Sophisticated Taliban Bombing, Deaths of 3 US Troops, Embarrasses Zardari Government by Revealing US Troop Presence on Ground in Pakistan

The fragile Pakistani government of Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and President Asaf Ali Zardari was deeply embarrassed Wednesday when a massive bombing killed 3 US soldiers on the ground in that country. The Pakistani public has been increasingly upset about US military and para-military (Blackwater/ Xe) actions in their country. On Tuesday, several US drone strikes killed a total of 29 persons. The controversy over whether the US is actually fighting a third war, in Pakistan, may have been settled by the troop deaths.

On Wednesday morning, A suicide car bomber slammed into a Frontier Corps convoy of vehicles heading to inaugurate a girls school in the village of Kad, in the Lower Dir district of northwest Pakistan, killing 7 and wounding at least 130. Among the dead were 3 US troops in Pakistani dress and a Frontier Corpsman. The others were schoolgirls. The attack occurred as the convoy was reaching two girls’ schools, one an elementary school and one a high school rebuilt with US funds. The force of the blast collapsed the high school’s walls, but it was empty. Most of the wounded were schoolgirls in the elementary school, hit by flying glass and debris; ironically, given that the Taliban claim to be Muslims, some were having their class on Islam when the shrapnel hit them.

The bombing was claimed by the Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan (Taliban Movement of Pakistan), according to Agence France Presse: “We claim responsibility for the blast,” Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Azam Tariq said in the call from an undisclosed location. “The Americans killed were members of the Blackwater group. We know they are responsible for bomb blasts in Peshawar and other Pakistani cities.” ‘

Many Pakistanis believe that the wave of bombings besetting their country, blamed by the mainstream on the Taliban, is secretly carried out by American agents, in order to destabilize Pakistan and justify a US imperial presence.

The bombing differs little from numerous other such attacks in the frontier badlands, but is distinctive because it accidentally revealed that some 200 US troops are on the ground in Pakistan, some 60-100 on a training mission. Those killed had been giving training and support to the Frontier Corps, a Pakistani unit charged with policing the lawless Pashtun areas on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The News says, “The US soldiers were apparently in the area to train the FC [Frontier Corps] personnel engaged in the military operation against the Taliban in Maidan, which is the native area of Tanzim Nifaz Shariat-e-Muhammadi’s [Organization for the Implementation of the Law of Muhammad’s] jailed chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad. The Taliban group in the area was commanded by Hafizullah, who had escaped the action.”

The Daily Times notes that ‘Local authorities appear confused by the foreign troops’ plans to attend the inauguration of the school, as “they had little role in the project”. ‘

But in fact, The Guardian reveals that ‘The attack also highlighted an even less well-known civilian aid scheme: a retired US official said the defence department had been discreetly funding development projects such as schools in North West Frontier for years. The targeted soldiers could have been going to the school in Dir as “a show of solidarity” with their Pakistani colleagues, he said. ‘

The targeting of the convoy by truck bomb strongly suggests that the operation was an assassination aimed at the US troops, and further suggests that the Taliban had a man on the inside among the Frontier Corps, who could report the Americans’ movements. The US military is known to use jamming technology that interferes with the detonation of roadside bombs by remote control, so that ramming by car bomb would be the only way an insurgent group could bomb them.

Aljazeera English has video:

Opinion polls show that many observers in Pakistan already feel that the US is humiliating their country and sowing discord there, and this revelation of the presence of US troops on the ground, along with the Department of Defense role in building girls’ schools, will further raise hackles (and risks making girls’ schools unpopular even among non-Taliban).

The USG Open Source Center translated an editorial by Dr Hussein Ahmed Paracha: “How Much Dignity is Left?”, published in Nawa-e Waqt in Urdu on January 18, 2010, which exemplified this point of view:

‘The United States has been attacking within Pakistani land with drones for the last four to five years and is also killing innocent people. . . There were 44 drone attacks in 2009 alone in which more than 700 innocent people, majority of whom were innocent children, elderly, and women, were killed. According to the statistics provided by various agencies, those who belonged to “Al-Qa’ida” or the Taliban could not be more than 18. . .

