Perspectives on Pakistan
More U.S. incursions into Pakistan come to light-NYT
A U.S. raid into Pakistan’s tribal areas in September, which produced much furore, was not the only time U.S. forces had gone inside Pakistan in pursuit of al Qaeda, according to a report by The New York Times.
The U.S. military has since 2004 used “broad, secret authority” to carry out nearly a dozen previously undisclosed attacks against al Qaeda and other militants in Syria, Pakistan and elsewhere, the newspaper said, citing American officials.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld signed a classified order with the approval of President George W. Bush in the spring of 2004, giving the military permission to attack al Qaeda networks anywhere in the world, including a sweeping mandate to conduct operations in countries not at war with the United States, it said.
One such attack was carried out by U.S. Navy Seals on a suspected militant compound in Pakistan’s Bajaur region in 2006, the newspaper said, quoting a former top CIA official. A remotely piloted Predator aircraft captured the operation on video in real-time and relayed it back to CIA headquarters in Virginia thousands of miles away.
So what really has been going in Pakistan’s troubled frontier region? The New York Times doesn’t say what came out of that operation, but it is intriguing that it escaped all attention. Is it conceivable that nobody in Pakistani knew about it?
Quite different from the raid on Sept 3 when helicopter-borne U.S troops landed in Pakistan’s South Waziristan and killed 20 people provoking a storm of protest in Pakistan and a warning from the Pakistan Army to the Americans to keep their troops out. It was described at the time as the first known assault by U.S. forces in Pakistan since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan.
The New York Times said the recent raid into Syria was also not the first time that Special Operations forces had operated in that country, according to a senior military official and an outside adviser to the Pentagon.
Since the Iraq war began, the official and the outside adviser said, Special Operations forces have several times made cross-border raids aimed at militants and infrastructure aiding the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq.