Pakistan to Increase Security on Border
John J. Kruzel
A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter provides aerial security
by Johnny R. Aragon / U.S. Army Photo
government is looking at a proposal by Afghanistan to create
a joint force tasked with combating insurgents
along their shared border, the Afghan defense minister said.
have a combined joint task force for coalition, Afghan and Pakistan to be
able to operate on both sides of the border, regardless
of which side," Abdul Rahim Wardak told reporters at the Pentagon.
the concept of the joint task force was discussed a month and
half ago at a tripartite meeting
partner nations, including Pakistan. "They
say they are looking at it," Wardak said of
the government in Islamabad.
The minister said 2008 likely will yield the highest levels
of violence in Afghanistan in recent years, and estimated that
10,000 to 15,000 full-time insurgents are operating there.
to estimate the number of foreign combatants entering Afghanistan
from Pakistan and elsewhere,
but said NATO and Afghan
forces have faced many more foreign fighters than local ones.
"In some cases, they have to use interpreters to talk to the
people]," he said of the foreign militants.
Pentagon officials have cited the tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan
border as a refuge for militants responsible for violence in
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in June praised Islamabad
for pledging to renew pressure along its northwestern border
following a 40-percent increase in NATO’s Regional Command East
since the start of 2008.
challenges that we’re facing in Afghanistan are
in some measure a result of the relaxation of pressure on the
Pakistani side of the border," Gates said during
a Pentagon news conference. "The pressure was
taken off of these people and these groups, and they’ve therefore
been more free to be able to cross the border and create problems
reporters’ questions today after touring the Pentagon Memorial,
a two-acre park dedicated
to the 184 victims who died when hijackers slammed an airline
into the U.S. military’s top headquarters.
He expressed regret that Afghanistan was where those responsible
for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks hatched the plot that
would claim the lives of nearly 3,000 victims, and he reiterated
his nation’s commitment to combating terrorism.
from the beginning, the Afghan government was of the opinion
that we have to [target]
the sanctuaries and
hideouts of the terrorists, wherever they are," he