I'll get tea at 5
No such thing as a good tax - Churchill
To make mistakes is human. To blame someone else for your mistake, is strategic.
Pakistan defends lack of action during Nato attack
ISLAMABAD: Confusion and a communication breakdown prevented Pakistan’s airforce from scrambling to defend troops on the ground during the deadly Nato bombing last weekend of two border outposts, the military said Friday, responding to rare domestic criticism of the powerful institution.
The Pakistani military, which eats up most of the country’s budget and is accountable to no one, has said the attack that killed 24 troops was an ”act of deliberate aggression” that went on for close two hours.
It has also said that Pakistani commanders contacted and pleaded with coalition commanders to stop firing.
Nato and US officials have disputed that account, which has triggered uncomfortable questions in this South Asian country over why Pakistan’s own fighter jets and helicopters stationed close to the border did not take off to defend the ground troops during the attack.
The military has said troops did fire back at the Nato choppers when they attacked.
A Pakistani military statement on Friday said the response could have been more ”effective” if the airforce had been called in, but this was not possible because of a ”breakdown of communication” and confusion at ”various levels” within the organisation.
The incident has pushed already strained ties between Washington and Islamabad over the future of Afghanistan close to rupture.
Islamabad has closed its eastern border to Nato supplies traveling into landlocked Afghanistan and said it is reviewing its cooperation with Washington.
US officials expressed their condolences over the loss of life and denied the Pakistan army was deliberately targeted.
But they have not apologized, saying it would not be appropriate before an investigation into the incident has been completed. In the past, Nato and the US has complained that militants along the border are helped or tolerated by Pakistani soldiers.
US officials have said a joint US-Afghan patrol came under fire from the Pakistani side of the border and called in airstrikes.
On Friday, the Wall Street Journal quoted American officials as saying that Pakistani officers had given the go-ahead for the raid, unaware they had troops in the area.
Pakistan’s military also faced criticism after the May 2 unilateral American helicopter-borne raid that killed Osama bin Laden, with questions – yet unanswered – over how the aircraft were able to fly deep into Pakistani territory without the knowledge of the airforce.
U.S. to Vacate Pakistan Drones' Air Base - TIME
Regardless of the truth, this looks to be a blow against the ongoing drone campaign. Sympathizers will be cheering.
(ISLAMABAD) — The United States is vacating an air base in Pakistan used by American drones that target Taliban and al-Qaeda militants, complying with a key demand made by Islamabad in retaliation for the NATO airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, the U.S. ambassador said Monday.
The move is not expected to significantly curtail drone attacks in Pakistan since Shamsi air base in southwestern Baluchistan province was only used to service drones that had mechanical or weather difficulties.
But Washington's decision to leave the base shows how the NATO attacks on Nov. 26 have plunged the already strained U.S.-Pakistan relationship to an all-time low. The crisis threatens U.S. attempts to get Pakistan to cooperate on winding down the Afghan war.
Pakistan immediately retaliated by blocking its Afghan border crossings to NATO supplies and giving the U.S. 15 days to vacate Shamsi — a deadline that falls on Dec. 11. Islamabad is also boycotting an international conference in Bonn, Germany, aimed at stabilizing Afghanistan.
U.S. Ambassador Cameron Munter said in a local TV interview that Washington was doing its best to comply with Pakistan's demand to leave the air base.
"I think what we can promise you is that we will do everything we can to vacate the Shamsi base by the date that you asked us," said Munter.
Mohammed Naeem Mirwani, who owns land outside Shamsi, said two large military aircraft landed at the base Sunday morning and took off again in the afternoon after being loaded with containers.
(See more on Pakistani militants and the U.S.)
U.S. and Pakistani officials refused to comment on the aircraft.
Munter did not mention the use of Shamsi by American drones.
The U.S. does not acknowledge the CIA-run drone program in Pakistan publicly, but American officials have said privately that the strikes have killed many senior Taliban and al-Qaeda commanders. President Barack Obama has significantly stepped up strikes since taking office in 2009.
