Do away with this charade

Published: November 29, 2011

The writer is Executive Director of Jinnah Institute. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect that of JI

Let’s look at some facts. Twenty-four Pakistani troops have been killed and 13 wounded after two posts, Volcano and Golden, were attacked by Nato (read: US) attack helicopters and, by some reports, at least one AC-130, a heavily-armed gunship variant of the C-130 transport aircraft. The sole user of this platform is the United States Air Force.

The attack came at around 0221 hours when short of a high alert, it is safe to assume, most soldiers, except the sentries and gunners, would be asleep.

Initial US-Nato inquiries, as reported by the western press, say a joint US-Afghan patrol came under mortar and machine gun fire by Taliban insurgents. When the patrol returned fire the insurgents seemed to withdraw towards the border. Later, while searching for them “the US commander spotted what he thought was a militant encampment, with heavy weapons mounted on tripods”. He called in air support and that’s when this tragedy began to unfold.

The inquiries also say the attack seems like an attempt by the Taliban to create confusion and provoke a fire exchange between US-Afghan and Pakistani troops.

At the minimum, these accounts coming out in the western media, show that (a) the Pakistani posts did not think there was any hostile activity in the area (the posts’ area of responsibility) which is why most soldiers were resting; (b) there was no firing from the posts; (c) the posts were unprepared for any attack with equipment not held by the Taliban.

In which case, there is a big question mark on the US-Afghan account that one of their patrols came under mortar and machine gun fire from the Taliban. We have no reports of any casualties on the US-Afghan side and because the two posts were located on a ridge (vantage ground) about 300 meters from the border, mortar shells and machine gun fire would have alerted the posts to some hostile activity. There’s no indication that any such alert was issued.

There’s a time lag between the patrol coming under fire (supposedly) and the attack on the posts, probably two hours by some accounts. It is a matter of record that, precisely to avoid any such incident, the two sides know the coordinates of border posts. Anyone familiar with such operations would testify to the fact that two such posts with perhaps an infantry company or company-minus strength, could not be unknown to sector commanders on the other side.

This is corroborated by the account that the US commander(s) spotted an encampment with heavy weapons mounted on tripods. What insurgent force would have an encampment and present that as a static target to be taken out by a superior force after it has presumably attacked a patrol and extricated?

These are initial accounts and much more needs to be known before one can be sure of what happened. But at this stage we can agree on some basic facts: no one fired on US-Afghan forces from these posts; the posts were operating without any threat perception from any force other than the Pakistani Taliban; the operational environment was deemed normal because this area has been cleared of TTP terrorists; the posts were not on high alert; they were not backing any force that might have opened fire on US-Afghan troops; the attack was unprovoked.

The Pakistani response has been to stop the Nato supplies and also ask the US to vacate the Shamsi airbase. What next?

First, let me reiterate my position: if a state does not establish its red lines earlier in the game and allows them to be tested, its response, later in the game would see it climb higher on the escalatory ladder, a situation that should normally be avoided, especially where asymmetries are involved.

But now the US forces have directly attacked and killed Pakistani soldiers. This is not a business-as-usual situation. There is no such thing as friendly fire. Incoming fire is never friendly.

So what is Pakistan going to do? The United Arab Emirates has already swung into action on the Shamsi airbase deadline. On that mystery I have already written in this space. The UAE would ask Pakistan to extend the deadline and hope the issue would be resolved. Lurking beneath its request would be the fact that it subsidises Pakistan’s oil and would be backed in this by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the servants of the Kaaba who are most closely allied with the US. The government should tell them politely that we cannot grant them this ‘request’. They need us as much, if not more, than we do them. If they insist, they may be told to lump it.

The base must be vacated. Period.

And the supply line? It should not be opened until the US accepts that its force attacked Pakistani troops deliberately, apologises, and agrees to pay heavy compensation to both the government of Pakistan as well as the families of those killed. After that, Pakistan may agree to allow only those supplies to pass through its territory that are required for Afghanistan’s development and are requested by Kabul. The three sides could agree to a list of items that must be checked at the port of entry. [NB: this does not happen now.]

No lethal supplies, equipment or spares that can contribute to US-Nato-Isaf war effort should be allowed through Pakistan. And, Pakistan must ask the US to pay heavy fees for transporting equipment that forms part of the list of items agreed upon by Pakistan and Kabul.

Pakistan did not record the unilateral US aggression on May 2. It should have been recorded with the office of the UN Secretary-General; at the UNSC (despite the likely US veto); and presented for voting in the UNGA. I said at the time that this abdication of what needs to be done will cost Pakistan dearly. I wish I were wrong. But life is cruel, as are inter-state relations. If Pakistan does not do what is required even now, it will have to move even higher on the escalatory ladder next time round. That is always more problematic for the weaker side.

Meanwhile, posts must be given surface-to-air missiles and officers authorised that in case of this kind of aggression, they must respond with force. In this incident, we would like to know why the posts were not given air support if the attack continued, as some accounts say, for more than an hour. It would be helpful to see some khaki heads roll at the higher levels if an inquiry reveals incompetence at those levels.

The US has pulled the cover off this partnership charade. Pakistan cannot continue with it even if it wanted to. Islamabad needs to review all aspects of US-Pakistan relations. While there is no need for Pakistan to be hostile, the onus of repairing relations is on the US, not Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2011.

Reader Comments (72)

  • Nadir
    Nov 29, 2011 - 11:37PM

    This is all very well. But how is it possible that the attack was ongoing for anywhere between an hour and two hours, Pwr Corps was on the phone with ISAF pleading with them to stop the attack, and in all this time, the Air Force or Army Air Corps or no reinforcements were sent? Who is to be held responsible for this? Anyone? What off the state of the art radar systems and AWACS that we have spent many millions on? Werent our radars, which were off during the May OBL raid to be put on after that event? Anyways, no one is going to look into any of these issues.

    In the long run, this should also push us to emphasize to the Afghan government the importance on agreeing to a mutual demarcation of the Pak-Afghan border which remains under dispute with multiple maps showing totally different borders.

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  • Falcon
    Nov 29, 2011 - 11:42PM

    Good analysis. Completely agree with your concern on how inter-state relationships work; it is better to give a small beating now before we are left with much tougher options…this will also serve to cool off the steam that has come out of this unfortunate tragedy, otherwise it might spill over into something much bigger God Forbid.

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  • Umer
    Nov 29, 2011 - 11:44PM

    In this incident, we would like to
    know why the posts were not given air
    support if the attack continued, as
    some accounts say, for more than an
    hour. It would be helpful to see some
    khaki heads roll at the higher levels
    if an inquiry reveals incompetence at
    those levels.

    The only useful bit in the whole article. The rest is just shooting in the air.

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  • Jalib
    Nov 29, 2011 - 11:51PM

    Absolutely brilliantly articulated. If only there were saner heads (like yours) in the Pakistani government!

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  • Najeeb Mujahid
    Nov 29, 2011 - 11:55PM

    So, the bottomline is Pak Army forgets this incident if they get more money. Compensation..fees..hike in fees…heavy transit charges…what was that quote about “Money by another name…”

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  • Mad-Paki
    Nov 29, 2011 - 11:57PM

    I still hold army responsible since they didnt back up their men. What kind of commander would plead with enemy instead of asking air support to protect its men. NATO wouldnot have gone on to attack for two hours had jets been scrambled and may be we would have saved the lives of our soldiers. It is really disheartning to see how our army top brass treats theSe brave men like canon fodder.

