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Friday, November 21, 2008

The US strikes deeper in Pakistan By Syed Saleem Shahzad

Wednesday's missile attack by an unmanned United States Predator drone on the Pakistani village of Jani Khel marks a significant development in the battle against militants.

On the one hand, it is the first such attack to take place outside of the semi-autonomous tribal areas, that is, in territory directly ruled by Islamabad. Previous US strikes have focused on North Waziristan and South Waziristan, where at least 20 missile attacks and a cross-border commando raid have killed scores of people since September.

But on the other hand, the strike also signifies that there is now a genuine alliance between the Pakistani military and US forces against the common foe of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Previously, under former president General Pervez Musharraf, this relationship was blurred by pockets of latent sympathy on the side of the Pakistanis for the militants.....What matters is that the Pakistanis had passed on to the Americans information of al-Qaeda's shura (council) in Jani Khel.

Pakistan had known of the shura since it was set up over a year ago, but as it was not in a tribal area and therefore directly under the writ of the Pakistani government, this intelligence was never shared.


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