Having made sure that the wealth of our national dignity has turned to ashes and the last flame has burned down, the US Administration has now announced a program of naked screening for the passengers coming from a few countries. All these countries are Muslim countries, and Pakistan is one of them. Yes, the same Pakistan, which is the frontline US ally in war against terror. Pakistan has danced to death in others’ parties and has made fun of itself. It is the same Pakistan, which left its citizens starving and spent $35 billion in others’ war. . .

The United States is bent on treating us shamelessly. Moreover, we pay too much regard to anyone coming from the United States. The Blackwater operatives, who committed heinous and inhuman crimes in Iraq, come wherever they please in Pakistan without visa or travel document. They keep on roaming around in vehicles with fake number plates with dangerous weapons. These US officials point guns at the security people if asked to reveal their identity. During a few minutes debate, there is a series of phone calls from the high officials, and they, who consider Pakistan as their playground, are allowed to go with honor.’

In an opinion poll done last summer, 64% of the Pakistani public said that they saw the US as an ‘enemy,’ and only 9% saw it as an ally.

Pakistan was born out of the Freedom Struggle against British colonial domination, which aimed at securing independence for what had been branded as ‘British India’ and an end to control of the place by foreign Western white Christian troops. The return of such troops to Pakistani soil under an American guise will be highly unwelcome to most Pakistanis. Now that Pakistan is having parliamentary elections again, moreover, it matters what the public thinks, because they could well vote for anti-American parties in the next polls, as part of a backlash against US intervention.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Responses | Print |

7 Responses

  1. Any comments on the UM PIPA report?
    "Steven Kull, director of PIPA, said, "Our analysis suggests that it would not be prudent to base US policy on the assumption that the Iranian public is in a pre-revolutionary state of mind."

    On the question of whether Ahmadinejad won the June 12 election, in the week before the election and after the election, in all polls a majority said they planned to or did vote for Ahmadinejad. These numbers ranged from 52 to 57% immediately before the election and 55 to 66% after the election.

    Steven Kull comments, "These findings do not prove that there were no irregularities in the election process. But they do not support the belief that a majority rejected Ahmadinejad." "

  2. I have a question about the Guardian. Do you know if their reporting is trustworthy? They published an article about the Italian army saying that they were not allowed to fight or help the US soldiers but I am getting conflicting info from both the videos they publish on youtube and from my son who is embedded with them. They are fighting everyday with our guys.. so I have to question their reporting. What are you views on this? Thank you.

  3. I gotta question the wisdom of US soldiers, an obvious target, attempting to mingle for any reason with local children. Here, you can't send a kid to a zoo w/o a permission slip and liabilty waiver. I wonder how many Pakistani parents knew that soldiers would be near their children that day. This happened a lot in Iraq early on, when many school kids were killed during an attack on US troops who were handing out candy. Unwise. Very unwise.

  4. The question is, what were the US troops doing in Pakistan, when Pakistani pubblic is totally opposed to their presence on the ground? Presumably, they were not "training frontier corp", rather gathering intelligence. For taining, they don't need to be in the Frontier region, they can train in Islamabad!

    Also considering what a failure the Afghan operation has been for the US forces, where they have lost 33 of 34 districts to Taliban, what training can they impart to Pakistani forces, which are already achieving far superior results on the ground?

    Now that presence of US forces in Pakistan has become common knowledge, Obama Government and Pentagon should immediately pull all troops from the field or else they will risk their safety and security.

  5. Good point doodahman.

    Is this a win for the Taliban? They've just demonstrated to the Pakistani ppl that they think 3 US lives are worth potentially hundreds of Pakistani children's lives.

  6. Since the Italians are fighting in Afghanistan every day, I suggest we leave immediately. Let the Italians occupy the country.

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