U.S. considering raids into Pakistan’s Baluchistan-NYT

March 18, 2009

For some months now there has been a steady drumbeat of reports in the media saying that while the United States had made significant breakthroughs in its covert military campaign in Pakistan’s autonomous tribal areas, it could not continue to ignore the vast province of Baluchistan to the south where the Afghan Taliban leadership is based.

This is where the Taliban’s reclusive, one-eyed leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, along with his deputies in  the Quetta shura, is believed to be orchestrating the insurgency in southern Afghanistan.  And this where the United States must target its covert war inside Pakistan carried out largely through missile strikes by unmanned aircraft, U.S. generals and policy makers have begun saying

The New York Times, in a report just ahead of the Afghan-Pakistan security review, says the Obama administration is considering just that: expanding its covert war to strike at Taliban sanctuaries in and around Quetta.

“Some American officials say the [drone] strikes in the tribal areas have forced some leaders of the Taliban and Al Qaeda to flee south toward Quetta, making them more vulnerable. In separate reports, groups led by both Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of American forces in the region, and Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, a top White House official on Afghanistan, have recommended expanding American operations outside the tribal areas if Pakistan cannot root out the strengthening insurgency.”

According to Danger Room,  the United States has launched missile strikes in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas six times in the past two months, making clear its intention to continue  the previous administration’s policy of taking the battle to al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan.

But widening the war? Striking Baluchistan would constitute the deepest U.S. advance yet into Pakistani territory and be of a significantly different level than targetting the FATA.

In FATA, you could argue these were remote “ungoverned spaces” led largely by local tribals which the much more powerful Taliban  and al Qaeda had exploited. Even then, arguing these were a legitimate target for U.S. missile strikes would be difficult to justify in any international court of law, several experts on this discussion on America’s NPR said.

But Quetta? This is the provincial capital and the seat of an elected government. Every U.S. incursion even in the FATA reverberates through Pakistan and the New York Times itself reports a U.S. official as saying that “an expanding U.S. role insidePakistan may be more than anyone there can stomach.”

The United States is also simultaneously considering a huge increase in aid to Pakistan, which some may see as intended to soften the blow of an intensified military campaign, the Gulf newspaper the National said.

John Kerry, the Democratic chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, and Richard Lugar, the top Republican on that panel, are expected to introduce legislation soon that would triple non-military aid to Pakistan to US$1.5 billion annually over the next five years. They have proposed another $7.5bn in assistance for the five years beyond that, the paper said.

But it also noted there would be vigorous debate in the U.S. Congress over the aid amount as well as over what strings should be attached.

[Photos of trucks burnt outside Peshawar and a protest in Quetta)

Comments

@Bulletfish and Tushar:You dont believe that India is involved in terrorist activities in destablizing Baluchistan. But the United States knows it, either India or Pkaistan both are not innocent. Both countries wage attacks against each other whenever their is an opportunity.-posted by UmairUmair: Life is short. Quit this scoring game.Any way, once upon a time, there was a Pakistani blogger right on these blogs-abut a month ago. He took it upon him to prove that RAW monster supports separatists in Pakistan–Baluchis in particular Was his research projcet. It appeared that Way since he Will try to dig out some info from google and only thing he brought Was an editorial in a SriLanka daily and in that too RAW’s role in SriLanka Wad mentioned but this blogger Was making it a case that since RAW does it in SriLanka (not that I believe the report or I am arguing SL invlovement of RAW), it does in Baluchistan too. I later found that the article published in SriLanka daily Was first published in a Pakistan Nespaper and Was a copy/paste. So that is the extent of RAW involvemnent in Pakistan. As I mentioned before RAW (1968) Was created 20 yrs after the creation of ISI (1948). That too after 2 Wars Were imposed on India 1962 china, 1965 Pakistan War. RAW presence in Pakistan Was due to Sikh terrorism–bec Pak Was supporting Sikh terrorism (yes, our peaceful neighbor Pakistan). RAW Was asked, by the former PM IK Gujral, to shut off its operations in Pakistan on MORAL grounds.RAW is made out to be Pakistan’s boogeyman.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

