A new crisis in relations between Islamabad and Washington was triggered by the recent US tactical escalation from drones to helicopters for destroying insurgent and terrorist concentrations in Pakistan's lawless North Waziristan province, debkafile's military sources report. Pakistan had accepted the drone attacks but, even after they were nearly doubled to 21 this month, the high-flying unmanned aircraft were not up to their mission - especially against the most effective Taliban force, the Haqqani network.

Early Thursday, Sept. 30, Islamabad was angry enough to block a convoy of dozens of NATO trucks at the Torkham check post on the Khyber pass into Afghanistan, accusing NATO of killing three Pakistan frontier troops in a helicopter strike against a military checkpoint close to the border. The "hot pursuit" pretext was roughly rejected.