Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 27, 2011

Why Are They Patrolling On The Border Line

Memogate and the U.S. attack on the Pakistani border post that killed 28 Pakistani soldier increases the chance of Imran Khan's Tehrik-e-Insaaf (Movement for Justice) party to win the next Pakistani election. Kahn is against the U.S. Pakistan alliance. It also increases the risk of a coup by some lower rank officers in Pakistan.

This is all well known by the U.S. and that is why there is something with the deadly attack which I do not get:

A NATO spokesman, Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacobson, offered details suggesting that allied and Afghan troops operating near the border came under fire from unknown enemies and summoned coalition warplanes for help.

“In the early night hours of this morning, a force consisting of Afghan forces and coalition forces, in the eastern border area where the Durand Line is not always 100 percent clear, got involved in a firefight,” General Jacobson said [...]

“Air force was called in into this activity,” he said, “and we have to look into this situation of what actually happened on the ground.”

The Pakistani border post that was attacked is on a high point some 1.5 miles within Pakistani territory. The actual border line is not always clear, there are no markings, and at 2:00am in the middle of the night no patrol in the area will be able to tell on which side of the border it really is.

So why are the U.S. and Afghan forces patrolling there at all?

Why not pull back the troops like five miles away from the border and establish the surveillance and defense line against infiltrations from Pakistan there? Except where the roads cross the border there is nothing of value or interest in the immediate border area. A pull back would allow for full use of indirect weapons (mortar, planes etc) against any infiltrating enemy while being sure that no Pakistani land and troops will get hurt in such a response.

Declare a no man's land and free fire zone in the buffer on the Afghan side and have at it. Wouldn't that be the sensible thing to do if one wants to avoid such incidence with Pakistan?

Then again - maybe such incidents are intended. But for what purpose?

Posted by b on November 27, 2011 at 15:48 UTC | Permalink


Why? Because they have no idea what they are doing. Or rather the White House has no idea what the Pentagon is doing. And the Pentagon has no idea what ISAF is doing. And ISAF has no idea what the provincial HQs are doing...

In all probability this idiotic killing took place because some CIA/Special Forces death squad got into trouble while raping and killing, and called in air support which shot up 100 square miles of borderlands.
This seems to happen with monotonous regularity, except that, in this case, the dead cannot be dismissed as Taliban terrorists.

It is an indication of US folly that they are not doing all that can be done to keep their corrupt Pakistani allies in power. Instead they seem unaware of the fact that this government is likely to fall as soon as the ballot boxes are opened: that is racism for you, they simply don't understand that Pakistanis are people too.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 27 2011 16:28 utc | 1

I think the correct spelling of Imran's last name is "Khan" instead of Kahn. Khan is a very popular Pakistani last name. It's like Smith or Jones.

Posted by: gagemunsun | Nov 27 2011 16:34 utc | 2

I think we are witnessing in Pakistan an entirely new kind of war: war against an ally; yes, it's a few years the Us is at war against Pakistan, while at the same time aiding its government and armed forces; the Us wants to force full compliance to its desires in the region;

Posted by: claudio | Nov 27 2011 16:38 utc | 3

His name is Imran Khan and he was an extremely popular player in the sport of cricket (about which many Pakistani's are fanatic). His rise in cricket was meteoric mirrored by the team's rise. After retiring he was inspired to open a Cancer Hospital in Pakistan and he did successfully accomplish that bringing a revolution in Cancer treatment in Pakistan. Politics is his third foray in Public life and though when he started more than 5 years ago nobody gave him any chance, today I think the government is afraid of his growing popularity as a politician.

Pakistan's government is extremely corrupt primarily focused on self interest and trying to deliver what their US overlords demand and also managing expectations. The Haqqani affair does indicate the depth of this Pakistan governments corruption. The army generals though also somewhat driven by self interest may have a different idea about national borders and the importance of their integrity. Musharraf, for all his faults, really balked at the idea of allowing drone attacks within Pakistan and that is why he had to go (from the US POV) and a 'popular' President, who would turn a blind eye to drone attacks, got enough money to get elected.

This is the Great Game being played over and over again.

