Monday, July 14, 2008

U.S. defense officials say Pakistanis need to take tougher stance

In the wake of the death of nine NATO International Security Assistance Force soldiers in Afghanistan’s Kunar province yesterday, U.S. officials called on Pakistan to take a tougher stand against extremists, and expressed a desire for greater cooperation between NATO forces and the Pakistani army.

NATO officials have long considered the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan a thorn in its side, calling the situation "dysfunctional".

Taliban extremists have used the federally administered tribal area on the Pakistani side of the border as a staging area to launch attacks on NATO and Afghan National Army bases. They have also utilized their sanctuaries to launch missile and mortars at targets on the Afghan side of the border.

The ability of Taliban forces to operate within Pakistan has become problematic in light of Pakistan's refusal to allow NATO forces to operate within its territory.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said U.S. and NATO officials continue to work with the Pakistani Army and government to address the situation.

“There have been a number of discussions in recent weeks, and I suspect those will continue as we try to address the border region in a comprehensive way,” he said. “It has many facets to it, and we are looking to address it on all of those levels that we can.”

U.S. military officials have said they need about 10,000 more troops on the ground in Afghanistan, and they are considering redeploying troops from Iraq in light of the recent security gains in that country, and the increasing effectiveness of Iraqi security forces.

France and Britain have volunteered additional troops to the NATO effort.

“We continue to work with NATO to fulfill some of those capabilities that are needed and will enhance the ability of the forces there,” Whitman said. “The U.S. commitment is clear. We said we are committed to providing more capability there in 2009.”

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I wonder how many people even realize that the war in Afghanistan is a NATO effort? We continually hear democrats bemoaning the U.S. "go-it-alone" policies.

Heck, we even got the French involved.

2 comments:

Ky Woman said...

I believe there are close to 40 countries who have troops in Afghanistan. Not all are allowed to actively engage enemy figters. Quite a few are doing 'non-kinetic' activities.

I believe the brunt of the fighting has fallen to the US, British, and Australians soldiers. Possibly the German too. There are a few others who, if engaged are allowed to return fire. Not all, but some.

What most people don't realize, this will be many years in the fight against the taliban and Al-Qaida, along with all the other different factions who have a stake in the eventual outcome. Pakistan is one. Iran is another.

We have a rough road ahead. Our troops as well as all NATO soldiers in this war need our support and voices.

Thanks for adding yours to the mix.

Michael Maharrey said...

I feel like it is something of a patriotic duty to do something to get the rest of the story out.

It's my pleasure.

Thanks for reading. Pass the link on!