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  • Mirza
    Nov 30, 2011 - 12:24AM

    I am shocked that in this failure to respond the army apologists did not target the elected civilians. It must have been PPP, Zardari, Bilawal and Gillani’s fault that the brave forces did not or could not respnd for hours. It must be that PPP had tied their hands and minds just like the abject surrender in East Pakistan where ZAB asked them for all atrocities and surrender. The generals were swift to take a trip to UK to meet Mansoor Ijaz and act against HH but the Americans can come and have a grace time of 2 hours before we might act. The time line is wrong by two hours in this article if the briefiing by two generals is right.
    Talk about the US invasion of May 2, and going to the UN, it would have been backfired badly.Recommend

  • Imran Khalid
    Nov 30, 2011 - 12:39AM

    The question about Pakistan’s immediate response, or lacktherof, to NATOs attack is an important one. There was an obvious lack of coordination on the Pakistan side. Reinforcements were sent in after the first attack however they were also ill equipped and suffered casualties. I’ll be interested in learning how far up the chain of command the news of the initial attack went and what decisions were made. Some news sources have suggested that Pakistan military did not realize the true extent of the casualties until daylight. This is inexcusable. The second aspect is the lack of communication between the army and the Air Force. Who was involved and at what levels. What assumptions were made by the command as they came to term with the attack? While the blame for the casualties may solely rest with the aggressive ISAF command across the border, the security apparatus will have to answer these questions if the deaths of 2 dozen of Pakistan’s finest are not to be in vain.

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  • Bammbaayyaa
    Nov 30, 2011 - 12:40AM

    There was definate information that there was heavy Taliban movement under the guise of Pakistani forces uniform…. How about that ??? just to add to the conspiracy theory …Recommend

  • Meekal Ahmed
    Nov 30, 2011 - 12:47AM

    I am dum-struck that so-called experts write about this incident without making any mention of the complete lack of response from our vaulted air-force who have once again been caught sleeping on their sacred job to defend the territorial integrity of our land — and in this case our air-space.

    Do you Mr Ejaz have no comment on that?

    I don’t care how it started; I do care how it ended with those brave men looking up in the sky praying for someone to save them.

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  • Karim
    Nov 30, 2011 - 12:50AM

    Good analysis…bit wishful in the end part on ‘whats Pakistan going to do:. All the official (and officially paid) narratives I’ve heard in media resort to USA being the only super power and Pakistan being too helpless and weak to wage a war. I suggest we should get used to these routine beatings and stop complaining. And all those who base their argument on Pakistan can’t live without US aid…..rubbish. Name a country which improved even 1% in GDP based on foreign aid. The leadership both civil and military have lots of personal stakes in the US, UK and UAE; not the common folk. If we can’t scramble our air strength to neutralise enemy fire killing our troops, lets scrap this huge army, keep a minimal strength and base our defence strategy on nukes only. Or else lets all agree that we must keep providing these huge five star messes, fabulous DHA plots and 7 series beamers….. and accept that we will do more than these 400 F16 sorties we did in the last couple of years to kill our own (civilian) people,

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  • bangash
    Nov 30, 2011 - 12:52AM

    Pakistan cannot fight the Taliban but will wrestle US and NATO!Recommend

  • Victor Purinton
    Nov 30, 2011 - 1:00AM

    Why would the US deliberately fire on Pakistani troops? Your demand that the US admit to such is purely emotional and quite foolish.

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  • Nadeem
    Nov 30, 2011 - 1:01AM

    In spite of this serious incident, the big picture remains the same: ‘our’ Army desires the control of Afghanistan through proxies and at the same time covets arms and money from America.. These two goals contradict each other as America believes that if Pakistan army’s proxies (aka Taliban) come to power in Afghanistan, an environment would be created in which more 9/11′s could be planned and launched from Afghan soil. Hence the growing friction between the two countries. Pakistan’s generals – who have hijacked the nation’s policy making since long (thank you America for supporting dictators in our country!) – have dragged the rest of us 180 million down this dark dead-end alley.

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  • G. Din
    Nov 30, 2011 - 1:03AM

    Mr. Gillani, Ms Khar, move over please!