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Nov 27 2011 17:00 utc | 4

Its amazing to me that the degree of malfeasance and incompetence, (exhibited by those waging these ill advised military adventures), gives rise to these theories that there is, somehow, a grand design behind the daily parade of mistakes, foibles, and idiotic policies.

Isn't it apparent by now that this whole thing is sustained by ideology and agenda, rather than competent leadership, reasonable planning, or able management?

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Nov 27 2011 18:38 utc | 5

@gagemunsun - thanks - my typo - corrected

Posted by: b | Nov 27 2011 18:59 utc | 6

Imran Khan was one of the great cricketers or the modern era. And one of the great captains in a game in which leadership on the field is very important. Formerly married to the daughter of Sir James Goldsmith, a reactionary billionaire, his biography is interesting.
His politics appear to be those of a decent patriot, disgusted by the treatment of his country by the United States, and of the treatment of his fellow countrymen by the comprador imperialist elites whose infestation long preceded independence and nationhood.
The likelihood of this brave and decent man living through the next few months seems to me dubious at best.
The latest news is that the recently retired Foreign Minister, who resigned his office in disgust after the Ray Davis incident, has joined Khan's team.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 27 2011 19:00 utc | 7

The usual politics in Pakistan are between the landowner oligarchs in Sindh represented by the Bhutto PPP (Zardari) and the more industrial oligarchs in Punjab represented by the Nawaz PML(N). There are various other parties but the swing is usually between the two main blocks.

Imran Khan doesn't have such a block and, up to now, not yet an oligarchy behind him. He is coming up as a genuine third power. That is what makes him "dangerous". If he gets some reasonable backing in the military, or rather no outright rejection from it, the next election may well go to him. And yes, that means his life is in permanent danger.

In the U.S. a smear campaign against him "He is an Islamic radical!!!", which is bollocks, has already started.

Posted by: b | Nov 27 2011 19:12 utc | 8

Hm, lots of co-ordinated disinformation ... most reports refer to the attack by 'NATO' forces, the ill-defined border and positions with vague lines on scrap paper maps, that Pakistani troops are indistinguishable from insurgents, clearly 'spoonfed' reports (Guardian) about NATO forces firing in 'self-defence' ...

When it suits, US forces are NATO, not American. That Hillary, Panetta, US Commander in Afghanistan, et al assure us of encouraging NATO's prompt investigation is utterly contemptable. Let us be clear, NATO is little more than a Military Mafia and the US is the Don. Rassmussen of NATO fame re-assures Pakistani lives are as highly valued as Afghani's ...

The border is NOT poorly marked/defined as portrayed. A specific “red line” based on GPS coordinates is available to both Pakistan and NATO forces. The two checkposts were well inside Pakistani sovereign territory behind that red line and their specific co-ordinates were also known to NATO. The helicopters and ground support aircraft certainly would have had those GPS co-ordinates ...

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 27 2011 19:33 utc | 9

South Asia analyst and former Australian defense attaché to Islamabad Brian Cloughley said the consequences of the raid would be probably severe.

"This is quite outrageous and I have no doubt it signifies the end of the last lingering shreds of trust that the Pakistan army had for the U.S.," Cloughely said.

He added: "The locations of Pakistani posts have been notified to ISAF. There is no excuse whatever for this incident, especially after the meeting between Kayani and [ISAF commander Gen. John R] Allen."

This is no different to the Israelis deliberate lethal artillery fire on UNTSO post 2006 Lebanon war.

Was it deliberate in order to send a message, to punish (twisted AFPAK logic) ? Was it criminally negligent given the Pakistan positions were marked and known ? Or was it simply because US pilots fly excessive hours using unsupervised drug cocktails ? Or because Pakistanis are simply 'brown' 'others' and muslim to boot, their lives don't count ?

US-NATO command and the US government would have known within hours pretty much precisely what went down ... the sustained silence and complete lack of any substantive details whatsoever from US-NATO is deafening.

