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March 16, 2004
AP Votes For Law-Enforcement Approach

I was skimming the AP news wire when I saw this headline:

"Pakistan Kills Two Dozen Terror Suspects"

Thinking that the Pakistanis had summarily executed captured prisoners, which would give the war effort a black eye internationally, I naturally clicked onto the story. What I discovered demonstrated the bias of the headline writers at the AP, at least:

Paramilitary troops stormed a fortress-like compound with mortars and machine-gun fire Tuesday, killing 24 suspects in a fierce crackdown on al-Qaida and Taliban fugitives in the rugged tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, the army spokesman said.

The operation which left at least eight Pakistani troops dead and 15 wounded was a stunning message delivered just one day after the military president promised to rid the territory of foreign terrorists. There have been several anti-terror operations in the semiautonomous tribal belt in recent months, but none so bloody.

The Pakistani Army had not executed terror "suspects" -- they had engaged in a battle with terrorists, holed up in a defensive redoubt, and lost eight of their own in the assault. The AP doesn't know the difference between an arrest and a war, apparently. The story, at least, emphasizes the military nature of the operation:

About 700 paramilitary forces began the operation early Tuesday in Kaloosha, a village about six miles west of Wana, the main town in South Waziristan. A Kaloosha resident, Qasim Khan, said paramilitary troops exchanged fire with people inside the mud-brick compound, which had several low-flung buildings in it and was surrounded by a high wall and several lookout towers. The fortress-like design is common in the lawless tribal belt.

It was unclear who was inside, but it was believed to belong to one of seven tribesmen from the Yargul Khel clan accused of harboring al-Qaida and Taliban suspects. The seven have refused to surrender to authorities.

The good news is that Pakistan continues to demonstrate their commitment to eradicating the traces of al-Qaeda along their border with Afghanistan. Each of these perimeter-defense positions ultimately protect Osama's inner circle, and the fall of each one brings us one step closer to bin Laden himself.

Too bad the AP couldn't bring itself to write that in a more accurate headline.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 16, 2004 6:40 PM

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