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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid