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NATO attacks on Pakistan reveal misery and divisions in US - war on terror"

Salmaan Abdul Hamid Khan

December 23, 2011

The NATO assault on a Pakistani border post that killed 24 soldiers and wounded 13 others does not come as much of a surprise. It is commonplace for the US to violate Pakistan’s sovereignty and show complete disregard for human life.

In response to this act of aggression, the Pakistani government reacted by halting NATO supply convoys to Afghanistan and asked the US to vacate the Shamsi airbase from which drones are launched on targets in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This is not the first time Pakistan has reacted by halting supply lines: the same action was taken the same course just last year when NATO helicopters opened fire on a similar Pakistani border post, killing three and injuring four.

In response to this recent tragedy, the US has refused to accept official responsibility. A recently released investigation report maintains that the incident was the outcome of a lack of communication and knowledge as to the existence of the Pakistani checkpoint. These conclusions are highly contested conclusions as Pakistan maintains that they have long supplied NATO commanders with maps and markings of all checkpoints in the region. The “Volcano” border post itself being set up at the request of the U.S. in order to help curb the flow of militants across the border.

Though what really happened that Saturday morning may never be known, what is very real is the continued destabilization of the region as a result of such military ventures. The recent attack will contribute to ever increasing divisions within the Pakistani military, the further weakening of a corrupt civilian government, and a strengthening of religious militants and anti-US sentiment.

These sentiments have been growing as Pakistanis continue to receive the blows of a war they never asked for. To date, America’s “war on terror” has resulted in the deaths of 3,097 Pakistani troops, and 721 being permanently disabled. As for innocent civilians caught in this conflict, 40,309 Pakistanis have lost their lives and millions have been displaced. All this in a country plagued by endemic poverty and still recovering from floods last year which UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called “the worst natural disaster he has ever seen”.

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