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Ear to the Ground

Amid Tensions, Pakistan Moves Troops

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Posted on Dec 26, 2008
pakistan border
AP photo / Musa Khan

Pakistani soldiers watch the Pakistan/Afghanistan border, an area riddled with conflict as skirmishes between Taliban and Pakistani forces continue.

In a rebuke to U.S. interests in the region and amid growing tensions between two nuclear powers, Pakistan is moving its forces from its border with Afghanistan—where Pakistani troops are fighting against the Taliban—and restricting soldiers from going on leave, as fears of conflict with India continue to grow.


The New York Times:

Pakistan is moving some troops away from its western border with Afghanistan, where the United States has pressed it to combat Taliban militants, and stopping many soldiers from going on leave amid rising tensions with India, senior Pakistani officials said Friday.

A senior military official said in an interview that the decision to sharply restrict leave for soldiers was taken “in view of the prevailing environment,” namely the deteriorating relations with India since the Mumbai terrorist attacks last month. He added that the Pakistani air force was “vigilant” and “alert” for the same reason. A second Pakistani security official would not say where the forces were being sent, but confirmed the troop movements and the restrictions on leave, saying “there’s an obvious reason for that.”

The redeployment came as Indian authorities warned their citizens not to travel to Pakistan given the heightened tensions between the two nations, news agencies reported, particularly since Indian citizens had been arrested there in connection with a bombing in the Pakistani city of Lahore.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, December 27, 2008 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

We need to finish this operation. The area needs to be overwhelmed and then we need to withdraw.

Holding static positions in Iraq and Afghanistan is foolish and has created a cause against us.

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By Bea, December 26, 2008 at 9:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

According to Richard Engel, the chief correspondent for NBC, “there are bout 22 thousand Pakistani troops along the border with Afghanistan. US’ troops are in the other side of the border” that is, Pakistani troops are in one side of the border, in Pakistan, US is in the other side.

The area of the middle, between the two borders, is where “the fighting with the Taliban is going on.” The fight is backed up by the Pakistani troops, who are fighting the Taliban.

The move of the Pakistani troops give Taliban a “more free area to operate” and “75% of US’ supplies for Afghanistan goes through Karachi” and basically goes through the area that was “protected.”

Now that the Pakistani troops aren’t there who’ll help protect the convoys? It is an essential route for supplies.

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By Fadel Abdallah, December 26, 2008 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment

Below are two links to two important articles which establish the Israeli, American and British connections to the recent flaring in Indo-Pakistani conflict. These are the same familiar colonial powers at the root of the major world conflicts, both old and modern!
========================
* India’s Reckless Road To Washington Through Tel Aviv By Vijay Prashad

http://www.countercurrents.org/prashad261208.htm

The costs of the Tel Aviv-New Delhi-Washington axis are too much to bear, at least for India. India cannot afford to mimic Israel’s failed neighborhood
policy, nor can it follow the U. S. example that seeks to solve its problems by aerial bombardment. South Asia requires a regional solution to what is without doubt a regional problem


* Mumbai Massacre Calls For A Probe Of British Role
By Ramtanu Maitra

http://www.countercurrents.org/maitra261208.htm

A thorough investigation of the Mumbai massacre is the only way to prevent another such attack. That must include a probe of a possible British role in the incident.

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By libertarian, December 26, 2008 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Pakistan’s movement of military assets to the frontier areas near India are hardly a “rebuke to the United States.”  They have their own longstanding security issues. To put everything, always, in terms of what the US wants is to misunderstand recent world history. This is a dangerous aspect of self-importance.

The real danger in such a border conflict, if it involves air power, is that conditions have changed drastically since the 90’s firefights over the direction of Kashmir. The use of nuclear weapons, if that should come about, will be initiated by Pakistan. The reason is that India since around 2005 has entered into an aggressive program of mutual-production, with Russia, of advanced jet interceptor-fighter aircraft. These include especially the Sukhoi designed SU-30MK1, now being manufactured under license in India. These aircraft, with their newest engine refit w/swivel-vectoring thrusters, is far superior to anything Pakistan would be able to send to the conflict. This mk1 version of the “Flanker” class fighters is in fact as capable in most respects to anything the West has to offer.  This imbalance in air power and a resulting humiliation of Pakistan would possibly trigger an emotion-based (sound familiar?) nuclear strike by Pakistan. Any resulting exchange on a moderate scale would yield prob. 20 million rotting corpses.

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