Chaos: Pakistan wants U.S. drone base shut after NATO attack kills 26 Pakistani troops

posted at 5:00 pm on November 26, 2011 by Allahpundit

Such is the state of U.S./Pakistan relations that no one seems fully confident this was accidental. Is there another “alliance” in the world of which that could be said — where one country wipes out two dozen troops from the other and it’s not instantly clear it was a terrible miscalculation instead of a response to some shadowy provocation?

Is it “friendly fire” if the two sides aren’t really friendly?

“It seems quite extraordinary that we’d just nail these posts the way they say we did,” said one senior American official who was in close touch with American and NATO officials in Pakistan and Afghanistan early Saturday. “Whether they were going after people or whether there was some firing from the Afghan side of the border, then the Pakistan side, we just don’t know. It’s real murky right now. Clearly, something went very wrong.”

The American ambassador in Islamabad, Cameron Munter, called an emergency meeting and expressed regret over the Pakistani casualties. And Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, offered condolences to families of the dead and promised an investigation. “This incident has my highest personal attention and my commitment to thoroughly investigate it to determine the facts,” he said in a statement.

The strikes, which Pakistani officials said had involved both helicopters and fighter jets, took place overnight at two military posts in Salala, a village in Pakistan’s Mohmand tribal region near the border with Kunar Province in Afghanistan. At least 40 soldiers were deployed at the posts, which according to Pakistani officials were established to repulse cross-border attacks by Afghan militants and the Taliban. Pakistani military officials said NATO aircraft had penetrated roughly a mile and a half into Pakistan to make the strikes.

If you’re thinking this might be a jihadi operation that Pakistan’s trying to pin on NATO, no dice: A NATO spokesman says it’s “highly likely” that coalition aircraft were responsible. (Why would the Taliban or the Haqqanis want to attack Pakistan at this point anyway?) As punishment for the incident, Pakistani leaders have cut supply lines into Afghanistan and ordered the U.S. to scram from its drone base in southern Pakistan within 15 days. And opposition leaders are already screaming about ending their “support” for the war on terror, so if you’re one of the many people who wonder what things in Afghanistan would look like without Pakistani “help,” good news — we might be about to find out.

I’ll give you three scenarios about what might have happened in the hope/expectation that knowledgeable readers will rule some out in the comments. One: Hot pursuit. NATO was chasing some jihadi outfit, they crossed the border, then we crossed the border after them. It’s happened before and Pakistani troops have ended up dead in the process. But not dozens of Pakistani troops; the sheer volume of casualties plus the fact that NATO surely knows there are checkpoints near the Durand Line makes it hard to understand how this was a case of mistaken identity. Maybe they killed some troops accidentally and then took fire from the others? Or maybe they took fire as soon as they crossed the border? Two: Deliberate targeting. The Times reported six weeks ago about the sustained escalation in mortar fire at American units from across the border in Pakistan. The troops interviewed for the piece made no bones about their belief that the Pakistani military was involved. Ten days after that story was published, the Pentagon made the charge formally. Maybe last night’s attack was NATO’s way of sending a message in the guise of a friendly fire incident. Problem is, doing it this visibly and spectacularly forces the Pakistani leadership to retaliate, as they’ve now done by revoking base rights. Would the White House really risk their drone program just to take out a few Pakistani troops for supporting jihadi mortar fire? Could be that the drone program’s been so successful that they were planning to wind it down anyway, just because there’s almost no one left to target. But Obama’s always preferred stealth operations to spectacles. If he wanted to send a message, he could do it without making Pakistan lose face.

Three: It really was a crazy accident. Gen. Allen met with Pakistani Gen. Kayani on Thursday, just one day before the incident, to discuss greater coordination. Less than a month ago, the White House decided that its (insane) new strategy in Afghanistan was to somehow convince Pakistan to bring the Taliban and the Haqqanis to the bargaining table for talks. If we’re still of the mind that Pakistani cooperation is essential to getting out of the war as quickly and cleanly as possible, mowing down their soldiers en masse seems … counterproductive. So yeah, it probably is an accident — assuming accidents on this scale are even possible. Any Air Force readers willing to weigh in? How likely is it that NATO jets and choppers might not recognize whom they’re engaging on the ground, even when they know there are “allied” checkpoints in the area?

