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Salala Attacks in Pakistan

Salala Attacks are known as an offensive launched on the Pakistani military bases by the US forces. It is the most somber and bleak incident in recent history of Pakistan when the most powerful institution of our country came under vibrant assault commenced by any external force. On 26th of November 2011 NATO forces attacked on Pak-Afghan border on two military check posts and killed Pakistani military personnel indiscriminately.  This event took both the countries’ relationship at the daggers drawn. The impacts of this incident will be witnessed in the future on the foreign policy of both the countries. Both countries had different perspectives and explanation about the incident. In order to understand the nature and the repercussions of this incident the background of the event should also be known. Strong reaction from Pakistani people was witnessed, thwart in NATO supply routes, evacuation of Shamsi base from NATO forces, Pakistan’s demand of apology, intransigence of US officials, threat of US to block Pakistan’s aid, re-opening of NATO supply routes, proposed conclusion of Afghan War; all of these are the major developments affiliated to this issue. This event has affected the relationship of both the countries and much advancement has been witnessed in this regard.


The bond between Pakistan and America is as old as the creation of Pakistan when Pakistan chose to be the ally of USA and joined the American bloc. Since then the relationship between both the countries have gone under many vicissitudes and process of make and break went on. A major development occurred in 21st century when incident of 9/11 took place. Pakistan and America were the fervent allies of ‘War on Terror’ since the incident of 9/11. Pakistan is helping the US-led forces to eliminate the terrorist organizations from Afghanistan since 2001 when America declared war in Afghanistan. After that Pakistan is under the state of continuous war, unrest, and chaos as the result of throwing herself into the catastrophe of war. As the repercussions of this war Pakistan has suffered economically, psychologically, politically and so on. But our big brother has always proved to be a never satisfied ally.  The situation was aggravating day by day because of this imposed and perpetual war articulated to get off a wrong foot for the future of our country. This exhaustive quagmire has proved to be cumbersome for both the countries and maybe this is the reason that this desperation to win the war is making US to adopt unwise measures just like this.


Salala is the name of a mountain in the North frontier border of Pakistan, on which two Army check posts ‘Volcano’ and ‘Boulder’ were surprisingly attacked by the NATO forces. The air of mistrust, deceit, and infidelity is seen after the Salala incident from the affected country which is Pakistan. The amity between the governments of both countries turned into animosity. The process of perpetual wrangling was started after this incident. The tale of Pak-US friendship took a sharp turn and led towards a perplexed and obnoxious predicament. After the attacks 24 soldiers of Pakistan army were killed in which one major and captain also got killed and a strong reaction came from all over the country. This move by US was considered as a violent attack on the sovereignty of Pakistan. Whole country was shook by rage and fury against this horrid act by the US forces and culminated in deteriorating relationship between both the countries.   Salala incident will be marked as vital issue in order to understand the future developments of foreign policies of both the countries.


Under discussion incident has been explained and justified by both the governments Pakistan and US respectively. The US stance on this matter is that they had informed the authorities about the prospected attack on Taliban hideouts and had been given green signal by Pakistan army to launch attack whereas Pakistani authorities have the stance of complete denial in this regard and alleged the NATO government to molest with the sovereignty of their country. As far as American authorities are concerned they did not give proper explanation about this matter and no apologies were asked. Pakistan on the other hand got hurt badly by this unbridled act of America and is emphatic on a point that America should give complete explanation and apologize to Pakistan on its insensible act. As a demonstration against American government’s hideous act Pakistan government cut the supply route of NATO forces to Afghanistan which cost them 87$ more than the previous cost. This incident hit Pakistan by restlessness and controversy and this event was envisaged as a direct assault on the country’s sovereignty.


Pakistan reaction involved many blunt initiatives such as the evacuation of Shamsi base in Baluchistan which was given to the NATO forces in order to conduct operations against Afghan militants, elimination of drone attacks in Pakistan territory, boycott of Bonn conference on 5th December 2011 which was organized on Afghanistan issue, refusal to take part in Afghan exit strategy, settlement of border issues with Afghanistan. All these efforts were done by the government to demonstrate its protest against US government. Many negotiations were made after that to bring things on the track because both the countries needed each other’s assistance in order to carve out better arrangements. Finally on 3rd July 2012 when US State Secretary officially apologized with its first non-NATO ally, then the supply routes were opened and some kind of consensus was made.


Recapitulating the whole discussion it can be said that the Salala incident a very important issue in the foreign relations of Pakistan and US. The relationship among both the countries derailed after that incident albeit after seeing the pros and cons of one’s self a confluence was brought. Yet a colossal blow to the affairs of both countries has been made and the true intentions and mind set of each other has been exposed due to this incident. Furthermore, the future foreign policy is envisaged to be devised under the light of this incident.

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