Pakistan PM: US Escalation in Afghanistan Will Destabilize Balochistan

US Previously Dismissed Concerns

by Jason Ditz, November 27, 2009

Speaking just days before President Obama unveils a massive new escalation in neighboring Afghanistan, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani warned that he is increasingly concerned that the escalation could imperil Pakistan’s Balochistn Province.

This is the concern that we already discussed with the US administration,” Gilani noted. The US is expected to commit additional troops to Helmand Province, along the border with Pakistani Balochistan.

And indeed, the concern has been a topic of discussion since July, when the US launched an offensive in the Helmand River Valley. The US has dismissed the concerns about destabilizing Balochistan, insisting they were sure Pakistan could handle any consequences their war creates.

But the escalation being announced is much larger than previous commitments. Pakistan has already struggled to cope with spillover from the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan, and it seems the spillover will only worsen over the years to come.

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