Saturday, November 26, 2011

This Won't Help

NATO helicopters and aircraft apparently killed perhaps 28 Pakistani troops and Pakistan retaliated by interrupting our supply line:

NATO helicopters and fighter jets attacked two military outposts in northwest Pakistan on Saturday, killing as many as 28 troops and plunging U.S.-Pakistan relations, already deeply frayed, further into crisis.

Pakistan retaliated by shutting down vital NATO supply routes into Afghanistan, used for sending in almost half of the alliance's non-lethal materiel.

It is odd. About 40 Pakistanis were at the outpost and the strike killed or wounded nearly all of them. With helicopters and aircraft involved, this was a pretty big deal and may have been planned. I don't imagine that this was just a mistaken grid coordinate error made in the heat of battle.

Given that Pakistan has been angry with us for killing Osama bin Laden and exposing how much jihadis could get away with inside Pakistan, I don't assume that this attack just came out of the blue against some unsuspecting outpost.

We'll hear more, I assume. Maybe we really made a horrible mistake. Friendly fire incidents happen even in this age.

Or maybe the mistake is that the Pakistanis assumed they could get away with some brazen support of the Afghanistan Taliban from one of their frontier posts. It could go either way. And either explanation won't help our relations one bit.