The reasons for being helicoptergunship-happy

Airstrikes, precision weapons, missiles…when the infantry could have done it

Let’s say you have intelligence (okay, make that evidence) that a madrassa in a village in Pakistan’s tribal areas is acting as a training camp churning out terrorists. You are also very likely to know the number of terrorists and other people living in and around the madrassa. That number is small, about a a hundred. If the said madrassa is in your own territory how would you take it out? An infantry battalion is well-suited for the job, with some special forces to prepare the target and supporting units like light artillery or the odd helicopter gunship to pursue those escaping from the scene.

Employing helicopter gunships and precision weapons, as Pakistan has just done, is not what you would normally do.

You would use airstrikes if the target lies in territory you do not control: plausible, considering that the Pakistan army is not in effective control of the tribal areas. It might also suggest that American forces across the border in Afghanistan carried out the attack.

You would also use airstrikes if you wanted to tell the world that you are, still, fighting Taliban and al-Qaeda on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

So which one was it?

6 thoughts on “The reasons for being helicoptergunship-happy”

  1. Only one thing with using the infantry. They are probably all back in their barracks in Rawalpandi cooling their heels after the recent pact with the Waziristan tribals.

  2. Pakistan has blanket approval from Uncle Sam to use anything at their disposal to take out Uncle Sam’s ‘enemies’ and no questions are asked.

    Now how I wish to replace “Pakistan” with “Indian armed forces”, “Uncle Sam” with “Indian govt” and “enemies” with “anti-India terrorists” in the above statement.

  3. There have been wide reports of Predator Drone attacks which in all probability is true as I dont think Musharraf dares to take on Taliban/Pro-Taliban head on like this.Now they are struggling hard to project it as Pak Military operation..given their official professional lier Aslam briefing..

  4. You would also use airpower when you have absolutely no qualms about inflicting collateral damage.

    In all these years that India has fought terrorism, in all the corners that it has fought terrorism, despite the greatest of provocations, India has never used airpower against terrorists.

  5. Nitin, As you rightly pointed out, you dont initiate a Air Strike in a territory beloinging to you and more importantly on people who at the max would have had some small amount of Guns, etc.

    Pakistan after the recent pact, cant afford to deploy its soldiers into a place which is 100% hostile. The next best idea would have been to ask the Americans to take it out (or maybe viceversa) and give them the credit.

    A dis-intergrating Pakistan would be a dream come true for our local stratgiests and hopefully we see it coming true in the shortest time possible (and with regard to nukes falling into wrong hands, I think that as of now, US is indirectly in control of the same and there shouldnt be much of a problem in that area.


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