ISAF: ‘Absolutely no truth’ to rumors of cross-border raids into Pakistan

As noted last night, the likelihood of US special operations forces expanding ground operations into Pakistan is slim. Today, ISAF repudiated last night’s report by The New York Times, which claimed that the US was on the cusp of green-lighting expanded operations in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Today, ISAF’s spokesman forcefully denied the NYT report. From an ISAF Press release, titled Correction for the Record: Reports of US Planning for Ground Operations in Pakistan:

Recent news articles reported that U.S. forces were planning to conduct ground operations in Pakistan. The ISAF Deputy Chief of Staff for Communication released the following statement in response to these incorrect reports:

“There is absolutely no truth to reporting in the New York Times that U.S. forces are planning to conduct ground operations into Pakistan. ISAF and U.S. Forces, along with their Afghan partners have developed a strong working relationship with the Pakistan military to address shared security issues,” said RADM Gregory Smith. “This coordination recognizes the sovereignty of Afghanistan and Pakistan to pursue insurgents and terrorists operating in their respective border areas. Cross border coordination has and continues to disrupt and dismantle insurgent networks in select areas, with significant operations on both sides of the border removing large numbers of insurgent leaders and fighters.”

And again, I’ll point you back to the two instances in late November, when ISAF frantically worked to bury rumors of US helicopters violating Pakistani airspace. ISAF was concerned then, as they are now, that Pakistan will close the border crossings and shut down ISAF’s supply lines. This holds true today as it did a month ago:

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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10 Comments

  • natej740 says:

    The only way to win this war is to cut the head off the snake. Invade Pakistan now and end this war!
    Just a question…How many high ranking al qaeda members have been killed or captured in Afghanistan compared to Pakistan(KSM, Binalshibh, Zubaydah) ?

  • villiger says:

    “as the US and Nato begin the drawdown in Afghanistan from July 2011, and as logistical land-routes through the Central Asian states mature over the next few years, the reliance on Pakistan as logistic and over-flight space is certain to diminish and thus the fourth argument for open-ended military aid to Pakistan weakens and falls.” –Shaun Gregory in article entitled “US is paying for Pak protection racket”
    //m.timesofindia.com/PDATOI/articleshow/7085508.cms
    I agree with him. Its a matter of time and i’m sure the US is working very hard at developing those alternative routes. The dynamics of the Baluchistan rug being pulled from under Pak’s feet come into play too.
    If i remember correctly something of the order of 30% of ISAF’s fuel needs and 70% of dry supplies are routed through Pakistan. The balance is not and thats a pretty good number.
    Meantime the US probing and prodding Pak is a good thing. One needs to develop a track record so that if things turn really nasty with the lawless areas of sovereign Pak (a contradiction of terms), the case to go to the UN to widen ISAF’s mandate is ready.
    Pakistan accuses the US of a short-term play. Theirs is truly short–short-change your people through massive fraud by diverting US provided funds. And short-sighted for they must know that the status quo is untenable and Pakistan has to be re-solved.
    Its a matter of time. But time is money and China is egging Pak on so that the US is financially weakened.
    This is the bloody and long game being played,with not all the Kings and Queens protected. We’re at a stalemate for now. 2014 is four years away while Obama’s possible re-election 2 yrs away. That is when the stakes could be raised–second terms are good for going all guns blazing. For now its still Obama’s war, even though i’m sure, like many of us, he chokes on the name Pakistan every time he has to utter it.

  • Villiger says:

    Bill, maybe ISAF is learning the art of denial from The Master, Pakistan .After all its cooked up for their consumption. May also be a ploy to get certain enemy movements, which may not normally occur in this weather, so they can target some more vehicles. A predator a day keeps the Taliban at bay.

  • JT says:

    “. . .planning to conduct ground operations into Pakistan . . . .”
    Perhaps there is a plan to expand AIR attacks on targets in Pakistan?

  • Victor says:

    What exactly are the Pakis going to do should we decide to expand the theater of operations? Pakistani military spokesmen have stated that the Pak military is “stretched too thin’ to conduct offensive operations against what amounts to tribes of hillbillies. If this is true, what are the odds that they will tangle with multiple US Army Brigade Combat Teams? Close the crossings? We shall take them. Deny us access? We will crater every runway in your godforsaken country and mine all the ports.

  • JRP says:

    Unfortunately, this dithering about Pakistan will probably have to wait on the next Homeland (hopefully failed/prevented) terrorist plot/attempt which is surely brewing (one’s always brewing). At some point in time either the President has to think about his second term prospects or the American people in their collective wisdom have to decide that they have had just about enough of this kowtowing to the Pakistani flimflam man. However, word of caution re preparedness. Don’t for a moment think that the Pakistani Army is spread too thin to try and counter any sizable American troop movement into Waziristan. They’ll go at us and if we are not careful and well-prepared, we are liable to experience a humiliating battlefield loss with numerous troops taken POW. In North Africa in WWII we miscalculated French reaction to our initial invasion and took many troop losses before the French realized what the right thing to do was. Never underestimate your enemy; remember how we got totally suckered in at FOB Chapman last 12/30/2009.

  • H & P Student says:

    If the U.S. Mil, ISAF and NATO are not running cross-border Op’s…there wasting Time,Money and LIVES ! Besides being Strategically and Tacticly Weekend Warrior Paintball Students. I doubt they are doing [Any] of the above.
    And if the NY Times is Wrong or Lying about [this] story they have just put there Journalistic head in the noose and jumped off for the final time.
    Sad to say, I side with the NY Times on this one.
    Someone in the Military…..took a Wikileak, again.
    I don’t hear Lieberman. Or any outrage.
    Anywhere.
    Interesting.

  • Sean says:

    Well if the raids are conducted by SOF units of course they’re going to deny it. We don’t want to show our hand entirely.
    That said, raids into Pakistan are not unprecedented, but seldom occur. And I’m sure the Taliban know they aren’t entirely safe.

  • villiger says:

    Victor, i agree with what you’re saying.
    The US military must have a pretty good assessment of PakMil and know intimately their weak-spots. My feel is that they are not nearly as capable as they are voluminous. Thats standard in the sub-continent for pretty much everything–lots of quantity but incredibly low on quality generally. The massive corruption internally within their army and The Establishment has also surely eaten their capabilities from within.
    Then there is technology–again no match.
    I’m not underestimating them, but i’m not overestimating their agility or responsiveness because of sheer size either.

  • Phil Kemble says:

    We need to get troops onto the tops of mountains and not in valleys. You always go for the high ground – it’s simple military tactics. Additiionally, we need to smash the Taliban inside Pakistan otherwise it’s Vietnam et al where the NVA simply went to their safe havens in N Vietnam after attacking S Vietnam. Who cares what Pakistan (or the rest of the World) think? We are winning this war but we could do it a lot quicker (and easier) if we regularly crossed into Pakistan to hunt down the Taliban. From an old soldier.

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