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 27 2011 19:35 utc | 10

Good background, scene setting concerning the Pakistani situation re the Afghan war and US relations:

Blaming Pakistan

Pak-Afghan Cross Border Attacks

What US Should Understand

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 27 2011 19:37 utc | 11

Khalid Musharraf, for all his faults, really balked at the idea of allowing drone attacks within Pakistan and that is why he had to go

i thought the problem started in 06 when Musharraf meeting with the Chinese President Hu Jintao. and then didn't pakistan sign the other oil deal w/iran right after that. it's hard to keep my timeline straight but who could forget.. this.

"What we cannot escape," one Pentagon policy planner told us, "is a confrontation with Pakistan. Pakistan holds the key to success for us in Afghanistan."

Posted by: annie | Nov 27 2011 19:53 utc | 12

An immediate consequence is increased traffic through Uzbekhistan, whose government so greatly resembles that of the United States that it has become a favoured ally.
It speaks volumes for the patience and cold bloodedness of China and Russia that they are not lifting a finger at a moment when their enemy's throat is at their mercy.
The situation in Pakistan is such that the government does the US a favour by banning its truck shipments, because it is most unlikely that any would get through.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 27 2011 21:43 utc | 13

This was on Truthdig recently:
Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov is notorious for heading one of the world’s most oppressive regimes, and millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are being given to a for-profit military contractor turned propaganda machine to make sure he remains a faithful and able ally in the global war on terror.

Freedom House, a D.C.-based nongovernmental organization that conducts international human rights research, gave Karimov’s Uzbekistan the lowest score possible in its Freedom in the World report. Groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have uncovered widespread torture and child labor practices, while other organizations say the leader has detained more political prisoners than the leaders of all other post-Soviet republics combined. Most of the imprisoned are somehow linked to Islam. —ARK

Foreign Policy:

When people read a news website, they don’t usually imagine that it is being run by a major producer of fighter jets and smart bombs. But when the Pentagon has its own vision of America’s foreign policy, and the funds to promote it, it can put a $23 billion defense contractor in a unique position to report on the war on terror.

Over the past three years, a subdivision of Virginia-based General Dynamics has set up and run a network of eight “influence websites” funded by the Defense Department with more than $120 million in taxpayer money. The sites, collectively known as the Trans Regional Web Initiative (TRWI) and operated by General Dynamics Information Technology, focus on geographic areas under the purview of various U.S. combatant commands, including U.S. Central Command. In its coverage of Uzbekistan, a repressive dictatorship increasingly important to U.S. military goals in Afghanistan, a TRWI website called Central Asia Online has shown a disturbing tendency to downplay the autocracy’s rights abuses and uncritically promote its claims of terrorist threats.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 27 2011 21:49 utc | 14

Pakistan stakes out its demands ?

Pakistan refuses to unblock NATO supply

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan refused on Sunday to accept the request by the United States and its allied states to unblock supplies to Afghanistan for the coalition forces before (1) a formal apology coupled with (2) a thorough enquiry into the cross-border NATO air strike in which 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed, as well as (3) stern punishment for those involved in the attack.

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 27 2011 22:00 utc | 15

As outraged says re 9, US pilots know where they are these days by GPS coordinates, they simply don't care.

It may be that closing Torkham won't have much effect. The US should have many months of supplies in advance, and then there is Uzbekistan, however much it costs.

Posted by: alexno | Nov 27 2011 22:54 utc | 16

From what I can make out, a team of Afghan Special Forces (with US advisers) was inside Pakistani territory to attack a suspected Taliban camp. It came under fire, and called for air support. The jets and helicopters hit two Pakistan military posts on hilltops in the area. It is not clear if these posts were involved in the firefight.

The exact location of these posts was known to the US/ISAF command (only a day earlier the ISAF commander, Gen Allen, met with Gen Kayani to discuss cross-border coordination). It is clear that ISAF HQ wasn't too bothered if the Pakistani posts were hit; they could certainly have warned the planes off if they had wanted to.

Perhaps, as a deliberate policy, they were sending a strong message to the Pakistan military. The latter probably knows that, and it will be interesting to see how hard they push back. So far, they have said they won't reopen the supply routes until they get a formal apology, an enquiry, and sanctions against those at fault.

