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.
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