Pakistan upgrades air defences on Afghan border

By AFP
Published: December 9, 2011

Offici­al says steps taken to avert air incurs­ions from Afghan­istan and to respon­d to any future air strikes. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has upgraded its air defence system on the Afghan border to make it capable of shooting down aircraft, after Nato strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, a security official told AFP on Friday.

“Now we have a fully equipped air defence system on the Afghan border. It has the capability to trace and detect any aircraft,” the official in the northwestern city of Peshawar told AFP by telephone.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said the step had been taken to avert air incursions from Afghanistan and to respond to any future air strikes.

“The system has also been upgraded to immediately respond after detecting any aircraft or helicopter and to shoot it down,” he added.

Pakistan shut its border to Nato supply convoys on November 26, the same day as the deadliest single cross-border attack of the 10-year war in Afghanistan.

The government also ordered the United States to leave the Shamsi air base in the southwest, widely reported as a hub in the covert CIA drone war against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan’s border area with Afghanistan.

Pakistan gave tacit support to the programme, but no US drone strike has been reported on Pakistani soil since November 17.

The November 26 attacks brought the fragile Pakistani-US alliance to a fresh low, already reeling from an American stealth raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden near the Pakistani capital on May 2.

It was after that raid, conducted by US Navy SEALs who flew in from Afghanistan, that Pakistan first upgraded its defence systems on the border.

US President Barack Obama has expressed condolences over the November 26 border deaths, insisting it was not a “deliberate attack” by Nato as claimed by the Pakistani army.

Reader Comments (69)

  • faizal
    Dec 9, 2011 - 1:34PM

    :) I hope, next time, when intrusion occurs, we hope, we won’t have to hear again the excuses like our radars were jammed by US forces etc…but I believe, we should keep ourselves ready to hear things like that…

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  • Akhtar
    Dec 9, 2011 - 1:52PM

    How about drones?

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  • Cityboy
    Dec 9, 2011 - 2:12PM

    Great step. Also keep ready standby suicide bombers. .Recommend

  • SB
    Dec 9, 2011 - 2:19PM

    They can put this “air defence system” to sleep mode whenever they want. You can’t stop the US using equipments supplied by them. Better talk to them a get a deal in favor of Pakistan.

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  • Truth Teller
    Dec 9, 2011 - 2:28PM

    God save Pakistan since our generals are out to destroy the country by confronting the sole world power. Have we forgotten 65, 71 & 99 incursion in Kargil. Sadly we have learnt nothing from history & our past mistakes.

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  • ahmad
    Dec 9, 2011 - 2:30PM

    Interesting….. Army has SPADA air defence. Its detection and tracking range is 60 KM , but the intercept range is 25 KM. This means the radar tracks the inbound bogies from 60 KM onwards but only engages them when the distance is less than or equal to 25 KM. There are many anti radiation missiles with range greater than 25 KM which can home in on the targets very easily. All an inbound bogie has to do is fire the missile and keep out of the 25 KM no escape zone.
    Americans can do it easily. So fingers crossed Sajeelay generals, more humiliation coming your way…….

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  • Gul Khan
    Dec 9, 2011 - 2:35PM

    What a nice trap for NATO. I did not see Russian defeat, but want to see US failure on Afghan soil.

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  • Saim
    Dec 9, 2011 - 2:44PM

    Finally, we understands our friends & foes.

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  • Dec 9, 2011 - 3:00PM

    Bad news for TTP and its backers.

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  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Dec 9, 2011 - 3:01PM

    Pakistan upgrades air defences on Afghan border – thanks to American aid I presume.

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  • positive pakistani
    Dec 9, 2011 - 3:03PM

    “The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media..”

    Then why do he/she had to leak out this information? was he ‘authorized’ to leak things out to media on the condition of anonymity?

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  • Manny
    Dec 9, 2011 - 3:47PM

    @Truth Teller: You’ve just basically said let the US attack and destroy us because if we resist, the US will attack and destroy us. Do you understand? We are being attacked, we have every right of self-defense. Those NATO attackers weren’t going after any terrorists, they attacked our soldiers. Are you so afraid that you wouldn’t even let us defend ourselves? What kind of comment have you posted?

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  • MarkH
    Dec 9, 2011 - 3:49PM

    I can’t manage any reactionary range in this topic aside from shrugging and thinking “if it makes you feel better.”

