NATO raid upshot: Angry Pakistan threatens to derail Afghan endgame

Published: November 28, 2011
Thousands gathered outside the United States (US) consulate in Karachi. PHOTO: REUTERS

Thousands gathered outside the United States (US) consulate in Karachi. PHOTO: REUTERS


As Pakistan buried its dead from Saturday’s attack on a border check post by Nato troops, the government looked for more ways to express its anger against Nato and the United States for the incident. On Sunday, it threatened to review its role in facilitating talks with insurgents and re-think its participation in next month’s Bonn conference.

Revisit engagement

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani told Express News that Pakistan “will revisit its engagement with the US, Nato and the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf)” while an unnamed Pakistani official said that the country’s security establishment has already halted “all efforts to persuade the Afghan Taliban to come to the negotiating table.”

On Saturday, Pakistan decided to shut down key Nato supply routes, ask the US to vacate a remote airbase in Balochistan and review ties with Washington. Pakistan has also protested to Afghanistan over the attacks. It said that the use of Afghan territory against Pakistan was a violation of Isaf’s mandate for operations in Afghanistan.

For its part, the US Central Command said that it will conduct its own investigation into Nato’s involvement. General James Mattis, who heads the command, is expected to appoint an investigating officer by Monday. Nato officials privately insist that their troops were attacked first, a charge that the Pakistan military strongly denies.

A Pentagon spokesman said that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defence Secretary Leon Panetta were closely monitoring reports of the incident. Spokesman John Kirby added: “Both offer their deepest condolences for the loss of life.”

Clinton, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force and of US Forces in Afghanistan, each called their Pakistani counterparts, the Pentagon spokesman said. Cameron P. Munter, US ambassador to Pakistan, also met with Pakistani officials in Islamabad.

Clinton and Panetta both stressed “the importance of the US-Pakistani partnership.” Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasumussen, however, fell short of a formal apology, and instead tweeted that the airstrike was a “tragic unintended incident,” adding “the death of Pakistani personnel are as unacceptable and deplorable as the deaths of Afghan and international personnel.”

Pakistani stance

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that decisions of the defence cabinet committee (DCC) on the Nato forces’ attack would be implemented. Talking to the media in Islamabad, he said Nato supplies (through Pakistan) “had been stopped permanently.”

Pakistani officials also warned that the attack will have “huge implications” for the Afghan endgame.

Process halted

When Secretary Clinton led a delegation last month to Islamabad, authorities in Pakistan had agreed with the US to convince certain insurgent groups, including the Haqqani network, to enter the meaningful talks for seeking a peaceful end in Afghanistan. “That process has now come to a halt,” said the official.

Republican Senator Jon Kyl called for “tough diplomacy” with Pakistan and urged Islamabad to cooperate to maintain its financial aid. “We do need their support in the region,” he acknowledged.

So furious are the authorities that the government has put on hold its decision on attending a key international conference on Afghanistan slated for December 5 in Bonn. Foreign ministry spokesperson Tehmina Janjua said the decision to attend the Bonn conference “was being examined.”

It is believed that Islamabad will now set certain pre-conditions before resumption of cooperation with stakeholders. Demands include a formal public apology, a thorough investigation, action against those responsible, compensation for the families of victims and firm guarantees that such incursions are not repeated.

FM Khar called her counterparts from key Nato countries on Sunday.  Khar spoke to Clinton on the decisions taken by the DCC after the Nato attack. Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu assured that as a member of Nato, Turkey would ask for an impartial inquiry.

(Read: Attack on border post)

with Additional input from agencies

Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (38)

  • khan
    Nov 28, 2011 - 4:55AM

    come on kayani do something


  • Maulana capitalist
    Nov 28, 2011 - 5:11AM

    We want out of this damn war on terror. Enough blood has been spilled. The US and NATO forces in Afghanistan and Iraq fight with impunity hence more than one million Iraqis have been slaughtered and thousands of afghans have been brutally murdered.

    Down with occupation


  • ali
    Nov 28, 2011 - 5:46AM

    This puppet govt. will not do anything. The people have to come out and force the govt. to end the co-operation with US and Nato.


  • Babloo
    Nov 28, 2011 - 5:53AM

    Its time for US to call the Pakistani bluff and bluster and teach it a lesson.


