News / Asia

    US Losing Patience with Pakistan, Panetta Says

    U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, right, speaks with U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, center, and General John Allen upon his arrival in Kabul, Afghanistan, June 7, 2012.
    U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, right, speaks with U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, center, and General John Allen upon his arrival in Kabul, Afghanistan, June 7, 2012.
    ISLAMABAD -  During a surprise visit to Afghanistan Thursday, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that Washington is running out of patience with neighboring Pakistan, where Taliban, al-Qaida and Haqqani militants have safe havens. 

    The defense secretary’s language towards Pakistan was unusually blunt. 

    “We are reaching the limits of our patience here,” he declared.

    Relations between the Washington and Islamabad have been strained for the last six months. The United States feels Pakistan could do a lot more to shut down insurgent networks that use its territory to plan, direct and conduct cross-border attacks in Afghanistan, killing Afghan and U.S. troops.
     
    Panetta’s strong words came barely two weeks after the latest attack against a U.S. base called Salerno, in Afghanistan's Khost province, near the Pakistan border.  Panetta blamed members of the Pakistan-based Haqqani network for the assault.
     
    “It’s an intolerable situation, to have those attacking our forces have the convenience of being able to return to a safe haven in Pakistan,” said Panetta.
     
    Speaking at a joint news conference at with Afghan Defense Minister General Abdul Rahim Wardak, Panetta said it was extremely important that Pakistan take action against the militants.
     
    Pakistan’s government did not immediately react to Panetta’s statements.
     
    The secretary made his unannounced trip to Afghanistan Thursday to take stock of the conflict as international forces prepare to start withdrawing troops. But he said peace in Afghanistan would in part depend on Pakistan. “We’ve made it very clear that it’s difficult to secure Afghanistan as long as there is a safe haven for terrorists in Pakistan,” he said.
     
    U.S. officials say a recent drone strike in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region killed al-Qaida’s number two leader, who was hiding there. Pakistan summoned U.S. diplomats to protest the ongoing campaign of drone strikes, saying they violate the country’s sovereignty.
     
    Relations between the two countries have been tense since a U.S. airstrike last year killed 24 Pakistani soldiers stationed along the Afghan border. In protest, Pakistan demanded an apology and shut down NATO supply routes through its territory. Foreign troops in Afghanistan now rely more on an exit route through Central Asia in the north of Afghanistan, but it is much more costly.

    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

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    by: howmchbscnutak from: usa
    June 12, 2012 1:25 PM
    Blah Blah Blah,,,,how long are they going to regurgitation the same story line. If this is an ally....wow...where do you go from there.
    on another note ..it looks like the "arab spring" is working out as well as" hope and change".

    by: Malek Tauqee /Towghi from: USA
    June 08, 2012 1:12 AM
    On Afghanistan -- and dealing with Pakistan -- Russia also must be taken into full confidence. Dr. Malek Towghi /Tauqee, Liaison, Baloch Human Rights International

    by: Anonymous
    June 07, 2012 4:16 PM
    War in Pakistan is coming soon as the World Powers cannot let numerous terror groups operate with 100% freedom on the ground while the crooked Pakistan government looks the other way!....

    by: Qudratullah from: Pak
    June 07, 2012 10:45 AM
    If a woman cant ground a castrate man he must have one option of losing patience with her

    by: Mike from: LA
    June 07, 2012 9:25 AM
    Panetta is a retard!

    by: Terri from: New mexico
    June 07, 2012 9:21 AM
    Ok, here goes.
    America spends 41% of the entire world's defense spending. America is the world heavyweight champion when it comes to the might of its military. An undisputed fact.
    America has the ability to go in and wipe out this playground runt. In fact, all the playground runts and those which would run to support them. Even combined they wouldn't stand a chance.
    Now I'm not for war, trust me. But as long as we the taxpayers of America are grossely overfunding this ever more expensive military machine which adds enormous amounts daily to our debt.. what difference does it make what this runt says?
    If the worry is getting our equipment out from Iraq or Afghanistan when the time comes.. line their borders with fully armed aircraft on standby if needed to provide escort if needed. If an attack is launched, so be it. Respond accordingly.
    I'm so sick of the middle east issues and this entire terrorism thing I've come to have the opinion.. do what it takes and shut the door on this mess. Then come home, armed to the teeth since we're spending unreal amounts to do that, and protect America and Americans. Let the rest kill themselves off.

    by: sean courtney from: milwaukee
    June 07, 2012 9:17 AM
    The article heading is somewhat misleading in that the story is as much about our killing of civilians as it is about Pakistan. Also, as a matter of record, we seem, as a public, to be uninterested in the number of 'ordinary person' deaths we are causing in Afghanistan. One of the reasons for that is that we are never told what it actually means to be hit by the kinds of missiles we use.

    by: LittleStream from: Phoenix, AZ
    June 07, 2012 9:14 AM
    I would say its about time we lost patience with our "ally" whom we give millions of dollars to- #1 and #2 killed on their soil. Good grief it certainly takes us a while to wake up!

    by: Simba from: USA
    June 07, 2012 9:11 AM
    US is also loosing patience with it's own inept leaders.

    by: Jan from: CA
    June 07, 2012 8:45 AM
    I think its unfair to lash out at Pakistan and blame Pakistan when the U.S "the Super Power" has failed to secure Afghanistan beyond the Capital Kabul.
    Pakistanis have realized that the U.S uses them so they use the U.S.
    U.S NEEDS to show sincerity.
    you don't bomb friends ,kill their army officers and not even apologize.
    Panetta needs to get off his high horse!
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