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  • syed baqar ahsan
    Dec 9, 2011 - 4:22PM

    Nobody else is to be blamed for this stand off accept Americans,on one side they call us ally,friend and etc etc and on the other side Indians are given all advantages in Afghanistan at our cost.Classic example of day light double gaming.Pakistan is Pakistan there is no substitute.

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  • M Bilal
    Dec 9, 2011 - 4:32PM

    @Cityboy: Always in abundance, just tell in which city of India, you want them delivered.

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  • M Bilal
    Dec 9, 2011 - 4:34PM

    @Truth Teller: As if we are leading the life of utmost pleasure and peace while supporting the LONE Super Power.

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  • M Bilal
    Dec 9, 2011 - 4:36PM

    @Yuri Kondratyuk: Your call whether you say it aid or compensation against supplying tax free goods to NATO forces since 2002.

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  • Cautious
    Dec 9, 2011 - 4:54PM

    You really think putting weapons on the border which may start that war is a good idea? The concept that the USA would intentionally target a remote border outpost is absurd on the surface – no one in Pakistan has presented a credible reason to back this outrageous accusation. Your playing a dangerous game – hope you can live with the consequences – Saddam didn’t.Recommend

  • Dec 9, 2011 - 5:08PM

    **Our AD system is designed to fight back Indian Air Force.

    It will be self deception if we deploy that against NATO or USAF and think it will work potently.

    We do have Radars, Missile or guns who could do much harm to USAF or NATO.

    It is a sad fact and that should be told to the NATION.

    Times of lies and self deception is over.**Recommend

  • nature guy
    Dec 9, 2011 - 5:15PM

    So now the Pakistan Army will fight against NATO….. It would actually appear that Pakistan wishes to befriend the Taliban afterall…….comrades in arms, as it were.

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  • Asif Butt
    Dec 9, 2011 - 5:19PM

    @Truth Teller:

    Your words are those of a coward.

    If the worlds strongest man breaks into your house and attacks people in it will you simply do nothing because hes the worlds strongest man ?

    I hope to hear the good news of firing down Western aircraft soon.

    May ALLAH help us in this….

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  • Hu Jintao
    Dec 9, 2011 - 5:29PM

    @Truth Teller:
    How about you come out with your true identity Mr. Typical Indian

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  • Dadyal
    Dec 9, 2011 - 5:29PM

    It is best not to use our air defences to frighten our enemies, but destroy theses drones on the ground, before they kill any more people in Afganistan and Pakistan. It will not hurt any bad boys but damage those bad toys they are playing with in our countries. God save the God fearing. Good time to test those ANZA mark fours on those drones.

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  • Cautious
    Dec 9, 2011 - 5:38PM

    As I recall Iraq’s anti air defenses were significantly larger and more sophisticated than anything Pakistan has — why don’t you ask Saddam whether spending money on air defenses is an effective deterrent against the USA. If the USA really wants to take out a border outpost do you think you have anything in your arsenal that can stop it – your Generals know the answer – the same Generals that know the USA didn’t intentionally target your border outpost.Recommend

  • Truth Teller
    Dec 9, 2011 - 6:04PM

    Manny, You are suggesting that we should fight with NATO forces than God help you & Pakistan. We cannot fight with India & have been defeated by them in all wars & now you want to fight with NATO forces. If US spends $ 100 per year on defence, we spend 0.25 Cents. You want to see Pakistan as another Iraq or Afghanistan, than go ahead, be my guest.

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  • Sabih
    Dec 9, 2011 - 6:05PM

    Great step. Pakistan must also quit its alliance with the United States. Long live Pakistan.

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  • Pundit
    Dec 9, 2011 - 6:06PM

    Locking the stables after the horse has exited.

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  • mohammad sajid indian
    Dec 9, 2011 - 6:14PM

    “pakistan upgrades air defences on afghan border”. Perhaps, pakistan is decided to going for suicide.

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  • sufi
    Dec 9, 2011 - 6:44PM

    great step by military .. These indian spammers and Desi Pardesi Liberals should know better.
    Pakistan Zindabad

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  • Hasan Ali
    Dec 9, 2011 - 6:46PM

    So now they have decided to fight a super power.May God save us.

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  • Ashraf P
    Dec 9, 2011 - 7:02PM

    @Asif Butt:
    If the World’s Strongest Man attacks you… run !!! If you stand and fight, you won’t last 5 minutes. But if you run, chances are that you might have a son who may one day become stronger and beat the crap out of him.

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  • Joke
    Dec 9, 2011 - 7:30PM

    we will setup air defense against NATO and US and let Taliban enter our soil from ground and destroy us.. Such a Losers we are :(

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  • Arjun
    Dec 9, 2011 - 7:33PM

    Do you understand? We are being attacked, we have every right of self-defense.

    You have the right of self-defense…..not the right to a victory…

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  • Sher Khan
    Dec 9, 2011 - 7:37PM

    Ahmad, is right that anti radiation missiles can escalate this situation. But you gotta remember, once a bogey is identified by these radars, u can scramble jets to intercept. Unless and until you take PAF and their AWACS capability down, it will be hard for US to have open field day in Pakistan.

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  • ali
    Dec 9, 2011 - 7:56PM

    Any nation not matter how small, when it stands up and show courage, even a power like USA will not mess with it. We have our mir jaffers and mir sadiqs (AZ and RM), but we need a Salahuddin Ayubi who will lead the nation.

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  • Asif Mahmood
    Dec 9, 2011 - 8:02PM

    We are deploying US provided millitary hardware against US. How those equipment will work agaist US? Doesn’t US know how to disable them before attacking us? Are we making fool ourselves by deploying US made radars and F16s against US themselves? Are they going to work? Our short sighted generals have screwed the security of our country.

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  • ASQ
    Dec 9, 2011 - 8:02PM

    @Ashraf P:
    so kindly tell where to run???

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  • Sameer
    Dec 9, 2011 - 8:24PM

    @ Ashraf P…Don’t u know mr. Ashraf, A coward father can never have a brave son. Instead, if the father even dies facing his enemy bravely, there is much greater a chance that his son would be courageous enough to take the revenge of his father.

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  • Andrew
    Dec 9, 2011 - 8:31PM

    Actions speak louder than words. Lets wait n see if the pak army is capable of detecting n taking necessary action to take down nato aircrafts whether by shooting it or capturing the aircraft n its crew. Until now Pak army has not taken any action which proves that it is capable of protecting the sovergnity of its nation n its people. So its time for action!! Lets walk the talk n not just talk!

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  • antanu
    Dec 9, 2011 - 8:42PM

    @Cautious:
    An attack carried for two hours and leaving 28 dead is not a “CREDIBLE EVIDENCE” for you. No one stops you to be funny but there is always a thin line between being FUNNY and being INSANE.

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  • Shahid Kureshi
    Dec 9, 2011 - 8:51PM

    Firstly @ Truth Teller – be around we need a Defence Minister like you.

    Secondly, lets us not forget that this is a depleted super power, its not the same as the one that invaded Afghanistan some 10 years ago. Its taken a regular beating in some other muslim countries it thought it could keep. It has stretched itself both physically and financially to the extreme and finally the US public is now more savvy of what their government is upto for what they are paying through their noses. Lets, on their on instigation, drive the final nail in their coffin.

    It will not be easy and we may see some of the actual miseries and horrors of war up close when it comes. The bigger question is “are we, as a nation geared up for it?”. For starters lets commence forthwith, compulsory military service for allRecommend

  • FarooqU
    Dec 9, 2011 - 9:00PM

    @Gul Khan:

    Is it a trap for NATO or a trap for the US? Or do you even know what you’re talking about? Seems to me like the purpose of increased air defence is NATO’s heretofore air supremacy on the Durand line…

    How many NATO troops were killed on Nov 26??? Oh that’s right…

    NATO won’t fail in Afghanistan. 2014 will approach, come, and go… and NATO will still be there assisting Afghan economy and security. Pakistan will fall further and further into obscurity.

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  • Javed
    Dec 9, 2011 - 10:08PM

    @Cityboy:
    Thats the reason why the rest of the world in on the oposite side of the border. This is not something to be proud off

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  • host
    Dec 9, 2011 - 10:55PM

    People who fear US, being sole super power, are no less than idiots – and big time. US is nearing its death with every passing day.

    We must prolong afghan war and keep the NATO route cut. Harsh afghan winter and Taliban’s winter offense will wipe out the americans within a year. 2012 will be the end of US supremacy over the world. Just hold on to the pressure, do not open the route for a few months!
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  • ksri
    Dec 9, 2011 - 10:58PM

    @Shahid Kureshi:
    If Pakistan choose to escalate the current crisis into a military showdown then the result are not hard to predict
    1) Pakistan will be turned into another Afghanistan or
    2) Pakistan will cease to exist

    Death of Pakistan will be catastrophic than its birth or the 1971 division..

