Tensions between the United States and Pakistan continue to grow. At the same time that NATO and Pakistan were concluding an investigation of the helicopter attack that killed three Pakistani troops, a US assessment that Pakistan is not aggressively pursuing terrorists became public. Perhaps as a result, release of a joint statement on the investigation has been delayed in a disagreement about its wording and some trucks have now been delayed at the Chaman crossing into Afghanistan, while attacks on fuel tankers continue.

Dawn, through Reuters, reports on the US assessment of Pakistan’s anti-terrorism efforts:

A new White House assessment concludes that Pakistan has been unwilling to aggressively pursue Al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban militants in a Pakistani tribal region.

The White House assessment, first reported by The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday and confirmed by Reuters, faults the Pakistan government and military for lacking the will to take action against the militants in North Waziristan.

“The Pakistan military continued to avoid military engagements that would put it in direct conflict with Afghan Taliban or Al-Qaeda forces in North Waziristan,” the assessment said, according to a US official who has seen the report.

“This is as much a political choice as it is a reflection of an under-resourced military prioritizing its targets,” the report said.

The timing for this report becoming public could not have been worse. NATO and Pakistan were completing their investigation of the NATO helicopter attack last week that killed three Pakistani troops, prompting Pakistan to close the Torkham crossing. From another Dawn article:

A joint investigation team of the military and the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force has concluded an initial probe into recent aerial incursions by Isaf helicopters into Kurram Agency, but the communique could not come through on Tuesday because the two sides were haggling over the phraseology.

Sources in Isaf and Pakistan military told Dawn that a statement on the initial probe, which was slated to be released on Tuesday night, was now likely to be made public on Wednesday.

/snip/

As Isaf intends to describe the violation by an air weapons team as an action in self-defence, Pakistanis want the Isaf command to acknowledge that the event was avoidable.

/snip/

Pakistanis are adamant that Isaf should apologise for the incident, but the coalition forces are only ready to express regrets and offer condolences to the families of the soldiers killed in the strike.

At the same time that NATO and Pakistan were disagreeing on the report language, Dawn reported that over 150 NATO supply trucks have been delayed at the Chaman crossing:

Pakistan Customs has detained 152 trailers and oil tankers at Chaman border carrying fuel and other supplies for Nato forces in Afghanistan after detecting some tampering with documents.

“Some tampering was found in Nato supplies documents presented at a Customs checkpoint in Chaman for clearance,” informed sources told Dawn.

/snip/

Custom authorities have decided to clear Nato tankers and trailers only after complete checking after receiving reports of smuggling through these vehicles under cover of Nato supplies.

“No vehicle carrying Nato supplies will be allowed to go to Afghanistan without checking,” the sources said.

This interference with supplies crossing at Chaman is significant, because it is one of the two main crossings into Afghanistan and is the only one open since Pakistan closed the northern Torkham crossing. A delay based on "paperwork" appears to me to be a warning that Pakistan is considering closure of Chaman.  Also note from the map at the bottom of this BBC story on today’s tanker attacks that the Chaman crossing is close to Kandahar, where a major NATO offensive is underway. Should Pakistan completely close this crossing as well, NATO logistics will be affected at least for the short term.

At the time of this writing, the day in Pakistan is quite advanced and yet the joint NATO-Pakistan statement on the investigation into the helicopter attack has not been released, even though it was expected early in the day. I will provide an update if and when the statement is made public.