Even as Admiral Mike Mullen was telling a Pentagon press conference on Friday that he has received assurances from Pakistani military leaders there would not be any further firing on American soldiers or helicopters, the Pakistan army was firing on American forces. “I’ve been given assurances by the senior military leadership in Pakistan that that there is certainly no intent or plan to fire on our forces.” For some reason Pakistani promises did not filter down to their troops who are stationed on the border of Afghanistan. Mullen insists both sides do communicate and draw away when each comprehends the situation, but American concerns about the growing power of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in tribal regions tend to take precedence over agreements with Pakistan.
At the core of current problems is lack of any comprehensive strategy on how to conduct the war in Afghanistan. Bush failure to maintain a high military presence in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002 allowed the insurgency a new lease on life and since that date it has grown ever more powerful. But, American over reliance on military action is not working. No plan to deal with infrastructure needs of Afghanistan are in place nor are work projects such as rebuilding roads and bridges or bringing electricity to rural areas in place. Lack of work opportunities results in high unemployment rates at a time when the Taliban can pay decent wages to anyone who wants to fight the “occupiers.”