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US steps up plans for military intervention in Pakistan
Tuesday, November 20, 2007 :In the midst of public statements of support for “democracy” in Pakistan and the recent visit to Islamabad by the American envoy John Negroponte, Washington is quietly preparing for a stepped-up military intervention in the crisis-ridden country. According to the New York Times Monday, plans have been drawn up by the US military’s Special Operations Command for deploying Special Forces troops in Pakistan’s frontier regions for the purpose of training indigenous militias to combat forces aligned with the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
Citing unnamed military officials, the newspaper reports that the proposal would “expand the presence of military trainers in Pakistan, directly finance a separate tribal paramilitary force that until now has proved largely ineffective and pay militias that agreed to fight Al Qaeda and foreign extremists.”
American military officials familiar with the proposal said that it was modeled on the initiative by American occupation forces in Iraq to arm and support Sunni militias in Anbar province in a campaign against the Al Qaeda in Iraq group there.
According to the Times report, skepticism that the same strategy can be adapted to the deteriorating situation in Pakistan centers on “the question of whether such partnerships can be forged without a significant American military presence in Pakistan.” The newspaper adds that “it is unclear whether enough support can be found among the tribes.”
While the Pentagon admits to only about 50 US troops currently stationed in Pakistan as “advisors” to the Pakistani armed forces, that number would swell substantially under the proposed escalationRead More