US rehearses strikes inside Pakistan: Diplomats

US military has completed `dry exercises` for unilateral strike in Pak.

Islamabad: US military has already completed `dry exercises` for launching a unilateral strike inside Pakistan if a terrorist attack in America in the future is traced to that country, a media report said on Sunday.

Also known as dry run, this trial exercise is a rehearsal of a military`s combat skills without the use of live ammunition, influential `Dawn` newspaper said in a dispatch from Washington.

Quoting diplomatic sources, it said the trial run for a unilateral strike in Pakistan, however, did not involve US troops.

"Instead, it projected computer simulations of such an attack with an assessment of a possible counterattack and of the potential resistance US troops might face if they entered the Pakistani soil," the report said.

It quoted diplomatic sources as saying that the US had already informed Pakistan of its intention to conduct such an exercise before conducting the computer simulations.

Soon after the Mumbai attacks, the then Bush administration had planned live exercises close to the Pakistan border and conveyed its decision to Islamabad as well, the report said.

The US` decision forced the then national security adviser Mahmud Ali Durrani to fly to Washington for convincing the Americans that such exercises would not help the fight against terrorism.

"Instead, they would have weakened the nascent democratic setup in Pakistan and eroded its ability to support the US-led war," it said.

However, the US abandoned its move to carry out such exercises after US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen got an assurance from his Pakistani counterpart Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani that Islamabad would do its best to prevent extremists from using its soil for attacking other countries.

A diplomatic source told the Dawn that the American decision to once again explore the possibility of a unilateral military strike is not a threat.

"It aims at convincing Pakistanis that now is the time to uproot extremists. A failure to do so may lead to an attack on the US soil, which, in turn, could lead to an American military strike inside Pakistan," he said.


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