April 15, 2007

Denying 'Hot Pursuit' In Waziristan

Pervez Musharraf has unequivocally stated that Pakistan will not allow US forces to operate in Pakistani territory, not in joint patrols or for any other reason. This conflicts with the more blunt assertion from the US, which noted that American forces will follow retreating Taliban and al-Qaeda forces across the Afghanistan border in "hot pursuit" cases (via TMV):

President General Pervez Musharraf has rejected "absolutely and totally" the prospect of a joint US-Pakistan military operation to pursue retreating insurgents inside Pakistan.

"The whole population of Pakistan will rise against it," he told CBS news channel in an interview.

Musharraf hit out at his Afghan counterpart, saying he was "very angry" at criticism of Pakistani progress in fighting cross-border terrorism.

Karzai's reasons for anger at Musharraf seem readily apparent; he wants Pakistan to do more in fighting the terrorists that hide in Pakistan and attack in Afghanistan. Musharraf's anger comes from an accusation that Mullah Omar hides in Pakistan, presumably with the cooperation of Pakistan's intel service, the ISI. While everyone believes that Omar and Osama bin Laden have taken refuge in Pakistan's mountainous border region, the accusation that Pakistan is actively assisting them has less foundation, at least in evidence.

However, the story here is that Musharraf has pushed back against the Bush administration on hot pursuit. The White House had been taken aback by Musharraf's deals with the tribes in Waziristan and see it as a retreat on Pakistan's part. Musharraf has pointed to the deaths of 300 Uzbeks in Wana as proof that he remains committed to fighting al-Qaeda, but he aligned himself with Taliban senior commanders to do it -- and the fight between the Uzbeks and the Pashtuns has almost everything to do with tribal politics and almost nothing to do with al-Qaeda.

If we intend to beat the Taliban and al-Qaeda in that region, we will have to conduct hot-pursuit attacks on retreating forces, and we will also have to conduct attacks on their bases if the Pakistanis won't do it themselves. If we can keep it quiet, we could do it without enraging the rest of the Pakistani nation; after all, Waziristan is a remote area with isolated tribes. Discretion here may be better than public pronouncements of our intent. A little denial may not be a bad prescription for success.


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Comments (17)

Posted by NahnCee [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 15, 2007 11:57 AM

Why on earth do we care about "enraging the rest of Pakistan", when that whole nation is already violently and explosively anti-American? Whatever Musharref wants to claim and lie about, let him.

The fact is, his people are trying their damndest to blow HIM up, too, so I'm really not sure who he's speaking to or playing for any more since he is not an ally of America now (if he ever was one), nor does he have the support of the average Pakistani on the street.

Pakistan as a country is still attacking India and Kashmir, still following misogynist sharia law, and still acting as a training area both for internal terrorists and terrorist wannabe's flown in from the West (like Great Britain).

And that's not even counting their resident pet nuclear scientist who spent the last decade or two trotting around the Middle East selling nuclear technology to what ever tinpot dictator had enough filthy lucre to buy it, and then once he was busted is now living out his life in luxury, protected as a national hero by ... any one, any one? Yes, indeed, the lovely and vivacious Mr. Musharref.

I see absolutely no reason whatsoever that American AND Afghan forces shouldn't do hot pursuit where-ever and when-ever they want to, and whatever Musharref whines in response be damned.

At one point I had thought we should offer Musharref a nice life in exile, possibly in France since they treat ex-dictators so well. But now I just want him blowed up, the sooner the better. I really don't see how the situation in Pakistan could be any worse, but with Mr. Musharref as its head, it's bound to keep declining.

Posted by rbj [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 15, 2007 12:00 PM

Exactly Cap'n, do hot pursuits, just don't talk about them. But I am willing to bet that some US reporter will report that there are hot pursuits.

Posted by CJ [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 15, 2007 12:06 PM

If ever there was a time for strong leadership thinking outside of the box, this it that time. The Speaker of the House needs to get over there pronto and broker a solution that takes all countries in a new direction. tic

Posted by Cybrludite [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 15, 2007 12:15 PM

One thing that'd be a comfort to know would be just how good our intel on the precise location of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is. When (Not "If") something happens to Musharrif, we're going to have to act quick to capture or destroy those weapons.

