Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

America expanding its undeclared war in Pakistan?

May 9, 2010
The car packed with explosives at Times Square

(The car packed with explosives at Times Square)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned Pakistan of  ‘severe consequences” if a future attack on the U.S. homeland is traced back to Pakistani militant groups.

It’s the kind of language that harks back to the Bush administration when they threatened to  “bomb Pakistan to the Stone Age” if it didn’t cooperate in the war against al  Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban following the Sept. 11 attacks.  Pakistan fell in line, turning on militant groups, some of whom with close ties to the security establishment.

In the wake of the failed attempt to bomb New York by a suspected Pakistani American who might have been trained by Pakistan militant groups, the United States seems to have turned up the heat again on Islamabad.

After a year of doling out carrots and trying to build a security relationship mindful of Pakistani sensitivities, the Obama administration has warned its strategic partner that  the U.S. mood could sour if it indeed was proved that the suspected Times Square would-be bomber Faisal Shahzad was tied to Pakistani insurgent groups, the Washington Post said.

Pakistan had done a lot over the past in tackling militancy, but the United States  “wants more and expects more ” Clinton said in a television appearance. The same message was delivered by General Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan to Pakistani army chief General Ashfaq Kayani during a meeting on Saturday, the newspaper reported.

U.S. officials  are privately arguing for a more muscular and unilateral approach towards Pakistan, pointing to an increasingly direct threat to the U.S. homeland  from militant groups based there, the report said.  This could include a geographically expanded use of drone missiles and pressure for a stronger U.S .military presence there.

But America’s undeclared war inside Pakistan has already been expanding and in many ways operates  on an entirely different set of rules than the ones in play in Afghanistan. This week reports emerged that  the CIA has been given blanket authority to target individuals in Pakistan with drone  strikes even if it didn’t know their identities. The measure approved by the Bush administration and continued by the Obama administration amunts to  a dramatic expansion of the drone programme in the Pakistan tribal region.

The new rules have transformed the program from a narrow effort aimed at killing top Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders into a large-scale campaign of airstrikes in which few militants are off-limits, as long as they are deemed to pose a threat to the U.S., the Los Angeles Times said citing unnamed counter terrorism officials.

 As Noah Shacktman writes on the  Danger Room blog, once upon a time  the CIA had to know a militant’s name before putting him up for a robotic targeted killing. Now, if the guy acts like a guerrilla, it’s enough to call in a drone strike.


I am hearing many diffrent sides. (1) Did he acted alone but his time we have stupid terrorist or (2) Trained by militants or (3) CIA mole or (4) check the security apparatus or (5) excuse to expand military in Pakistan. But terrorist had to get caught before the plan takes off. Just like CSI drama.

Posted by x-files | Report as abusive

What they think such strategy or terrorism can win them war, it is a big NO. It seems the American people and government have handed over their fate in the hands of CIA. It is always very tempting for a depth less leader, to rely on the projected intelligence that has become an evident fact.

In carving out the justification they do it so naively that even kids would laugh at them. If taken the case of WMD and else one clearly weigh out how things are designed on presumptions pretended to be facts.

The trend has become so bizarre that anything found wrong is stretched out of it capacity to link with the guy they want to bomb or do action with.

The US has become a world scaring power and the worst terrorist state, using its resources against humanity and including its own people.

Posted by Tariq | Report as abusive

tariq why this hatred towards US when they give PAk billions as aid. Pak is their foremost ally in this war against terror. Also if they go after the terrorist there is some hope that the law and order does not pass off into the hands of these terrorists.

Posted by asif | Report as abusive

Tariqs comments about the CIA and the American leadership should sincerely consider who is running Pakistan? Is it the so called Pakistani government, the Army or the secret service?

Who ever is running Pakistan, they have successfully bankrupted the country and bred out of control terrorists, who are not only a menace to the civilised world, but also killed thousands of their own people including their aspiring President late Benazir Bhutto.

