Wednesday, September 28, 2011

US – Pakistan Relations

Pakistani protesters burn representations of US and Indian flags
Relations between the United States and Pakistan have been deteriorating dramatically since the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, publicly accused the Pakistan ISI (their Intelligence Service) of ties with terrorist groups. Admiral Mullen said tat the Pakistanis had a role supporting the Haqqani Network in its attack on the US Embassy in Kabul. The U.S. government has called for the Pakistanis to cut their ties with the Haqqani Network immediately.

The Pakistan Government has responded by denying any ties with the terrorist organization and warning the U.S. against taking any direct military action inside Pakistan territory.

One thing I do not understand about all of this. Just why did it take so long for us to call out the Pakistanis over this? We have known for a long time that the Pakistanis were playing both ends against the middle. There has never been any question but what the ISI and other high ranking military officials have been assisting and leaking intelligence to both al Qaeda and the Haqqani Network. In spite of their claims of innocence, the Pakistanis have never been able to explain why Osama bin Laden had been able to live in a million dollar complex right in the heart of a garrison town and only a stones throw from the ISI itself. American troops and civilians have been paying the price of Pakistan’s double dealing for years. Admiral Mullen’s comments were not only appropriate, they were long over due.

The Pakistan military has been conducting military operations against the Taliban inside Pakistan and points to that as a demonstration of their support for the U.S. military. That, however, is not quite the whole truth. The only elements of the Taliban which the Pakistanis are attacking are the networks operating inside Pakistan and against the Pakistan government. They have not conducted any real offensive operations against the Haqqani Network, al Qaeda nor any other Taliban group attacking Americans across the border in Afghanistan.

We have been giving Pakistan billions of dollars in military and civilian assistance every year for 10 years. And what have they done with all that aid? Well, as I have pointed out several times, they use that money to buy military equipment (tanks, planes and supplies), from the Chinese. They even allowed the Chinese to inspect our ultra secret stealth technology on the tail boom of the helicopter that crashed during the raid which killed Osama bin Laden before returning it to us! We have given them a free pass on their double dealing, including selling nuclear technology to both the North Koreans and the Iranians. Yes, it is true they have assisted us and allowed us to use Pakistan as a supply route for the operations in Afghanistan. But the cost in American blood and money has been way too high. They should have been called on the carpet long before this.

One reason we have tried to avoid conflict with Pakistan is because they are a nuclear armed nation and any destabilization of their government could place those weapons in terrorist hands. That is certainly a legitimate concern but it can not possibly justify turning our heads and looking the other way while our troops are being attacked and killed as a result of some elements of the Pakistani government supporting the terrorists.

Last year the Pakistani government protested US action inside their borders by shutting down several supply checkpoints of the Afghan border. Hundreds of supply trucks sat lined up for days along the highways waiting for the checkpoints to open –and over 200 of them, loaded with vital supplies for American forces, were attacked and burned by the Taliban while they sat there. That was a perfect example of the quality of the relationship between us and our 'good allies'.

I was happy to hear Admiral Mullen’s remarks and to see this situation being aired openly and publicly. The Pakistanis need to understand that we are tired of their double dealing and back stabbing. If that means the relationship goes sour and we can not count of their cooperation any longer, so be it. As long as it is made perfectly clear to them and he rest of the world that we will continue to act against al Qaeda, the Haqqani Network and anyone else that threatens or attacks us –and we will do that wherever they seek to take refuge, Pakistani cooperation or not.

Live Long and Prosper....

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