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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

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

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
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