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Subject: Pakistan Army Ordered to Open Fire on US Soldiers
DGreat1    9/17/2008 5:57:55 PM
Pakistan troops ordered to open fire on US raiders By STEPHEN GRAHAM, Associated Press Writer Tue Sep 16, 6:34 PM ET ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pakistan's army said Tuesday that its forces have orders to open fire if U.S. troops launch another raid across the Afghan border, raising the stakes in a dispute over how to tackle militant havens in Pakistan's unruly border zone. Adm. Mike Mullen, the U.S. chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, arrived in Pakistan late Tuesday amid the increased tensions. Mullen planned to meet with top civilian and military leaders to discuss a range of issues, including ways to improve coordination and cooperation along the Pakistan-Afghan border. Pakistan's government has faced rising popular anger over a Sept. 3 ground attack by U.S. commandos into South Waziristan, a base for Taliban militants killing ever more U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Pakistan says about 15 people were killed, all of them civilians. The new firing orders were disclosed by Pakistani army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas in an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press. Abbas said Pakistani field commanders have previously been tolerant about international forces crossing a short way into Pakistan because of the ill-defined and contested nature of the mountainous frontier. "But after the (Sept. 3) incident, the orders are clear," Abbas said. "In case it happens again in this form, that there is a very significant detection, which is very definite, no ambiguity, across the border, on ground or in the air: open fire." The statement was the strongest since Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistan's army chief, raised eyebrows last week by vowing to defend Pakistani territory "at all cost." Abbas would not say whether the orders were discussed in advance with U.S. officials. Rep. Gary Ackerman, Democratic chair of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on South Asia, and other lawmakers expressed concern about Abbas' comments at a hearing Tuesday to examine a Bush administration request to fund an upgrade of Pakistan's aging fleet of F-16 fighter planes. Responding to the concerns, Donald Camp, deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs, said: "I cannot envision a situation where we would find ourselves in a shooting situation with Pakistan." "We are partners with Pakistan. We have been close friends for years," he said. President Asif Ali Zardari, the newly elected successor to U.S. ally Pervez Musharraf, declined to comment on the order to use lethal force on American troops, telling reporters in London: "I don't think there will be any more" cross-border operations by the U.S. U.S. military commanders complain Islamabad has been doing too little to prevent the Taliban and other militant groups from recruiting, training and resupplying in Pakistan's lawless tribal belt. Pakistan acknowledges the presence of al-Qaida fugitives and its difficulties in preventing militants from seeping into Afghanistan. However, it insists it is doing what it can and paying a heavy price, pointing to its deployment of more then 100,000 troops in the increasingly restive northwest and a wave of suicide bombings across the country. Mullen, who is on his fifth visit to Pakistan since assuming his post, intended to "discuss ongoing operations in the border region" with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and army chief Kayani, said Mullen spokesman Lt. Col. Gary Tallman. "He has been focused keenly on working more closely with the Pakistani military to improve coordination and effectiveness in operations against extremist safe havens in the border regions," Tallman said. American officials have confirmed U.S. forces carried out the Sept. 3 raid near the town of Angoor Ada in South Waziristan but have given few details of what happened. Abbas said that Pakistan's military had asked for an explanation but received only a half-page of "very vague" information that failed to identify the intended target. He said the dead all appeared to be civilians, adding: "These were truck drivers, local traders and their families." Abbas said Pakistani officials had to consider public opinion, which is skeptical of American goals in the region and harbors sympathy for militants fighting in the name of Islam. "Please look at the public reaction to this kind of adventure or incursion," Abbas said. "The army is also an extension of the public, and you can only satisfy the public when you match your words with your actions." However, some analysts forecast that the consequences of alienating the United States would stay the army's hand. "If an American soldier were to die because of Pakistani military firing that would damage the Pakistani-American relationship for years to come," said Craig Cohen, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. The threat "might stir nationalist sentiment in Pakistan and play well
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panzerc       9/17/2008 11:03:07 PM
i remember hearing about this a couple days ago and was wondering when a post would be started. i figured it was a bluff and some paki general blowing off steam.we've been making raids into pakistan for years and i thought something like this would eventually happen with this musharrif thing going on. i was suprised to hear adm mullen go to pakistan im sure in response to these reports, and pakistan retracts ever saying this.
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theBird    This shouldn't be a problem   9/17/2008 11:05:13 PM
If there are Pakistani troops based in the area to shoot at US choppers, then there ought not to be Taliban there.  Since there are Taliban there, then Pakistani troops must not be in the area, otherwise they would have rooted them out (they are our allies right?)  And if there are no Pakistani troops there then there ought to not be any problems when the US choppers waste whoever happens to be shooting at them!
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DGreat1       9/18/2008 1:05:57 AM
with allies like Pakistan, who needs enemies?
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WarNerd       9/18/2008 8:19:10 AM
Most of the AAA in the area is probably machine guns / light autocannons in the frontier forts with a limited reach and lacking radar guidance.  The large UAV's and fixed wing aircraft can usually high enough to be out of effective range, only the helicopters used for inserting and extracting troops need to operate in the danger zone.
There should not be any Pakistan Army MANPAD's or vehicle mounted AAA in the area because the Taliban / al Queda do not have combat aircraft (They probably have the use of some transport aircraft from smugglers), which would make their capture and use against Pakistani aircraft the governing concern.  (Pakistan probably would not care if captured MANPAD's are used in Afghanistan, as long as they cannot be traced back to Pakistan).
So if we limit our use of troops to areas where they are unlikely to come into contact with regular Pakistan army units (with mobile AAA systems), which we are already doing, the announcement should not be much of an effect.
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DGreat1       9/18/2008 11:23:34 AM
I don't trust Pakistan.
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