Afghanistan and Pakistan have made a habit of engaging in combat with each other over the last few years. I wrote about it earlier this year for AfPak Channel, and later noted an even bigger engagement than had previously been reported. But things have found a way to get even worse.
Militants in Afghanistan launched an attack onto Pakistani forces in Bajaur earlier this week [map]. In response, the Pakistani military moved in force into the area, and destroyed a few bomb factories.
Further south, the Pakistani military got into a scuffle with Pashtuns at the Chaman border crossing who resented being treated like insurgents during a search. A few hundred Balochi tribesman came out to protest the harassment, and managed to block the crossing for several hours until Pakistani troops fired into the crowd to disperse it, wounding eight people. Then, this morning the fighting inside Pakistan resulted in a stray rocket crossing the border and killing four Afghan children.
There are not enough data to say if this is really an escalation of hostilities along the border or just an artifact of more reporting. I suspect it’s some mixture of the two, but I have no way to say for certain. What is clear is that really surprising acts of violence, even interstate violence, go unreported in the mainstream press because it doesn’t involve Americans. And that’s a real shame, but it means we miss out on critical security and political context for everything else that is happening in the war.