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/26/nato-air-attack-pakistan-soldiers

This article suggests that my earlier posting assuming a Pakistani screening effort is largely consistent with what the Guardian is being told.

The Pakis are a mixed lot and Pashtun Frontier Militia are very likely to support Pashtun Taliban. The military may well also want to take over control of Afghanistan when we leave via their support for the Taliban. It seems the right solution is not to leave until Karzai can stand on his own with US airpower as needed.

KW64 on November 26, 2011 at 10:01 PM

KW64,

It seems the right solution is not to leave until Karzai can stand on his own with US airpower as needed.

‘Eff Karzai. His corrupt and incompetent government is a big part of the problem.

Mike Honcho on November 26, 2011 at 10:12 PM

The FallOut,or,Propaghanda begins……………
====================================================

Pakistan orders US to vacate airbase
Added: 6 hours ago Occurred On: Nov-26-2011
********************************************

The Pakistani government has ordered the US to vacate an airbase within 15 days following a deadly airstrike near the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Islamabad on Saturday ordered Washington to vacate Shamsi, which is a remote desert outpost in southwest Pakistan.

The airbase was reportedly used as a hub for covert CIA drone strikes. Pakistan had previously told the United States to leave the site in June.

The new order to vacate came after a US-led NATO airstrike killed at least 28 Pakistani soldiers and wounded 15 others in the Mohmand Agency in northwestern Pakistan early on Saturday.

Pakistan also ordered a review of all arrangements with the US and NATO, including diplomatic, political, military and intelligence activities, AFP reported.

The decision was taken at an extraordinary meeting of senior cabinet ministers and military service chiefs chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who strongly condemned the strike.

Islamabad also summoned US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter to lodge a strong complaint regarding the unprovoked attack.

Activists with Islami Jamiat Tulba, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami party, staged a protest in the northwestern city of Lahore to denounce the killings of soldiers.

NATO confirmed that the attack has left some Pakistani soldiers dead and has launched an investigation into the incident.

In a retaliatory move, the Pakistani government has blocked dozens of trucks carrying goods and fuel supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has repeatedly condemned airstrikes against its troops near the border with Afghanistan. While the strikes supposedly target militants, they usually claim the lives of civilians and Pakistani soldiers.

LINK:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/212301.html
==========================================

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=5e4_1322339860

canopfor on November 26, 2011 at 10:26 PM

Quit bothering me. I’m golfing and shooting a little hoops today.

Hummer53 on November 26, 2011 at 10:58 PM

The only greater oxymoron than “Pakistani military” is “Afghan military”. Put a uniform on a terrorist – he’s still a terrorist.

These so-called “troops” were obviously firing on the aircraft.

Where was it again that Bin Laden was found?

labrat on November 27, 2011 at 9:05 AM

Quit bothering me. I’m golfing and shooting a little hoops today.

Hummer53 on November 26, 2011 at 10:58 PM

Heh

Mr. Grump on November 27, 2011 at 9:37 AM

‘Eff Karzai. His corrupt and incompetent government is a big part of the problem.

Mike Honcho on November 26, 2011 at 10:12 PM

Karzai will not be president forever. Given time via NATO support, the government may improve. Given no time by premature NATO abandonment of the fledgling national government, things will surely get worse.

KW64 on November 27, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Pakistan can go scratch.

curved space on November 27, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Bring them home

True_King on November 27, 2011 at 11:05 AM

I’ll take curtain number #2.

We aren’t going anywhere, the Pakistanis are for sale. We write them another a blank check, message received, and this all get’s played down. Three: It really was a crazy accident. that’s what will be released as the official statement for public consumption.

Dr Evil on November 27, 2011 at 11:44 AM

ALLAHPUNDIT: “Is there another “alliance” in the world of which that could be said — where one country wipes out two dozen troops from the other and it’s not instantly clear it was a terrible miscalculation instead of a response to some shadowy provocation?”

America’s alliance with Israel, in view of the USS Liberty incident.

David Blue on November 27, 2011 at 11:45 AM

JohnGalt23 is correct, and something has gone seriously askew with America’s foreign policy. It’s far too aggressive.

David Blue on November 27, 2011 at 12:01 PM

Here is the likely scenario.

