News / Asia

Pakistan-US Relations Deteriorate After Drone Strike

Pakistan-US Relations Deteriorate After Drone Strikei
November 12, 2013 10:43 PM
Some Pakistani opposition parties are calling for a blockade of supply lines to NATO forces in Afghanistan in retaliation for U.S. drone strikes inside Pakistan. But as VOA’s Kokab Farshori reports, experts in Washington believe retaliation would further hurt already strained U.S.-Pakistan relations.
Kokab Farshori
Some Pakistani opposition parties are calling for a blockade of supply lines to NATO forces in Afghanistan in retaliation for U.S. drone strikes inside Pakistan. But, experts in Washington believe retaliation would further hurt already strained U.S.-Pakistan relations.

The suspected U.S. drone strike that killed Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud came just days after Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's recent meeting at the White House, which seemingly set a positive tone in improving bilateral relations.  

The strike led a top Pakistani cabinet minister to denounce Washington for sabotaging Pakistan's domestic peace.  And some Pakistani opposition parties are now calling for blocking NATO supply lines to forces in Afghanistan.  

Former U.S. Ambassador Bill Milam, of Washington’s Wilson Center, says that would not help U.S.-Pakistan relations.

"We would not view it as a friendly act, obviously.  We are determined to get out of Afghanistan, and through Pakistan is the best way.  We would be very unhappy if these roads are blocked," said Milam.

Outraged by U.S. strikes, some in Pakistan are demanding the drones be shot down.  Defense analyst Thomas Lynch says that is something Pakistan's government should not consider.

"I think there a stark understanding that Washington would view this as an abrogation of an alliance and a statement saying, 'No we are not against these terrorists and therefore, we are not standing with you and the international community.'  And there would be consequences from that," said Lynch.

Pakistan's government calls the drone strikes a violation of the country's sovereignty. But a recent report in Washington Post claimed the strikes are conducted with Pakistan’s consent. Pakistan denies that.

The U.S. says the strikes undermine terrorism by targeting militants that carry out attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Lynch says it is time for Washington to be transparent about the drone policy.

"I think when President Obama talked about his willingness to work with the government of Pakistan, he was referring not to a promise to end the drone strikes when targets like Biatullah Mahsood and Hakimullah Mahsood become available, but instead to try to be more transparent and open about where there is collaboration in these cases," he said.

But analyst Milam says both sides need to work to mend the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.

"I would not be surprised to see a hold-back on the drone program for some time.  And we will try to smooth out the relationship, get over the rough patch, and see if we can avoid the problems that blocking the exit routes would bring to us, and frankly to our relationship," he said.

The experts say that for long-term stability in bilateral relations, Washington and Islamabad need transparent dealings.

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Comment Sorting
by: Sardar KHAN from: UK
November 13, 2013 10:33 AM
The americans must stop drone attacks at once as they are counter productive and create more hate than good.As it gives a propaganda excuse to kill more innocent people in Pakistan.By these attacks people who hate TTP. start hating americans more than the talibans.

by: Pashtoon from Pakistan from: London
November 13, 2013 9:18 AM
I dont think Pakistan government can afford to lose money in exchange of blood of Pashtoon living on border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Yes drones is used to kill suspects without trial (love the standard US is setting) and it is benefit for US and Pakistan Army and politicians but what about collateral damage caused by civilized nation to barbarian living on border. Oh i forgot, they are barbarian as i have never been to the region and only listen about them though media ....

by: kh
November 13, 2013 8:51 AM
We should not be violating the sovereignty of other nations. Think about how we would feel if it was happening in our back yard. Its time we get out and stop giving tax dollar money to corrupt government officials. If we want to really help then build schools, power lines etc but we have enough issues at home.

Also, mark I don't think anyone dislikes the american people but rather the foreign policies are disliked.

by: Markt
November 12, 2013 7:30 PM
I think it is time we stop using drones to kill militants. I think it is time for those countries that harbor terrorists, ie. militants, to step up and rid themselves of terrorists or fully acknowledge the presence of those terrorists and stand to be counted among terrorists. Either way, we will know fully where their loyalties lie. Get ourselves out of make these countries police themselves. No more American blood being shed for people who don't give a damn about us anyway.

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