ISAF denies helos crossed border into Pakistan


When US helicopters under ISAF command in Afghanistan attacked Taliban positions across the border in the tribal agencies of North Waziristan and Kurram earlier this fall, some observers thought a new, more muscular approach to Pakistan had been signaled. But the strikes quickly rankled the Pakistani establishment, causing it to cut off ISAF’s supply line through the Khyber Pass, and soon top US military and political leaders apologized to Pakistan. As was clear at the time, the apology showed that the US had no intention of playing hardball with the Pakistanis, who continue to back terror groups that conduct attacks in Afghanistan.

This ISAF press release from today provides further proof that the US has no intention of using unilateral, cross-border strikes with attack helicopters to ratchet up the pressure on Pakistan (the use of Predators to conduct targeted strikes is still permitted, however).

International Security Assistance Force is aware of a claim by the Xinhua News Agency that two NATO helicopters crossed into Pakistan’s air space Tuesday, Nov. 23.

According to operational reporting, no ISAF helicopters crossed over the border or fired into Pakistan.

Clearly ISAF was concerned that the Xinhua story would make it into the Pakistani press, and was seeking to quickly quash the story. If ISAF wanted Pakistan to sweat over this story, it would have done just the opposite.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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