Will Pakistan become a quagmire for the United States?

September 11, 2008

File photo of Pakistani soldiers at a post overlooking Wana in South WaziristanFollowing up on yesterday’s post about U.S. military action in Pakistan, I see the New York Times is reporting that President George W. Bush secretly approved orders in July allowing American Special Operations forces to carry out ground assaults inside Pakistan without the prior approval of the Pakistani government.

The new orders, it says, relax firm restrictions on conducting raids on the soil of an important ally without permission.

The paper also quotes two American officials as saying that last week’s raid by U.S. troops involved more than two dozen members of the Navy Seals who spent several hours on the ground and killed about two dozen suspected al Qaeda fighters. ”Supported by an AC-130 gunship, the Special Operations forces were whisked away by helicopters after completing the mission.”

This is big stuff, with enormous potential for escalation, should the raids continue. What happens if a ground assault goes wrong and some U.S. troops are kidnapped and handed over to al Qaeda? An enormous publicity coup for al Qaeda, which would no doubt provoke more raids, in turn requiring air support to cover the U.S. troops on the ground.

According to a comment posted earlier on this blog by Pakistan military expert Brian Cloughley: “If they (U.S. troops) tried to walk in from Afghanistan it would be the duty of the Frontier Corps or the Pakistan Army to repel them. And U.S. ground forces, these days, are incapable of fighting without massive air support. So if they called in airstrikes within Pakistan the PAF would have no alternative but to support their own kin, and use their American-supplied F-16s to counter violations of Pakistan’s airspace by US aircraft.”

File photo of tribesmen in Pakistan’s border areasSo is the United States walking into a quagmire in Pakistan’s border areas? Or will a series of “surgical” raids be enough to destroy the leadership of al Qaeda and the Taliban and turn the war in Afghanistan back in Washington’s favour?

Much will depend on how Pakistan itself — both the new civilian government and the Pakistan Army –  respond to the American actions. The Pakistan Army is already carrying out its own military offensive in the border areas. But Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani has warned the United States to keep out, promising that “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country will be defended at all cost.”

And here’s a scary thought. Will the consequences of the U.S. operations in Pakistan depend on one of the more common variables in war, especially in rough hostile terrain: luck?

   

Comments

Umair,

Hindu fundamentalists may be causing trouble in India. India is not sending Hindu terrorists to Pakistan like Pak is sending terrorists to India, in the name of freedom fighting. Why are you worrying about something happening in India?. It doesn’t affect you in anyway?. Stop cribbing about India and cleanup the mess in your own country. Australia, England, South Africa and New Zealand are afraid to come to Pakistan to play cricket but they can come to India why?. Just go and ask the terrorists in your country. They may have an answer.

Posted by Sudhir | Report as abusive
 

Regarding the attack in Pakistan, and the 60 plus people murdered … perhaps Obama could sit down and have a cup of coffee, and a photo op with the perpetrators and make everything ok, and we could all live happily ever after. Once again, it’s truly unfortunate that there are a bunch of power hungry murderers in the world who want to kill everyone who does not embrace their radical agendas, but the naive idea that they will be cooperative, if Obama just gets a chance to chat with them, is dangerous and irresponsible. As bad as things are, they could get much, much worse. If nukes get into the hands of terrorists, you can watch complete American cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles disappear, along with everyone in them. The ONLY thing these thugs and criminals understand and respect is strength. Keep American strong, elect McCain/Palin in November.

Posted by Howard | Report as abusive
 

if america invades Pakistan then it will be a great blow to not only american forces entering in pakistan but to america itself due to following reasons.
China would keep on supplying anything at the hour of need including military equipment .warplanes etc.
Saudia arabia would cut down its oil supply to international market as it did before when pakistan was attacked by india.
At worse conditions well pakistan has got nukes ..israel and india both would be in trouble.

Posted by fahad | Report as abusive
 

INDIA AND PAKISTAN ARE NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES AND THEY SHOULD NEVER FIGHT WITH EACH OTHER BECAUSE IF AMERICA INVADES PAKISTAN THE BORDERS OF INDIA WOULD ALSO NOT BE SAFE AND SO IF INDIA AND PAKISTAN COOPERATE NO SUPERPOWER CAN HAVE A BAD EYE ON ASIA. WE HAVE SO MANY NATURAL POWERS AND SO BOTH THE COUNTRIES SHOULD COOPERATE WITH EACH OTHER BEBE

 

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