  • Javed
    Nov 28, 2011 - 5:59AM

    War is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength.

    Welcome to the New World Order.


  • haawww
    Nov 28, 2011 - 6:18AM

    call me when drama is over


  • asim
    Nov 28, 2011 - 6:50AM

    Until we have people like zardari and rehman malik and babar awan , our country will always be to serve America.


  • Proud Baloch
    Nov 28, 2011 - 6:52AM

    If Pakistan had Baloch in its army and political leadership, America would have long understood never to mess with such a country.


  • Usman
    Nov 28, 2011 - 7:08AM


    come on kayani do something

    Exactly the sort of reaction ISAF/NATO are expecting from us, they want us to do something stupid which will give them a perfect excuse to cross the border into Pakistan and expand their air bombardment. Our reaction should be non-military, cut supply routes, expel CIA (drones and walking drones alike) , demand compensation and end our involvment of any kind in this WOT.


  • Bagarbilla
    Nov 28, 2011 - 7:26AM

    @Babloo: Hahahaha Mere Munnay, US doesn’t live in this area but People of this region has to live here in this region. Therefore, It could be very well be your desire that all Muslims disappear from the region, But it’s not going to happen. I am sorry you will have to live with your neighbors. Take some wisdom from someone if you have none.


  • Nov 28, 2011 - 7:37AM

    Pakistan, for its own sake, should not over do it. It is,at best, a middle level power and it has to ensure the relationship with the US does not get broken down completely for its own good.

    US would have never done this with an India/China, why? Because they are a much greater power than Pakistan could ever hope to be. That is why Pakistan should tone it down.


  • Nisar
    Nov 28, 2011 - 7:58AM

    @Babloo: Bring it on. Pakistan isn’t Iraq or Afghanistan. 200 million people + Legit army. You’ll live to regret it.


  • Hu Jintao
    Nov 28, 2011 - 8:49AM

    and here we have a pseudo-intellectual who thinks that US is always right. Hah!

    Even Americans have woken up and realized their lying government and here we have a american fanboy which btw is endian troll who thinks US will solve problems

    come out of delusion bablooo before the bubble blows


  • Wasil Arian
    Nov 28, 2011 - 8:51AM

    It is a presage to something more dreadful in near future. The NATO and US are engaged in endgame and Pakistan is not delivering for what is required against considerations already recieved and in pipeline. They can not afford to leave without significantly marginalizing the strength of militants present in the safe havens provided by Pakistan. Some drastic action appears to be on the horizen which may not be either bebeficial or to the liking of Pakistan.


  • Mirza
    Nov 28, 2011 - 8:53AM

    @Maulana capitalist:
    I agree with you. All invasions and foreign interference must stop in all the countries. Many thousands of innocent people have been killed mostly civilians. However, some are touting the impending withdrawal of US forces as their defeat and running away. How many more casualties these chest thumping armchair generals and mullah want? I am glad you are not one of them.
    Thanks and regards,


  • Mohsin Ali
    Nov 28, 2011 - 8:56AM

    Pakistan should learn from Afganistan and accept the fact that it is not any better (at least the whole world think so). So the obvious response should be to just tone it down, stop chest thumping, cooperate with US, share useful information with them and NATO will handle the terrorists. And, sadly though, accept the collateral damage. There is no shame in accepting help from others when you are clearly not capable. Peace!!!


  • F Robinson
    Nov 28, 2011 - 8:58AM

    . Unfortunately Pakistan is driven by paranoia and blames all their problems on US.In Pakistan Truth has a variety of meanings – remember Pakistani fake WikiLeaks.
    AFGHAN and Western officials claim NATO and Afghan forces came
    under fire from across the Pakistan border on Saturday before they
    called in a deadly airstrike on two Pakistani military posts.


  • Shyam
    Nov 28, 2011 - 9:33AM

    @ Nisar
    “Bring it on”

    What….1971 Again???


  • Analyst
    Nov 28, 2011 - 9:43AM

    Guys, Its all about money.


  • Voice of Baloch
    Nov 28, 2011 - 9:53AM

    Huh compensation for victim’s families so you will resume your relations?


