8 years ago
President Pervez Musharraf recently discussed the relationship between U.S. and Pakistani military forces.
Pakistan’s president said Friday U.S. troops cannot do a better job than his forces in routing the Taliban and al-Qaida, and the United States should increase its presence in Afghanistan instead to deal with the growing insurgency there.
Pervez Musharraf reiterated that Pakistan opposes any foreign forces on its soil and said “the man in the street will not allow this — he will come out and agitate.”
Musharraf was responding to a question about reports that the U.S. government was considering far more aggressive covert operations in Pakistan along the border with Afghanistan, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ offer Thursday to send a small number of combat troops to Pakistan to help fight the insurgency there if Pakistani authorities ask for help.
“This cannot be done by any U.S. force,” Musharraf told several hundred VIPs at a breakfast on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum. “Please don’t think that the U.S. forces have some kind of a magic wand and they’ll come and lead to success.”
“This environment is worse than what they’re facing in Afghanistan. The mountains are higher, and there is no communications infrastructure,” he said.
Musharraf said President Bush told him he respects Pakistan’s sovereignty and “is not asking me, and he’s the most important.”
He stressed that there is “total” U.S.-Pakistani cooperation on military tactics and strategy on both sides of the border, and “good coordination” on intelligence.
“They wouldn’t be able to achieve anything that we haven’t been able to achieve, so let them handle Afghanistan,” Musharraf said. “They need more force there, by the way. So therefore, please add force there before you think of sending them across into our borders,” he said.
Musharraf is chiding the U.S. strategy for lack of force projection, something we have discussed here before for Afghanistan and also for the Iraq counterinsurgency campaign (focusing also on the Anbar Province as its strategy relates to Pakistan). But this is a pitiful instance of the pot calling the kettle black. At the moment, Musharraf’s army has sent 600 troops against Baitullah Mehsud’s forces in the tribal region, less than a battalion.
But Pakistan has suffered “more than 50 suicide bombings in the past 12 months, killing at least 800 people.” She is in the middle of a full blown insurgency, this insurgency affecting the U.S. as well since the Taliban and al Qaeda have safe haven inside Pakistan to regroup after attacks and terrorist operations in Afghanistan. Furthermore, supplies intended for use by NATO are being attacked inside Pakistan with Mehsud’s well-crafted network of roadway interdiction. Force projection is needed by the U.S. in Afghanistan, but Musharraf has no room to chide the U.S. The Pakistani army should practice what Musharraf preaches.