The NATO’s air attack on the post on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border underscored two factors. First, there is a continuity of grave mistrust between Pakistan and NATO. The latter is not ready to look at the maps provided to it by the Pakistani armed forces about its military posts on the border. For instance, the Pakistani Military spokesman, Major General Athar Abbas, categorically stated NATO was communicated about two Pakistani posts in Mohmand Agency called ‘Golden’ and ‘Volcano’. These posts are located on the height in the area with national flag hoisted over them. If NATO had the maps, the strikes on the post certainly are not mere mistake. It generates an impression that the United States and NATO-led ISAF forces have misperceptions about the Pakistani forces deployment on the border. It confirms that they believe that Pakistani troops support the militants who traverse border to attack on the coalition forces in Afghanistan. Therefore, the Pakistani troops are the legitimate target.
Second, Pakistan’s loss of over thirty five thousand people in the war on terrorism for the security of international peace has little impact on the NATO countries’ strategic policies. The United States and its NATO allies, in reality, are not ready to treat Pakistan as an ally in the War on Terrorism. The sacrifices of the Pakistanis have no value for them. Therefore, it is imperative that Islamabad should seriously review its war on terrorism policy and its alliance with the United States. Of course, one cannot recommend completely ending Islamabad’s relations with Washington, but one expects dignity and mutual respect in the bilateral relations.
The facts indicate that the attack was deliberate. The US claim that NATO forces were chasing the Taliban was termed by the Pakistani armed forces spokesperson as ‘ill-logical’. Therefore, the situation would be dangerous for the NATO forces in Afghanistan and very challenging for the Pakistani government. Islamabad not only has to cut the NATO supply line permanently, but also think seriously about alternative options in Afghanistan. It has to revisit its policy to participate in the forthcoming Bonn conference on Afghanistan in Germany.
Pakistan has been facing both internal insecurity due to terrorist groups’ activities, and external challenges due to NATO forces’ aggression on its Western front. The domestic terrorism, which is very much the product of Pakistan’s decision to join the global war on terrorism initiated by the United States, has been taxing immensely Pakistan’s socio-economic prosperity. NATO’s hostile attitude certainly increases Pakistan’s responsibility or cost of defending its Western border. Hence, Islamabad needs to chalk out its diplomatic-cum-military strategy to combat the increasing aggression on its common border with Afghanistan.