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

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid