Islamabad, Sep 13 : Pakistan faces the potential danger of a schism in the army as there is a growing anti-American sentiment largely fuelled by the indiscriminate missile attacks and cross-border incursions.
The Pakistani military's top brass finished a two-day summit on Friday that was called to consider how to respond to the US incursions in Tribal Areas bordering Afghanistan.
Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani issued a strong statement before the meeting, calling the ground assault "reckless."
Analysts believe it is possible that General Kayani gave tacit consent for limited ground raids, but it is unlikely that a majority of the corps commanders, who each control thousands of men and from whom the Army Chief derives his authority, are on board.
"What would probably endanger General Kayani most; is if he continued to support, or be viewed as supporting, incursions, and they appeared ineffective and corps commanders were increasingly unhappy," said Seth Jones, an analyst at Rand Corp.
"If this split widens, then I think you'll get a very serious problem." The globeandmail quoted Jones, as saying.
US and NATO commanders have made clear that the fight against the Taliban can't be won in Afghanistan if they continue to enjoy sanctuary in Pakistan's tribal belt.
But hit-and-run raids by US troops, like the operation seen in North Waziristan last week, can only eliminate a few Taliban or al-Qaeda leaders, not clear the territory of militants or hold it.
To do so would require the Pakistani Army to act, which may be the response the United States is trying to provoke. But there's a danger the tactic could snuff out what little support remains in Pakistan over participation in the "war on terror."