The Times of London is reporting that the effort to capture or kill bin Laden has recently increased in fervor
The Special Boat Service (SBS) and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment have been taking part in the US-led operations to capture Bin Laden in the wild frontier region of northern Pakistan. It is the first time they have operated across the Afghan border on a regular basis.
The hunt was “completely sanctioned” by the Pakistani government, according to a UK special forces source. It involves the use of Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles fitted with Hellfire missiles that can be used to take out specific terrorist targets.
One US intelligence source compared the “growing number of clandestine reconnaissance missions” inside Pakistan with those conducted in Laos and Cambodia at the height of the Vietnam war.
The Times opines that the push is due to Bush wanting to close the chapter on bin Laden before the end of his Presidency. And while it is likely true that Bush would like to be the one who closes that book, the push is more likely the result of another President leaving even sooner: President Musharraf:
President Pervez Musharraf had given tacit support to Predator attacks on Al-Qaeda.
And he will be gone very soon while the new Pakistani Government seems less interested in killing terrorist and more interested in striking a "peace" accord with the denizens of Waziristan.
Just last week, a "hot pursuit" incident that killed Pakistani military forces resulted in a protest from the new Government. But according to Bill Roggio
The US military has released footage from a unmanned aerial vehicle detailing the controversial June 10 battle against Taliban forces right on the Afghan-Pakistani border. The US military maintains it fired at Taliban forces, while the Pakistani government continues to maintain US airstrikes targeted an outpost manned by the Frontier Corps and killed Pakistani paramilitary troops.
The US military said the clash began in Kunar province, less than 200 yards from the Pakistani border near the Garparai checkpoint. The fighting, which lasted for three hours, moved across the border as US warplanes pursued the Taliban as they retreated into Pakistan's Mohmand tribal agency.
The video details a squad of Taliban fighters occupying a fighting position on a ridgeline right across the border from Pakistan's Mohmand tribal agency. Coalition forces, likely a Special Forces team operating to interdict Taliban fighters crossing the border, were on a “reconnaissance mission” on the border when they took fire from the Taliban position.
The Taliban can be seen engaging US forces with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. Coalition forces attempted to break contact with the Taliban and reach an extraction point where they could be picked up from a helicopter.
After 45 minutes of fighting, a Warrior Alpha unmanned aerial vehicle arrived to survey the fighting and provide imagery to direct air and artillery support. Twelve guided bombs were dropped on the Taliban forces as they fled the ridgeline and attempted to move to safety across the border into Pakistan. Seven Taliban fighters were confirmed killed in the fighting. "At no time did Coalition ground forces cross into Pakistan," the US military stated.
There is little doubt that the Pakistani para-military forces are compromised. There is also little doubt that al Qaida leadership are hiding out on Pakistan's Western Border. And it is a clearly a setback that the new Pakistani leadership is looking to cut a deal with al Waida and the Taliban.
There isn't much time left before our only ally in this fight, outgoing President Musharraf, will no longer be of help.
In the past year, the US has confirmed five strikes within Pakistan, the most recent on June 14th targeted Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, the very man who has both threatened Afghanistan with Jihad, and with whom Pakistan's leadership is negotiating.
The current kurfluffle with Pakistan combined with Pakistan's willingness to cut a deal has provoked a response from Afghanistan
Amid deteriorating relations between putative war-on-terror allies Afghanistan and Pakistan, Islamabad on Monday summoned its neighbor's ambassador to protest a weekend threat by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to strike back at terrorists who mount cross-border attacks from Pakistani soil.
More than 2,000 Afghan tribesmen have gathered in an eastern province to voice support for President Hamid Karzai's threat to target militant leaders in Pakistan.
The US-backed Mr Karzai said at the weekend that war-ravaged Afghanistan would be justified in attacking Taliban insurgents on Pakistani soil in what he called self-defense.
Provincial government spokesman Ghamai Khan Mohammadyar says about 1,500 people including tribal elders and pro-government religious leaders gathered in Sharan, the capital of eastern Paktika province, to back Mr Karzai...
He quoted the tribal elders as saying: "We are ready to fight the Pakistani Taliban with our own weapons and money."
But Pakistan is having none of it.
In reaction, Pakistan's foreign office spokesman, Mohammad Sadiq, said Pakistan alone had responsibility for acting against terrorists on its soil, and the comments would not help in the campaign against terrorism.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said in a television interview that no one would be allowed to interfere in Pakistan's internal affairs.
Amid the escalating tensions, we recall the words of Senator Barak Obama
Obama said if elected in November 2008 he would be willing to attack inside Pakistan with or without approval from the Pakistani government...
"If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will," Obama said.
President Musharraf will no longer be in office when and if Obama takes office and the new Pakistani Government is looking like they will be harder to deal with. Seeing as how he and President Bush are on the same side on this issue, we can expect Obama to be supporting the President at this time, and supporting the Big Push before Obama has to deal with a Pakistan without Musharraf.
I'm sure he will express his support very soon now....