  • Nasir
    Nov 28, 2011 - 10:31AM

    This strike is a warning from US to ask Pakistan to do whatever it wants. Pak should act visely and prepare for the worst. The endgame is near ending…


  • faraz
    Nov 28, 2011 - 10:31AM

    If Pakistan really takes on US, KP will join Pushtoonistan, Sindh and Baluchistan will form a seperate country, and Punjab will become the new Pakistan


  • Gasherbrummistani
    Nov 28, 2011 - 10:57AM

    @F Robinson:
    Truth has a variety of meanings in a lot of places, not just Pakistan. Weapons of Mass Destruction ring a bell in your bastion of Truth, Honesty and everything Good?


  • Nov 28, 2011 - 11:08AM

    @khan: Caveat Emptor my friend. If it was so easy it would have been done. Salams


  • Iceman
    Nov 28, 2011 - 11:33AM

    “Bring it on. Pakistan isn’t Iraq or Afghanistan. 200 million people + Legit army. You’ll live to regret it”

    Please remind me. 24 Pak soldiers killed against NATO’s __?


  • Nov 28, 2011 - 12:44PM

    Nice parroting of US plan of breaking up of Pakistan.


  • zedan rumi
    Nov 28, 2011 - 1:34PM

    it’s awsome decision from pakistani side. pakistan is never and ever coward.
    welldone pak ARMY .we are with you…….


  • Nov 28, 2011 - 1:35PM

    What about Jacobabad airbase that is under US control? US has huge presence there, and they don’t take permission from Pakistan government on what’s coming in and/or going out of there. Anyone thought about it?


  • @KSA
    Nov 28, 2011 - 2:29PM

    I believe Pakistan must declare “NO FLY ZONE” over the bordering areas between Afghanistan & Pakistan by getting ‘DRONE base empty because you can’t trust your so called freiends.


  • FactChek
    Nov 28, 2011 - 3:06PM

    Greta! Declare war on NATO.

    Wait, nothing is going to happen, wait a week and the supplies will be moving again. Pakistan doesn’t want to loose billions in service fees it it does then the economy will collapse.

    Talk about rock and a hard place.


  • faraz
    Nov 28, 2011 - 3:57PM


    I have no illusions about the unity between various ethnicities and provinces. If ethnic groups can killed thousands in target killings then anything can happen


  • ammar
    Nov 28, 2011 - 4:11PM

    all preconditions and demands set out in 2nd last para of this article are absolutely equitable and justified.nato should be taught a lesson


  • Truth Teller
    Nov 28, 2011 - 5:32PM

    Pakistan has to think million times before taking any action since NATO forces are waiting for any irresponsible act in order to teach Pakistan a lesson. Keep the emotions away & think logically & rationally.


  • ali
    Nov 28, 2011 - 8:56PM

    @ Truth Teller

    Haha just like they have been teaching the afghan mujaheddin a lesson for 10 years. Pakistan has nukes. Only the befitting reply will teach them.Recommend

  • Ali Imam
    Nov 29, 2011 - 12:37AM

    *Teach it a lesson”??
    Yeah right, the only “lessons” US can teach is against 3rd world countries,opium farmers and tribal villagers


  • linga0123
    Nov 29, 2011 - 12:55AM

    NATO, ISAF and the Afghan forces are nincompoops, expressing regrets over the incident. They should have denied it summarily, claiming it had been staged by Pakistan, for its own ends, and asked for evidence. And, if and when, the evidence would have been provided by Pakistan claim that the evidence was not admissible in the court of law in Afghanistan.


  • Nov 29, 2011 - 4:12AM

    The problem isn’t the fear of military conflict. I doubt the Americans will invade Pakistan. The problem is the economic war that they will wage. Sanctions, branding of Pakistan as sponsor of terrorism etc. The effect of that will be a balance of payments crisis leading to rapid depreciation of the rupee and high inflation (maybe even hyper inflation), unemployment and increased poverty. So would most Pakistanis be willing to take that sort of punishment?

    Actually the choice isn’t between taking the punishment or not. The choice is whether you want it now or in the future! Because there is no doubt in my mind that the Americans will wage economic war on Pakistan within the next few years. They seem hell bent on hurting us. For all their talk of an alliance it looks like they are playing a double game as well :)


  • Dec 1, 2011 - 7:35AM

    We know how subversion works. Keep preaching your dogma, even common man is seeing through your false facade.


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