" Afghan president threatens to send forces into Pakistan to hunt militants"
International Herald-Tribune (June 16, 2008)
"Afghan President Hamid Karzai threatened to send Afghan troops to fight notorious Taliban leaders inside Pakistan — an angry warning to his eastern neighbor that he will no longer tolerate cross-border attacks.
"The threat - the first time Karzai has said he would send forces into Pakistan - comes only days after a sophisticated Taliban assault on Kandahar's prison freed 870 prisoners, including hundreds of militants from the Islamist movement. It also comes six weeks after Karzai survived his fourth assassination attempt - an attack claimed by the Taliban.
"Karzai has long pleaded with Pakistan and the international community to confront tribal area safe havens, and U.S. officials have increased their warnings in recent weeks that the sanctuaries in Pakistan must be dealt with.
"Last week, U.S. aircraft dropped bombs along the Afghan-Pakistan border, an incident the Pakistan army said killed 11 of its paramilitary forces. The exchange ratcheted up increasingly touchy relations among the U.S., Afghanistan and Pakistan...."
I posted about U.S. aircraft dropping bombs last week. The coalition version is that the bombs killed 'anti-coalition forces,' and have videotape to show of the incident. The Pakistani government apparently still claims that 11 of its military were killed.
As I said last week, the impression I get is that both sides could be right: the Pakistani troops who were killed could have been the anti-coalition forces.
Afghanistan's leader says that his country has the right to defend itself.
Pakistan's leader says that his country can't help it that Pakistanis raid Afghanistan, and that Pakistan's neighbors should be happy about this situation. I know: that sounds crazy. But read this:
"... In Pakistan, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said his country is a sovereign state that wants good relations with its neighbors. But he said the Afghan-Pakistan border is too long to prevent people from crossing, 'even if Pakistan puts its entire army along the border.'
" 'Neither do we interfere in anyone else's matters, nor will we allow anyone to interfere in our territorial limits and our affairs,' Gilani told The Associated Press."
It may be unfair to put it this way, but it seems to me that the Pakistani Prime Minister is saying that
- Pakistan can't keep its citizens from going into Afghanistan to kill Afghans and stage large-scale prison breaks
- Pakistan wants Afghanistan and other neighboring countries to like that situation
- Providing a safe base of operations for organizations that raid other countries is not 'interfering' with the country being attacked
Finally, Afghanistan's president specifically warned individual Pakistani leaders, including Baitullah Mehsud, that Afghanistan will target them specifically.
If the name Baitullah Mehsud sounds familiar, it should. He's the fellow who said that he'd send suicide bombers to kill former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Then, when a suicide attack killed her, he said he didn't do it.