Pakistan Army will retaliate against U.S. attacks
The announcement comes at a time when the US is taking a more aggressive stance toward the rising insurgency along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
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Growing US attacks on Pakistani soil have some observers keenly worried about the war widening into Pakistan. Writing in Slate, Christopher Hitchens quotes an article by Fraser Nelson in the London-based magazine The Spectator to argue that the Pakistan-Afghanistan border is the new front in the war on terror.Skip to next paragraph
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At a recent dinner party in the British embassy in Kabul, one of the guests referred to "the Afghan-Pakistan war." The rest of the table fell silent. This is the truth that dare not speak its name. Even mentioning it in private in the Afghan capital's green zone is enough to solicit murmurs of disapproval. Few want to accept that the war is widening; that it now involves Pakistan, a country with an unstable government and nuclear weapons.
One immediate solution, observers argue, is the vital but difficult reform of Pakistan's intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Reuters reports that Richard Boucher, assistant secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, made the same call from Washington on Monday.
"It has to be done," [Boucher] said of revamping the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, widely known as the ISI.
Asked if he had seen signs of reform, he told Reuters: "No, I don't have anything in particular I would point to right now."
Despite its help in fighting al Qaeda, the ISI is viewed with deep suspicion by U.S. officials who believe it retains links to the Taliban and other militants blamed for supporting attacks on U.S. forces across the border in Afghanistan.
Growing concerns over Pakistan's ISI come as the US is scrambling to devise a new counterinsurgency policy along the troubled border. The diplomatic editor of the BBC makes the argument that part of that initiative includes dispatching Gen. David Petraeus to the region.
Gen. David Petraeus is winging his way from Iraq to Central Command (Centcom), where he will oversee US military operations throughout the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
He has to turn around the Nato mission in Afghanistan, where "the trends are in the wrong direction," he told [the BBC editor] during an interview last week.
The general says he is giving much thought to how strategy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan - and the two countries are symbiotically linked - needs to be revised.
Petraeus's surge tactic, which saw the deployment of 30,000 more troops to Iraq, is widely credited with turning around security in key provinces of Iraq. The BBC report questions whether Afghanistan might benefit from a similar strategy.
So the Afghan situation begs the question: does the country need its own "surge," extra troops to allow the creation of larger "safe areas"?
Or will the historic hatred of foreigners exhibited by rural Pashtuns, the bedrock of Taleban support, simply mean that sending in more troops exacerbates the rural revolt?