Militants in Pakistan fired rockets at NATO bases across the border in Afghanistan, killing three children in a village and prompting the alliance to launch a pair of retaliatory artillery strikes, officials said Sunday.
So we have artillery near the border and we fired into Pakistan.
I get the impression that after trying to get Pakistan to control the frontier, we are coming to accept that Pakistan's nominal central government will not make the effort. Sure, the officials in Islamabad have the UN seat and official seals (and hopefully the nukes), but they live in a world separate from the daily life under multiple armed and warring factions that make up Pakistan.
Strategypage describes the internal factions of Pakistan:
While the Taliban get most of the media attention, they are but one of several religious conflicts going on in Pakistan. In addition, there is tribal and ethnic violence. From the Pakistani point of view, al Qaeda and the Taliban are just the latest source of religious violence to show up. Note that on many weeks, from a third to half the war or terrorism related deaths in Pakistan are not Taliban or al Qaeda related, but caused by the other groups described below. Terrorism based on religious, or tribal, hatreds is old news in this part of the world, and all these other, underreported, conflicts are connected with the Taliban violence. That's because the most violent zealots tend to get involved in more than one cause, or at least have connections with other violent groups.
Which looks downright pre-Westphalian, really. The stakes are too high to let Pakistan maintain the fiction that they are a national government responsible for their own national territory.
We seem to be preparing a post-Westphalian campaign against the Taliban inside Pakistan by using limited direct force and seeking sub-national alliances inside Pakistan to fight the Taliban and al Qaeda. We need to directly interact with the tribes and hire them ourselves as we did the Sons of Iraq and as we paid Afghanistan tribes. We used to fight our wars this way. And against enemies who operate below the national government level, we need to match them and beat them at their own game.
Indeed, it may be starting right now in Pakistan. It may not be ideal but it's our only option left.