News / Asia

Olson: US-Pakistan Relations Still Challenging, Improving

FILE - Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson.
FILE - Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson.
TEXT SIZE - +
Ayaz Gul
— U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson has been Washington's top diplomat in Islamabad since late 2012, at a time when the two countries have focused on repairing their often strained relationship. He expressed concerns over Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, the situation in Afghanistan and the fight against militant groups in Pakistan's tribal regions.
 
Relations between the United States and Pakistan have been turbulent especially since the beginning of 2011 when a secret U.S. military raid located and killed Osma bin Laden deep inside Pakistani territory.
 
Ties were plunged to historic lows a few months later when a NATO airstrike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghan border.  But Ambassador Olson said both countries have since emerged from that difficult phase.
                       
"I think that the relationship has been on a much more positive trajectory since that time and particularly over the last eight months. Both sides recognized that we have more in common than we had that diverge between our two countries and that we would work on the bases of common interests and on the bases of mutual respect to move the relationship forward," stated Olson.
 
A key issue between the two sides remains the militant groups based in Pakistan’s tribal areas along the Afghan border. U.S. drone strikes on the groups draw the ire of the Pakistani government, and the public.
 
In the past, the United States has pressed Pakistan to more aggressively crack down on the militants. Ambassador Olson praised Pakistan's role in the war against terrorism but said the presence of militant groups like the Haqqani network on Pakistani soil remains a matter of concern for Washington.
 
He avoided direct comment on efforts by Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to try to engage in peace talks with outlawed organizations like the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.  
 
"Our policy and what we favor is that the Pakistan government extending its writ to through all of its territory whatever means are chosen, whatever methods are chosen that is up to the government of Pakistan," said Olson.
 
Some critics foresee trouble in Pakistan-U.S. relations after the American military mission ends in Afghanistan because of long-running concerns in Washington over the security of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal.
 
Reports in American media recently have suggested the United States is seeking bases in Afghanistan past 2014 to ensure it can quickly mobilize forces to prevent Pakistani nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of Islamist militants. 

Ambassador Olson dismissed those reports.  "I think what is really important here is to refer back to what President Obama said after the visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, which is that we have confidence in Pakistan's nuclear safeguards and its responsible position as a nuclear weapons state and that has not changed and that does not change with a few anonymously sourced comments that may appear in the press," he said.

Olson said that the United States has recently expanded its cooperation with Pakistan particularly in the energy sector to help the country overcome critical power shortages. He says the U.S. assistance has enabled power generation facilities to add 1000 megawatts of badly-needed electricity to Pakistan’s national grid.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Zhang from: Xi Fang
February 17, 2014 3:03 AM
Poor Yankees, Pakistan and China will easily crush Indians, Americans and even Israelis if really must be war, but peaceful countries do not want , only do if forced to


by: Ali from: Islamabad
February 04, 2014 4:00 AM
Pakistan cast its lost as an ally during the long decades of the cold war, and helped to push the soviets occupiers out of Afghanistan during 1990s. The sheer volume of negative media attention would lead any attentive reader to believe that Pakistan-U.S. relations are headed toward a severe may be violent, rupture. This is a long-term alliance, one that works for both of us. The approach of clear, direct, and transparent clarification of expectations is a good formula for surviving the difficult period ahead of us.


by: a c d Sabin from: Pakistan
February 03, 2014 9:45 AM
the statement of us ambassader for Pakistan is not buying any Pakistani. America was neither friend of Pakistan in the past nor will it be our friend in the future. they are our enemy number one second and third is Israel and India. Know thy enemy Pakistanis.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid