Is the Afghanistan-Pakistan Border Becoming a Free-Fire Zone?

Is the Afghanistan-Pakistan Border Becoming a Free-Fire Zone?

In recent months, Pakistan's new leaders have been insisting that U.S. forces were not conducting covert operations against al-Qaeda and Taliban militants inside Pakistan and that their government would never allow such missions. They have insisted that Pakistani regular troops and paramilitary forces could adequately deal with the insurgents and any high-value terrorist targets.

According to a variety of sources, however, U.S. military forces, though not permanently based in Pakistan, continue to conduct military attacks from Afghanistan against al-Qaeda and Taliban targets in Pakistan's loosely governed northwestern territories.

On July 9, U.S. Gen. David D. McKiernan, the commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, said that American and Afghan forces deployed along the Afghan-Pakistani frontier had come under increasing mortar and rocket attacks from neighboring Pakistan. The general presumed this was because they thought their being on Pakistani territory gave them some kind of sanctuary. However, McKiernan argued they were mistaken because "we do return those fires."

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