Posted by Thanos [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 15, 2007 12:40 PM

Ed's got it right.

I don't agree with this statement in the comments:
Why on earth do we care about "enraging the rest of Pakistan", when that whole nation is already violently and explosively anti-American?

Most of urban Pakistan, the majority of the population in other words, is somewhat conservative to moderate (if you go read the letters to the editor written by Pakistans in cities, read the online forums, and the blogs you will discover this.) We could by gross and highly overt violation of their borders drive the population into Iran's and China's lap. They are already negotiating a major transport route through Pak from China, do we want more or less of that?

Posted by David [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 15, 2007 12:46 PM

We need to treat Pakistan's frontier with Afghanistan just like we treat Iran's frontier with Iraq.

Let Ahmadinejad and Musharraf claim plausible deniability while we clean up their backyard for them.

We also need to open the discourse on life after Musharraf, Ahmadinejad, and Assad. The snakes are cornered and we can expect pushback from them.

Posted by patrick neid [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 15, 2007 12:52 PM

we'll go in anytime we need to. musharraf is making these statements for internal political purposes.

special ops have probably been working the night shift for years now.

Posted by amuro316 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 15, 2007 12:54 PM

I think it's definitely a case of Musharraf going for the "plausible deniability" route. I think it's also intentional for him to make statements about it in the here and now- that probably means that US forces ARE in Pakistan right now, and he's pre-emptively "staking and stating his ground". The fact that he also stakes a nationalistic stand within his speech also means it's for domestic consumption- not for the US or Afghani governments.

In short, I think his Waziristan agreements were just political cover for him- and allows the Coalition forces to conduct operations on the QT (and with some extra legal wiggle room).

Posted by Carol_Herman [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 15, 2007 1:01 PM

And, we're the only blokes looking to "enter" Pakistan? What happened to India? They still only want to throw flowers?

As to borders, there are real mountain ranges up there. We could cover this by air. And, make the roads TOWARDS Pakistan fall off the mountain ranges.

How would we do that? You think we couldn't?

You think we'd be sending missiles up the goats, and vehicles, used to traverse this landscape?

True. We don't. But we've proven beyong a doubt that we have no intention of STOPPING the drug traffic. And, that's why there are "roads" in the first place.

IF those people live back in the 7th century; you could learn that the caravan route was deliniated by wagons. Later? Ships. But it's not as if you can't curtail traffic you don't want, ya know?

We've actually begun adopting this, locally.

It's called, euphamistically, "gated communities."

But we're not ready to build that gate, yet.

Or the ditch. (The Kurds have found that Israel's got problems with the word "wall." Even the germans are now trying to rip this down. So, to overcome their, strictly speaking, "bad publicity about building walls to keep terrorists out," the Kurds solved it by DIGGING DEEP. Huge. Deep. Trenches. Along what they perceive as their border. And, it is kept free and clear of arabs. ALL.

How do I know? I remember reading Michael Totten's first description, visiting Iraqi Kurds. He tried to have OMAR and MOHAMMED. From IRAQ THE MODEL; meet him "there." Well, for arabs? There was no welcoming mat. No "there." There.

It's not as if Jews are the only ones who know about stopping terrorists. Nor how the KLEPTOMANIACS, from Fat Albert Gore, and his co-hosts; to arafat's replacement parts, needs to be kept out.

IT's seems in "assymetrical idiocy" preventive measures are not included for the good guys.

If you believe that? You'll swallow the most clumsily attached fish hook that pass over your head. Nothing to do but bite on it, I suppose?

Yes. Musharraf is like putin, et. al. But weaker. And, on his way out.

As to India. It doesn't have a single friend in Pakistan.

And, like I said a lot of Buddists have to learn about survival.

After the first WHOMP from one of these rump nuclear entities; I think the fur will fly. I also don't think Bush will be in the white house. Nor will anyone call him up on the phone for "advice." He had his opportunities. Treated them the same way he treated Yale, and Harvard. Not taking too much norishment from what passed as the best brains in the world.

Yes. You can read oppositional views. It's really no harm done, to open books and study. And, to let slosh around, up there, just about everything you're trying to absorb. How do you think doctors learn? (First? They develop symptoms of hypochondria even Woody Alan didn't suffer. You know why? When you're first learning things, the hoof beats you hear, always belong to zebras.)

