Posted by: Lister | September 17, 2008

Threat To Join Taliban

In response to the US conducting raids in Pakistan, some tribal elders (representing half a million Pakistanis) have threatened to join the Taliban. The Guardian:

“If America doesn’t stop attacks in tribal areas, we will prepare a lashkar [army] to attack US forces in Afghanistan,” tribal chief Malik Nasrullah announced in Miran Shah, north Waziristan’s largest city. “We will also seek support from the tribal elders in Afghanistan to fight jointly against America.”

The development threatens to widen the conflict, with previously moderate people from Pakistan’s tribal border region with Afghanistan in danger of joining Taliban militants based in the area. They have reacted furiously to intensified American missile attacks on targets in the tribal territory in recent weeks.

[…] During the past month, there have been seven US missile strikes in the tribal area, about the same number as in the whole of last year. A US ground assault in south Waziristan provoked a sharp rebuke from the Pakistan army.

Another article from the Guardian:

Pakistan’s military said today its forces had received orders to fire on US troops if they entered Pakistani territory, after a cross-border raid inflamed public opinion.

The country’s civilian leaders, who have taken a tough line against militants, have insisted Pakistan must resolve the dispute with the US through diplomatic channels. But the military has taken a more robust line.

General Athar Abbas, an army spokesman, told the Associated Press that after a cross-border assault in the south Waziristan region earlier this month, the military told its field commanders to take action to prevent any similar raids.

“The orders are clear,” Abbas said in an interview. “In case it happens again in this form, that there is a very significant detection, which is very definite, no ambiguity, across the border, on ground or in the air: open fire.”

[…] American officials have confirmed that their forces carried out a raid near the town of Angoor Ada but have given few details. Abbas said Pakistan’s military had asked for an explanation but received only a “half-page” of “very vague” information that did not identify the intended target. Pakistani officials have said the raid killed about 15 people, and Abbas said they all appeared to be civilians.

[…] The army spokesman played down reports that Pakistani forces yesterday shot at US helicopters after they penetrated national air space. Abbas insisted no foreign troops had crossed the border and that “trigger-happy tribesmen” had fired the shots.

Pakistani troops based nearby fired flares to see what was going on, he said. The US military in Afghanistan said none of its troops were involved in such an incident yesterday.

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