Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pak army vows to confront US attacks

Press TV reports:

Pakistani military reiterates it will not allow any incursions by the US-led NATO troops into its volatile tribal region near Afghan border.

There has been no change in the rules of engagement with the US forces and the Pakistani military will not permit any aerial or ground incursions by foreign troops, the security officials said at a briefing on anti-militancy operations in the North West Frontier Province and adjoining tribal belt.

The security sources said also the civilian government wanted the anti-militancy operations to "continue till the end".

The military assertion coincides with President Asif Ali Zardari's comments that Pakistan will not allow US forces to violate the country's sovereignty through cross-border raids.

Zardari, in an interview with CNN broadcast on Sunday, said that Pakistan's military is capable of quelling militant elements on its border with Afghanistan, adding that Pakistani troops "can do a better job than anybody else."

Pointing out that such attacks are counter-productive, Zardari said the US should share intelligence so that Pakistani forces could act against militants on the country's soil.

Pakistan has angrily protested the missile strikes in recent weeks, which have resulted in the killing of innocent civilians, including women and children.

Zardari and army comments came after Pakistani and US troops exchanged fire along the Pak-Afghan border last week during which - according to Washington's claims - two US military helicopters came under fire.

Anger in Pakistan has been rising since the US began conducting cross-border commando raids as well as stepping up the number of attacks from unmanned Predator drones in the tribal region.

Pakistani leaders including the president and premier have lashed out at the United States over alleged violation of its air and ground space and killing of innocent civilians.

The political analysts believe that though there's no war going on between the US and Pakistan yet, but recent exchanges involving American and Pakistani forces are sounding like a sputtering fuse that's growing ever shorter.

Washington's unilateral strikes inside Pakistan in the recent time have triggered sovereignty debates within the corridors of the parliament in Islamabad.

Pakistan has gone on to make official complaints that their backing to the US during trying times has not been reciprocated.

The media quoted a Pakistani diplomat saying, “We expected we would be abandoned once again - but we never imagined it would happen so soon.”

Some experts are seeing Pak-US alliance to be under significant strain for the first time in the last six decades.