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  • S Mansoor
    Dec 9, 2011 - 11:57PM

    Better late than never. But I can’t help but wonder – should a professional defence apparatus really be so slow to react? Why the heck could someone not order this ‘beefing up’ happening before on the countless other occasions when intrusions happened? Or at least after the Abbotabad ‘attack’?

    I fear these is just empty posturing, and excuses. Maybe the next time we’ll hear something like: “Oh so NATO’s intruded again? We’ll show them..we’ll now actually link our live ammo to the defence system we upgraded the last time”.

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  • MarkH
    Dec 10, 2011 - 12:22AM

    @Shahid Kureshi:
    Even if overstretched you’re still put to shame. You’re over confident. I can be harsh about my own government easily but if you really believe anyone would want the help of Pakistani tactics in their solutions you’re insane.

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  • Dec 10, 2011 - 12:32AM

    Jacobable airbase? :/

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  • Shahid Kureshi
    Dec 10, 2011 - 1:22AM

    @MarkH:

    Famous last words.

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  • ayesha
    Dec 10, 2011 - 1:50AM

    This is topi drama. Even this time the cental command of aware of what was going on (hey had requested ISAF to stop attacks – they could not do this without being aware of what was going on). Despite this they did not summon PAF.

    All along PAF chief has mentioned they have capability to shoot drones down yet Kayani has never authorized this. To say that they need civilian permission is a joke when all defense related decisions are being taken unilaterally by the army. They run to hide under civilian cover when decisions are unpopular withpublic.

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  • Aryan
    Dec 10, 2011 - 2:58AM

    @antanu:
    Said someone, whose own country’s government says that an attack (26/11) lasting for 3 days and resulting in deaths of 300+ innocent people is not credible evidence. Keep up the ostrich mentality, it will help in long run.

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  • Bilal M F
    Dec 10, 2011 - 3:02AM

    @M Bilal: I heard they prematurely detonate before being delivered. Isn’t that the reason we have many bombings within Pakistan itself ? And poor innocent people keeps blaming India for this mis fortune.

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  • Bilal M F
    Dec 10, 2011 - 3:51AM

    @Dadyal: While everywhere people are God loving, islamic people are always God “fearing”. Explains everything about your mindset. Psychology 101.

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  • Mahmud al Ghazni
    Dec 10, 2011 - 4:08AM

    Coward broke amricans don’t know our glorious history. They are already scared, no other army can deploy air defenses in such a short time. Now is the time for PAF to
    preemptively hit Bagram.

    Pakistan paindabad!

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  • O.B.Server
    Dec 10, 2011 - 4:51AM

    Shouldn’t the air defences have been upgraded after the Abbotabad raid!

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  • some
    Dec 10, 2011 - 5:10AM

    @M Bilal:
    select any city on your own, who have stopped you. in the past you never waited for permission.

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  • You Said It
    Dec 10, 2011 - 7:41AM

    @Mahmud al Ghazni:
    no other army can deploy air defenses in such a short time

    Exactly. Since May 2 raid, it’s been only 7 months, 1 week and 1 day. The air defenses were deployed at the speed of light — our army bought them from an alien planet far, far away…

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  • Hafeez Pasha
    Dec 10, 2011 - 10:42AM

    If NATO can’t defeat the Taliban, which is a ragtag guerrilla force with only 20,000 men armed with light weapons, how on earth will it defeat the Pakistan Armed Forces with 600,000+ highly-trained and battle-hardened troops with 100+ nukes, 400 combat aircraft, 3,000+ tanks, etc. (plus 500,000 reserve troops) backed by 180 million civilians of which 20 million are armed? If NATO starts a war with Pakistan, the Durand Line will disappear and it will be a free-for-all “Kill as many NATO troops as you can” party in “AFPAK”.

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  • Manny
    Dec 10, 2011 - 12:31PM

    @Truth Teller: So you have proven my point. You are proving yourself a coward. 1965 and Kargil were things that Pakistan started. This time, it is Pakistan that was attacked, we were not the ones who attacked 2 NATO checkposts and killed 24 American soldiers. If somebody attacks us we have the natural right of self-defense.