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  • indian response.
    Nov 30, 2011 - 1:51AM

    Funny because the same atrocities have been done to Indian troops under the farce called Kashmir liberation and caring for Kashmirs which we all know no Pakistani cares about. Now since you guys are the victim. You have used Afghanistan like it is your back yard. Time for pay back and pay back is what you got. I am sure there will be more and there is nothing Pakistan can do until Pakistan behaves with the world.

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  • Vijay K
    Nov 30, 2011 - 1:52AM

    You mean your nuclear weapons are useless? They don’t seem to be deterring anyone.

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  • zen
    Nov 30, 2011 - 2:09AM

    Its pretty pathetic that the Pakistani Generals/COs couldn’t give the permission to the junior rank and file to defend themselves. They basically signed their death warrants. I threw up when I heard this general stating that it pleaded with CENTCOM to sieze firing for an hour or two. Bloody pathetic. Why don’t these COs/Generals walk in the line of fire with their hands tied to the their backs. My god have some decency and do justice to your profession and to your fellow professionals. Low ranking soldiers are not an expandable commodities that you can discard for your personal gains.

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  • Mawali
    Nov 30, 2011 - 2:11AM

    Legitimate observations and concerns! However, it does invoke the question about Pakistan’s continued incompetence when it comes to border violations and the automatic air response. As a matter of fact the Laddy boy incident and this new episode make me wonder if there is a command and control center or a Pak Airforce Central command and a rapid response setup?

    If so, then are they always on Nihari and biryani break? Perhaps the Pakistan Airforce is working on a secret Biryani recipe to launch “Airforce Biryani”. Give student Biryani a run for the money which BTW is not that hard in recent times. We jest cause we care!

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  • Shock Horror
    Nov 30, 2011 - 2:18AM

    Most people do not seem to realise that the attack on Pakistan was as a direct result of conspiracy by CIA, RAW, MI6 and Mossad, who were fully and ably assisted by ISI. This real truth will come out in the year 2041.

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  • Rational_thinker
    Nov 30, 2011 - 2:21AM

    Very good analysis Mr. Haider.. But you failed to propose the plan of action for Pak if UAE and KSA indeed decide to play oil subsidy card. Can Pakistan really afford to pay market price on oil with the economic situation it finds itself in? And was it really necessary to add Servants of kaaba phrase here? Thought you were intelligent enough to see that inter-state relations are purely monetary kind and nothing else…

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  • M M Aslam
    Nov 30, 2011 - 2:29AM

    Well done Ejaz! The Army after the fallout of Raymond Davis, OBL and Mullen’s outburst should have been prepared for such an eventuality. Unfortunately like always the Army failed to hypothesise this threat or if they did then they abjectly failed to plan the response properly. Nodoubt one does not expexct to go to war but what do we mean that the red lines are very clearly defined. How do we expect the junior commanders to instill that confidence in their ability to stay at a post when the troops would know that no one is going to help them if a situation arise. This lack of trust among the troops can act as the last straw on the camels back as far as the resilience to go on fightiing the on going conflict is concerned. It can be a nightmarish situation for all commanders, thanks God that the nation has shown so much solidarity with the army otherwise it would have been even worse….

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  • Amjad Cheema
    Nov 30, 2011 - 3:06AM

    My heart goes for the loss of innocent lives.
    This 2 numbri of Kiani & company is not tenable. Your money, my pocket, we r enemy strategy is not tenable.

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  • Menon
    Nov 30, 2011 - 3:39AM

    @Najeeb Mujahid:

    Everything is for sale for the right price. If it is case, put up “For Sale” sign and shut up about sovereignty, honor, equal partnership etc.

    The brillaint analysis is yelling for more $, where is sovereignty, honor and equality?

    Besides, 1000′s of US Service Men and Woment were killed and are being killed by Pakistan supported Taliban and Haqquani network, is Pakistan going compensate the families for killing them?

    People, there is enough crap to go around for 1000′s of years and it is going to get even worse.