Posted by: FB Ali | Nov 27 2011 23:06 utc | 17

The Yankees dropped several bombs on the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in 1999 despite having its GPS co-ordinates marked as a non-target.
It doesn't really matter why the Yankees do what they do - so long as the enemies keep piling up.
The more the better, imo.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 28 2011 0:25 utc | 18

@ FB Ali

"The exact location of these posts was known to the US/ISAF command (only a day earlier the ISAF commander, Gen Allen, met with Gen Kayani to discuss cross-border coordination)."

Same thing I thought. In fact it reminded me of the Israeli bombing of the UN school in Gaza in 08. It was well reported that the UN had given the coordinates to the Israelis so it would be marked for safety.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Nov 28 2011 0:30 utc | 19

Okay, I believe US Command is now seriously concerned about the Pakistanis determination to exact a price, being how long they may keep their border closed and the obvious consequences for forces occupying Afghanistan.

The following fluff piece, yet again another timely 'seed' from the Guardian, I would suggest is to pre-empt and allay any 'unwarranted' concerns ... it does not stand up to scrutiny.

The Russians have a myriad of reasons to allow this lifeline to be 'squeezed', even just a little, the least being NATO encroachment, ongoing bad faith dealings and the little matter of forward missile defense to neuter the Russian deterrent ... depending on how long Pakistan keeps the border closed and should Russia decide to 'play', the 'Great Game' may be about to get very interesting indeed ...

Pakistan border closure will have little effect on Nato's Afghanistan campaign
New supply lines via Tajikstan and Uzbekistan mean Islamabad will only be able to push up costs and inconvenience war effort

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 28 2011 1:37 utc | 20

some say it's because of increasing alliance between Iran and Pakistan

Posted by: nikon | Nov 28 2011 2:31 utc | 21

Uzbeks and Tajiks are culturally and historically close to Iran, so Iran may have some influence in both countries.

Posted by: nikon | Nov 28 2011 2:32 utc | 22

Colm O'Toole,

Another deliberate Israeli attack was the 2006 bombing of a UN observer post in Lebanon in which four observers (including a Canadian military officer) were killed. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called it "the apparently deliberate targeting by Israeli Defence Forces of a UN Observer post" because they had the coordinates of the post.

It was shameful the way the Canadian govt kept quiet afterwards about the killing of one of their officers.

Posted by: FB Ali | Nov 28 2011 3:08 utc | 23

@12 annie, Pakistan's strong relations with China go back to the early 60's and Ayub Khan when Pakistan became the first nation to publically recognize PRC. The thawing of relations between US and China also took place through Pakistan as Kissinger 'officially' was visiting Pakistan when he then from Pakistan went to China to setup Nixon's visit. Similarly Iran and Pakistan have had a fairly close relationship at times ever since The 'Shah' of Iran help setup RCD a joint cooperation between Pakistan, Iran and Turkey. Culturally also Pakistan has ties that are historical. The Pakistan national anthem is almost entirely in Persian, even though it is not really spoken in Pakistan. All this to say that activities either of these countries have always been ongoing and should not be a surprise to anyone in DC. But I remember Musharraf publically stating that he would not allow any drone incursions and shortly afterwards Benazir Bhutto in one of her interviews stated that well that is matter open for discussion. She died but her political party with her husband at the helm has done exactly that, pretty much turn a blind eye to the regular drone attacks and sometimes voicing concern mainly halfhearted attempts to appease Pakistani public sentiments. Well this is atleast how I understand events but maybe I have missed something. As for US relations with Pakistan vis a vis Afghanistan, if you read between the lines of the movie 'Charlie Wilsons War' the US has used the Pakistan military and intelligence as a conduit to execute it Afghan policy in the past. This means the Pak military and ISI have long tentacles with afghanistan that are today part of the 'problem' or 'solution' depending on one's POV

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Nov 28 2011 4:04 utc | 24

FB Ali

I recall the widow of the Canadian killed having some very harsh words about the Israelis. It was a shame she was not more widely quoted in the Canadian media. I agree with the shameful response of the Canadian gov't. Harper was the PM but I think he had support from the Liberals.

There's some more in this Wikipedia link:

I found General Lewis Mackenzie's comments on the attack quite revealing about his views on the war.

