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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    Comments page of 2
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    by: George Ronald Adkisson
    June 07, 2012 8:41 AM
    I can believe now that the uS will soon bet tired of dealing with gangs and use the same drones and weapons against them. Breaking someone's sovereignty is the normal for the uS.That means returning veterans will have extra to cope with too...like the news I hear from the Cato Institute, where cops are walking into the jail cells across the country because they obviously do not know how to deal with the public without committing crimes.
    The pentagon sells weapons directly to the LA cops...and some are the very same things used against the enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    I am sure that Pakistan is not the least bit happy with US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta...or the uS as a whole. That's what happens when you insist and do not patiently wait for a peaceful solution...but choose to make money instead.

    by: Truth Seeker from: USA
    June 07, 2012 8:02 AM
    Has anyone ever stopped to ask how this supposed "Arab Spring" sprouted in the hearts of Arabs? None of the fruit appears worth harvesting. The Plot to Overthrow by Mohammad Goldstein will stagger your political thinking forever. He very bluntly tells the world who is a Jew and what a Muslim really is. Obama has a copy; you can get it for nuttin on the net. Laced with inside truth he tells more secret truth than most can digest. The Arab spring is a staged event.
    Comments page of 2
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