U.S. Military Advises Anti-Taliban Pak Commandos
Here’s another dimension to the Pakistani government’s public-denouncement-but-private-cooperation with U.S. military attacks on extremists in the tribal areas. The New York Times reports that Army Special Operators are training elite Pakistani forces to do the job for them. Pakistani Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, the Army chief of staff, prefers the training to the fusillade of missile strikes in the tribal areas from pilotless U.S. drones. The U.S. soldiers don’t take part in combat operations, The Times reports, though it’d be interesting to know what kind of training and advising they provide. In Afghanistan and Iraq — which, admittedly, have much weaker militaries — such training shades into combat rather easily.
And check this out. As I speculated last week, much of the increase in operations over the past few months in the tribal areas appears to be due to an increase in shared intelligence. From The Times:
The C.I.A. helped the commandos track the Saudi militant linked to Al Qaeda, Zabi al-Taifi, for more than a week before the Pakistani forces surrounded his safe house in the Khyber Agency. The Pakistanis seized him, along with seven Pakistani and Afghan insurgents, in a dawn raid on Jan. 22, with a remotely piloted C.I.A. plane hovering overhead and personnel from the C.I.A. and Pakistan’s main spy service closely monitoring the mission, a senior Pakistani officer involved in the operation said.
As an aside, it’s interesting that perhaps the most prominent advocate of creating a specialty in the Army for training foreign military partners to conduct counterinsurgency operations instead of U.S. troops, retired Army Lt. Col. John Nagl, isn’t going to join the Obama Pentagon. Instead, he’ll be running the Center for a New American Security — which is to say the shadow Obama Pentagon.