Posted by: gagemunsun | Nov 28 2011 4:08 utc | 25

Pakistani Intelligence (ISI), which effectively controls Pakistan, is the Quisling of Western Intelligence. Pakistan is necessary to keep many up and coming potential competitors in the region in check, namely India, Russia and China.....but especially India. It would be an interesting exercise to simulate events should there be no prominent Western Influence. One outcome would most certainly be a regional nuclear war, so in that sense, I suppose we should all be careful and precise about our wishes. Centuries of Western Imperialism and Domination have created a de facto poison pill should that presence be eliminated. In its wake, clashes will ensue as sadistic greed and avarice of another order scrambles for Power and Position in the resulting Power Vacuum. It's like a diabolical game of Let's Make a Deal where what's behind all three curtains is unpalatable, and it would be best not to choose, but choose you must.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Nov 28 2011 12:00 utc | 26

Permanent war = permanent emergency powers + permanent security profiteering

Posted by: Watson | Nov 28 2011 14:11 utc | 27

This has nothing to do with who fired first and from where.

You don't bomb an allies key tactical positions, beyond your mandate in their sovereign territory.

Where was the request for permission from Pakistani border & military authorities to engage ?. This is more than complete disregard of international rules, it is a flagrant violation of law at every level.

Regardless of the decisions of US Special Forces advisers, or the pilots, the authority to engage/fire is determined at higher command level. I cannot understand why those coordinates weren't automatically checked against redlined database coordinates and automatically vetoed, unless it was criminally negligent, or more likely deliberate, especially given it would appear the strikes were sustained for almost two hours.

Why is it taking NATO longer than a few hours to have a timely analysis before the media. Somebody called in the coordinates, and somebody OK'd those coordinates and the strikes. This would all be available within hours.

There shouldn't be just answers to the questions, there should be answers concerning the non-answers, not the 'across the board' 'unnamed officials say this and that, anonymously on the grounds that...' by anonymous afghan officers and anonymous western diplomats. That this is co-ordinated, that it is designed to mislead and obfuscate is obvious, that what passes for a free press sustains and accepts it even more so.

Conversely the Pakistanis put names and faces to their statements ...

Major General Athar Abbas, chief spokesman for the Pakistan military said, however, that the firing lasted for over an hour, while Isaf made "no attempt" to contact the Pakistani side using an established border co-ordination system to report that they had come under fire. He said that the map references of the posts were previously passed to Isaf.

He said the attack lasted almost two hours and that commanders had contacted NATO counterparts while it was going on, asking that "they get this fire to cease, but somehow it continued."

"This was a visible, well-made post, on top of ridges, made of concrete. Militants don't operate from mountaintops, from concrete structures."

"The NATO representatives were told to immediately stop firing but the attacks continued".

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 28 2011 20:42 utc | 28

The last time such an incident (2 soldiers deaths) occurred Pakistan closed one of the two NATO supply routes for ten days before a formal apology was proffered. This time both crossings are closed as well as the border. Should this situation continue for more than 10-14 days the entire Afghan War venture is very much on borrowed time. The Russian and 'stans northern supply route cannot compensate and is itself now a very juicy geostrategic lever, better yet, a vice or nut-cracker.

The SCO consists of the China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan (Pakistan & Iran have observer status and Iran may soon become a full member).

The commander who ignores logistics is destined for destruction, the Afghan Wars critical vulnerability has always been its logistics. The arrogant, imperious and duplicitous approach to dealing with Pakistan from day one has now produced yet another potential strategic 'Blowback'.

Strategic and operational personnel airlifts via the Manas 'Air Transit Center' (Kyrgyzstan will not permit it to be called a 'Base') are at the mercy of Kyrgyzstan (and the SCO ?)

Should Pakistan maintain the crossing and border closures, then there will be no egress via a land route out of Afghanistan, no sealift extraction via Karachi, ~150,000 troops entirely at the whim and mercy of the member states of the SCO.

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 28 2011 22:19 utc | 29

Not only is Pakistan moving to and being wooed by China as an alternate strategic ally, a possible loose alliance of the SCO to formally include Iran, now possibly even Pakistan ? Will US Foreign Policy and conduct provide the potential for Pakistan to transform into a nationalist, independent state (ex US vassal), a new Islamic Republic, somewhat similar to Irans disposition ?