Tariq should thank the American people and their government for giving billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan to help its people with their daily necessacities and get rid of the terrorists to bring peace in Pakistan and to the rest of the world.

Posted by Johnno | Report as abusive

Heh. International migraine. I’m lovin’ it. After 20 years of bleeding India by a thousand cuts by sending across terrorists into Kashmir and the Indian heartland, it is time for Pakistan to pay. Karma’s a bitch, indeed. Now we have ringside seats in the country’s dance of death :)

All the US needs to do is dry up the aid it so generously showers on the Pakis. That would prevent the rogue army from training terrorists who attack the US, India and the west. Pakistan is perfecting the Kissinger-Nixon madman theory of international relations at a national level. It goes around with a begging bowl with a gun to its own forehead warning it will shoot if it does not get alms. It’s only a matter of time before the generous donors tire of this charade and call their bluff. Let’s wait and watch….

Posted by Sudarshan | Report as abusive

Hasn’t this all become so very old…? There are better ways to deal with this… if only leaders can become heroes….


Mr Asif or Agani,
Who are the terrorists? Jews or Palestinians, Iraq or Uncle ‘S’, Serbs or Bosnians, your country or Kashmiris, or Sikhs; Hindus or Minorities in your heaven of ‘Secularism’.
They are pouring in billions in your country to arm you with nuclear and conventional weapons against China, the Giant of 21st century, and cause your eventual destruction.
Their ‘aid’ to Pakistan in pittance is meant to maim, kill and enslave us. They always favored you against us on Kashmir, on the pretext of staying neutral, let you cause subversion and aggression on then East Pakistan, threatened us to reducing our country to stone age in 2001, have threatened again to face ‘severe’ consequences. Our ‘allies’ in perpetual war against us are your best allies perhaps!

Posted by john Donne | Report as abusive

The lady wanted to become the president and now is working under the afro american President. The US has now the bankrupt foreign policy.. threatening her assumed enemies such as North Korea and Iran and now her so called allies such as Pakistan. With regard to the ‘consequences’ one wonders when is the President going to fire her. He certainly does not have the intention to let her serve the full term!

Posted by rex minor | Report as abusive

The US state secretary statement may mean to increase drone strikes in Pakistan but US drone is not the remedy rather they need to focus on some political solution as they are striving in Afghanistan. The 8 year long war has proven that there is no military solution to the on going militancy either in Afghanistan or Pakistan. Some facts on drone strieks are as under.

The US drone strikes in Pakistan, commenced in the year 2004, when on 18 Jan 2004, a US drone targeted militant commander Nek Muhammad, in South Waziristan Agency. The killing of Nek Muhammad not only fueled anti US sentiments among the tribesmen but also brought several militants group under TTP umbrella which further transformed into the strongest militant group by establishing their training camps in South Waziristan Agency. The year 2005 saw two drone strikes killing ten people while in the year 2006, a US drone attacked a religious seminary in Bajaur Agency killing 18 students. In the subsequent years, there were 34 drone strikes in the year 2008 that killed over 280 persons, forty four drone strikes killing 708 persons were recorded in the year 2009. The drone attacks escalated this year after a suicide bomber attacks CIA HQ located in Khost – Afghanistan. So far, there have been 31 drone strikes causing over 260 fatalities.
The drone strikes have killed some high profile Al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives but proved to be counterproductive in terms collateral damage generated through these strikes. According to statistics, more civilians were killed comparing to the militants. In the year 2009, only fourteen militants were included among over 700 fatalities reported. This year, out of 260 fatalities reported in 31 US drones strikes mostly in North Waziristan Agency, the number civilians casualties remain over 130, dwindling little more than 50% of the total fatalities. Though the drone strikes are aimed at eliminating militants’ sanctuaries in tribal areas, but historic precedents over the past years reveals something in contract. The drone strike on religious seminaries in the year 2006 flamed anti US sentiments and sympathies for militants among common tribesmen, rather the militants found grounds for inducting fresh recruits. Besides, this security forces faced brunt of militants’ reprisal strikes and on 8 Nov 2006, just week after drone attack on religious seminary, a pedestrian suicide bomber blew himself up at army training center in Dargai when large number of under training soldiers assembled for morning parade. Forty two soldiers were killed and forty others sustained injuries. Likewise, there have substantial increase in suicide attacks in Pakistan in subsequent years. There were 59 suicide attacks in the year 2008 against 34 reported drone strikes while 2009 had seen 80 suicide bombings against 31 drone strikes. In the year 2010, the number suicide attack thus far remained 28 against 31 drone strikes.
In addition to spate of suicide attacks focusing security forces, the foreign interest particularly those linked to US have remained under threat and numerous suicide attacks, bomb and grenade attack, rocket fire and ambushes aiming at NATO supplies passing through Khyber Tribal Areas and other parts of the country were reported. This year alone, there have been over 20 incidents of attacks against NATO supplies in Tribal Areas, Peshawar, Quetta, Chaman Border Crossing, Karachi and Punjab Province. Besides, on 05 Apr 2010, militants launched coordinated suicide bomb and gun attack at US Consulate in Peshawar while threat level for foreign funded NGO remained elevated in response to risk emanating from drone strikes.

