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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Syed Saleem Shahzad, "US's 'good' war hits Pakistan hard," Asia Times online, Sep 10, 2008.

[As he often does, Shahzad focuses on specific Taliban commanders, this time Jalaluddin and Sirajuddin Haqqani. According to the most "optimistic" estimate I have seen five "foreign militants" were killed in the Sep 3 strike. Haqqani has retaliated in North Waziristan.

The Haqqani group is believed to be behind the bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul. But Sirajuddin denies having a link with Pakistan's security forces, ISI.

In the same issue of ATol, Gareth Porter reports that according to Philip Giraldi, former operations officer and counter-terrorist specialist in the CIA Directorate of Operations, the National Intelligence Council warned that US commando raids in Pakistan would carry a high risk of further destabilizing the Pakistani military and government. Dawn, Pakistan's leading daily newspaper, cited an NIC report in June 2007 which attributed the "growing insurgency" to "the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan" and the "growing feeling among Muslims that they are under attack."

Pakistan's new, democratically-elected government has lodged a diplomatic protest over the raid, and the Pakistani parliament passed a resolution condemning it. This is not an expression of some secretive rogue element of ISI. These include the elected representatives of people in NWFP and FATA where their civilian constituents are being killed by a foreign military. Their job is to protect their citizens. -jlt]

KARACHI - Seven years after the United States led the invasion of Afghanistan in search of al-Qaeda and to topple the Taliban government, US President George W Bush has added neighboring Pakistan to the list of countries that are "a major 'war on terror' battleground", while also announcing a "quiet surge" of troops into Afghanistan.

Bush, in remarks prepared for delivery to the US National Defense University and released by the White House late on Monday, said Afghanistan, Iraq and now Pakistan "pose unique challenges for our country" in the worldwide conflict against terror and that it is in Pakistan's interests to "defeat terrorists and extremists".

What Bush didn't spell out is that it is also in the US's interests that Pakistan get tough on militants, and that the US is increasingly taking matters into its own hands inside Pakistan. In the the latest incident on Monday, at least 25 people were killed in a missile attack by unmanned Predator drones on a Pakistani village near the Afghan border.

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