Hoping to quash persistent reports that the United States is mulling a ground invasion of northern Pakistan, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen insists no discussion at all has happened about putting US ground forces in Pakistan, and that the only troops allowed in Pakistani territory are the ones training Pakistan’s military.
Instead, Admiral Mullen sees the US war in Afghanistan as a means for stabilizing Pakistan, which will probably come as a surprise to Pakistanis which have seen their nation grow less and less stable as the war drags on.
“I also believe that Pakistan’s future will in great part be driven by what kind of country Afghanistan is, stable or unstable,” Mullen said. And while Pakistan would doubtless benefit from a stable Afghanistan, it is clearly paying a heavy price for American intervention in the nation.
Since 2001 the largely forgotten hinterlands of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas have filled with Afghan refugees and insurgents, and American pressure has forced Pakistan to launch a series of costly invasions against the regions, which have led to deadly attacks in Pakistan’s major cities.
Pakistani officials have also expressed concern that the US escalation in Afghanistan will drive yet more militants across the border, and that it will destabilize Balochistan, its largest province and home to a growing separatist movement.
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