Afghanistan accuses Pakistani intelligence of aiding cross-border terrorism
The heightened political tensions between the two allies in the war on terror has prompted US presidential hopefuls to focus on improving Afghanistan strategy.
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In a series of interviews, statements, advertisements and speeches over the past week, Mr. Obama has been laying out a broad vision of America's role in the world in an Obama presidency in which he has emphasized the application of soft power – the use of diplomacy and economic aid – over the use of force. And he has spoken of reducing American combat forces in Iraq and adding as many as 10,000 more troops to battle al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
While the US considers an increased military presence in Pakistan, local observers are concerned that international intervention will undermine national security and sovereignty. In an opinion piece in The News, a defense analyst writes:
Our foreign minister insists that we cannot refer to US attacks against our territory as "unfriendly" while the prime minister tries to justify US threats against Pakistan by saying they fear another 9/11 attack on the US mainland. What about Pakistani fears of an impending US attack and its repercussions? Why is [Prime Minister] Gilani silent on that count?
Is the prime minister going to also justify a US military attack against us in the [Federally Administered Tribal Areas] region as a response to US fears? As it is, he has still not accepted the fact that the US has been attacking our territory as and when it has seen fit. The only reality is that they may now opt for a more large scale operation inside of Pakistan which may require their ground forces to come in and stay for some time.
According to The Christian Science Monitor, observers argue that international intervention is required along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border because the Pakistan Army and the new coalition government remain unclear as to how to handle the challenge posed by the militant presence in the country.
As the militancy growing out from Pakistan's tribal region trickles across the border into Afghanistan and also hits back home in major cities, military strategists and the new government are hard pressed to find easy answers on how to address it....
[The] government, says Talat Masood, a security analyst and a retired lieutenant general in the Pakistan Army, "is shying away from making any hard decisions." The Army, he says, is not being given clear instructions or a mandate from the government, which seems to lack direction in the face of a multifaceted challenge. "There seems to be no coordination between the different security agencies, and they will not succeed out there without a coordinated effort," he says.