In a briefing to the Senate Standing Committee on Defence, the director-general of military operations Major-General Ashfaq Nadeem, echoing what he had told journalists earlier, showed no hesitation in claiming that the US attack on a checkpost in Mohmand Agency that killed 24 Pakistani security personnel was deliberate and pre-planned. As confident as he may be in his proclamation, there is good reason to avoid jumping to so swift a conclusion. Since 9/11, the Pakistan military has benefitted to quite an extent from US aid and for them to now take such a stance without waiting for the results of the inquiry may, perhaps, not be the best course of action.
The DGMO also ruled out the possibility of Pakistan being a part of the US inquiry into the incident, saying that such investigations are invariably little more than a whitewash. For the military to refuse to even cooperate with the American investigation is unwise. If indeed its worst fears are confirmed and the US is interested in little else than covering its own backside, Pakistan would be on stronger ground if it first gives the inquiry a chance before pulling out in anger. There are many questions about the attack that remain unanswered, like how communications between the two sides broke down to such an extent that the attack carried on for two hours or how the US supposedly mistook a checkpost, of whose coordinates they were previously aware, for a militant hideout. The answers to these questions will likely reflect poorly on the US, whether the attack was carried out by mistake or by design, however, a joint investigation by the two countries is the best way to discover what exactly happened. But now that Nadeem has dug his heels in and shown that the military is in no mood to cooperate, we are unlikely to ever get the full details of the attack.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 10th, 2011.