Washington, Apr 5: US military officials fighting the Taliban along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border are learnt to have said that both the Afghan and Pakistani soldiers were "unreliable", and that the US forces deployed here only fire across the line when fired at.
A report published in the Washington Post quotes the military officials as saying that the villagers of the area were ambivalent and that at some places there were even disputes as to where the real border lies. Captain Chris Hammonds, commander of Attack Company, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, said: "The Pakistan military is corrupt and lets people come through". He added that Pakistani forces reportedly told insurgents the location of his observation post, and when US troops in a firefight call the Pakistani military for help, they never answer the phone.
A greater frustration was that they cannot trust their Pakistani counterparts, said Hammonds.
The report also quotes other US officials charging that over the past 18 months, the Taliban fighters had exploited peace deals by Pakistan's government to create an unprecedented haven in the region. From there, insurgents have escalated attacks in Pakistan and in eastern Afghanistan, leading the US last year to double its troop presence along more than 600 miles of the frontier. However, recent high-level talks among the three countries have called for more intelligence-sharing and coordinated operations along the border.
US commanders say they need at least 50 percent more US troops and more reconstruction money. At current levels, they said, it will take at least five years to quell insurgent attacks, which increased by nearly 40 percent in eastern Afghanistan last year, including a 22 percent rise in attacks along the border.