4th Attack on Trucks Near Quetta, Pakistan

Gunmen on motorcycles sprayed small arms fire at a parked US/ NATO fuel convoy near Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan and a long time center for the Old Taliban of Mulla Omar around 6 am Wednesday morning, killing at least one driver and setting ablaze around 20 trucks. The leaping flames threatened to destroy other nearby trucks in the convoy bearing other sorts of supplies. Quetta city only has a handful of fire brigades and they were wholly inadequate to deal with the massive conflagration, and city leaders were calling for help.

This attack on NATO fuel trucks was the fourth since last Thursday, when Pakistani authorities closed the Khyber Pass route to Afghanistan to US/ NATO trucking in retaliation for the attack by US helicopter gunships on a Pakistani Frontier Corps checkpoint near the Afghanistan border. Some 70 percent of supplies for US troops in Afghanistan are trucked into that landlocked nation via Pakistan.

As Pakistani and US authorities investigate the friendly fire incident at the border last Thursday, it has thrown up a video of the attack now published by Dawn newspaper online. US officials had alleged that the pilots of the helicopter gunships believed they had come under fire from the checkpoint, accounting for their firing missiles at it.

Here is Dawn’s video, which does not show that the US helicopters were attacked before they began firing. Dawn charges that it was an unprovoked attack. (It should be remembered that the US helicopters may have been seeking Taliban checkpoints, and might not have been able to tell that these were Pakistani ones).

The continued humanitarian disaster in Pakistan, in the aftermath of unprecedentedly hard rains, has left 20 million affected and some 8 million displaced from their homes.. The United Nations still has only been able to raise a fraction of what Pakistan needs to face the aftermath of the floods. The UN High Commission on Refugees is afraid that if the Pakistan refugees are not taken care of they may be easy recruits to radical organizations, or may simply form an element of instability in a country that is already fragile.

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, guerrillas set off three bombs and wounded dozens of citizens in an attack on Qandahar.

8 Responses

  1. Western rationality is big on cause and effect.

    Unless it fuels more military spending and further control on the home front here in the good old USA which benefits those who feed off military or security spending.

    Another reason that comes to mind is political power here at home justified by fighting a foreign enemy. This is the extension of the cold war imagery as described by the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin in “Democracy Inc.: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism.” . Wolin points out that the biggest creation in media history is the war on terror which was used to justify the invasion of Iraq. And that plays into our managed democracy with 5 to 6 companies owning the media and political parties clinging to power rather than working the hard problems like education, jobs, environment and peace.

    This comment was stimulated by Glenn Grennwald’s column today on cause and effect in the war on terror in which our actions are generating the counter effect which will lead to attacks on USA soil. Did the Roman Republic loose its ability to understand cause and effect as they went after the pirates and destroyed the Roman Empire?

    link to salon.com

  2. President Obama war on Pakistan is beyond all strategy or conscience. I am sorry to write this, but I want the war on Pakistan stopped immediately.

    • Why should you apologize for wanting a war stopped immediately? It is our “leaders” who should apologize, at the very least.

  3. Of course, if the helicopters had not crossed the border in the first place nobody would have shot at them and nobody would have been killed.

  4. but … but … but … Prof. Cole, what about the mustache guy or the lake pirates? You didn’t say a word about them. Priorities, please.

  5. Greenwald is being unusually obtuse: the US government is very well aware that its actions will lead to revenge attacks. In fact, I suspect that it is very disappointed that there have been so few “terrorist” attacks in the USA that it has had to hype every incident or rumour and to invest so much in provocateurs.
    The government knows that unless there are some real terrorist incidents soon the population is going to start insisting that social security, unemployment relief, healthcare and homes are more important than killing muslim kids in the hope of starting a real war.
    We will soon see: it is beginning to look as if Obama will need a big issue to rally voters for his re-election and the odds are that his advisors will tell him that more war is his best bet.

  6. This is going in the direction of Cambodia.

    Of course the US can bomb any country it wants. Bombing a country like Pakistan, where opinion is already divided, can only lead to the collapse of the country. Imagining that a few bombs, and diplomatic pressure, will bring them to order, is frankly stupid.

    For the US, the problem is in Afghanistan. Thinking that the problem will be resolved, if the friends over the border are dealt with, is wrong. Better to rethink the Afghanistan policy.

    Frankly, the collapse of Pakistan into chaos gives me fear. The US suggests that it has control over Pakistani nuclear weapons. I doubt it. Nuclear weapons in the hands of extremists, as a result of current policy, seems to me a very likely scenario.

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