In late November 2011, the United States carried out a sustained two hour attack on two Pakistani military posts in Salala, a village in Mohmand in western Pakistan. The attacks killed 25 Pakistani soldiers.
Within days the Pakistan government ordered US military operatives based at the Shamsi air base to leave its territory and immediately closed the two main NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) supply routes into the region through the Khyber Pass - halting 40% of US material war supplies. The incident and resulting retaliatory action brought to an end a long-standing and dangerous war arrangement between the United States and Pakistan that has so far claimed the lives of almost 3,000 people.
Since 2004, and almost certainly earlier, the United States has been carrying out indiscriminate attacks against supposed militant Mujahedin which it claims have been operating along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. The 'drone war' has involved US militia unmanned aerial remote viewing craft carrying air to ground missile systems which have been used to target, and kill, individuals the United States government and military claim are engaged in an insurgency against its strategic war aims in Afghanistan.
The 'drone war' is waged from a military air base under US military control at Shamsi in the Balochistan province, Pakistan.
The United States military operators who are responsible for the flight controls of remote drones are poorly paid, badly trained and in large part fundamentally unconcerned with the failings of their war command structure. They have little concern or competence with intelligence and do not possess the skills to competently assess intelligence data even on the rare occasion when it is semi-legible. At the airbase at Shamsi where the drone strikes are being launched, it is almost certainly the case that low-ranking military grunts are at the controls being guided and instructed by civilian intelligence officers with little to no relevant war experience in theatre operations.
In 2010, the United States stepped up its 'drone war' attacks carrying out 118 assaults into Pakistan territory causing serious loss of life. As these attacks took place, the domestic population of Pakistan became seriously displeased and began to question its own governments conduct over the war in Afghanistan as-well as joining in with the chorus of international disapproval which had begun to wither the United States in the international arena. On 2nd May 2011, this disapproval cemented into irreversible damage to the international standing of the United States when the Democratic President of the US, Barack Obama, clumsily announced the death of Osama Bin Laden at Abbottabad in Pakistan giving birth to a worldwide insipient realisation that the United States could not be expected to have squandered so much international capital over the past decade on the pursuit of a single individual. The resultant wave of anti-US feeling around the world, which in much of the Muslim world swept away the effluent of US post-war puppetry in Muslim states, took root in Pakistan as a final resignation and realisation of the United States impending defeat in the Afghanistan war. The breached sovereignty and grievance Pakistan felt as a result of the raid in Abbottabad, strongly indicated that the Whitehouse was too weak to resist, or control, its more extremist and volatile sub-political wings.
On November 29th 2011, Pakistan announced that it would not attend the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan in which it is, at present, the most important delegate and further announced they were fully reviewing the terms for the country's further engagement with the United States in its war posture in Afghanistan. The impetus behind the boycott decision, along with the change in tactile posture over the US's lamentable position in Afghanistan, is likely to be maintained over the 2012 period in line with other contra US indications around the world.
The murder of Tariq Aziz.
Tariq Aziz was a 16 year old Pakistan national living in North Waziristan, Pakistan. On 31st October 2011 while on his way to Mirali (Mubarak Shahi) to visit an aunt with his 12 year old cousin Waheed Khan, the two boys were targeted by a brace of missiles fired from an unmanned US drone aircraft flying overhead and operated from the US installation at Shamsi.
The two boys died instantly.
Just eighteen months prior to this appalling incident, another of Tariq's cousins, Aswar, was killed while riding his motorbike near Norak again by an unmanned drone being operated by US military personnel at Shamsi.
A few days before his death, Tariq had attended a Jirga at Islamabad in which tribal elders and senior Pakistani figures had assembled to discuss and debate the role US drones had played in the western Pakistan region and to what degree the attacks had been overseen by US covert military personnel and diplomatic staff. The Jirga was attended by the London based charity and human rights organisation Reprieve, along with a number of British news agencies.
On 28th October 2011, Tariq was filmed by the London based Bureau of Investigative Journalism as he sat among the audience taking part in the debate. The forum was a peaceful answer to the violence and misadventure of the use of drones by the Americans and had sought to allow locals to voice their concerns about the indiscriminate deaths that have resulted from the use of these weapons in Pakistan.