Posted by zakir | Report as abusive

Well said. You have provided such detailed information in your commentry. May I suggest that you post an article on this well informed forum to expand the coverage. I am really impressed.

Posted by rex minor | Report as abusive

How can you associate a billion with terrorism? We condemn acts of terrorism anywhere in the world. More Pakistanis died because of suicide bombing. Terrorist belong to no religion. When so-called Muslim terrorist (Note: A terrorist can’t be a Muslim & terrorism & such extremism is not at all allowed & has no connection with Islam) kills any person they call it terrorism & Islamic extremism.
Criticism is one of the easiest things to do in this world, courage is required to respect others & not to defame & satire their beliefs . Don’t judge Islam by all Muslims, judge Islam by itself. 1st of all go & study Islam deeply esp. the things which u r criticizing, u would know that Islam has no concern with terrorism & such extremism & Islam teaches us not to defame & offend any religion or entity.
There is already so much hate in this world it’s not that difficult to add more.

Posted by Love4all | Report as abusive

If Talibans call them Muslims why they are killing more Muslims. Just see the stats & news that how many ppl r being killed in Iraq & Pakistan in suicide bombs & other attacks. The word or theory of Talibans has no connection with Islam at all.
Why is Hijab (Muslim dress for Women) is prohibited in France and other countries? Is not that Freedom of expression?
A NUN can wear Scarf and cover her body with religious dress code…but Muslim women is set to be offensive…..
Muslims cannot call for prayers even in Muslim community areas in non-Muslim states?
Muslims are being dog watched….just for their names….which human right allow any country or anyone to strike innocent humans for the fear that they created themselves?
Why do not you peoples raise your voice to this hatred and bash towards Muslims? Are Muslims not human in your dictionary?

Posted by Love4all | Report as abusive

You are completely confused, terrorism, muslim, Islam, religion etc. etc. Why are you mixing up every thing in a bundle?
Let me give you another mixed up line, Barack-Obama-Hussein- afro-american-kenyan- black and white-christian-muslim etc.
Most people think straight. terrorism is a curse in the world. Islam is a religion of peace. Mr Obama is the elected President of the USA. Mrs clinton was defeated in the primaries and she is now the Foreign secretary. She has failed to improve the bad image of the USA in the world.

Posted by rex minor | Report as abusive

Why not conquer the whole world? America is on the same level with Israel and Nazi Germany when it comes to respecting other ideology. I think it would be best to ship your troops back home and try to deal fair with other countries. The war the US is fighting everywhere in the world can not be won. If your GIs would conquer my country, kill my friends and family, steal our future you could be certain that I would become a so called terrorist as well.

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

Who are the terrorist again.

Unread Americans will believe anything!

Posted by rod | Report as abusive

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