Drone strikes Kill 11 but not Hakimullah: US trainers and recruiters fail to attract southern Pashtuns

At least two Pakistani soldiers in Pakistani Kashmir were killed by a roadside bomb Thursday.Some observers fear this sort of move is a bid by the Taliban to assert themselves in Kashmir, which is contested between India and Pakistan, and where India has mounted a concerted counter-insurgency campaign. The fighting has killed thousands in the past 20 years.

Pakistan is warning that the US ‘war on terror’ is costing Pakistan about $35 billion a year in lost foreign investment and lost markets abroad for Pakistani made goods.

A day after US drone strikes killed 16 alleged militants in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Area on Thursday, two drone strikes kiled 11 persons on Friday. One of the strikes is alleged to have killed a Palestinian fighter who belonged to the Abu Nidal guerrilla group and was wanted in connection with the 1986 hijacking of an airliner.

Claims that one of the airstrikes had killed Hakimu’llah Mahsud, a major militant leader of the Pakistan movement of the Taliban, were rejected Saturday morning by his followers, who posted a video of him as proof he is slill alive.

The US military has diverted a drone from Afghanistan to Haiti, where it is being used to do relief surveillance. A much better use of it.

Two NATO troops were killed by roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan on Friday.

The US military has admitted that it is failing to recruit soldiers for the Afghanistan National Army (ANA) from Pashtun regions where the Taliban are powerful. Lieutenant General Bill Caldwell, of the US Army told Skynews that only 3% of the ANA came from the southern Pashtun regions (I presume he means Qandahar, Helmand, Oruzgan).

Since most recruits are illiterate, training has to be by ‘show and tell’, and pretty much anyone who sits through the whole 8-week course is declared trained, even if he should have been washed out. Drop-out rates had been 48%, but Caldwell says that they have been reduced to 10%. It is not clear how many of those graduates stay in the army any length of time, though. The Pentagon has dispatched over 800 new trainers (which, however, do not sound like nearly enough to me under these trying circumstances).

Aljazeera English reports on the difficulty the US and NATO have in training a new Afghan army

Tomdispatch critiques the way the war on al-Qaeda has been pursued

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4 Responses

  1. Dr. Cole,
    Why can't US tell Pakistan that Karma can be bitch?

  2. Zardari: Pakistan is in a state of war on behalf of the international community. interesting ‘transference’ of the American delusion [Bush: “Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”] by the President of Pakistan. Widower of Benazir Bhutto, "Mr. Zardari is among the five richest men in Pakistan, with an estimated net worth of US $1.8 billion."

    04-JAN-2010 FOXnews: «The Obama administration, facing a growing terrorist threat out of Yemen, [! "growing terrorist threat out of Yemen"] is turning to a counter-terror tool that for the past four years has allowed the United States to battle extremism in dozens of countries outside the official war zones [! "the official war zones"] of Iraq and Afghanistan: cold, hard cash. The Pentagon since 2006 has budgeted more than $1 billion to train and equip foreign militaries and security forces through a program known in Congress as "Section 1206." Pakistan has absorbed more of that money than any other country, but other nations — most notably Yemen — are rising in prominence on the list of recipients.»

  3. It is not US's "war on terror" that is causing losses for Pakistan. Pakistan's policies are the cause.

    Let us not forget Taleban was trained and funded by Pakistan. Taleban was infact their militia in Afganistan. Pakistan commanders fought alongside Taleban. Pakistan was one of the only two countries which recognized Taleban's government when 9/11 happenned. Pakistan also continues to train and fund terrorists who kill a lot of people in India.

    Taleban and other terrorists in Pakistan are just the snake that is biting back.

  4. Hey, fellow anonymous, which part of the reified thing you refer to as "US" do you suggest should speak Karmic notions to which part of the reified thing you call "Pakistan?"

    Nice epigram, but anthropomorphized hypersimplification is one piece of the kind of thinking that's gotten the world in the crack we humans have stuck it in.

    Is it bad news, or even surprising, that "Taliban" males are not flocking to the "Coalition" banner?

    Why do so many people say, and maybe even believe, that the Grand Policy of "creating a functioning national army and police force" in, say, Afghanistan, is any way, let alone a "necessary first step," to "promote democracy" or any part of what is ironically called the Rule of Law? How many examples of what happens to people and geography when "advanced nations" build or "improve" armies and other "security forces" in troubled areas does it take to establish the evil and futility of that kind of notion? In Iraq and Afghanistan, the vast majority of funds for this "nation-building by building armed forces" goes to corruption. Once "forces" are trained and armed and captained by corrupt and ambitious men, how many revert to warlordism or buccaneer or mercenary or oppressive or tribal behavior, serial coups, shadow rule, or just flat anarchy?

    What possible reason is there to think that men trained to march and "lay down fields of fire" to "kill the enemy" and "follow orders" or give them will somehow magically acquire "democratic" civic virtues and stable, sustainable, healthy (versus dictatorial or chaotic and kleptocratic) economic and political behaviors, or have clue how to promote or spread them? Humane governors may need armies (ask Costa Rica how they're doing, by the way) but armies sure do not need humane governments.

    It's pretty plain that much the opposite happens. There are the obscure little corners of the militarized planet, like the "School of the Americas" and equivalents on every continent, which produce successive generations of men and now women trained in the arts of suppressing dissent, dominating populations, propagating domestic terror and death-squading in the name of "order and security," and all the rest.

    You don't use a sledge hammer and cutting torch to build or repair a clock. But of course the downward momentum is so huge, nothing's gonna change it.

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