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  • Plal
    Nov 30, 2011 - 3:43AM

    Kudos to Author for bringing the truth that Pak post was only 300 meters inside not 2.5 miles inside the border as claimed by some analyst, which gives greater credence to fire by mistake in such cases.As per the author US-Pak relationship is asymmetric and transactional and in such relationship- weaker party has to suffer.

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  • Nov 30, 2011 - 4:33AM

    State of despair and helplessness. Well written.

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  • Roflcopter
    Nov 30, 2011 - 4:35AM

    Fantastic article

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  • T Khan
    Nov 30, 2011 - 4:38AM

    ‘onus’???

    Who cares where the onus lies…it is the US we are talking about. The foot licking lies with our leaders and that is their only solely ‘onus’.

    If only we had some beliefs and brains with actions to back them up… but we are shameless and corrupt. The onus of our failure lies with us and no one else

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  • Babloo
    Nov 30, 2011 - 4:45AM

    The opinion expressed seems to be from someone living in a fantasy world. Pakistan simply has no leeway. It should just accept all attacks and try to stop playing double games or if it escalates it will be the bigger loser – without doubt. I would like Pakistan to do what Mr Ejaz suggests and escalate.

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  • belaar
    Nov 30, 2011 - 5:21AM

    The author if this piece seems to be living in parallel universe.

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  • vasan
    Nov 30, 2011 - 6:32AM

    Basically Pak wants more money, That is it. Call it blood money or KL Bill. Greenbacks is the only issue. That is what I can get from this article. Still I agree that the US needs to pay for this atrocity. One caveat though. Had Pakistan enquired into how OBL obtained Pak Green card and with whose support he lived for 5 years in Binladenobad alias abbotobad and prosecuted all those support staff, be it state actors or non state actors, Pakistan would have been on higher moral ground than where they are now.

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  • Ken Bryant
    Nov 30, 2011 - 6:50AM

    The answer to questions about air support is clear: Pakistan is unwilling to risk losing planes and pilots. No similar compunctions about losing infantrymen.

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  • Nov 30, 2011 - 8:37AM

    One thing for sure: This is what India would have wanted- A complete breakdown of relationship(Or an act which greatly contributes to it) between a certified nuisance and a power that has armed it, given aid to it and even come to its aid during war(1971) for the past 60 years and is also a Super Power.

    The script could not have worked better to India’s advantage. Now the nuisance has a new enemy and is distracted. The Super Power in questions is on India’s side. It will suffer operational difficulties, that is for sure, but nothing more than that.

    Trust the Pakistanis to make things better for India, unintentionally of course!

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  • FasihA
    Nov 30, 2011 - 9:47AM

    Military heads roll??? you have got to be kidding, the heads of our glorifed property dealers never roll. That is a fate only for the poor civilians.

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  • Adeel759
    Nov 30, 2011 - 10:05AM

    @Zen. In kakul, there are more courses in Governance than Combat.That’s why they are not good in fighting. Only speaking of Officers, not the NCOs (Starless,are the real heros)

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  • ashok sai
    Nov 30, 2011 - 10:29AM

    Here comes the ISPR official articulation of the incident (Read – provoked incident).

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  • Ammad
    Nov 30, 2011 - 10:50AM

    Apology + aid +aid +aid……=acceptance of casualties

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  • Feroz
    Nov 30, 2011 - 10:55AM

    The Author seems to suggest that the nation should make Capital out of misery. So more Dollars must be extracted out of this sad situation? What a shame that this kind of thinking passes off as intellectual analysis.

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  • Khurram
    Nov 30, 2011 - 11:04AM

    When you are so heavily dependant on susidized ME Oil and US Money you will always remain a weak party in this crime no matter where you are placed on the escalatory ladder. Feels good to say ‘onus’ lies on US but after getting buried in billions of $ of US ‘aid’ do you think someone has guts in private to demand such from uncle Sam?

