News / Asia

Angry Pakistan to Assess US Ties

FILE - Pakistan Taliban commander Hakimullah Mehsud (L) is seen during a news conference in South Waziristan, May 24, 2008.
FILE - Pakistan Taliban commander Hakimullah Mehsud (L) is seen during a news conference in South Waziristan, May 24, 2008.
Reuters
Pakistan is to review its relationship with the United States, the prime minister's office said on Sunday, following the killing of the Pakistani Taliban leader in a U.S. drone strike.
    
But a top-level meeting to examine relations, scheduled for Sunday, was postponed at the last minute without explanation.
    
Mehsud, who had a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head, was killed on Friday in the northwestern Pakistani militant stronghold of North Waziristan, near the Afghan border.
    
The Pakistani Taliban have killed thousands of Pakistani civilians and members of the security forces in their bid to impose Islamist rule, but the new government has been calling for peace talks.
    
The government denounced Mehsud's killing as a U.S bid to derail the talks and summoned the U.S. ambassador on Saturday to complain.
   
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's office had said he would chair a meeting on the consequences for ties with Washington. There was no indication when it might now take place.
    
Some politicians have demanded that U.S. military supply lines into Afghanistan be blocked in response.
    
"It is clear that the U.S. is against peace and does not want terrorism to subside. Now, we only have one agenda: to stop NATO supplies going through (the northern province of) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa," Asad Qaiser, the speaker of the provincial assembly, told Reuters.
    
Pakistan is the main route for supplies for U.S. troops in landlocked Afghanistan, for everything from food and drinking water to fuel, and the closure of the routes could be a serious disruption as U.S. and other Western forces prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of next year.
    
Pakistani cooperation is also seen as vital in trying to bring peace to Afghanistan, in particular in nudging the Afghan Taliban, allied but separate from the Pakistani Taliban, into talks with the Kabul government.
    
Relations between the United States and Pakistan have been seriously strained several times over recent years, including in 2011, when U.S. forces killed al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden in a raid that Pakistan said violated its sovereignty.
    
But cash-strapped Pakistan depends to a great extent on U.S. support. Washington, despite frustrations over the relationship, is unlikely to break completely with its nuclear-armed ally.
    
"Revenge"
    
Three Pakistani Taliban commanders said they had been due to meet a government delegation on Saturday and they had been meeting to discuss the talks. They said they felt betrayed by Mehsud's killing and were not interested in talks.
    
A Pakistani Taliban spokesman vowed a wave of revenge bombings. Allied militant groups are also planning bombings, said Ahmed Marwat, the spokesman for Jundullah militant group. The group recently killed more than 80 people when it bombed a church and is known for big attacks on civilian targets.
    
Mehsud's followers have been debating who should replace him while they observe three days of mourning, said Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid. They have in the meantime appointed an interim leader, Asmatullah Shaheen.
    
Several militant commanders said on Saturday that 38-year-old Khan Said, known as Sajna, had been chosen.
    
But other factions of the Pakistani Taliban alliance were unhappy with the choice and were supporting other candidates. These included Mullah Fazlullah, the ruthless commander from the Swat Valley, northwest of the capital, Islamabad, whose men shot and wounded schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai last year.
    
Said was seen as a relative moderate and if he became leader, talks with the government might eventually get going, said Imtiaz Gul, head of Islamabad-based Center for Research and Security Studies think-tank.
    
But if Fazlullah was chosen, there would be little hope of compromise, he said. Even if talks started, it was unclear how successful they would be unless the government gave significant concessions to the militants.
    
"You're compromising the rule of law, and ceding ground to non-state actors, giving in to a small band of criminals. It threatens everything on which Pakistan stands - the constitution, parliament," Gul said.
    
"They haven't thought through the consequences of these talks. They're just firefighting because they have no long-term remedy for Pakistan's problems."
    
While the government has been promoting talks, some in the the powerful military have privately voiced their opposition to negotiating with the al-Qaida-linked militants.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid