Pakistan's army is waging a fierce military campaign against tribal militias who are accused of supporting the Taliban rebellion in neighbouring Afghanistan.
The whole exercise is being bankrolled by the US and is largely taking place due to pressure (coupled with threats) from the Bush regime being applied to the hapless President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf.
The result has been that, in order to fulfill America's military objectives, Musharraf has sacrificed the stability and security of Pakistan in an attempt to subdue a region that has never in its history subjugated itself to outside control.
Yesterday, a Guardian reporter described the wholesale destruction of an entire village, Spinkai, by the Pakistani army as "collective punishment" for supporting rebel fighters. Such collective punishment is "...a practice invented by the British who demarcated the tribal areas over a century ago." Now we know where the Israelis learnt the tactic from.
According to Declan Walsh, "Bulldozers and explosives experts turned Spinkai's bazaar into a mile-long pile of rubble. Petrol stations, shops, even parts of the hospital, were levelled or blown up."
However, villagers can be grateful to Brigadier Ali Abbas who explained, "'As per the frontier crimes regulations I should have destroyed everyone's house, but I didn't. Call it my weakness. Call it kindness.'"
The inhabitants of Spinkai are not the only ones to suffer. An estimated 200,000 villagers have been forced to flee their homes in the army's recent onslaught. Still, echoing Brigadier Ali Abbas' sentiments, they should be grateful for small kindnesses - they could have been taken for interrogation by the ISI.