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America's silent war in Pakistan unmasked

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Salvador Option (mass-murder) was applied in Iraq, now coming to Pakistan, compliments of US military (editor) - (source)

Three US Marines were killed and another two injured in a suicide attack in Dir, northern Pakistan on Wednesday. The Americans, disguised in traditional Pakistani dress, were traveling with Pakistani military officers in a five-car convoy to attend the inauguration of a girl school, which had been renovated with the U.S. humanitarian assistance. Four schoolgirls and a paramilitary soldier were also killed in the attack while more than 120 school girls were injured.

To many Pakistanis the most shocking aspect of the latest Taliban suicide bombing the question was: What was a team of American soldiers doing in a volatile corner of North West Frontier province?

According to Pakistan's leading newspaper, The News, the three US soldiers were apparently in the area to train the paramilitary Frontier Corp personnel engaged in the military operations against the Taliban in the area.

The suicide bombing on Wednesday was the first against the US soldiers in Pakistan. And it was the first time that so many American soldiers were killed and injured in Pakistan. A US Embassy statement said they were the US military personnel in Pakistan to conduct training at the invitation of the Frontier Corps.

The News reported that the slain US soldiers were part of a 100-member strong special American military training unit which was dispatched to Pakistan in 2008 to raise a 1,000-member strong well-trained paramilitary commando unit which could conduct guerrilla operations against the Taliban militants active in the Pak-Afghan tribal belt.

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The military training program was never officially announced by Pakistan to avoid a possible backlash by the masses which are opposed to the American military presence on the Pakistani territory. Interestingly, the US-funded training course for the largely under-equipped and under-trained Frontier Corps included both classroom and field sessions.

The News said that besides dispatching American marines to train the Frontier Corps personnel, the Pentagon had also sent a special team of its Special Forces military advisers, communication experts, technical specialists and combat medics to help establish coordination centers on Pak-Afghan border so that the American and Pakistani officials could share intelligence about al-Qaeda and Taliban elements in and around the tribal areas.

In the beginning, the American military trainers confined themselves to training compounds due to security concerns in Pakistan. However, they had now started accompanying Pakistani troops on special guerrilla operations against the Taliban, eventually leading to the Wednesday incident in Dir Lower which shares a border with Afghanistan and with the restive Swat district, where the Army had carried out a massive military operation last year.

Pakistani press reports indicated that the American soldiers were part of a $100 million Pentagon-funded training program which is meant to equip the Frontier Corps with new body armor, vehicles, and surveillance equipment, and plans to spend $75 million more during the next year. As per the program, the Pentagon intended to spend around $400 million more in the next few years to train and equip the Frontier Corps. This is in addition to a 7.5 billion dollars US assistance for the next five years announced last year under controversial the Kerry-Lugar Act. But behind the scenes the US is engaged in other ways. Over the past decade it has given over $12bn in cash directly to the military to subsidize the costs of fighting the Taliban and al-Qaida. Ominously, part of the money doled out to Pakistan's mercenary army by the Pentagon is for what United States Special Operations Command (USSOC) calls Foreign Internal Defense (FID) a key pillar of Special Forces' Unconventional Warfare doctrine.

El Salvador Option:

Unconventional or irregular warfare is conducted "by, with, or through surrogates." According to Unconventional Warfare doctrine: Irregulars, or irregular forces, are individuals or groups of individuals who are not members of a regular armed force, police, or other internal security force. They are usually nonstate-sponsored and unconstrained by sovereign nation legalities and boundaries. These forces may include, but are not limited to, specific paramilitary forces, contractors, individuals, businesses, foreign political organizations, resistance or insurgent organizations, expatriates, transnational terrorism adversaries, disillusioned transnational terrorism members, black marketers, and other social or political "undesirables." (Unconventional Warfare, Defense Department, September 2008, p. 1-3)

Significantly, as in El Salvador, Colombia and a score of other global "hot spots" tagged for resource extraction or geopolitical control by America's corporatist masters, the USSOC manual calls for the direct training of paramilitary forces.

United States Special Operations Command (USSOC) touts the "success" of their "mission" in El Salvador as an applicable model for countering insurgencies in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

For 12 years, beginning in 1979, the United States assisted the El Salvador military in becoming a more professional and effective fighting force against the Communist-backed Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN). A U.S. military group assisted the El Salvadoran army by establishing a facility for basic and advanced military training. SF advisors, primarily from the 7th Special Forces Group, served with El Salvadoran units to support small-unit training and logistics. The advisors helped the El Salvadoran military become more professional and better organized, while advising in the conduct of pacification and counter guerrilla operations. Advisors were also present at the brigade levels assisting in operations and intelligence activities. From 1985 to 1992, just over 140 SF officers and noncommissioned officers (NCOs) served as advisors to a 40-battalion army. From a poorly staffed and led force of 8,000 soldiers in 1980, SF trainers created a hard-hitting (counter insurgency force) COIN force of 54,000 by 1986. U.S. forces supported U.S. interests by creating an effective COIN force that fought the guerrillas to a standstill and established the groundwork for a negotiated settlement by 1991. (Foreign Internal Defense (FID) document p A-6)

Translation: between 1980-1991 Special Operations Forces "assistance" to the brutal Salvadoran military produced 75,000 civilian deaths, by and large the result of Army massacres carried out in tandem with far-right narco-trafficking death squads who ruled the roost with an iron fist.

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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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