By lex, on June 28th, 2010
Pakistan has taken receipt of first lot of F-16 strike fighters:
The Pakistan Air Force today received its first three of 18 Lockheed Martin Corp. F-16s that the U.S. hopes will give the Afghan neighbor nation a crucial edge against Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters in its northwest.
The aircraft give the Pakistan Air Force a night-attack capability and all-weather precision targeting, “an unprecedented advantage they have not had,” said Vice Admiral Michael Lefever, head of the U.S. military mission in Islamabad.
He predicted that the most up-to-date version of the fighter aircraft could be pressed “fairly quickly” into air operations against the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other insurgents in the ungoverned northwest provinces.
Rubbish. These advanced, night attack F-16 variants have virtually nothing to do with the Taliban and al Qaeda, which has no air force of its own, no rotary wing attack assets, no air lift and virtually no artillery. Without intelligence tipper – or even with it – they can do nothing more than the CIA drones which circle Waziristan are already doing, at much greater expense.
Rather, the sale is a “point of pride” issue for the Pakistani air force in their pursuit of regional parity with the Indian behemoth. The cancellation of the F-16As now flying adversary support missions at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center in Fallon, NV remain a sore point with that Southwest Asian country, and that occurred decades ago, before the nutcases in the Federally “Administered” Tribal Area were on anyone’s radar.
Add to that the spectacle of Afghanistan’s Karzai administration walking billions of dollars out of the country right under the noses of customs officials at the Kabul airport:
Afghanistan is awash in international aid and regarded as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Indeed, even as the United States and its allies pour money in, U.S. officials estimate that as much as $1 billion a year is flowing out as part of a massive cash exodus. The money, as first reported in The Washington Post in February, is often carried out in full view of customs officials at Kabul’s airport, where such transfers are legal as long as they are declared. Officials suspect much of the cash is going to the Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai, where elite Afghans, including Karzai’s older brother, have villas.
This kind of thing could drive a man to drink, if he wasn’t there already. More and more, I’m starting to believe that it’s time to take off and nuke the place from orbit.
It’s the only way to be sure.