While the US and NATO maneuver and plot to take out Syria in the west of the ME, is a counter-balancing opportunistic event occurring re the Afghan War/Occupation to the East in central Asia as a result of American imperial hubris ?

The potential geostrategic consequences of this 'incident' could be far reaching indeed.

Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires ...

Afghanistan: Nato supply routes

China supports Pakistan in row over Nato border attack

Most US statements on aid to Pakistan are either exaggerations, half-truths or outright propaganda.
US Aid To Pakistan: Numbers Contradict American Statements

Pakistan has had enough, The assumption that it has no choice but to obey America may turn out to be a dire strategic error

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 28 2011 22:20 utc | 30

The SCO comes into play...

Violation of Pak sovereignty not acceptable: China, Russia

MOSCOW/BEIJING: Russia and China on Monday said that violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity was unacceptable.


The Russian foreign minister said that a nation’s sovereignty should always be upheld, even when hunting “terrorists”.


The Russian foreign minister underscored that Pakistan and Russia were partners in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and also partners in promoting regional cooperation. A statement issued by the foreign ministry said, “The Russian foreign minister emphasised the unacceptability of violating the sovereignty of states, including during the planning and carrying out of counter-terrorist operations.”


Jiechi(China) expressed deep shock and strong concern over the incident and extended condolences to the aggrieved families. He said that Pakistan’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected, and called for a thorough and serious investigation into the matter.

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 29 2011 2:41 utc | 31

Good comments and sum up on the situation by Outraged. I think these comments should be put together to make a blog post. What do you say b?

Posted by: amar | Nov 29 2011 4:57 utc | 32

Based on all the fragmentary reporting so far across a range of open sources, this is how the 'incident' 'may' have gone down:

Around midnight, within Afghanistan but adjacent the Pakistani border, a joint Afghan-US special forces patrol under US Command, has a brief firefight with some Taliban insurgents armed with MG's & mortars, checks with Pakistani Command that no Pakistani forces are in the immediate area, calls in some ground support strikes.

The band of Taliban insurgents successfully disengage/evade and give them the slip, SF patrol conducts a hot pursuit towards or even over the Afghan-Pakistan border.

SF patrol then ends up some distance from the initial engagement, apparently outside their mandate, (probably) on the wrong(?) side of the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Approximately 2:00-2:20AM, the US SF patrol commander sights two concrete fixed emplacements(positions) inclusive of tripod mounted heavy weapons (MGs ?) (within Pakistan proper), falsely assumes they are Taliban positions and (without having been directly engaged(?) (ie fired upon) by the outposts), stands off and requests and directs ground support strikes by at least two US Apache helicopter Gunships and subsequently an USAF AC-130 Gunship (absolutely lethal) to take out them Taliban terr'sts.

The ground support strike requests and their specific co-ordinates would have to have been explicitly individually approved by higher US-NATO HQ. Pakistan was not contacted for approval of the strikes on the outposts 'specific' co-ordinates. Outposts specific co-ordinates previously supplied to US-NATO, marked on NATO maps, noted in handheld and aircraft GPS units and identified/known as Pakistani regular army outposts/positions(ignored ?).

Once engaged by strike aircraft, US-NATO command ignore/fail to respond to repeated Pakistani Unit, HQ and Command requests to cease fire on the outposts, cease the strikes, which are to no avail.

The Pakistani troops that aren't already dead or wounded likely reply with limited, ineffective small arms fire. Additional Pakistani regular troops moving up to the outposts are sighted, assumed to be more Taliban terr'sts and are also targetted by US strike aircraft, adding to the confusion and carnage.

It's now about 4:00AM. From start to finish the directed strikes, the 'incident', occurs over approximately a two hour period.

End result, no dead Taliban terr'sts, Pakistan has two fixed border outposts utterly destroyed, with the loss of 28 regular soldiers dead and 14 more wounded, many severely, amongst the outposts and nearby, by US ordnance fired from US aircraft under the direction of a US patrol commander with the approval of US-NATO higher HQ. The KIA count could have easily been much higher. SF patrol casualties, probably nil ?

