News / Asia

Uproar Over bin Laden Hideout Strains US-Pakistan Relations

A man watches Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani on a televised address to the parliament at an appliance store in Islamabad on May 9, 2011.
A man watches Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani on a televised address to the parliament at an appliance store in Islamabad on May 9, 2011.
Meredith Buel

The uproar following the discovery of Osama bin Laden's hideout near Islamabad has brought more pressure on the already strained relationship between the United States and Pakistan.  Some South Asia analysts say bin Laden's death last week in a U.S. commando raid, while causing fractures between uneasy allies, could in the long run strengthen the strategic bond between the two countries.

Bin Laden's compound was found a relatively short distance from Islamabad, raising serious questions about whether Pakistani military and security officials were aware the world's most wanted man was living for years so close to the country's capital.

In Pakistan, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani strongly denied Pakistani authorities had ties with the al-Qaida leader.

"Yes, there has been an intelligence failure," said Gilani.  "It is not only ours but of all the intelligence agencies of the world."

While U.S. officials have not said Pakistani authorities were aware of bin Laden's presence, President Barack Obama has indicated he believes there was a support network for the terrorist leader inside Pakistan.

Some South Asia experts say now is the time to raise the pressure on Islamabad.

"This is a great moment to use a sledgehammer.  This is the first great moment since 9/11 to use a sledgehammer," said Sadanand Dhume is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.  

Dhume argues that bin Laden's death offers an opportunity to press Pakistan to increase its efforts against militant sanctuaries along the border with Afghanistan.

"I think the gravity of the situation is such, the international media attention is such, we have an opportunity to ask them to do bigger things than we could have asked a week or two ago," added Dhume.

Dhume says the concrete actions the United States should demand from Pakistan include hunting down bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, and Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar.  Both men's whereabouts are unknown, but some analysts believe they are hiding in Pakistan.

Shuja Nawaz, a native of Pakistan, is director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council.

Nawaz says bin Laden's death offers what he calls a "supreme opportunity" to improve the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.

"For the Pakistanis to begin that change by having a very serious introspective analysis of exactly what is their national strategic interest, what is their regional imperative that would bring them closer to Afghanistan, reduce hostility with India and put the relationship with the United States on a very honest footing," added Nawaz.

The United States has given Pakistan billions of dollars in aid in recent years, and some members of the U.S. Congress say it is time to reevaluate the relationship.

Others argue the funding should continue to encourage more cooperation on counterterrorism.

Former U.S. Congressman Pete Hoekstra, who was chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, says both countries need each other to advance foreign policy priorities.

"We need this relationship," said Hoekstra.  "We need it to continue a strong effort in the war on radical jihadism, against al-Qaida and what we are doing in Afghanistan."

While the rhetoric has been heated in Washington and Islamabad, Prime Minister Gilani has made it clear the relationship will continue.

"Apprehensions are being voiced about our relations with the United States," said Gilani.  "Let me dispel any anxiety in this regard. Pakistan attaches high importance to its relations with the U.S. We have a strategic partnership which we believe serves our mutual interests."

Following a trip to India last year, President Obama promised to visit Pakistan in 2011.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

1 Billion People Used Facebook on Single Day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the accomplishment in a posting on the social media site More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs