U.S. launches artillery into PakistanIt's about time!
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan - Asserting a right to self-defense, American forces in eastern Afghanistan have launched artillery rounds into Pakistan to strike Taliban fighters who attack remote U.S. outposts, the commander of U.S. forces in the region said Sunday.
The use of the largely ungoverned Waziristan area of Pakistan as a haven for Taliban and al-Qaida fighters has become a greater irritant between Washington and Islamabad since Pakistan put in place a peace agreement there in September that was intended to stop cross-border incursions.
Army Col. John W. Nicholson, commander of the 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, said in an Associated Press interview that rather than halt such incursions, the peace deal has led to a substantial increase.
Waziristan is the new Islamic Caliphate, and it cannot be allowed to be a safe haven.
Some argue that if Pakistan has ceded control of it, it shouldn't be considered sovereign Pakistan territory, and we should have no qualms about cleansing it. And I heartily agree.
The fear is this will topple Musharraf, whos government holds atomic weapons.
We can't be held hostage to that. He's not going to live forever. We must be prepared for the fact that Pakistan will probably not survive as a country if we are to win the GWOT. It's a big part of the problem, along with Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Luckily, we'll have nearly a billion nuclear-armed Hindus on our side in that one.
Nicholson described the fighting along the border, particularly in Afghanistan's Paktika and Khost provinces, as intense. In some cases, he said, the Taliban have crossed the border at night, using wire cutters to breach the perimeter of small U.S. outposts, "trying to get hand grenades into our bunkers."Excellent!
"We do not allow the enemy to fire with impunity on our soldiers, and we have the inherent right of self defense," he said, speaking by video teleconference from his headquarters at Jalalabad air field. "Even if those fires are coming from across the border (in Pakistan), we have the right to defense ourselves, and we exercise that right." He added later, "We do fire missions across the border."
Historically, artillery is the big killer of infantry, even moreso than machine guns.
According to James Dunnigan in How To Make War, it accounted for 58% of all WW2 casualties -- and 75% in open terrain.
(Though my version of that book is 25(!) years old, it's now in its 4th edition and updated for the 21st century, apparently).