US Pakistan intervention rumours


WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 — A new and classified American military proposal outlines an intensified effort to enlist tribal leaders in the frontier areas of Pakistan in the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, as part of a broader effort to bolster Pakistani forces against an expanding militancy, American military officials said.

If adopted, the proposal would join elements of a shift in strategy that would also be likely to expand the presence of American military trainers in Pakistan, directly finance a separate tribal paramilitary force that until now has proved largely ineffective and pay militias that agree to fight Al Qaeda and foreign extremists, officials said. The United States now has only about 50 troops in Pakistan, a Pentagon spokesman said, a force that could grow by dozens under the new approach...\11\19\story_19-11-2007_pg7_9

WASHINGTON: Two experts have proposed that the US should take pre-emptive action to secure Pakistan’s nuclear weapons before they fall into the wrong hands.

Frederick Kagan of the right-wing American Enterprise Institute and Michael O’Hanlon of the more liberal Brookings Institution argue in an article published in the New York Times on Sunday that the US simply cannot stand by as a nuclear-armed Pakistan descended into the abyss. Nor would it be strategically prudent to withdraw US forces from an improving situation in Iraq to cope with a deteriorating one in Pakistan. While Pakistan’s officer corps and ruling elites remain largely moderate and more interested in building a strong, modern state, the same was true of Iran on the eve of the Islamic revolution. Pakistan’s intelligence services, the two writers maintain, contain enough sympathisers and supporters of the Afghan Taliban, and enough nationalists bent on seizing Kashmir from India, that there are grounds for real worries.
Pentagon draws up plans to train, expand Frontier Corps

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon has a plan to train and expand a paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) in Pakistan's tribal areas to counter the growing strength of al-Qaeda and Taliban forces, Pentagon spokesman said on Monday.

Additionally, the US Special Operations Command is making separate plans for ways to increase the counter-terrorism cooperation with the Pakistani military and to boost their capabilities, they said.

The efforts come amid US concerns over the spread of Islamic militancy. Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, said the plan to expand the FC has been in the making for months but was not yet underway. The planning by the Tampa, Florida-based Special Operations Command, on the other hand, has not yet been sent up the military chain of the command for approval, and consisted of concepts for enhancing counter-terrorism cooperation and capabilities in Pakistan, the officials said.

ìIt involved capabilities that would help pursue the type of disruptive influences that are in Pakistan, without going into specifics,î said Bryan Whitman, another Pentagon spokesman. The New York Times said the plans were part of an intensified effort to enlist tribal leaders in the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda and that the plans would likely expand the presence of US military trainers in Pakistan. It said there were currently about 50 US troops in Pakistan, but dozens more would be needed if the plans come to fruition. So far, US military assistance to the Pakistani military has been limited to air assault training, according to Whitman, who said US funding for that fell from $27 million in fiscal year 2006 to $5.3 million in fiscal 2007.

The FC, whose recruits are drawn from the tribes in Pakistanís Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), has not previously received equipment or training from the US military. The 80,000-member force, which maintains local law and order and patrols the rugged border with Afghanistan, has performed poorly against militants in the tribal areas, where local sympathies run in favour of the Taliban. But drawing on the US experience in Iraq's Anbar province, where tribally-based militias have been recruited as allies against al-Qaeda, the US military is shifting its focus to the FC as a potential ally. The United States has already committed $150 million a year over five years to improve the economy in the border area, and is looking to an expanded FC to help provide security, Morrell said. "There is also a desire to help the FC to expand and train. That is something that is being developed," he said.

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