To those who feel this post is too long for you to understand? Too bad.

Posted by conservative democrat [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 15, 2007 1:50 PM

I tip my hat to Musharraf. How he survives doing the delicate dance between US ally and trying to be his own man surrounded by Generals that are sympathetic to the radical Islamists, is beyond me. That mountainous area between Pakistan and Afhganistan will never be peaceful. Historically, was it ever? If were going to 'police' all the hot-spots in the world, were going to need either a draft or somehow induce about 100,000 more men and women to join the military. How far will our military stretch? Why does the US have to police the world? Will the Iraqi army and the Afhgan army EVER be ready to stand up and take charge? One thing that has dawned on me in the two front wars we are fighting, borders have little or no meaning in these parts of the world. Our enemies are either crossing them from a safe santuary to fight us, or escaping back into them. If borders aren't sealed no way can wars be won.All we are doing is sticking our fingers in the dike. Endless war. Someone please tell me how it isn't.

Posted by AMR [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 15, 2007 3:14 PM

I agree that we need to perform hot pursuits and keep it on the QT. But how does one do that when our own intelligence community would leak it to the NYT. It is past time for the Justice Dept to go after the leakers. If, as is reported, the CIA won’t cooperate, the Nixon method of firing each manager down the chain of command until you get one who does might work. You can’t fight a war with proactive enemies in your front line organizations.

Posted by Adjoran [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 15, 2007 9:38 PM

I agree with Patrick Neid: undoubtedly this declaration aims to gain some more time and perhaps sympathy with the Pakistani population. Musharraf knows darned well we will continue to pursue retreating Talibani and al Qaeda fighters across the border, as well as any intel on the whereabouts of key figures. There's not much he could do about it anyway. His government has little control in Waziristan in any case.

Naturally, the ONLY hope the out-manned, out-gunned, and out-funded enemies in Afghanistan and Iraq have is to pull a Vietnam out of the hat. Even as they are reeling, they rely upon the media meme in the American homeland that the "war can't be won."

Posted by jiHymas@himivest.com [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 15, 2007 11:24 PM

Violating the sovereignity of your allies and lying about it?

I don't think that's a policy that will win too many friends.

Posted by TyCaptains [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 16, 2007 12:59 AM

And precisely how long would it take for verified reports of US forces engaging in hot pursuit despite Musharraf's statements?

In this day and age, not long at all.

Then consider Bush's own statements about not violating Pakistan's sovereignty, which if you think we are engaging in hot pursuit, makes the President a liar and potentially vulnerable.

Relying on Occam's Razor means that likely, their statements are just that, that we have our hands tied until Musharraf decides the political climate will allow him to alter it.

Posted by Bitter Pill [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 16, 2007 6:36 AM

Hey JimmyHaHa and Conceited Democrat, do you nitwits ever have any solutions? All you libtards seem capable of doing is criticizing.

Posted by patrick neid [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 16, 2007 7:42 AM

i think there's a little faux naivete going on here.

tomorrow if we got hard evidence from a special ops squad now operating in pakistan that high value targets were in a certain house, that house would disappear just as prior houses have disappeared.

as for silly statements like winning friends and allies etc you have to be kidding. absolutely no one considers pakistan an ally. they are a manageable asset to be discarded when the time comes. in fact much of their fate is out of our hands. pakistan is a dictatorship run by a general who sooner or later will be killed. while he is still alive we will pretend to administer to his whims as long as they don't conflict with ours larger issues. the only reason he is cooperating with us is because he currently fears us more than his own radical isi "taliban" secret police.

as for our friends and allies we have only the brits, australians,and the danes to name a few. in fact the australians have announced they are sending another 1000 soldiers to afghanistan including 300 of their SAS "hunter/killer" group considered to be second to none in their operational skill set. they go out on deep recon. they especially like to hang with our equivalent in the field. the european peace keeping contingent led by the dutch prevented this deployment for which they were castigated by prime minister howard. the australians have now demanded to go into the area bordered by pakistan with no constraints on their ROE's. they like us will cross any border when it comes to killing bad guys. meanwhile you won't know anything about it.

Posted by phil [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 16, 2007 12:13 PM


Do you really think that's possible with the New York Times around?