The NATO helicopter strike on Pakistan on Thursday is worse than the controversy over drone attacks. One hopes that Washington and Islamabad can move past this by talking specifics as well as common interests.
NATO claims the helicopter strike was on the Afghanistan side of the border, but Pakistani officials say three Pakistani troops were killed in Kurram tribal agency.
The Pakistani government strongly condemned a series of manned airstrikes on Pakistani soil, including two NATO attacks that officials say killed about 55 suspected insurgents over the weekend.
Pakistani military operations in the tribal regions bordering Afghanistan have steered clear of North Waziristan, allowing the area to become a haven for militants. Tribal and local intelligence sources say some 15,000 militants shelter in this semiautonomous tribal belt. “It’s a cobweb,” says former Pakistani diplomat Ayaz Wazir. New alliances between militant commanders in Waziristan have turned this area into a dangerous labyrinth, from which fighters can launch suicide attacks in Pakistan or missions against US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. “It's an international war which has engulfed us,” says Malik Khan Marjan Wazir, an influential tribal elder in North Waziristan. “The volcano is in Afghanistan but it erupts in our tribal areas.” For Marjan Wazir, peace won't be found through military operations or drone attacks, but in negotiations at what he calls “real” jirgas (tribal assemblies). “My elders would always tell me a story that if a woolen blanket gets leeches, you don’t put to fire the whole blanket. You pluck them out with care.” Based on interviews with local tribesmen and intelligence sources, here’s a list of the five biggest players in the region:
US drones have stepped up bombing raids to combat new alliances cropping up between disparate militants coming to Pakistan's North Waziristan region.
The latest US drone attack killed 14 suspected militants in Pakistan, bringing the number of people killed by drones in September alone to 75 as the US targets the Haqqani network.
The target of the drone attack was the Haqqani network, a Pakistani militant group based near the Afghanistan border that has been blamed for attacks on NATO troops.
Conflicting reports have emerged over whether one of the two soldiers kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan on Friday was killed in an ambush. The US is offering $20,000 for information leading to their safe return.
China’s plan to build two nuclear reactors in Pakistan has prompted concern about nuclear proliferation. The two nations may aim to counter mutual rival India, which signed a nuclear deal with the US last year.
Faisal Shahzad, who attempted to detonate a car bomb in New York's Times Square, eagerly explained how he plotted to murder Americans.