News / Asia

    US Pakistan Relations Frazzle

    Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, left, and US Admiral Michael Mullen during the US-Pakistan Dialogue Plenary Session at the State Department in Washington, DC (File)
    Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, left, and US Admiral Michael Mullen during the US-Pakistan Dialogue Plenary Session at the State Department in Washington, DC (File)
    Ayaz Gul

    Pakistan's army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani chaired a special meeting of his top commanders on Sunday amid an escalating war of words with the United States. Ties between the two allies have plunged to a new low following U.S. allegations the Pakistani spy agency is encouraging and aiding deadly militant attacks on U.S.- led international forces in Afghanistan.

    Commanders' meeting

    Pakistani officials say the emergency meeting of top army commanders was called to review the “prevailing security situation” in the country.

    The corps commanders gathered in the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi against the backdrop of growing American allegations that the Pakistan army’s spy agency, the ISI, is assisting the militant Haqqani network to launch attacks on U.S. targets in neighboring Afghanistan.

    “Veritable arm”

    The outgoing chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, told a Senate hearing last week that the Haqqani network acts as a “veritable arm” of the Pakistani spy agency, and its fighters planned and conducted this month’s assault on the U.S. embassy in Kabul as well as NATO bases in Afghanistan.

    Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders have rejected the accusations as baseless and said they are detrimental for regional peace efforts.

    Haqqani  ties

    Speaking to reporters in Islamabad Sunday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik insisted that the Haqqani network is not operating from Pakistan. He alleged the network was produced and trained by the American CIA with support from Pakistan to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

    “They are operating in Afghanistan. If anybody has got any evidence to this effect (that they are in Pakistan) please bring it to us," said Malik. "We are cooperating with U.S. We will cooperate with every country of the world who is fighting against terrorism.“

    The minister said he has ordered tighter border controls for checking up to 50,000 people moving between Pakistan and Afghanistan every day.

    He criticized the Afghan government for turning down Pakistan’s requests to revive a so-called biometric mechanism to effectively identify people moving through the regular border crossings.

    Gilani

    Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani (File)
    Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani (File)

    Speaking late Saturday in Islamabad, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the latest U.S. allegations against Pakistan as a “propaganda blitz."

    “The allegations betray confusion and policy disarray within the U.S. establishment on the way forward in Afghanistan," he said. "We strongly reject assertions of complicity with the Haqqanis or of proxy war [in Afghanistan]. Only terrorists and militants will gain from any fissures and divisions.”

    Gilani defended his country’s role in the war against terrorism, saying sacrifices of thousands of Pakistanis in this campaign are “impeccable and unquestionable.”

    He also reiterated his military’s stance that having contacts with militant groups like the Haqqani network to promote peace does not mean Pakistan supports terrorism.

    “Several countries have maintained direct contacts with the Haqqanis," he said. "Singling out Pakistan is not fair.”

    Pakistani officials in turn are accusing the United States of trying to make Pakistan a scapegoat for its troubled war in Afghanistan.

    Masood

    Critics like former Pakistani army general Talat Masood say both sides need to de-escalate rhetoric and work toward overcoming their inefficiencies while dealing with terrorism.

    “Both the countries need to step back," said Masood. "The situation is extremely complex and it requires complex solutions, not simple black and white answers. And no amount of scapegoating by either party will help in resolving the real issues which are facing this region.”

    The United States has long maintained that the Haqqani network is using its bases in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region to launch cross-border guerrilla raids in Afghanistan. But despite escalating U.S. pressure, Pakistani leaders have shown no signs they plan to mobilize troops to attack the Haqqani network in the Waziristan region.

    Panetta

    US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (not shown) and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta take part in a televised conversation at the National Defense University in Washington, DC, August 16, 2011
    US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (not shown) and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta take part in a televised conversation at the National Defense University in Washington, DC, August 16, 2011

    U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta earlier this month seemed to suggest that U.S. forces could carry out unilateral raids on Pakistani soil against the Haqqani network. Pakistan has warned that such an action could lead to "serious consequences," but did not elaborate.

    Meanwhile, the head of U.S. Central Command, General James Mattis, concluded his meetings with Pakistani military leaders on Sunday.

    A U.S. embassy statement says the CENTCOM chief emphasized the need for persistent engagements among militaries of the U.S. Pakistan and other countries in the region.

    A Pakistan army statement says a Pakistani representative in the talks, Khalid Shameem Wyne expressed concern about the "negative statements emanating" from Washington and stressed the need to address the irritants in the relationship which are "the result of an extremely complex situation.”

    A major portion of “non-lethal” war supplies to U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan is trucked over Pakistani soil. U.S. officials also have acknowledged they need Pakistan’s support for the peace and reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan. In turn, Washington is giving Islamabad billions of dollars in military and civilian aid to help the country overcome its economic challenges.

    You May Like

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora