The killing of 11 Pakistani soldiers by U.S. air and artillery strikes last week shows just how quickly the American-led war in Afghanistan is spreading into neighbouring Pakistan.
Pakistan’s military branded the air attack “unprovoked and cowardly.” There was outrage across Pakistan. However, the unstable government in Islamabad, which depends on large infusions of U.S. aid, later softened its protests.
The U.S., which used a B-1 heavy bomber and F-15 strike aircraft in the attacks, called its action, “self-defence.”
This latest U.S. attack on Pakistan could not come at a worse time. Supreme Court justices ousted by the Pervez Musharraf dictatorship staged national protests this week, underscoring the illegality of Musharraf’s continuing presidency and its unseemly support by the U.S., Britain, Canada and France. Asif Zardari, head of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, shamefully joined Musharraf in opposing restoration of the justice system out of fear the reinstated judges would reopen long-festering corruption charges against him
Attacks by U.S. aircraft, Predator hunter-killer drones, U.S. Special Forces and CIA teams have been rising steadily inside Pakistan’s autonomous Pashtun tribal area known by the acronym, FATA. The Pashtun, who make up half Afghanistan’s population and 15% of Pakistan’s, straddle the border, which they reject as a leftover of Imperial Britain’s divide and rule policies.
Instead of intimidating the pro-Taliban Pakistani Pashtun, U.S. air and artillery strikes have ignited a firestorm of anti-western fury among FATA’s warlike tribesmen and increased their support for the Taliban.
The U.S. is emulating Britain’s colonial divide and rule tactics by offering up to $500,000 to local Pashtun tribal leaders to get them to fight pro-Taliban elements, causing more chaos in the already turbulent region, and stoking tribal rivalries. The U.S. is using this same tactic in Iraq and Afghanistan.