The South Asia Analysis Group, an India—based group which covers the war on terror, has issued a paper regarding the reaction to the deployment of US forces to provide aid in the wake of the devastating earthquake in Pakistan. There is some startling information:
— A US military spokesman at Islamabad announced as follows on November 1, 2005: "A United States Army CH—47 Chinook helicopter flying in the vicinity of Chakothi delivering relief aid to earthquake victims is believed to have been fired upon by a rocket—propelled grenade (RPG) today. The helicopter returned safely to base at Chaklala at 1430 and an investigation was under way." Chakothi is about 10 kms from the Line of Control, which divides India's Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) from Pakistan—Occupied Kashmir (POK).
— Contradicting the US statement, a Pakistani military spokesman said that relief teams deployed on the ground in that area had been using dynamite to clear landslides on the road and claimed that the US pilot seemed to have mistaken the blast for the firing of an RPG. Responding to this, a US spokesman said: "Our air crew is familiar with RPG fire." It remains to be determined whether it was an RPG fire or merely the sound of a controlled blast carried out by a relief team on the ground.
— The decision of Gen.Pervez Musharraf to seek the assistance of the US and the NATO and to permit the deployment of their forces has come in for strong criticism not only from the religious fundamentalist and jihadi terrorist organisations, but also from members belonging to the political parties. While the jihadi terrorist organisations are worried over the possibility of the Western forces using their presence in Pakistani territory to hunt for the remnants of the Al Qaeda and the Taliban, the mainstream political and fundamentalist elements are concerned over the implications of the deployment for the future security of Pakistan's nuclear establishments.
South Asia is a vital theatre in the Global War on Terror. Our media tend to neglect it shamefully. Nevertheless, developments there of of great importance to Americans.
Hat tip: N.S. Rajaram
Thomas Lifson 11 03 05