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  • sammy
    Nov 30, 2011 - 11:09AM

    Mr Ejaz Haider I am really impressed with your sharp insight and clear thinking in these matters.
    I think our generals need to start listening to you more often.

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  • Asad Ali
    Nov 30, 2011 - 11:59AM

    Had we been a self sustaining nation, solved the energy crisis a while back, rejected the NRO our economy would have been booming by now and we’d be strong enough to reject a part in this war in the first place. We would never have to be ‘helpless’ at the ‘might’ of American and NATO trigger happy behaviour. Line up our western borders with surface to air missiles, charge heavy fees and profit from the use of our land and air for NATO supply goods -pump cash in the energy sector, education and infrastructure for God’s sake.’

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  • rehmat
    Nov 30, 2011 - 12:14PM

    The whole country was baying for Hussain Haqqani’s blood and he was made to resign because Ijaz Mansoor sent a memo to Mullen which Mullen did not act upon because it was not found to be credible and Ijaz says without providing any proof that the memo was drafted by HH. The fact that these 2 people communicated does not give proof that Haqqani drafted the memo.

    Yet no-one has asked Kayani to resign for failing to defend the country’s borders repeatedly.

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  • Fahd Abbasy
    Nov 30, 2011 - 12:54PM

    The base must be vacated. Period.
    And the supply line? It should not be opened until the US accepts that its force attacked Pakistani troops deliberately, apologises, and agrees to pay heavy compensation to both the government of Pakistan as well as the families of those killed. After that, Pakistan may agree to allow only those supplies to pass through its territory that are required for Afghanistan’s development and are requested by Kabul. The three sides could agree to a list of items that must be checked at the port of entry. [NB: this does not happen now.]“
    *

    I dont see Pakistan u also mentioning what will happen if such a thing is ever repeated??

    shouldnt that be defined explicitly too apart from only demanding compensation for the current act?

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  • antanu
    Nov 30, 2011 - 1:14PM

    The only solution is to get rid of US even facing grave economic hardship. Atleast this will make pak to stand up on its feet.They have the resources to turn the tide. Only thing is that Pak people have to support their government and be prepared to sacrifice the comfort level.

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  • Parvez
    Nov 30, 2011 - 2:16PM

    Our armed forces are repeatedly being made to look inept. Now the question of incompetence or complicity is being asked out in the open.

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  • JSM
    Nov 30, 2011 - 3:39PM

    I just saw BBCs “Secret Pakistan”. If even 1% of what has been stated in this report is true, then I am afraid many more such attacks will come in the following days.
    Best of wishes to Pakistan.

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  • FasihA
    Nov 30, 2011 - 4:08PM

    DGMO says we could not launch a military response because of technological disparity ??? no no no no no… our DGMO must be kidding… because our country’s defence is ‘impregnable’ or atleast so we have been told by different army chiefs all our lives.

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  • FasihA
    Nov 30, 2011 - 4:09PM

    after taking 60% of our budget, at the expense of education and health which get merely 2% each… and making billions through property dealing, our army tells us they could not fight the invader because of technological gaps. I have no words.

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  • AN
    Nov 30, 2011 - 4:09PM

    Pak Army must tell USA that AFPAK is a nucleur “Flashpoint”. USA will then get scared.Best is to vacate all positions on west borders, and move back to barracks and peace station cantonments.

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  • Ajay Kumar
    Nov 30, 2011 - 4:12PM

    Excellent analysis of the situation Mr Ejaz Haider. But will Pakistan government be able to actually enforce your suggestions ? Half the time US has proof of worst secrets of Pakistani politicians and Generals. So talking tough beyond a point will be difficult. Already Hina Rabbani has asked Great Britain to mediate between Pakistan and US. Looks like attempts at some sort of patch up are already on.

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  • hahaha
    Nov 30, 2011 - 4:47PM

    I guess a taste of your own medicine

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  • Meekal Ahmed
    Nov 30, 2011 - 5:05PM

    @JSM:

    Not a question of looking inept. They are!

