A lot of people will make the point today that we should leave Afghanistan as soon as possible now that our top goal of going over there has been accomplished. This comes, ironically, eight years to the day after President Bush declared Mission Accomplished in regard to Iraq — and can anyone remind me what [...]
|By: Jim White Thursday October 14, 2010 6:58 am|
While debate rages in the United States on whether to allow George W. Bush’s tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans to expire, Hillary Clinton spoke Thursday in Brussels before a planned Friday meeting of “Friends of Democratic Pakistan”, calling for Pakistan to expand its tax base. Clinton’s call for Pakistan to force the rich to bear their fair share of the tax burden seems to be a message that the US should heed, as well.
|By: Jim White Tuesday October 12, 2010 5:54 am|
Pakistan re-opened the Torkham crossing on Sunday, eleven days after it was closed in response to NATO helicopter incursions into the country. On Monday, Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani pledged that Pakistan would not allow flood reconstruction to detract from the country’s fight against terrorists. These are welcome developments in reducing US-Pakistan tensions that reached a very high point during the crisis.
|By: Tom Engelhardt Thursday October 7, 2010 9:22 am|
|By: Jim White Thursday October 7, 2010 5:48 am|
As I reported on Wednesday, although the joint NATO-Pakistan investigation of the deaths of Pakistani soldiers at a border post concluded on Tuesday, no joint statement had yet been issued. Dawn had listed the areas of disagreement that were delaying release of a statement. Late Wednesday, both NATO and the US Embassy in Pakistan released statements on the investigation and the incident, presumably signaling that no joint statement will be forthcoming. A review of Dawn’s list of areas of disagreement in light of the released statements shows that all but one of Pakistan’s demands were met. Pakistan had insisted that NATO take responsibility for the attacks and deaths, but neither the NATO nor US Embassy statement does so. A Washington Post story this morning provides more details on the sequence of events in the attacks on the border post, lending support to Pakistan’s account of what happened.
|By: Jim White Wednesday October 6, 2010 5:28 am|
Tensions between the United States and Pakistan continue to grow. At the same time that NATO and Pakistan were concluding an investigation of the helicopter attack that killed three Pakistani troops, a US assessment that Pakistan is not aggressively pursuing terrorists became public. Perhaps as a result, release of a joint statement on the investigation has been delayed in a disagreement about its wording and some trucks have now been delayed at the Chaman crossing into Afghanistan, while attacks on fuel tankers continue.
|By: Jim White Tuesday October 5, 2010 6:37 am|
In an article published Monday by Der Spiegel, we learn that German authorities remain skeptical regarding information being obtained by US interrogation of Ahmad Sidiqi, a German citizen of Afghan heritage currently held at Bagram Air Base. Since there are accusations that US torture continues at this facility (which appears to be under the control of the Defense Intelligence Agency outside normal detention practices) and since it is known that torture produces notoriously unreliable information, then the question must be asked whether the German skepticism is based on a presumption that Sidiqi is being tortured.
|By: Jim White Monday October 4, 2010 5:58 am|
The situation in Pakistan appears to have reached a point where a positive feedback loop prompts continued escalation on both sides. The US sees drone attacks as its primary weapon and has stepped up such attacks in the belief that they will create more security for military actions in Afghanistan and disrupt planning of terrorist attacks on the West. Instead, the attacks appear to enrage the surviving targets, recruit more to their ranks and lead to more attacks.
|By: Jim White Saturday October 2, 2010 7:30 am|
Tense relations between the United States and Pakistan are leading to a mixed set of signals today. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the US is secretly diverting military drones from Afghanistan for CIA use in Pakistan, resulting in a record month for drone strikes in Pakistan. As if to prove this point, Reuters reports that on Saturday two drone strikes in Pakistan killed 18 people. Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani on Friday addressed the Pakistan National Assembly and spoke of unspecified “other options” should the US continue its helicopter raids over the border, but a telephoned apology from General David Petraeus to General Ashfaq Kayani (Chief of Staff of Pakistan’s army) seems to have calmed tensions to the point that the closure of the Torkham crossing now is described as temporary. Adding to the mix, Iran’s PressTV trots out Zaid Hamid (Googling him brings many references to him being a conspiracy theorist and Pakistan’s answer to Glenn Beck) to comment on the situation, ascribing US actions to panic over the prospect of losing the war in Afghanistan.
|By: Dubhaltach Saturday October 2, 2010 4:46 am|
The Pakistani military have just conducted a successful information operation.