December 21, 2010

Daily brief: Pakistan test fires nuclear-capable missile from The AfPak Channel by Katherine Tiedemann

The AfPak Channel: Daily brief: Pakistan test fires nuclear-capable missile -
Power projection - Pakistan's military successfully tested the Ghauri Hatf 5, a ballistic missile with a range of 800 miles that is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads, as part of a field-training exercise (AFP, ET, The News). Pakistan's prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, said the test "demonstrates the credibility of our minimum deterrence strategy" and "sends the right signals internationally that Pakistan's defense capability is impregnable and should never be challenged." Wonk watch: Jeffrey Lewis on managing the danger from Pakistan's nuclear stockpile (NAF).

American officials say the U.S. is seeking to expand Special Operations ground raids on Pakistani territory in an indication of U.S. frustration with Pakistan's efforts to combat militancy in its tribal areas, and Afghan militias backed by the CIA -- called Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams -- have reportedly carried out "a number of secret missions" in Pakistan's tribal regions, including at least one that went on the offensive and destroyed a weapons cache (NYT). The Afghan militias are said to operate around Paktika, Khost, Kunar, and the cities of Kabul, Jalalabad, and Kandahar. Pakistan's envoy to the U.S., Amb. Husain Haqqani, asserted that "Pakistani forces are capable of handling the militant threat within our borders and no foreign forces are allowed or required to operate inside our sovereign territory," and a spokesman for NATO in Afghanistan said there is "absolutely no truth" to the NYT's report (APP, Pajhwok).

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