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  • observer
    Nov 30, 2011 - 5:20PM

    And the supply line? It should not be opened until the US accepts that its force attacked Pakistani troops deliberately, apologises, and agrees to pay heavy compensation to both the government of Pakistan as well as the families of those killed.

    So, like the Raymond Davis saga, it is all about money after all.

    What price for another 26/11 perpetrators?

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  • Nov 30, 2011 - 5:47PM

    “Pakistan did not record the unilateral US aggression on May 2. It should have been recorded with the office of the UN Secretary-General; at the UNSC (despite the likely US veto); and presented for voting in the UNGA. “

    What is there for Pakistan to record? Under the post-9/11 U.N. Security Council Resolutions (especially 1373) Pakistan has the sovereign obligation to root out terrorists, terror-training camps, and terror havens from its territory. By failing to pursue Osama Bin Laden – Pakistan officially declared him dead over U.S. objections – or even outlaw terrorist activities directed at other nations Pakistan deprived itself of its own sovereign rights in this matter.

    The U.N. Secretary-General has, quietly, suggested for the past six months that Pakistan at least change its domestic laws to conform to the post-9/11 requirements but nothing has happened.

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  • kamran Moeen
    Nov 30, 2011 - 6:09PM

    good- agreed!

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  • Waqas
    Nov 30, 2011 - 6:09PM

    The incompetence of the Army and other security forces has been revealed badly. NATO forces are doing a performance audit of our armed forces. The performance of our armed forces is shameful. We have spend 95% of our resources on these so called national defenders – what is the result?Recommend

  • Lalit
    Nov 30, 2011 - 6:43PM

    its a consolation if this incident was a genuine mistake on the part of NATO forces.however if it was a deliberate act,coming days are going to be really tough for Pak army.they must be ready with fresh excuses to render, for the lack of retaliation…to NATO aggression.

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  • khurram Nazir
    Nov 30, 2011 - 6:54PM

    how come tactical actions on ground are dictating policy choices in Islamabad and washiongton? There is some thing seriously amiss here.

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  • tasnim khan
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:27PM

    And what scaling down if not completly closing of CIA mission and operations in Pakistan?

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  • Nov 30, 2011 - 7:40PM

    When I was a child, my elders told me that one Pak soldier was equivalent to ten Indian soldiers. Now only came know that this is about expenditure on our soldiers.

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  • Arifq
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:10PM

    Dear Ejaz Sahib what happens when the dollars, oil, free trade and all other ally led support system fades away? As perm your philosophy, if others should ‘suck it up’ then we too are ready for the same medicine. Here lies the problem, the chosen state sponsored protagonist will surely find bread and alms to satisfy the body and soul, while the poor masses can wait for your next pearls of wisdom.Recommend

  • Cynical
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:43PM

    It’s an act of war, without any provocation.
    An all out war against US is the only solution.

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  • MD
    Nov 30, 2011 - 10:29PM

    Mr. Ejaz Haider has always been a good defender and a very effective spokesman of the Pak armed forces. He had always been very successful in projecting and defending the indefensible acts of the khakis in uniforms with his admirable skills of confusing readers with his verbose jugglery. But, sadly, this time, it seems, the odds are much too big for even such a good writer to justify Pak Army’s action or inaction, in responding to the ugly event that took place at Pak-Afghan border.Recommend

  • Liberal fascist
    Nov 30, 2011 - 10:51PM

    I don’t trust the americans neither do i trust pakistan army..!

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  • meekal ahmed
    Nov 30, 2011 - 11:13PM

    On re-reading this, I wish to apologize to the author for thinking he did not talk about air support. He did, but in very gentle terms — almost apologetically, as if not wanting to offend.

    He says an hour passed. Newer information — if correct — says this went on all night till dawn and our mightly forces, all of them, slept through it.

