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The spread of Islamist militancy in Pakistan has elicited acute U.S. government attention, multiple high-level visits, and increasingly large amounts of security-related assistance. (215) The New York Times reported that, during President G.W. Bush's second term, the U.S. military used secret authority to carry out covert attacks against Al Qaeda and other militants in several countries, including Pakistan. (216) Then-President Musharraf rejected suggestions that U.S. troops could be more effective than Pakistanis in battling militants, saying a direct U.S. military presence in Pakistan was neither necessary nor acceptable. Upon assuming the presidency, Asif Zardari warned that Pakistan "will not tolerate the violation of [its] sovereignty and territorial integrity by any power in the name of combating terrorism." He, too, insisted that, with the provision of U.S. intelligence, Pakistani forces are better suited to combating terrorists in the border region. (217) Past U.S. military incursions into Pakistan (see below) put tremendous pressure on both Islamabad's civilian government and on the country's military. Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States warned that such attacks are counterproductive to the extent that they turn Pakistani public opinion against the counterterrorism effort. (218)
Joint Security Initiatives/Programs
In the face of "red lines" precluding direct U.S. military operations inside Pakistan, American policy has concentrated on improving intelligence collection and sharing among U.S., Pakistani, and Afghan services, and on bolstering the Pakistani military's own counterinsurgency capabilities. In 2003, a U.S.-Pakistan-Afghanistan Tripartite Commission was established to bring together military commanders for regular discussions on Afghan stability and border security. Officers from NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan have since joined the body, which met for the 30th time in January 2010. The United States has built coordination and intelligence-sharing centers on the …