Pakistan: Now or Never?

Perspectives on Pakistan

Pakistan-U.S. alliance scarred

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A New York Times report about Pakistan threatening to postpone or cancel an American programme to train a paramilitary force because of last week’s U.S. air strikes has been widely picked up in the Pakistani media.

Eleven soldiers from the Frontier Corps died in those air strikes in the Mohmand agency in circumstances that remain unclear. But the U..S.-Pakistan alliance forged after the September 11 attacks has been deeply scarred as a result, says the report. It quotes former Pakistan Army chief General Jehangir Karamat as saying that the United States deliberately targeted Pakistani forces and that there had not been a statement from the United States that this was friendly fire and that the intention was not to attack Pakistani forces.

The Frontier Corps is the very paramilitary force that Washington had begun spending $400 million to train in counter-insurgency techniques.

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Such is the anger in Pakistan, inflamed further by Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s
threat to send troops in to Pakistan to stop cross border attacks, that defence expert Shireen M Mazari questioned whether America was a “dubious ally or an outright enemy.”

The fog of war on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border

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Pakistani soldier near the borderPakistan’s Frontier Corps soldiers and U.S. led coalition-led troops just over the ill-defined border in Afghanistan must have been barely a few hundred yards apart on Tuesday night when 11 Pakistani soldiers were killed in an air strike that has touched off a new row between the two allies.

But their accounts of what really happened  in the frontier region of Mohmand are very different and sketchy, and to add to the confusion,  there is a third version from the Pakistan Taliban.

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