The armies of Afghanistan and Pakistan exchanged artillery firing across their border this week in which the Pakistan military said it had lost a soldier while several others including civilians were wounded. Newspaper reports in Pakistan speak of at least three Afghan soldiers killed in the clash near Angoor Adda in Pakistan’s South Waziristan region.
It isn’t new, there was a clash last week when an Afghan militia attacked a Pakistan border post in the Lower Dir district, according to the Pakistani media, in which 14 security personnel were killed besides a large number of the Afghan militiamen.
Pakistan’s anger over U.S. drone strikes in its northwest region is unabated and this weekend protesters sat on a highway blocking convoys carrying supplies for NATO troops in Afghanistan.
Disrupting supplies, including fuel trucks, can severely impair the huge war effort in Afghanistan and its the sort of escalatory action that will likely draw a swift response from the United States, one way or the other.
U.S.- Pakistan ties are entering an even more dangerous phase, going by the language that the two sides are employing ever since a public airing of differences over covert U.S. activities in Pakistan
It’s a game of smoke and mirrors and some of it could be bluff and bluster, but there is little doubt that Pakistan and America are stuck in an unhappy relationship, attacking each other as much as the militants they joined forces against ten years ago.
Pakistan’s nuclear weapons have been conceived and developed as a deterrent against mighty neighbour India, more so now when its traditional rival has added economic heft to its military muscle. But Islamabad may also be holding onto its nuclear arsenal to deter an even more powerful challenge, which to its mind, comes from the United States, according to Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer who led President Barack Obama’s 2009 policy review on Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Pakistan and the United States are allies in the war against militancy, but ties have been so troubled in recent years that some in Pakistan believe that the risk of a conflict cannot be dismissed altogether and that the bomb may well be the country’s only hedge against an America that looks less a friend and more a hostile power.
In the run-up to Wednesday’s cricket match between India and Pakistan, passions are running high on both sides of the border and in the diaspora which is following their teams’ progress in the game’s biggest tournament.
How to demolish Pakistan was the title of a programme aired by an Indian television network where former players and experts discussed ways to win the high-voltage game that will be played in the northern Indian town of Mohali, within, in a manner of speaking, of earshot distance of the heavily militarised border with Pakistan.
Pakistan television in similarly wall-to-wall coverage ran a programme where one of the guests advised the team to recite a particular passage from the Koran before stepping out to play that day. There is even a story doing the rounds in Pakistan that an enraged Indian crowd put a parrot fortune teller to death for predicting a Pakistani victory, according to this report.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – India and China’s quest for clout and resources extends across the globe, but perhaps the best manifestation of this fierce competition, and possible sign of who will ultimately win, lies in a tale of two ports.
The port of Chabahar in the southwest corner of Iran, which India is hoping will win it access to Central Asia and Afghanistan, is barely 72km (44 mile) from Pakistan’s deep-water Gwadar port which China has built to secure its energy supplies.
SINGAPORE, March 25 (Reuters) – India and China’s quest for
clout and resources extends across the globe, but perhaps the
best manifestation of this fierce competition, and possible sign
of who will ultimately win, lies in a tale of two ports.
The port of Chabahar in the southwest corner of Iran, which
India is hoping will win it access to Central Asia and
Afghanistan, is barely 72km (44 mile) from Pakistan’s deep-water
Gwadar port which China has built to secure its energy supplies.
The United States has said the scope of its military intervention in Libya is limited, but it nevertheless raises questions about what happens to the two other wars that it is waging, especially in Afghanistan. The last time Washington took the eye off the ball in Afghanistan was in 2003 when it launched the Iraq war and then got so bogged down there that a low level and sporadic Taliban resistance in southern Afghanistan grew into a full blown insurgency from which it is still trying to extricate itself.
The question then is will the U.S. attention again shift away from Afghanistan and to Libya and indeed other African and Middle East countries where revolts against decades of authoritarian rule are gaining ground, and unsettling every strategic calculation. Already U.S. Republicans are saying they are concerned that U.S. forces may be getting drawn into a costly, long-running operation in Libya that lacks clear goals. If it ends in a stalemate – a possibility recognized by Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen – how focused can America be on Afghanistan where you can argue that the stakes are arguably less now that al Qaeda has largely been pushed out, and the fight is almost entirely with the Taliban.
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A year ago, India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was tearing itself apart after a second successive general election defeat, its dream of leading India’s rise to the global centre stage in tatters.
But with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Congress-led coalition engulfed by corruption scandals and feuding with its allies, the Hindu nationalists see a reversal of fortunes.
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) put off its plan to resign ministerial posts until Tuesday, offering respite to the Congress-led government fighting to win back public trust after a raft of corruption scandals.
The DMK, which gives Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s coalition vital support in parliament, had said its six ministers would quit the coalition on Monday because of a row over seat to be contested in a local election next month.