You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of democracy, social justice and the equality of mankind in your own native soil. [Mohammed Ali Jinnah]

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Be ready for more: US media warns of more attacks

US media warns of more attacks

By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON, Sept 4: The US administration is officially refusing to comment on a cross-border raid into Pakistan that killed at least 15 people, but unnamed US officials are confirming that American troops entered Pakistan to target extremists and may continue to do so.

“In regards to the reports about that incident, we have not commented, and I won’t today,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters on Thursday. “I’m just not going to comment on the incident in any way.”

At the State Department, Secretary Condoleezza Rice made almost identical comments, saying: “I don’t have anything for you on Pakistan except to say that, obviously, we are working very closely with the civilian government there, the newly democratically elected, civilian government.”

Asked why was she reluctant to comment on the reported US strike, Ms Perino replied: “All I can tell you is that I am going to decline to comment on reports about that incident.”

But the US media, from newspapers to television and radio stations, are all quoting senior US officials as saying that American commandos entered Pakistan on Wednesday to attack an Al Qaeda target near Angoor Adda.

They also warned that the United States might conduct similar raids in future as well if it had “actionable intelligence” about the presence of Al Qaeda or Taliban commanders in a certain area.
US media warns of more attacks -DAWN - Top Stories; September 05, 2008
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Established 'rules of engagement'

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT: The foreign minister told the National Assembly that Wednesday’s raid, which drew renewed opposition calls for a review of Pakistan’s role in the anti-terror war, was in violation of what he called “established rules of engagement” as well as of “international human norms” and the UN charter.

But he did not explain “the rules of engagement” that Pakistan might have agreed with the coalition forces in Afghanistan despite a demand from the main PML-N speaker in the National Assembly Ahsan Iqbal who, like several other members, called for a detailed debate in parliament on the situation.

A report by the US-based Associated Press news agency said the circumstances surrounding Wednesday’s raid were not clear, “but US rules of engagement allow American troops to chase militants across the border into Pakistan’s lawless tribal region when they are attacked” and that “they may only go about six miles on the ground under normal circumstances” and 10 miles into Pakistani airspace through aircraft.

Both the house, which took up the issue almost simultaneously, resounded with rhetoric and anti-American sentiment, mostly from opposition parties such as the Jamaat-i-Islami and the PML-N, while some in a mainly lawyers’ crowd who protested outside the parliament house against non-restoration of the deposed superior court judges also chanted “America ka jo yar hai, ghaddar hai, ghaddar hai” (whoever is friend of America is a traitor).
Outraged parliament wants border raids repulsed -DAWN - Top Stories; September 05, 2008

will we wake up ever??? almost one year ago, i felt yes... now i m sure we wont... :'(
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Mukhtar’s stand on US raid raises eyebrows

Saturday, September 06, 2008
Rahimullah Yusufzai

PESHAWAR: Unlike other defence ministers in the world who consider it their duty to defend their frontiers and people, Pakistan’s Minister of Defence Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar seems to have taken it upon himself to justify the US forces’ raids in Pakistani territory.

“No one carries out shelling without any reason after coming from far away,” the defence minister told reporters in Lahore. This is how he was quoted by sections of the Pakistani and foreign media. By arguing that there must be a reason for the cross-border raid in the early hours Wednesday, it was obvious that he was justifying the US attack on a Pakistani border village in South Waziristan that killed 15 civilians and injured another two. Among the dead were five women and three children.

In fact, the country’s defence minister wasn’t even aware that US aircraft didn’t carry out shelling on the Pakistani village as he made it out to be. Instead, up to four choppers, two Chinooks and two Cobra gunship helicopters, violated Pakistan’s airspace and landed near Musa Neeka village not far from the Pakistani border town of Angoor Adda. The troops brought by the helicopters then stormed three houses of innocent Pakistani tribesmen in Zololay hamlet and shot dead at least 15 of them. Ahmad Mukhtar, either deliberately or due to ignorance, made no mention of the US ground forces that raided the Pakistani village and committed an aggression that the defence minister and the country’s armed forces should have repelled. Otherwise, how does he qualify to be Pakistan’s defence minister if he cannot make an effort to defend the country’s borders and citizens?

This is the second time that the Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar has given statement that tends to justify cross-border raids by US forces in Pakistan’s tribal areas. But this one was insensitive to say the least because there was no report of any attempted infiltration of militants from the Pakistan side into Afghanistan that could have provoked the US military to retaliate. Besides, there was no evidence that the US troops had entered Pakistani territory in “hot pursuit”. All those killed were civilians and among the dead were women and children, who cannot be called al-Qaeda or Taliban militants by any stretch of imagination.

Subsequently, one heard on private TV channels that the defence minister had said he would issue a statement after completion of investigations into the South Waziristan incident. But by then the damage had been done as his initial reaction conveyed by him to reporters in Lahore had been widely reported and quoted.

This is undoubtedly a huge escalation in the hostilities on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. As defence minister, Ahmad Mukhtar should be worrying about the consequences of such acts of aggression and planning measures to reassure Pakistanis unfortunate enough to be living in these tribal borderlands. For five hours Wednesday, the aggrieved tribesmen kept the bodies of the 15 slain Pakistanis on the road linking Musa Neeka with Angoor Adda and Wana but no government official or army officer came there to listen to their grievances, condole with them the deaths of their near and dear ones and give them assurance that such acts of aggression by outside powers would be resisted in future. Pakistan Army and the paramilitary Frontier Corps have their bases in the area but no soldier moved from his entrenched position to come to the assistance of Pakistani villagers under attack from troops who had illegally crossed over from Afghanistan.

As defence minister, Ahmad Mukhtar should visit Musa Neeka and Angoor Adda, offer condolences to the grieving families and check and upgrade Pakistan’s defences at the border. He probably has never been to these parts and it would be a good opportunity for Pakistan’s defence minister to check out how life goes in an area that is frequently in the news and under attack from US, Nato and Afghan forces. He should also take along with him Rahman Malik, the prime minister’s adviser on interior affairs, who too is increasingly dealing with tribal areas and the “war on terror”.

Read full story: Mukhtar’s stand on US raid raises eyebrows

sad, really it is :(
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