The magnificent Afghan Army unit, with 10 years of training under their belts, were doing a solo thing( with access to NATO air assets) and took a few shots from the Pakis. The fabulous Afghans call in air strikes. Uncle Sam, in his zeal to make Muslims feel good about themselves, was not about to let this kuffar free ground action by the heroic Afghan unit go unaided (houses, hill sides and groves of trees be damned!) And blasted the coordinates given by the Afghan heroes. Oops, some of Islams Purest are composted.

Breaks your heart doesn’t it?

That happens when absurd ignorance rules the day.

BL@KBIRD on November 27, 2011 at 1:04 PM

“Canadians wouldn’t be shooting at American troops in the first place.”

That’s correct. The War of 1812 satisfied our bloodlust for our American neighbours. :-)

itobo on November 27, 2011 at 2:26 PM

If Ron Paul becomes President the annoying clap trap on this board constantly posted to an insane degree by john galt will be happening every single day as well.. Except it will be coming from the leader of the free world. Wow, that will be huge fun!!!

Reason enough to make sure Ron Paul retires this year.
Sheesh. Every thread, 25 posts a thread, always the same thing.

saus on November 27, 2011 at 7:37 PM

This is the best & maybe only way that the U.S. can go to open war against yet another Country in that part of the world.

Call it “Operation: No Comment“.

Use NATO like a sledge hammer, openly attack the Pakis in a series of escalating attacks between us & our noble allies within- then claim it was an accident- or even better don’t say anything at all. Just, ya know, don’t return their calls.

Doesn’t matter who buys that bs- as long as we do not declare open war on anyone else for at least another 8-12 months.

You know; depending on the breaks.

For a President who claimed he didn’t want to make any more enemies as a candidate, you have to give him his due in persistently honing his ability to use everything in his arsenal to do that very thing.

ChipDWood on November 28, 2011 at 12:37 AM

saus: “If Ron Paul becomes President the annoying clap trap on this board constantly posted to an insane degree by john galt will be happening every single day as well.. Except it will be coming from the leader of the free world. Wow, that will be huge fun!!!”

JohnGalt23 makes sense to me, and compared to more of Barack Obama Ron Paul would be paradise.

Even compared to his republican rivals I think Ron Paul would be an improvement, because he would be more serious about saving money and he would be committed to a less aggressive foreign policy.

America is no longer a country that can afford a highly aggressive foreign policy, and there’s no mystery left on whether it will work. It doesn’t work, nation-building is a bust, Islamic goodwill cannot be won, and the money is gone, replaced by trillions of dollars of debt.

Go Ron Paul. He’s better than insane squandering and endless wars for the democratic benefit of Muslim maniacs who vote for jihad.

David Blue on November 28, 2011 at 3:11 AM

America was, at one, time, the hero of large swaths of the Arab people, because we were the ones encouraging Britain and France to end their colonial ways.
–Colour some of us skeptical of this rosy regional nostalgia for a less active US foreign policy. State-sponsored Arab views of America include a standard litany of compaints about the US – including events as disconnected as Hiroshima, Ras Haile Selassie, and Disney. It is, after all, much easier to point the finger at foreign sources for the fault lines and bigotry born of local pathologies.

Only three years prior to Suez, Western intelligence agencies backed the officers’ coup against against a (purportedly) fairly elected Mossadeq. Yet this, rather than US opposition to “neo-colonial” policies of Britain and France in Egypt, is far more likely to be recalled by Arab broadcasters. Why might that be, do you suppose? Why hasn’t the far more pernicious influence of Marxist revolutionaries in the Gulf of Aden and elsewhere in the Middle East been exposed?

Grunchy Cranola on November 28, 2011 at 7:49 AM

I’m glad they finally found the enemy is those dudes wearing Pakistani military uniforms!

shanimal on November 28, 2011 at 9:45 PM

Right, and according to Ron Paul, who bombed the WTC? Oh, that’s right, it was America, wasn’t it?

Nope, sorry, Paulians. We can’t afford to go isolationist, especially now, and we’re certainly can’t afford to do so because of a belief in some insipid conspiracy theory. If we stop fighting against the Jihadis now all we will have accomplished is give them time to regroup and plan another major attack on the US, only the next time we’re forced to respond it’ll surely be a more costly conflict.

If we’re going to face the harsh reality of the new world we live in, we’re not going to do it by wearing tin foil hats, gentlemen.

R. Waher on November 29, 2011 at 10:35 PM

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