View Full Version : U.S. Launches Artillery Into Pakistan

02-11-2007, 05:19 PM
U.S. Launches Artillery Into Pakistan



BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan - Asserting a right to self-defense, American forces in eastern Afghanistan have launched artillery rounds into Pakistan to strike Taliban fighters who attack remote U.S. outposts, the commander of U.S. forces in the region said Sunday.

The skirmishes are politically sensitive because Pakistan's government, regarded by the Bush administration as an important ally against Islamic extremists, has denied that it allows U.S. forces to strike inside its territory.

The use of the largely ungoverned Waziristan area of Pakistan as a haven for Taliban and al-Qaida fighters has become a greater irritant between Washington and Islamabad since Pakistan put in place a peace agreement there in September that was intended to stop cross-border incursions.

Army Col. John W. Nicholson, commander of the 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, said in an Associated Press interview that rather than halt such incursions, the peace deal has led to a substantial increase.

Pakistani border forces, which had been active in stopping Taliban incursions into Afghanistan as recently as last spring, stopped offensive actions against them once the peace deal took effect, he said.

"That did relax some of the pressure on the enemy," Nicholson said.

Members of Nicholson's brigade, which is based at Fort Drum, N.Y., recently were told that instead of going home this month after a yearlong tour, they will stay for an extra four months, until June.

Nicholson told the Army's vice chief of staff, Gen. Richard Cody, that this news hit soldiers and their families hard, but that they are now adjusting well. Cody is traveling in Afghanistan.

The brigade of about 3,500 soldiers is being kept in Afghanistan because senior commanders decided they needed more forces to deal with an anticipated Taliban offensive this spring. The offensive is expected to focus not only on eastern Afghanistan but also the south, where the traditional Taliban stronghold of Kandahar is seen as a prized target. NATO forces operate in that area.

Nicholson described the fighting along the border, particularly in Afghanistan's Paktika and Khost provinces, as intense. In some cases, he said, the Taliban have crossed the border at night, using wire cutters to breach the perimeter of small U.S. outposts, "trying to get hand grenades into our bunkers."

"I mean we're talking World War I type of stuff," Nicholson said. "These are some very sharp, intense fights" initiated by an enemy he described as resilient and undeterred by superior U.S. firepower.

"They'll keep coming back," he said.

When Taliban forces on the Pakistan side of the border fire on U.S. outposts on the Afghan side, the Americans are equipped to quickly pinpoint the launch location using radar and then strike back with artillery, he said.

"We do not allow the enemy to fire with impunity on our soldiers, and we have the inherent right of self defense," he said, speaking by video teleconference from his headquarters at Jalalabad air field. "Even if those fires are coming from across the border (in Pakistan), we have the right to defense ourselves, and we exercise that right." He added later, "We do fire missions across the border."

Nicholson responded to questions from an AP reporter after the commander spoke by video teleconference with Cody.

Cody had planned to fly to Jalalabad to meet with Nicholson and other commanders but poor weather forced him to remain at Bagram, the main American air base in Afghanistan.

Nicholson told Cody that U.S. forces have made important strides this winter in persuading local Afghans to side with the U.S.-backed government and to be less accommodating to the Taliban. The Taliban have been resurgent in some parts of the country after being driven from power by U.S. forces in 2001.

Nicholson's area of responsibility includes the border provinces from Nuristan to Paktika. He said his forces are not required to get approval from Pakistan before responding to an attack. But he emphasized that efforts are made to warn Pakistani government forces along the border to clear the intended target area before U.S. artillery is launched.

"We make every effort to communicate with the Pakistan military," he said, Nicholson said the computers used to target U.S. artillery are programmed with the map coordinates of Pakistani border posts.

"If a fire mission is being called that would impact on a Pakistan border post, we typically will not shoot _ we will not shoot that mission," he said.

The United States has given radios to Pakistan border posts so they can communicate with U.S. forces in Afghanistan, he said. If U.S. troops are unable to contact them directly before launching an artillery assault, an illumination round is fired first as a means of warning the Pakistanis that high explosives will follow.

02-11-2007, 05:30 PM
Pakistan’s Role in anti-Terrorism War highlighted in BBC Documentary


'Pakistan Times' Monitoring Desk

ISLAMABAD: A documentary telecast by BBC World Television Saturday while highlighting Pakistan’s role in anti-terrorism has paid rich tributes to President General Pervez Musharraf for his bold and realistic approach.

Pakistan has arrested more than 500 suspects coming from all over the world. Most valuable among those captured were Ramzi Bin Alsheeb a key planner of the 9/11 attack, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, Abu Zubaida Saudi born Palestinian who was screener of the troops at Bin Ladin’s camp, the Egyptian Sharif AL-Mazhri Al- Qaeda's number three and Abu Farash Al- Libi the report says adding most of the intelligence successes have come in Pakistan’s cities.

