So, has the final countdown begun in the US-Pakistan strategic partnership? The NATO has virtually admitted that its aircraft attacked a Pakistani border post Salala near Baizai town in Mohmmand Agency of FATA. Pakistan says in the overnight attacks, NATO killed 26 troops. COAS Ashfaq Kayani has strongly codemned the NATO strike. Pak FO called in the US ambassador to lodge strong protest.
Kayani’s statement virtually threatens Pak retaliation – “effective response”. In an initial step, Pakistan has called off all transit facilities for NATO supply convoys. More measures are certain to follow. The civilian leadership has swiftly closed ranks with Kayani. Pakistan will carefully explore its range of options. Caving into the US pressure will be virtually impossible since troops have been killed and the nation is infuriated.
It is difficult to accept NATO made a tactical mistake on such a sensitive front. And if it acted with deliberation, as it appears from all indications, then the US is likely to be behind the decision to provoke Pakistan. The timing is curious. Barack Obama may like to sort out the Pakistan problem well ahead of his election campaign peaking by mid-2012. Hillary Clinton had warned explicitly that Pakistan was left with “days, weeks” to fall in line with the US demands.
The frustration is high in Washington that Pakistan is not bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table. The much-touted Bonn Conference II on December 2 is now a non-starter. The peace process is at a dead end and Obama’s AfPak strategy is in shambles. The war is in stalemate.
This could well prove to be a turning point in the Pak-US ties. Imran Khan has demanded that Pakistan pulls out of the Afghan war altogether. The US-Pak communication channels are also clogged with the removal of Hussain Haqqani as the ambassador in Washington. The ‘anti-US’ sentiments in Pakistan are cascading and there will be demand for a resolute Pakistani response .
Posted in Military.
– November 26, 2011