Want to Get Rid of Rivals? Call GI

There is an old saying: “To make somebody else to do the dirty work.” It seems that the saying suits good to describe the situation of American troops in Pakistan and Afghanistan; in other words, somebody makes them do the dirty work.

Many of the local observers think that Americans chasing bin Laden and al-Qaeda terrorists on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border have in fact become an instrument of revenge for the leaders of the Pastun tribes. It can be easily explained. People from one of the tribes inform American troops that terrorists are hiding on the territory of some other tribe. American special force troops rush to the place named, organize searches and even arrest some people in anger. But as it usually turns out very quickly, there are no traces of terrorists at all. In this situation, the leader of the competitive tribe is pleased with the disorders, as it is a big problem for the rival to prove that he has no connection with al-Qaeda.

On December 29, 2002, another incident occurred on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border: strangers fired a group of American soldiers (one of them was wounded in the head). In response, a plane of the US Air Force dropped a bomb on the area where terrorists allegedly hid. It is not clear whether accidental or not, but the bomb dropped on the territory of a religious madrasah which certainly entailed the strongest negative reaction of the Pakistani authorities and the clergy. The matter of fact, the incident occurred on a disputable sector of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Consequently, Pakistani consider the region their territory, and Americans unexpectedly began defending Afghanistan’s claims to the disputable sector of the border. Representatives of the US Army command say that the bomb was dropped exactly on Afghanistan’s territory.

The conflict became so much acute that even Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and US Secretary of State Colin Powell had to interfere into the conflict personally. As a result of the agreements achieved, a meeting between Afghan and Pakistani military men took place on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border on Sunday. It was agreed that incidents of similar kind would be prevented in the future.

It is not clear what effect the agreement may have. What is to happen if another leader of some tribe tells Americans that he knows that bin Laden is hiding in a neighboring region? Will Americans verify the information, or start coordinating their activity with Pakistan’s police and military men? In fact, it takes time to coordinate any type of activities. And if bin Laden or al-Qaeda terrorists are actually hiding on the territory of some region, they may escape within this period of time. It seems to be a really hard task indeed.  

Vasily Bubnov

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Author`s name Michael Simpson