Pakistan seems eager to demonstrate the leverage it believes it has, but the Zardari government and ISI are cutting off their proverbial noses to spite their faces. They have already ceded so much territory and authority to the jihadists, and peace has not come. But we’re supposed to follow suit and hold out the same unfounded hope.
Their thanks, when Islamabad is lost, will most likely be that many are at the top of a hit list as a jihadist regime comes to take power from its sanctuary in the west.
Or they may find themselves pleading with foreign governments — even NATO ones — to whisk them to safety as the gates tumble down. (Oh, and last one out, please secure the nukes.) That may yet be the price of their double game.
ISLAMABAD – Suspected militants attacked and set fire to around 20 tankers carrying oil for NATO and U.S. troops in Afghanistan on Monday, the third such strike inside Pakistan in as many days, police said.
The attack took place on a supply line that has been closed by Pakistani authorities in protest at a NATO helicopter attack that killed three Pakistan troops on the border last week.
It will raise the stakes in the closure, which has exacerbated tensions between Washington and Islamabad but has been welcomed by Islamist groups opposed to Pakistan’s support off the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.
Police officer Umer Hayat said two people were killed in the attack close to the capital Islamabad by what he called “terrorists.” The attackers opened fire on trucks that were parked at a poorly guarded terminal before setting them afire, he and other officers said.
The trucks were en route or waiting to travel to the Torkham border crossing along the fabled Khyber Pass, which is used to bring fuel, military vehicles, spare parts, clothing and other non-lethal supplies for foreign troops in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s other main route into landlocked Afghanistan, in Chaman in the southwest, has remained open.
While NATO and the United States have alternative supply routes into Afghanistan, the Pakistani ones are the cheapest and most convenient. Most of the coalition’s non-lethal supplies are transported over Pakistani soil after being unloaded at docks in Karachi, a port city in the south.
On Friday, a day after the closure of the Khyber Pass route to NATO and US traffic, there were two attacks on oil tankers headed to the country. The convoys take several days to reach the border after setting off from Karachi and make frequent stops.
Over the past two years they often have been attacked by militants, mostly in the northwestern border region where militants are strongest. They also have been targeted by criminals, who can sell the clothing, vehicles and other equipment they carry.