Speaking in the Documentary President General Pervez Musharraf said, the decision that he took to be on the side of the coalition was in the national interest. The outcome of this decision will always be in Pakistan’s interest.

“Because I knew what would have happened now in Afghanistan”, he added. He said that Pakistan’s decision to join war against terror was in the national interest.

To a question President Musharraf said, he has never agreed to allow foreign forces to operate from Pakistan’s territory.”I have never for a moment.I have always told them please don’t come to Pakistan. Our forces are very capable to do the job”, he maintained.

President Musharraf said that he is moderate and a staunch Muslim. “We pray, we are fasting, we go for Haj, give zakat and perform the other rituals so all of us are staunch Muslims”, he said.

He said the extremists are in minority and they want to dominate all so the situation needed to be changed. “We should change this situation,it has to be done whatever the risks are.It is my responsibility to motivate the people to stand up and be counted”, the President said.

To a question regarding madarassas, the President said, they are only teaching religion and nothing else.”We want to mainstream these children so that instead of just being religiously oriented, they could get to any profession, such as bankers, doctors or military men”.

Asked why the foreign students were asked to leave Pakistan the President said, “we felt that in some of the madarassas there was tendency to teach aggression and militancy. We thought first step should begin by getting the foreigners out and send them back to their own countries.”

It should be the job of their own countries to further investigate them and give them the sort of education they wanted to, he said.

About the linkage of some UK youths with Madarassas in Pakistan he said, the reality is that they have been in UK for the past twenty years and above. The mindsets did not change here, their mindsets were changed in UK.

Asked is there any evidence that any of the London Bomber came to Pakistan and had contacts with the extremists here the President said, no, there was no such evidence.

“We haven’t as yet got any such indication and if we have there is no secret about it. We will declare it. We will share it with the British intelligence.”

He said that “If there is any connection of London bombing with Pakistan we will accept it. We will not only accept it but will move against them who are their facilitators, we will arrest them”.

About the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden he said “I don’t know where he is,I can only guess and my guess is that he is somewhere in the tribal belt across Pak-Afghan borders”.

He said that the whereabouts of OBL is not known to anyone but if he comes in the way then he will be captured.

Asked does he think there are linkages between the bombing of the 7th of July and those of 21st of July, the President said possibly , because the pattern is similar.

He said the people involved in these incidents may be different and may be the groups are not known to each other but the planner must be the same adding he infiltrates or penetrates extremist organizations and inducts some to do such terrorist act.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Maleha Lodhi speaking in the documentary said Pakistan inherited extremists and militancy because when the United States and Russians withdrew from Afghanistan,the militants did not.

She said that they did not go back to their homes and began to look for other causes.

Commander US Central Command General John Abi Zahid said that President Musharraf has done a lot to fight terrorism and extremism .

He has shown immense courage in doing that, he said adding Pakistan’s armed forces have moved into the areas where previously extremists were openly moving across.

During the course they have suffered heavy losses and they also hit heavy blows on the militants killing over 200 of them and capturing many more.

To a question he said that President Musharraf is not giving a blank cheque to the US rather he is getting an opportunity for Pakistan to lead the rest of the Islamic world to fight against terrorism and extremism.

The BBC documentary noted that Pakistan has longest and porous borders with Afghanistan.

The Tribal areas of Waziristan used to be a no go zone for Pakistan’s Army in the past it says adding President Musharraf ordered thousands of troops to flush out foreign militants hiding in these areas. A number of militants hubs were destroyed.

It went on to say that most of the militants hiding in the tribal areas were foreign fighters having enough money at their disposal.

Pakistan has proved itself to be an indispensable ally of the partnership in war on terror the BBC documentary said adding President Musharraf wants US to change course in the Middle East by addressing not just the symptoms but the root causes of terrorism.

That is the source of hatred against Israel and therefore hatred against US because US is helping them one- sided, quoting President Musharraf the documentary said.

“I have told this to President Bush that we have to resolve the Palestinian dispute.”We must do it because failure is not an option”, President Musharraf said.

02-11-2007, 05:38 PM
Remember the last time the United States struck within Pakistan? Musharraf said (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3319) he, "would not tolerate a violation of the country's borders by U.S. forces." He also said (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7834), "the United States must not repeat airstrikes like the one that apparently was aimed at al-Qaida but killed civilians in a remote village." That was probably because of the 1000's of protesters (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7848) that came out against the U.S.

02-11-2007, 05:43 PM
I guess this proves Musharaf is a pwn.