Afghan-US SF patrol saddles up on the choppers and heads back to base for a mission debrief and hot breakfast. A job well done, a few less terr'sts around.

Within only a few hours, by mid-morning, US-NATO Commands and White House have a handle on the key details. Pakistani Military Command and Government also, and are literally, enraged ...

If not a deliberate, informed, directed policy action ... then all in all, at the very least multiple counts of criminal negligence or gross incompetence or indifference, etc, a cavalier regard for life (non caucasian) and an unforgivable act of murderous hubris against an ally, followed by a cover-up.

Little wonder the extended deafening silence, poorly co-ordinated mis and dis-information from anonymous sources, hollow proforma statements of 'regret' and utter confusion as to how to hide/bury/conceal or spin this, 'incident'.

The only thing more accurate and deadly than enemy fire, is friendly fire (to paraphrase Murphys Rules of Combat)

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 29 2011 16:42 utc | 33

nice work, Outraged

Posted by: claudio | Nov 30 2011 2:28 utc | 34

Further to 33

The senior Pakistani officer present was Major Mujahid Mirani (KIA) and his soldiers were from the 7th Azad Kashmir Regiment, one of six Regular Infantry Regiments of the Pakistan Army(not some tribal militia or paramilitary scouts). The two outposts (approximately 1km apart) were clearly flying the Pakistani national flag. The area is extremely rugged forested mountainous area, with isolated ravines and valleys. The outposts were apparently at 8,000ft. The additional Pakistani troops engaged as they responded were a pre-assigned ready reaction force.

Reports vary as to the outposts being 300m to 3km inside the Pakistani border. However, effectively all are consistent about 'inside the Pakistani border'.

1. On what lawful/justifiable basis was:
(a) the Afghan-US patrol doing on the Pakistani side of the border ? and
(b) the US strike aircraft conducting sustained strikes on known Pakistani regular army positions inside Pakistan ?
2. Who requested the strikes ? Justified on what grounds ?
3. Who at higher command authorized the strikes ?
4. Why were the strikes not aborted when advised & demanded by Pakistani command ?
5. How could strikes be authorized on known Pakistani positions at all ?
6. Was this a misguided, poorly conceived, deliberate 'deniable' action to 'teach a lesson to' or 'provoke a response' from Pakistan Military ? If so, who authorized it?
7. Remarkably, once 'over', was an offer of 'on call' priority battlefield medical aid/assistance (heliborne medevac) made to its ally to save lives, if not, why not ?
8. What would have been the US-NATO response if the roles were reversed in this 'incident' ?

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 1 2011 1:24 utc | 35

Border post attack a big loss for US war policy
By Gareth Porter

The unwillingness of ISAF, now commanded by US General John Allen, to comment on the episode and the swift call for a full investigation clearly reflect doubts on the part of the chain of command as to the veracity of the account given by the unnamed commander of the US Special Operations Forces (SOF) unit who ordered the operation across the border in Pakistan.

Nadeem and military spokesman General Athar Abbas both pointed out that the posts were located on the tops or ridges more than 300 meters from the Afghan border and that they were permanent structures, which would not have been occupied by insurgents. Furthermore, Nadeem said, NATO had been given the map coordinates of those posts, called "Volcano" and "Boulder".

The head of Pakistani military operations also provided a detailed account of the events indicating that the US military was aware of the fact that Pakistani posts were being attacked from the beginning.

Just minutes before "Volcano" was first attacked, he recalled, a US sergeant from the "Tactical Operations Center" in Afghanistan called a Pakistani major on duty in Peshawar and told him US Special Forces had taken indirect fire in an area called Gora Pahari about 14 kilometers from the army posts.

A few minutes later, the US sergeant called back and told the major, "Your Volcano post has been hit," Nadeem said.

Nadeem said the Pakistani army informed NATO that their posts were being attacked by ISAF forces, but the attack continued for 51 minutes, then breaking off for 15 minutes, and resuming for about an hour.

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 2 2011 1:52 utc | 36

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