News / Asia

Pakistan Delays US Envoy's Visit

Marc Grossman, U.S. special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan (file photo)
Marc Grossman, U.S. special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan (file photo)

Pakistan is delaying a visit by U.S. Special Envoy Marc Grossman until Islamabad completes a review of U.S.-Pakistani relations.

Media reports quoted unnamed Pakistani officials Tuesday as saying it was not possible for Grossman to visit Islamabad during his current trip to the region.  U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner later confirmed the postponement.

The U.S. special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan is leading a delegation to Afghanistan this week in an effort to get approval from Afghan President Hamid Karzai for the resumption of preliminary peace talks with the Taliban.

Relations between the United States and Pakistan are at a new low point after 24 Pakistani troops were mistakenly killed in a a NATO airstrike on a Pakistani military outpost near the Afghan border.

Last month, Pakistan announced it was reviewing cooperation with the United States and NATO.  The review currently is before parliament with no clear timeline on when recommendations will be made to the government.

A U.S.-NATO-Afghan investigation of the November 26 incident found that mistakes on both sides as well as a breakdown in communications between the allies led to the incident.  Pakistan - which refused to participate in the investigation - rejected the findings and closed its border crossings into Afghanistan to NATO supply convoys.

In early 2011, Pakistani authorities detained a CIA contractor in Lahore for the shooting death of two Pakistanis who allegedly tried to rob him.  

In May, U.S. special forces killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden during a covert raid in a military garrison town near the Pakistani capital.  Pakistan was furious it was not made aware of the operation beforehand, and some U.S. lawmakers threatened to cut American aid to Pakistan after bin Laden was discovered hiding out there.

The year also saw the continued U.S. use of unmanned military aircraft to attack suspected militants in the remote and mountainous tribal areas of Pakistan.  The Pakistani government publicly has long maintained the drone strikes violate its sovereignty.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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