@Bulletfish and Tushar:You dont believe that India is involved in terrorist activities in destablizing Baluchistan. But the United States knows it, either India or Pkaistan both are not innocent. Both countries wage attacks against each other whenever their is an opportunity.-posted by UmairUmair: Life is short. Quit this scoring game. Yes there is lot of stuff on many Pakisani sites if you visit those–some even accusing several former Indian PMs as paid agent of BLAH BLAH spy agnecy–such a complete bullshi$t.Any way, once upon a time, there was a Pakistani blogger right on these blogs-abut a month ago. He took it upon himself to prove that RAW monster supports separatists in Pakistan–Baluchis in particular Was his interest. He tries to dig out some info from google and only thing he brought Was an editorial in a SriLanka daily and in that too RAW’s role in SriLanka Wad mentioned but this blogger Was making it a case that since RAW does it in SriLanka (Here I am arguing for or against SL invlovement of RAW), it does in Baluchistan too. I later found that the article he cited was originally published in Pakistan newspaper. So that is the extent of RAW involvemnent in Pakistan. As I mentioned before RAW (1968) Was created 20 yrs after the creation of ISI (1948). Until 1968 there Was no intelligence agency that exlusively handled external intelligence. Until then the Intelligence Bureau (IB),responsible for India’s internal intelligence, also handled external intelligence.So RAW came into existence only after 2 Wars Were imposed on India 1962 by china, 1965 by Pakistan. RAW presence in Pakistan Was in mid 1980s due to Pak-supported Sikh terrorism– (ISI is still doing it) bec Pak Was supporting Sikh terrorism (yes, our peaceful neighbor Pakistan). After Sikh militancy Was wiped out, in 1997 the former PM IK Gujral asked RAW to shut off its covert counter intelligence team operations in Pakistan on MORAL grounds. The idea was that covert operations destabilize bilateral relations and are also dangerous for the peace and stability of the region.RAW is made out to be Pakistan’s boogeyman.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Umair,India has these colsulates because there are plenty of Indians WORKING around Afghanistan building roads and other parts of the infastructure. Where is the proof that these colsulates are orchestrating terrorism?I asked you:Exactly what did this evidence consist of? Are we just meant to take YOUR word for it that the CIA director was given response and evidence. What was this evidence?So, WHY CAN YOU NOT GIVE A STRAIGHT ANSWER?Where is hell is YOUR precious, glorious proof that India is arming terrorists in Afghanistan?Oh, I’m sorry you have no time to do your research. What are you trying to say? That you cannot find any shread of proof that India is fermenting terrorism in Afghanistan or that you are too lazy?The responses you give do not hold anything. Your so-called country has enough terrorists orchestrating terrorism that are supported by people within your own country.Your Pakistan is living off the aid from other countries. Pakistan is a BEGGAR.Forget about Pakistan Zindabad. Its more like Pakistan Zinda Bhaag!!

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive
 

@Umair,Provide me an answer, the next time it is proven that Pakistan has a hand in the next mumbai, what do you expect India to do?If we defend ourselves, you threaten nuclear retaliation, if we hold and restrain ourselves, you call us weak.Pakistan wants to have open option of sending proxy armies and terrorist attacks on India but holds nuclear response as an option to India responding to any proxy army terrorist attacks, well is it me, or is Pakistan actually a nuclear powered terrorist state?Umair, if you got nukes, you can’t be fueling proxy wars and you cannot have Terrorist training camps and you claim that you got India by bxlls. This is false, the actual scenario is that Pakistan by pointing the gun at India, while it creates terrorism, is actually standing on the edge of the building with a bed of spikes waiting on the ground for it, as it falls of the building and hits the ground. The fact is, is that India has 1.2 Billion bodies. You cannot destroy them all.If Pakistan does anymore Mumbai’s and any more Kargil’s, India reserves the right, morally and legally to Respond in a way and time of its choosing, and that it will, as it will have support from the UN security council the next time.India wants to dismantle the terror camps in Pakistan, because Pakistan won’t and you threaten to disproportionately vapourize India, killing millions, well this is where Pakistani’s lose all moral ground.You claim India will be nuked for wanting to protect itself from your proxy armies.It is Pakistan in fact, who the world has by the bxlls.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive
 

There is no reason for India to have so many consulates in Afghanistan, unless some of them are meant for intelligence and sabotage activities.Coming back to topic, these Americans do love action don’t they. The war is not over in Iraq, Afghanistan, or even Pakistani tribal areas and these folks have already moved on to the next adventure!I think a poor country like Pakistan will just have to ride out the storm and them clean up the mess later.

 

@Umair,Provide me an answer, the next time it is proven that Pakistan has a hand in the next mumbai, what do you expect India to do?If we defend ourselves, you threaten nuclear retaliation, if we hold and restrain ourselves, you call us weak.-posted by Global Watcher-Global Watcher it is not Pakistan but some non-state actors who do it. Perhaps Clever Zardari was saying the truth. He himself has been more of a “non-state” actor than even LeT. But I think Pakistan is serious now since they are a democracy like India post-Long March, and they will take care no more Mumbai happens by Pakistan. This was the last time.About your question, let us see a Pakistani POV. To me, India was at this crossroads state of mind right after Mumbai. But now, after a series of events in Pakistan have give India the options that do not involve war or surgical strikes and neither do they invite NUKES from Pakistan. We should learn something from our responsible neighbors.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Global Watcher, rajeev,It seems Umair cannot provide an answer because he may have gone offline due to load shedding in Pakistan. We will have to wait 6-12 hours until he replies.I hope he does not use the same excuse he gave me that he does not have the time to search links.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive
 

“Admiral Mullen and Kappes were both provided information about the activities of the Indian consulates in Kandahar and Jalalabad and were asked how the CIA does not know that both Indian consulates are manned by Indian Intelligence who plot against Pakistan round the clock.”http://thenews.jang.com.pk/top_st ory_detail.asp?Id=16421Now Rajeev if you think I am going to run around the internet searching for links to prove RAW terrorism in Pakistan?No, I am not going to do that simply because I am not interested in it. I studied in Army institution my whole life, I grew up watching my dad in Air Force unifirm, I can make of it I have the sense. I have friends in Pakistan Army, a close friend who is captain in Pakistan Army and whose unit was involved in counter-terrorism did give me insight in to this matter. I know what I know, you guys search if you want to know Indian terrorism in Baluchistan.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

India makes world’s cheapest car, Pakistan makes world’s cheapest terrorist

Posted by anju2008 | Report as abusive
 

Umair,When India blames Pakistan for terrorism we catch either Pakistanis or people having Pakistani connections. Kasab and 9 dead bodies are recent examples. Where is the proof of Indian involvement??Umair trust me… you Pakistanis are lead to believe that India is involved… these terrorists were actually created by ISI. Since they have been squeezed by Indian Army and US they have no where else to do what they do the best than in Pakistan…

Posted by Tushar | Report as abusive
 

Umair,Since you are boasting about your military connections, you must be aware of Kargil war. How did the Pakistani establishment wash their hands of the event at that time!! They even refused to take the dead bodies of Pak soldiers who died fighting.Much later your President and COAS in a book claimed that the soldiers were Pakistanis. Is this your tradition? Arn’t you ashamed of this. Please ask your dad and friends in the Army whether they were proud of it.

Posted by Tushar | Report as abusive
 

@TusharDead bodies of Kashmiri rebels were portrayed as Pakistani solders for propaganda purposes.Returning to topic, Baluchistan has quietened down considerably since the Indian-agent Akbar Bugti was eliminated in 2006, it would be best of Pakistanis to keep it a quiet place, despite American intentions.

 

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