By lex, on December 21st, 2010
The Pentagon knows what it will take:
Senior American military commanders in Afghanistan are pushing for an expanded campaign of Special Operations ground raids across the border into Pakistan’s tribal areas, a risky strategy reflecting the growing frustration with Pakistan’s efforts to root out militants there.
The proposal, described by American officials in Washington and Afghanistan, would escalate military activities inside Pakistan, where the movement of American forces has been largely prohibited because of fears of provoking a backlash.
The plan has not yet been approved, but military and political leaders say a renewed sense of urgency has taken hold, as the deadline approaches for the Obama administration to begin withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan. Even with the risks, military commanders say that using American Special Operations troops could bring an intelligence windfall, if militants were captured, brought back across the border into Afghanistan and interrogated.
Predator and Reaper strikes are all well and good, so far as they go. But the Army is wedded to the doctrine of boots on the ground, and in this case they’d like those boots on both sides of the Durand Line, which somewhat arbitrarily divides the Afghan Pashtuns from their Pakistani freres.
Of course, the Pakistani people will probably go nuts over this enhanced violation of a national sovereignty they decline to enforce, at our cost.
Or should I say nuttier?
On the other hand, Waziristan and Baluchistan are wild places, and placating them would require more in time, blood and treasure than we are prepared to spend. And there’s little to stop senior members of the Quetta Shura from displacing to Islamabad or Karachi while our SOF roam around in the wilderness.
I can understand the urge to find, fix and finish the foe where ever he may go. I’m just not sure this gets us any closer to the exit.