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US-led NATO deadly attack on Pakistani posts aimed at gauging response of nuclear Islamabad?

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With more details coming out about last Saturday's US-led NATO attack on two Pakistani posts in the remote area of Pak-Afghanistan border analysts in Pakistan believe that the unprovoked two-hours attack was aimed at gauging the response of nuclear armed Pakistan.

According to Director General, Military Operations, Maj. Gen. Ishfaq Nadeem after the midnight on November 26, 2 to 3 helicopters appeared and started engaging Volcano post breaking down all communication systems. In response, the Boulder post engaged helicopters with anti aircraft guns and all available weapons. He said all channels of coordination methods were immediately activated. "We informed them about the attack. But, the helicopters reappeared and also engaged the Boulder post." In both attacks, 24 soldiers including two officers were killed while 15 others sustained injuries.

The two military posts were located on a ridge in Mohmand region around 2.5 kilometer from the border with Afghanistan and their exact location had been provided to NATO and that the area had recently been cleared of militants, according to Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas.

Pakistan has rejected Nato's offers of carrying out joint investigation into the Nato raid on Pakistan's military checkposts.   During a media briefing on Tuesday, Major General Ashfaq Nadeem said that there was no outcome of such joint probe into the past attacks. US-led investigators have been given until December 23 to probe the attacks.

Objectives and motives of the attack 

What are the objectives and motives behind the US-led NATO attack are the topics of discussion of Pakistani media and TV talk shows since last Saturday. It was argued that the attack is a strong message: Pakistan should toe US line. It should not talk to Taliban. Some observers believe that the next US-NATO attack my be deep inside the Pakistani territory.

Prof Riffat Hussain of Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad told the Express TV program Sochta Pakistan that it was not a mistake but a deliberate attack. "This is a first salvo on Pakistan army to warn that if you will not take action against Haqqani network then we will come into Pakistan," he said recalled recalled the US statements that Washington reserves the right to take unilateral action.

Ziauddin, Chief Editor of a leading newspaper, Express, was of the view that the attack was not unexpected. This was the first big and targeted attack, he added. Ziauddin of the view that it was a strategic blunder of General Musharraf to give US permission to attack on Afghanistan. He pointed out that General Musharraf has said that if we had not given permission to US to attack Afghanistan, it would have gone to India to launch attack against Afghanistan. "We are now paying price for this blunder."

Talat Hussain anchor of Dawn TV's Newsnight program was of the view that Memogate scandal has intensified Pakistan army's response to the Nato attack. He also said that the army believed that the May 2 Abbottabad operation by the US forces to allegedly kill Osama bin Laden was a dress rehearsal to target Pakistan's nuclear assets.

Besides changing the army leadership, the confidential memo to Admiral Mike Mullen pledged to put Pakistan's nuclear assets under a verifiable regime. The memo said: "The new national security team is prepared, with full backing of the Pakistani government -- initially civilian but eventually all three power centers -- to develop an acceptable framework of discipline for the nuclear program. This effort was begun under the previous military regime, with acceptable results. We are prepared to reactivate those ideas and build on them in a way that brings Pakistan's nuclear assets under a more verifiable, transparent regime."

Talat Hussain said Pakistan embassy in Washington, under Hussain Haqqani, had become an extension of White House.

Saleem Bokhari, a senior journalist, told the Dunya TV program Cross Fire, was of the view that the real US target is Pakistan's nuclear assets. "The NATO attack is a trial balloon to gauge the extent of Pakistan's response."

Notice sent to US for vacating Shamsi airbase within 15 days

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said on Tuesday that in line with the decisions of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet, a notice has been sent to the United States for vacating the Shamsi airbase within 15 days.

On Monday, Pakistan rejected a request by United Arab Emirates to withdraw its demand of vacating Balochistan's Shamsi airbase. The request was made by UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zeyed Al-Nahyan in a one-on-one meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad.

It may be pointed out that the Shamsi airbase is on lease to the UAE which has sublet to US from where Drone operations were reportedly launched in Pakistan's tribal territory. In a shocking disclosure Pakistan Air Chief Rao Qamar Suleman told a joint in-camera session of Pakistan parliament on 13 May 2011 that Pakistan's Shamsi Air Base is under the control of United Arab Emirates, not in the control of Pakistan Air Force.

 In February 2009, The Times (London) announced that it had obtained Google Earth images from 2006 which showed Predator aircraft parked outside a hangar at the end of the runway. The Times investigation was in response to a statement by US Senator Dianne Feinstein that the CIA was basing its drone aircraft in Pakistan. The U.S. company Blackwater was also reported to have a presence there, hired by the government to arm the drones with missiles. The Pakistan government has denied that the airfield is being used as a base for US military or covert operations. The New York Times cited a senior Pakistani military official as saying that in 2009 the drone operations were moved across the border to Afghanistan. [Wikipedia]

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 
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