iraq General David Petraeus. King David said that senior Al Qaeda leaders “might be” diverting fighters from the war in Iraq to the Afghan frontier area. He also said that Al Qaeda “might be” reconsidering Iraq as its highest priority war front. What made him say this “might be” happening is “some intelligence that has picked this up.” In case you’re wondering what “some intelligence” might consist of, Petraeus explained that, “It’s not solid gold intelligence.” And “not solid gold intelligence” means what, exactly, General?

    But the goofy intelligence this bull feather mattress is supposedly based on isn’t the goofiest part of it. The goofiest part is the story’s basic premise. How do you suppose al Qaeda dudes in Iraq are getting to middle Bananastan? I’m going to go out on a limb and say they’re probably not flying there first class out of Baghdad International. And you can bet your sweet bippy they’re not forming up and marching 2,000 miles through the mountains and deserts of Iran and Afghanistan. (U.S. Navy Seals might be able to do something like that, but it would take them a very long time.)

    Yeah, you can smuggle dribs and drabs of martyrdom interns from Baghdad to Islamabad or wherever. You’d do that with key leadership personnel, or with special task operatives like the carload of out-of-towners who pulled off the 9/11 attacks. But it’s not like the Petraeuses of this world would have you believe, with Field Marshall bin Laden and 50 or so of his best number-two men sitting around the strategic display in the Situation Cave making weighty decisions on troop movements. All right then, we’ll take the Third Lebanese Division along with elements of the X Karbala Corps and shore up the Four-Oh-First Palestine Battalion at their positions along the Khyber Pass.

    This logistical dissonance hits straight at the heart of the inanity behind the “we’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here” mantra, recast in summer of 2006 by then Central Command chief General John Abizaid as “If we withdraw before the job is done, the enemy will follow us here.” The enemy can’t get here from there, not in the kinds of numbers Abizaid and the rest try to conjure in our imaginations.

    And Obama wants to “listen to the generals on the ground” and move the wars to Pakistan?

  2. Cambodia and Laos in the early 70’s. The consequences of this and any further forays into Pakistan could very well blow up in their faces. Pakistan will not welcome this! I believe this is one of their objectives, to keep the “long war” going and to keep public monies flowing to their cronies.

    Did Obama not say that he would take the war to Pakistan as well? We are only pouring more gasoline on the fire. This is insane.

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