This writer has been warning for years that US and NATO efforts to defeat resistance to Western occupation by Afghanistan’s fierce Pashtun tribes would eventually lead to spreading the conflict into neighboring Pakistan, a nation of 175 million.
We’ve seen it all before in Vietnam. It was then called, “mission creep.”
The focus of the Afghan War is clearly shifting south into Pakistan, drawing that nation and the United States forces ever closer to a direct confrontation. This grim development was as predictable as it was inevitable.
This week’s fevered warnings from Washington of supposedly imminent terrorist attacks in Europe may be aimed at justifying intensifying US military operations against Pakistan. If attacks do come in Europe, they will most likely be linked to anti-French militant groups in North Africa and the Sahara – nothing at all to do with Afghanistan or Pakistan.
Last week, Pakistan temporarily closed the main US/NATO supply route from Karachi to the Afghan border at Torkham after the killing of three Pakistani soldiers by US helicopter gunships. Three US/NATO fuel supply convoys were burned by anti-American militants.
Eighty percent of the supplies of the US-led forces in Afghanistan come up this long, difficult route. Along the way, the US pays large bribes to Pakistani officials, local warlords, and to Taliban. The cost of a gallon of gas delivered to US units in Afghanistan has risen to $800.
US helicopter gunships have staged at least four attacks on Pakistan this past week alone, in addition to the mounting number of strikes by CIA drones that are inflicting heavy casualties on civilians and tribal militants alike. US Special Forces and CIA-run Afghan mercenaries are also increasingly active along Pakistan’s northwest frontier.