This afternoon, reports surfaced of a little dust-up between US-led forces and Pakistani troops.
Although there’s been no US confirmation, supposedly US and Afghan GIs exchanged fire with Pakistani guards near/on/at the border between the two countries.
- NATO has issued a statement today saying that Pakistan troops opened fire on two helicopters near the Afghan border.
This is the third such incident reported in the past two weeks, with the other two reports involving US helicopters in South Waziristan.
This report is unique, however, in that it did not come from anonymous officials over the denials of their military, but rather was an official statement issued by NATO itself later confirmed by the US military.
He (a US military spokesman) insists â€œthey did not cross the border and they did not fire back.â€
And this from Reuters via wiredispatch:
- U.S. and Afghan troops exchanged fire with Pakistani forces after they shot at two U.S. helicopters near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border Thursday, a U.S. military official said.
The official with U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, said there were no reports of casualties from the exchange of fire, which lasted about five minutes. U.S. and Afghan forces were about one mile inside Afghanistan at the time, he said.
This is a hard-case spot, this South Waziristan, one of those wild-n-woolly Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) Pakistani must officially maintain only because FATA does as FATA wants, and has done it a long time.
This from Arab News on Monday:
- The border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is 1,640 miles long, much of it virtually inaccessible remote and mountainous, with only the locals able to move freely on goat and footpaths. This is the distance between New York and New Mexico.
It contains the warlike Pashtuns who provide nearly all the Taleban insurgents.
The 25 million Pashtuns are one of the largest tribal groups in the world.
In fact, they are the largest ethnic group without a state of their own.
Pakistani and Afghan government institutions have never been able to gain a foothold in these areas.
Taxes are not paid and outsiders repulsed.
This goes back to the time of Macedonian would-be conqueror Alexander. The British likewise were defeated. So were the Soviets.
The latter killed more than a million Pashtuns and drove three million into exile in Pakistan and Iran and still they were compelled to retreat.
As for post-independence Pakistan, it has never controlled more than 100 meters to the left and right of the few paved roads.
In the wilds, and in Islamabad, the Pakistanis don’t need US help.
- Pakistan on Sunday rejected a U.S. offer to help investigate the weekend suicide bombing that killed at least 53 people and destroyed the Islamabad Marriott, this capital city’s best-known hotel.
“We do not need help. We are competent. We reject it,” Interior Ministry adviser Rehman Malik told reporters Sunday after the U.S. offered FBI help in pursuing the terrorists behind the attack.
The Marriott bombing is the latest in a series of terrorist attacks across Pakistan and will likely intensify debate within the country over Pakistani support for the U.S. war on terror, says Samina Ahmed, South Asia director for the conflict prevention, non-profit International Crisis Group.
As this little South Asian tea pot simmers into boiling, Decider George went all-politics this afternoon drooling after Jackboot John McCain’s bright idea of holding a photo-op at the White House with everybody who’s anybody in this Wall Street bail out craziness.
Jackboot John is one nut-case dude.
The guy is so obvious, one wonders how anyone can take him seriously at all.
This meeting, however, once behind closed doors became a little contentious, with all kinds of egos head-bounced around the room — Jackboot John stood above the draw.
- Inside an intense White House meeting over the financial crisis on Thursday, where nearly every key player came to an agreement on the outlines of the bailout package, Sen. John McCain stuck out.
The Republican candidate, according to sources with direct knowledge, sat quiet through most of the meeting, never offered specifics, and spoke only at the end to raise doubts about the rough compromise that the White House and congressional leaders were nearing.
McCain’s reluctance to jump on board the bailout agreement could throw the entire week-long negotiation into a tailspin.
According to the source with knowledge of the White House gathering — which featured both presidential candidates, congressional leaders and the President — virtually ever key figure in the room, save McCain and GOP Sen. Richard Shelby, were in agreement over a revised version of Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson’s plan.
Decider George, gifted with a gift of a second asshole for a mouth, blubbered out the truism for the last near-eight years, not only for this current shitfire on Wall Street, but in every segment of his administration.
The HuffPost piece continues:
- Paulson, however, argued directly against the conservative proposal.
“He said that he did not think it would work,” according to the source.
At another point in the meeting, President Bush chimed in, “If money isn’t loosened, this sucker could go down” — and by sucker he meant economy.
Yet ‘sucker’ is everything Decider George has touched, or even thought about touching.
And that’s grim in a real bad way.