Tariq and Waheed are just the latest children to die at the hands of US military personnel stationed out of harm's way in remote areas in which they are protected from the conflict. To date, 175 children have been killed by US drone operators in Pakistan among a total death toll of almost 3,000. In each incident, drones are often seen flying over villages and towns for hours at a time before they are used. This is almost certainly an attempt to gather indiscriminate intelligence on the local population in western Pakistan and reveals that the drone war is being fought by the United States intelligence agencies outside the jurisdiction of international law, in private, and away from any known regime of accountability.
US Ambassador Cameron Munter.
On December 10th 2011 the United States ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, was given until December 16th to respond to allegations that he had been implicated in the murders of Tariq and Waheed. In response, he defaulted to a predictable and largely aimless defence by simply refusing to acknowledge the implications of killing children in an allied nation and asked his accusers to give in to the logic of the US's so-called War on Terror.
This logic has been an endemic part of US war strategy since 2001 and serves as a crutch to take the weight of its unpopularity around the world. Munter's dismissive remarks in defence of the killings were taken to be offensive and typical of the casual disregard US service personnel have for the lives of those they have killed in that region as-well as in Afghanistan.
As far as is known, Munter has failed to properly respond to the accusations made against him and may now become subject to legal action to place him before a court. It is certain that his role in the deaths of countless individuals in western Pakistan has been a major and serious cause of the degradation of US/Pakistan relations and has led directly to the withdrawal of co-operation of the Pakistan government.
Degradation of Pakistan/US relations.
The use of drone aircraft to wage war against its phantom enemies in the Afghanistan war has left the United States in Pakistan in a seriously weakened position predominately as a result of its complete failure to articulate its intelligence failings in a manner in which the people of Pakistan can understand. Since 2011, the United States has exhibited a rampant inability to cogently display its tactical aims in humanistic form instead choosing to use the language of business and industry to communicate its war aims as business logic. This has left it with a firmly isolated voice on the international stage. From 2011 to present, the United States has struggled with a problem fundamental in its logic...how to explain its foreign policy in terms other than apologia for widespread 'collateral damage'. In its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq the United States has rarely, if ever, managed to figure out who its adversaries are. As a result, it continues to kill and main countless numbers of children, villagers and those completely unconnected to any known anti-US group both in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
For every 'terrorist' the United States has found...it may well have killed 100 possibilities based on the clumsy and inaccurate assessments of poorly trained intelligence staff eager to report proximity to anti-US groups irrespective of reality.
As can be seen around the world, this major and structural failing has gone rotten and morphed into a national security emergency for the United States unparalleled in its history. In almost every area in which America exercises dominance, either of a political or military type, the United States is now experiencing low-level and energetic disruption and subversion to its short, medium and long term war aims.
America: losing the eastern Afghanistan front
The relationship between the United States and Pakistan has soured in the last part of 2011 and degenerated into a tit-for-tat skirmish well-advertised around the world. In response to the Pakistan order for the US drone operators to leave the Shamsi airfield in Balochistan by December 11th 2011, predictable propaganda has been returned by US centric war media claiming the base was unused, broadly unused or used only for emergency support, a prime example of the fundamental problem that has brought the United States to this point in its affairs. The Shamsi airfield was of course heavily used by the US military throughout its working life and had seen heavy use of its facilities on a regular basis.
The United States military has now vacated the Shamsi airbase which is now fully under the custody of Pakistan once more. The Pakistan government has now successfully migrated away from subservience toward the US government and military and back toward correct representation of its own people, who themselves have awoken to the self-interested dishonesty that demarcates US war policy in its crazed and violent fall from grace.
What was a secret and unreferenced extension of the Afghanistan war into the periphery of the western flank of Pakistan, has now become a burgeoning anti-war conflict that will steadily gain traction around the world eventually entering mainstream discourse. The hidden 'drone war' in Pakistan will uncover not only the intelligence failings of the US military and intelligence community, but will also paint those same agencies as distant and cowardly up against its supposed war adversary: Al Qa'ida. As a result, new insight into the tactical aims of the United States will present themselves casting a bright light onto the overall war strategy it has been engaged with, not only in Afghanistan, but in Pakistan and Iraq too.
Here, the United States in its post 9/11 guise will find it can successfully be presented as both antagonist and reactionary to its own misfortune. The resultant revolt, will lend new meaning to the US strategic and psychological concept of 'Total conflict'.