U.S. Steps Up Unilateral Strikes in Pakistan

It appears our government is conserned the newly elected government in Pakistan will stop our unilateral attacks on al-Qaeda in Pakistan…

From WaPO:

The United States has escalated its unilateral strikes against al-Qaeda members and fighters operating in Pakistan’s tribal areas, partly because of anxieties that Pakistan’s new leaders will insist on scaling back military operations in that country, according to U.S. officials.

Washington is worried that pro-Western President Pervez Musharraf, who has generally supported the U.S. strikes, will almost certainly have reduced powers in the months ahead, and so it wants to inflict as much damage as it can to al-Qaeda’s network now, the officials said.

Over the past two months, U.S.-controlled Predator aircraft are known to have struck at least three sites used by al-Qaeda operatives. The moves followed a tacit understanding with Musharraf and Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani that allows U.S. strikes on foreign fighters operating in Pakistan, but not against the Pakistani Taliban, the officials said.

About 45 Arab, Afghan and other foreign fighters have been killed in the attacks, all near the Afghan border, U.S. and Pakistani officials said. The goal was partly to jar loose information on senior al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants, by forcing them to move in ways that U.S. intelligence analysts can detect. Local sources are providing better information to guide the strikes, the officials said.

A senior U.S. official called it a “shake the tree” strategy. It has not been without controversy, others said. Some military officers have privately cautioned that airstrikes alone — without more U.S. special forces soldiers on the ground in the region — are unlikely to net the top al-Qaeda leaders.

The campaign is not designed to capture bin Laden before Bush leaves office, administration officials said. “It’s not a blitz to close this chapter,” said a senior official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of ongoing operations. “If we find the leadership, then we’ll go after it. But nothing can be done to put al-Qaeda away in the next nine or 10 months. In the long haul, it’s an issue that extends beyond this administration.”

I hope that the administration can convince the new government how this is in all our interests to wipe out islamic terrorists. If not will Pakistan be added to the list of countries harboring and aiding terrorists? Will we push for sanctions? Remember they are a nuclear nation.

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