    And one more thing, you said I should go ahead and be your guest if I want to see Pakistan turn into another Afghanistan and Iraq. My dear, it is nothing but cowardly self-delusion on your part if you think Pakistan still won’t be turned into Afghanistan or Iraq if we do NOT resist the Americans. They didn’t coin the term AfPak for nothing, do keep that in mind.

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  • Risa
    Dec 10, 2011 - 12:38PM

    @Cautious: Typical American reaction. NATO most certainly did deliberately attack that checkpost because they were testing what Pakistan’s response would be because they’ve been itching to make sure the war in Afghanistan spreads to Pakistan. You should read Brian Cloughley’s very damning piece on the attack entitled “America’s Lost War: Killing Pakistani Soldiers.”

    It is the US that has given no credible explanation for why they attacked and how it could possibly have been a mistake. Instead of threatening us you should look at how the world’s only superpower lost a 10 year war against a bunch of hillbilly ragtag village hicks.

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  • Harry Stone
    Dec 10, 2011 - 8:45PM

    The double game continues. Hard to believe this is an act of a so called ally. Does anyone doubt that if fired upon that the US would not respond with greater force.

    This is a great way to lose all AD systems as well as the air force.

    The 60 seconds air war. Is this what we really want?

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  • ZUBAIR
    Dec 11, 2011 - 1:25AM

    One of the possible causes of NATO attack..
    Captain Usman Shaheed was fighting right on front foot since last few months and they cordoned off whole area from militants. But along with that, he was also continuously reporting to Chief of Army Staff that U.S soldiers come from across border and they supply some strange materials to the locals residing in the Mohmand Agency.
    U.S. soldiers also did not let Pak army to inspect those bags, which they supply to locals. U.S. soldiers used to ensure 100% secrecy of the materials that was being supplied to the locals. Now this is for sure that; the material can never be food items etc and Captain Usman was continuously reporting this suspicious phenomena that U.S is supplying ammunition and weapons to the local militants. That reporting along with other reasons possibly led to NATO attack on Salalah Check post.

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  • Bilal
    Dec 11, 2011 - 7:32AM

    @Asif Butt:
    Allah will not help you kill any one, this will be a man’s decision. So kindly don’t pray for such an evil, you of all should know what will happen at the day of judgement sir.

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  • Bilal
    Dec 11, 2011 - 7:33AM

    @Pundit:
    exactly, it’s a shame people don’t look at the bigger picture

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  • Bilal
    Dec 11, 2011 - 7:35AM

    @sufi:
    lol desi pardesi liberals, after 20 years of non-liberalism we know where we are right now :)

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  • Bilal
    Dec 11, 2011 - 7:42AM

    @Mahmud al Ghazni:
    are you for real? isn’t PAF job is to protect Pakistans air space, yet a chopper flies in and attack abbotabad – forget who was there. Air chief should be called in and question why and how did this happen? his job is to protect our air space not let anyone else come in – in the first place.

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  • salman
    Dec 11, 2011 - 7:34PM

    @ Ahmed ,,, repeating few TOPGUN terms won’t make u an air def expert. SPADA is a LOMAD (Low to Medium Altitude Air defence) and is not deployed on the border but only in the deep at strategic assets ,,, on the borders it is always SHORAD ,, i.e short range Aid Def upto 8 km range ,,, something that could’ve knocked out those appaches very easily. So do not feel the heat of US anti Radiation Missiles in your cozy drawing room and demoralize all others. Be optimistic and back up your armed forces. Sleep tight ,, Pak Forces are awake ,,, like they faced all the wrath on their chest at Salala post ,,, and didnt bother u much !!! Recommend

  • salman
    Dec 11, 2011 - 7:42PM

    I only wish u could actually go on Pak-Afgh border and find 25 km clear intervisibilitty in one of the most porous and tricky terrain of the world. Please come out of google earth and see it for urself. The most dreaded super power could not even take-on few caves after pounding all the daisy cutters at tora bora. This is no holly wood movie ,,, an air def gun and a shoulder fired IR SAM can not be jammed FYI !!!

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  • Dec 13, 2011 - 1:03PM

    If the World’s Strongest Man attacks you… run ! If you stand and fight, you won’t last 5 minutes. But if you run, chances are that you might have a son who may one day become stronger and beat the crap out of him. And must try for next time we are not forget any other story. We have ability for this reply as soon as possible recmondation

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