January 24, 2008

File Under: Good Money after Bad

Following AM's skeptical lead, Charlie's less than certain that more US troops and money will stem the tide in Pakistan.

The enhanced cooperation will include U.S. military assistance toward counterinsurgency training, technical gear and assistance to improve the Pakistani military's intelligence gathering and its air and ground mobility, the officials said. If requested by Pakistan, it could also involve U.S. Special Operations Forces working with the Pakistani military as it launches "more aggressive" actions against insurgents in northwest tribal areas, said Ambassador Dell L. Dailey, the State Department's counterterrorism coordinator.


Much of the increased U.S. military cooperation will be tailored to improve the counterinsurgency operations of the Pakistani military and Frontier Corps, a large but ill-equipped force that has suffered most of the government's combat casualties in tribal areas. For example, it will involve sending in small teams of U.S. trainers, including Special Forces soldiers, as well as technical experts to work with the Pakistani Air Force and intelligence personnel. The U.S. military is planning to expand the number of trainers for Pakistan's Frontier Corps, possibly including contractors or allied forces, and is also seeking to tap into $37 million in counterterrorism funds for that effort, according to U.S. officials.

This increased cooperation would both expand a multiyear U.S. counterinsurgency plan that is being implemented, with $157 million in aid planned for 2008 and more U.S. contract and Special Forces trainers expected to arrive in Pakistan this spring, U.S. officials said.

Honestly, how many historically incoherent, ungovernable places do we need to try and fix at once? Someday Charlie hopes we can work on training armies that haven't been more or less fubar since their inception.

[H/T: Danger Room]

Update: Holy hell. Secretary Gates suggested today that the US is willing to engage in joint combat operations with the Pakistani Army:

The U.S. military would be willing to undertake joint combat operations with Pakistani forces against Islamic militants if Pakistani leaders request the help, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Thursday.

Gates' remarks at a Pentagon briefing represented the first such public offer by a top Bush administration official since a change in 2007 in Pakistan's military leadership. It also reflects growing U.S. concern over the renewed militancy there.

For those of you keeping score at home, that's a much taller task than the train, organize, and equip mission described above. And a situation much more difficult to extricate ourselves from. Maybe the Pakistanis will decline the offer. We should be so lucky.

Update II: More details from the Washington Post.

The U.S. military is also beginning to construct as many as eight coordination centers along the Afghan-Pakistani border that will be staffed by officers from the three countries to more closely share intelligence and conduct combat operations, according to Maj. Gen. David Rodriguez, the top U.S. commander for eastern Afghanistan.

The first border center is being built at Torkham Gate in Afghanistan, a key crossing near the Khyber Pass and about 30 miles from the Pakistani city of Peshawar, Rodriguez said.

Charlie's favorite WSJ reporter chimes in as well.