More NATO helicopters have crossed into Pakistan, though this time they fired on Pakistani troops—members of the Frontier Corps. The target this time was in Kurram Agency, in the “parrot’s beak” of the FATA, an area, according to the AfPak Channel, that has seen very little drone activity.
For once, Pakistan has followed through on its threat and has “cut” the supply line that runs from the port city of Karachi through the Khyber Pass into Afghanistan. Pakistani officials supposedly say it’s not retaliation, but rather to protect convoys from attack by the Taliban (ABC’s Nick Schiffrin says otherwise). Sure they are, just like when they protected those convoys from all the other attacks they’ve had to suffer through.
It remains to be seen if these cross-border raids represent a major escalation of the war or not. They could, like the last few, be relatively isolated incidents meant to pressure the Taliban in unexpected ways and demonstrate to the Pakistani government NATO’s resolve. They could, on the other hand, indicate the war is about to get a lot less nasty. If the U.S. stops being shy about cross-border raids, there remains very little reason for the Pakistanis or the Taliban to become shy about them either; the result could quickly spiral out of control. Closing one of the only two supply lines for the war is the least of how Pakistan could seriously undermine the war if it got angry enough.
What’s worse is, there remains little indication these raids materially affect the war (unless one were to argue a hypothetical, like it could be a LOT worse). So what exactly is the U.S. trying to accomplish here?