Pakistan cites anti-terrorism need for F-16s
Filed Under: Politics, World | Posted: 09/13/2008 at 5:38AM
Comments | Region: Pakistan
The official underlined equipment needs and listed recent achievements fighting al Qaeda and Taliban insurgents ahead of a US congressional hearing next week that will examine the utility of F-16s in US ally Pakistan’s war on terrorism.
‘These missions have been very focused, and since air power is always effective, the Taliban are very much upset about this and have retaliated,’ said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
‘This campaign will last for some time,’ he told a small group of reporters.
The House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia will hold a hearing on Tuesday and grill Bush administration officials on the F-16 program with
The title of the hearing — ‘Defeating al Qaeda’s Air Force:
In July, two senior Democratic Party lawmakers asked the Bush administration not to shift $226.5 million in
The Pakistani official said well-funded and well-armed militants had dug in with anti-aircraft guns that made it risky to use helicopters to support the army’s fight against militant havens in the northwestern Baujur region.
Pakistani forces were ‘very much handicapped’ by the lack of equipment to enable the F-16s to fly and fight at night, giving the militants the ability to regroup after daytime encounters, said the official.
‘We are blind and they are moving at will,’ he said.
The debate takes place against the backdrop of long-standing
The official called this criticism the ‘most damaging and demoralizing thing’ after the Pakistan military had suffered 1,200 killed and 3,000 disabled in fours years of fighting in border areas.
‘We are in this war as much as