News / Asia

Olson: US-Pakistan Relations Still Challenging, Improving

FILE - Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson.
FILE - Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson.
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

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs