The New York Times reports today:
Dozens of tankers carrying fuel to Afghanistan for NATO troops were torched near Quetta [capital of the southern province of Balochistan and base of the Quetta Shura Taliban -- RW] on Wednesday, the third major attack on supplies since Pakistan closed one border crossing to Afghanistan a week ago and the first at the only checkpoint that remained open. . . . That crossing was closed last week in protest over NATO helicopter strikes against a mountainous border post at Kurram manned by Pakistani paramilitary soldiers. . . . Pakistan was demanding an apology from NATO for the helicopter attacks, but NATO was only willing to offer regrets, the newspaper said.
Meanwhile, a Pakistani newspaper, the Nation, represented the views of those who expected a stronger response on the part of Pakistan to what it called “effectively an act of naked aggression” on the part of the United States and NATO.
It is becoming pathetic to see the Pakistani state whimpering its protests against the spiralling aggression against its territory and people by NATO and the US. . . . Pakistani security forces blocked only one . . . of two vital NATO supply routes — a mere symbolism rather than an actual act of reciprocal hostility. Even worse was President Zardari’s request to the CIA Chief not to breach Pakistan’s sovereignty. He should have refused to meet the CIA Chief. . . .
At this time the nation has a right to ask why we are accumulating such expensive and state of the art weaponry and why we are maintaining such a large military . . . if this military machine cannot protect its people or the country’s borders?
The Nation’s editorial writer isn’t the only one advocating a military response. The Washington Post writes (thanks to Bernhard of the late, essential Moon of Alabama for bringing it to my attention):
Pakistan’s punishment of NATO [notwithstanding] its resistance to a more muscular U.S. campaign in North Waziristan, where the Haqqani faction is based, is unacceptable. The Obama administration has repeatedly pressed the Pakistani military to act against the Haqqani and al-Qaeda sanctuaries — and the military has just as often refused, arguing that its forces are stretched too thin by other campaigns and by the need to respond to massive flooding. These explanations have some substance. But if Pakistan is really unable to tackle the sanctuaries, it cannot be allowed to prevent the United States and its allies from doing so. . . . The administration. . . . must insist on a robust military campaign in North Waziristan — if not by Pakistani forces, then by the United States.
Which is exactly what the Nation fears.
If the Pakistani rulers continue to give this “unable or unwilling signal” now, it will encourage the US to go to the next level of aggression — that is sending in ground troops into Pakistan. That will cause even greater instability in the country and lead the US to push the argument of Pakistan being “unable to” protect its nuclear assets to the international community [enabling] the US to get control of these assets.
Pakistan seems to be in a double bind: Resist the United States and NATO and open the door to loss of your nukes; cooperate and suffer the same results.