Growing Internal Debate as Pakistani Military Seethes at US Attacks

US Tensions Trickle Down to Rank-and-File Soldiers

Pakistani officials have been very public in their criticism of recent anti-US border raids and drone strikes, but a much more serious debate is ongoing among the rank-and-file soldiers who view the incidents extremely gravely.

Though analysts don’t see the debate as having any major impact on the military leadership, there does seem to be a growing crisis of confidence in them, and the backlash against US unilateralism is likely to linger for many years in a nation where the US is constantly trying to improve military ties.

The discovery of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, a key city with a major military site, was a significant embarrassment, but was made doubly so when the US managed to invade and attack the compound without anyone in the military apparently noticing.

This would have been bad enough, but incidents keep cropping up which are raising the tensions. US helicopters attacked a border post in Pakistan earlier this week, and yesterday Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Admiral Michael Mullen made a point of publicly declaring that Pakistan’s military had been “humiliated” by the US ability to attack with impunity. It is a humiliation that many will likely not forget.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.