    This is becoming a bit of a habit as recent events have proven.

    My friends tell me there are orders not to “escalate”. That’s not very reassuring for us Pakistani’s whose airspace has been violated before and who expect, nay insist, that the air force protect us.

    And protect the officers and men fighting for us.

    That is their sacred duty.

    If the orders are to stand down and the other party knows that, no wonder they can act with impunity and extend their operations at will. They know we are not coming at them. Then it surely serves us right. We got what was coming to us.

    There is something seriously wrong with this approach. Of course no one wants a blood-bath in the air to add to our difficulties. I don’t think there would have been one. They would have picked us up as in-coming “bogies” while we were still hundreds of miles out. My hunch is they would have hit the deck (difficult to follow when hugging the terrain) and bolted across the border. It would be over and many lives would have been saved.

    Other friends tell me ‘we don’t want American blood on our hands’.

    That is priceless.

    We have been killing any and all American’s that we can find for the past ten years using our proxies.

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  • Just asking
    Nov 30, 2011 - 11:16PM

    Dear author, the soldiars might be eating cake imported from Afghanistan as showing it aggressively to Americans and if this is the case than even then you think NATO did anything wrong with them? Or how it isn’t war of narratives?

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  • shahneela
    Nov 30, 2011 - 11:28PM

    ejaz sb, don’t u think that taking compensation gets u into an indirect deal with the US of “do and get away”. we should not sell the blood of our people not even by the name of compensation or penalty.

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  • shahneela
    Nov 30, 2011 - 11:34PM

    and i agree with many that we should not leave the BONN platform empty. we should avail the opportunity, go there assert our stance and refuse to let BONN conference make headway unless core issues like the respect of our sovereignty is taken care of.

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  • Michael kaplan
    Dec 1, 2011 - 10:22AM

    As a tax paying American, I am disappointed. After all the billions of dollars of aid we gave Pakistan during the worst financial depression the world has known, pakistanis need to cut us some slack. Lets be honest. After all, your country would be back in dire poverty without our aid. And, thousands would have died through poverty and hunger without our help over the years. Further, hundreds of pakistanis die each year at the hands of Islamic fundamentalists. So, why not overlook a mistake that took two dozen lives, a much smaller incident in terms of human lives than the bomb blasts or riots that happens every few days. After all, even if money can’t buy love it should be able to buy some tolerance for error!!!

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  • observer
    Dec 1, 2011 - 10:22PM

    Does it really take Helicopter Gunships and C 130s armed to the gill, 2 to 6 hours to eliminate just 24 non-resisting/ non-retaliating soldiers? Or is there more than, what has been handed out to the public at large.

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  • Babloo
    Dec 2, 2011 - 8:16AM

    The basic Pakistani establsihment logic and policy of last 60 years has been that it does not mind being the ‘bigger loser’ as long as it can cause some loss on the party it hates. That has been the cornerstone of Pakistani/Ejaz Haider policy towards india. See what it has done to Pakistan. Do you suggest to take that policy towards US too ?

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  • Narayan
    Dec 3, 2011 - 8:07PM

    Would Mr. Haidar explain the reasons USA would DELIBERATELY plan and attack these posts. What do believe would be the political or military motives behind such an action? Do you assume that the administration or the US commanders in AFPAK are IGNORANT of the possible muck and friction such an action would raise for an already fragile and tense relationship with Pakistan military? Would the Obama administration – already unpopular at a critical ramping-up time to elections – need such a distraction?

    Mr.Haider is a very perceptive analyst with a lot of experience and a good writer too. I have always respected him for the holistic and incisive presentation in contentious issues. But he has terribly failed on this piece and has disappointed me.

    All that said, my own suspicion is that ISAF blundered. The Pakistani posts had every right to fire back in defence and the PAF (or other airborne forces) should have backed them up urgently). But I would not jump to any conclusions without a full inquiry. But what do I know – I’m only a layman …. Mr. Haider?Recommend

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