Thursday, March 19, 2009
Military Operations in Pakistan May Expand
Reuters reported yesterday that the U.S. government wants to expand the "covert war" in Pakistan out of the tribal areas and into Baluchistan which is a part of Pakistan that is under control of the Pakistani government. If you'll remember there are tribal regions near the border with Afghanistan that are not under control of the Pakistani government and that is where the U.S. believes that Al Qaeda leaders have been hiding. The U.S. just recently admitted that in addition to Predator drone attacks on the tribal areas in Pakistan, special operations forces have also been operating in the region. This was a significant development because having permanent military personnel on the ground in Pakistan is more intrusive than intermittent drone attacks. Expanding military operations into areas under control of the Pakistani government is a more direct attack on Pakistan's sovereignty and will bring loud protests from the government. While creating tension between the U.S. and another Muslim country is not ideal in our attempt to win hearts and minds I think that Pakistan is not really an ally in this fight, and I believe that aggressive action to find Al Qaeda and Taliban leadership is necessary.