Pakistan Retaliates Against NATO Strikes

A Pakistani firefighter prepares to extinguish burning NATO supplies oil tankers following the gunmen attack on the outside of Islamabad on October 4, 2010. (Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images)

On Thursday, September 30, three Pakistani Frontier Corps personnel were killed by a NATO airstrike. The very same day, Pakistan shut down one particular border crossing to Afghanistan in protest.

On Friday, October 1, two NATO convoys were attacked in separate parts of the country, one where you might predict in "normal" times, Pakistan's province of Balochistan, and one where you might not, northern Sindh.

On Saturday, October 2, the US and Pakistan announced a "joint investigation" of NATO incursions into Pakistani territory.

And late on Sunday, October 3, another set of NATO tankers were attacked.

Asked to comment on the above series of events, Asia Society Bernard Schwartz Fellow Philip Shishkin said, "Pakistan's decision to block overland supply lines for NATO troops in Afghanistan points to a growing problem for Washington."

The West's mammoth military and civilian effort in the land-locked Afghanistan has become heavily dependent on logistical convoys from Pakistan, which often disagrees with the way the Afghan war is conducted.

Shiskin continued, "For months now, the US has been quietly expanding alternate supply routes running through Central Asia, an effort likely to gain momentum after Pakistan's recent step, taken in protest over a NATO air strike within its borders. That strategy has problems of its own: the main alternate supply route runs through Uzbekistan, a dictatorship that only five years ago evicted the Americans from a local military base after Washington complained too loudly about a violent government crackdown on protesters. But lately, US relations with Uzbekistan have been improving, mostly because Washington once again needs Uzbekistan as a logistical base for the Afghan war."