On November 26, a US-led combined air and land assault on Pakistani territory near the border with Afghanistan led to the death of 24 Pakistani military personnel and injuries to many more. The people and government of Pakistan have responded as one with anger and indignation, and protests have erupted all across the country. MEL strongly condemns the blatant act of aggression by the US-led forces, which has led to the loss of so many lives. The government and people of Pakistan have every right to retaliate and take all measures to protect their sovereignty.
While the US is trying to justify the event as due to a “misunderstanding”, Pakistan has rejected this excuse, saying that they were given absolutely no warning that any assault like this was going to take place. The US imperialists would like to pass this off as another example of what it cynically calls “collateral damage” (or unintended effects of military operations). But we can clearly see a pattern in the repeated attacks on Pakistan and Pakistani people by the US in recent times.
Earlier this year, US forces stealthily and deliberately violated the sovereignty of its “ally” Pakistan when it raided Abbotabad, right when a military conference was going on there, in the name of capturing and killing Osama bin Laden. Despite repeated objections by the Pakistani government and National Assembly, countless people have been killed in a series of strikes by US drones in the region of Waziristan. An American secret agent opened fire on and killed 2 Pakistanis on the street in broad daylight in Lahore. And now comes this direct strike on a Pakistani military post.
All these acts coming one after another are no coincidence. These attacks have been mounted, with full knowledge of the consequences, in a period when public opinion in Pakistan has been growing against US and NATO operations in Afghanistan and the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. The Pakistani political and military establishment has also expressed resentment and dissatisfaction. Therefore, it cannot be believed that these repeated strikes against Pakistan are just “collateral damage”. On the contrary, it is an attempt to browbeat Pakistan into submitting to the US dictate, at a time when it is clear that the US-led campaign in Afghanistan is mired in great difficulties.
The killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers has met with a strong response from Pakistan. The main supply route for the NATO forces in Afghanistan has been closed off. If it is not reopened within a few weeks, there will be serious difficulties for the NATO forces. Pakistan has refused to participate in a conference on Afghanistan being held in Bonn, Germany. It has also refused to participate in the so-called “investigations” being conducted into the killing of Pakistani soldiers by the NATO command in Afghanistan. The Pakistani commander in chief General Kayani has explicitly told his forces that they should retaliate immediately and fittingly to any future attacks, without waiting for approval from higher authorities, “regardless of the cost or consequences”. These measures are absolutely just and necessary. US imperialism and its allies, who believe they have a licence to do whatever they want in any part of the world, need to be stopped in their tracks. The people of Afghanistan and Pakistan, along with India and other countries in this region, should come together to fight against the imperialist presence in our region.
US and NATO imperialists, get out of this region!