Pakistani officials regularly criticize drone attacks as violations of the country's sovereignty, but the government is widely believed to have supported the strikes in the past. That support has come under pressure this year as the U.S.-Pakistan relationship has deteriorated.
Ties were damaged by a CIA contractor who shot and killed two Pakistanis in January, and the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani garrison town in May. Pakistan was outraged because it didn't know about the operation against the al-Qaeda chief beforehand.
Pakistani officials pushed for U.S. military personnel to abandon Shamsi following the bin Laden raid, but eventually agreed to a compromise with Washington. The U.S. agreed to launch offensive drone strikes into Pakistan from American bases in neighboring Afghanistan, and restrict the use of Shamsi to drones that needed to land because of bad weather or mechanical difficulties, U.S. and Pakistani officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the covert nature of the drone program.
That stance changed when NATO aircraft attacked two Pakistani army posts on the Afghan border before dawn on Nov. 26, killing 24 soldiers and prompting the government to demand the U.S. leave Shamsi.
The two sides have given differing accounts of what led to the attacks on the army posts.
U.S. officials have said the incident occurred when a joint U.S. and Afghan patrol requested air support after coming under fire. The U.S. checked with the Pakistan military to see if there were friendly troops in the area and were told there were not, they said.
Pakistan has said the coordinates given by the Americans were wrong — an allegation denied by U.S. defense officials.
Obama called Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday to offer his condolences for the deaths of the Pakistani soldiers and affirm the U.S. is committed to a full investigation.
America's Shadow State in Pakistan | Daily Beast | Dec 5, 2011
Within the ISI, America’s most reliable ally has been the spy service’s division known as the T Wing. It was created largely from scratch in 2006 and 2007, after the Americans mostly gave up trying to work with the ISI’s uncooperative leadership.
Afghan border to get air defence weapons | Dawn | Dec 09 2011
Pakistan had not agreed to a joint investigation with ISAF over this border incident. The report should be coming out from ISAF by next weekend.ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to deploy air defence weapons on the country’s border with Afghanistan to pre-empt fresh attacks as it re-evaluates the strategy for safeguarding its western borders from air raids, the Director General of Military Operations told the federal cabinet and the Senate’s defence committee on Thursday.
“After the Nov 26 Nato attack on two military checkposts in the Mohmand Agency, we fear an attack from the western border. Hence a decision has been taken to deploy air defence weapons in that region,” a participant of one of the briefings told Dawn.
Maj Gen Ashfaq Nadeem, the DGMO, said it was in this background that the Chief of Army Staff, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, had removed checks on hitting back without a prior approval of the top command in case of fresh incursions. He said that currently the posts were equipped with small weapons suitable for fighting insurgents and bunkers had also been set up.
Gen Nadeem said a coordination mechanism had been completely violated and there were reasons to believe that it was a planned attack, and not a mistake.
"...there were reasons to believe that it was a planned attack, and not a mistake. "
If that was the case there'd be nothing left of that garrison. OTOH, it's a damning indictment upon Pakistan that they refuse to participate in a joint investigation. No doubt they do so for good reason(s).
"This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
"The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs
There is something else as to why NATO attacked that post. Taliban have been basing themselves near Pakistani outposts so as to use that as a cover for staging attacks into Astan. Pak troops also provide covering fire for these Talibs something that Indian army is all too familiar with.
The US has done well to attack this post. There is no difference between the Talibs and the Pak Army there which are both against US and Afghan interests.
Well done NATO for having the courage to call these terrorists out.
I've noticed that too, with the most outrageous conspiracies being fully accepted as truth. Did you know, for example, quite a few believed the recent flooding there was intentionally created using HAARP? "It (the flooding) was an attack to kill Muslims."
Speaking of which, anybody know, on pk.df or the other Pak Def forums, where the OBL news broke? PM me a URL if you do. Thanks.
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