Yet today, three U.S. soldiers were killed and two more were wounded by an improvised bomb in Pakistan. The area was known "as a Taliban stronghold," the New York Times notes. But the "Pakistani military had declared cleared of the militants."
It's another sign that America's once-small, once-secret war in Pakistan is growing bigger, more conventional, and busting out into the open. The U.S. Air Force now conducts flights over Pakistani soil. U.S. security contractors operate in the country. U.S. strikes are growing larger, more frequent, and more deadly; the latest attack reportedly involved 17 missiles and killed as many as 29 people. Billions of dollars in U.S. aid goes to Islamabad. And now, U.S. forces are dying in Pakistan.
Which begs the question: When are we going to start treating this conflict in Pakistan as a real war - with real oversight and real disclosure about what the hell our people are really doing there? Maybe at one point, this conflict could've been swept under the rug as some classified CIA op. But that was billions of dollars and hundreds of Pakistani and American lives ago.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, the American forces were there merely "to attend the inauguration ceremony of a school for girls that had recently been renovated with U.S. humanitarian assistance." These guys were merely trainers part of the small cadre - maybe a hundred or so - of U.S. special forces in Pakistan, beefing up the local Frontier Corps' counterinsurgency skills.
As the Long War Journal notes, "The soldiers are not supposed to conduct military operations alongside the Frontier Corps units."