Pakistan US Rift

Hithchiker

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https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/01/trump-pakistan/549887/
Before the news cycle—and the president himself—got consumed with the new White House tell-all last week, Donald Trump made a good foreign policy decision, albeit seemingly in haste. The administration announced it was suspending security assistance to Pakistan, on the grounds that the country is continuing to arm, assist, fund, and provide sanctuary to a wide array of Islamist militant groups that are murdering U.S. troops and their allies in Afghanistan. Well-placed sources involved with calculating the relevant funds have told me that this was not a planned policy and took the other agencies, not to mention the Pakistanis, by complete surprise. Rather it was an ex post facto response to Trump’s January 1, 2018 tweet vituperatively repining that:
The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!​
With this move, though, the president may well stumble into a foreign policy success. Alternatively, he may break the U.S.-Pakistan relationship beyond repair while reaping few actual benefits. Which way it goes depends on the ability of his team to counter or even pre-empt likely Pakistani reprisals. So what might those be?
We’ve been here before.
In February 2011, Pakistan closed off ground routes America was using to resupply troops in Afghanistan, first because of the episode of Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor, who shot and killed two men linked to Pakistan’s intelligence agency after they menaced him at gun point. When the CIA rescue vehicle came, it killed a bystander who was uninvolved in the event. Just as the relationship was recovering, in May the Obama administration staged a unilateral raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, which was in Pakistan less than a mile from the premier military academy. Then in November, NATO troops in Afghanistan killed 24 Pakistani troops, when they attacked a position near the Pakistani border from which they claimed to have been receiving fire. Pakistan disputed the characterization. In my view, the evidence suggests that the most acute mistakes were made by U.S.-NATO forces rather than Pakistan. The ground routes thus remained closed for much of the year; Pakistan did not fully reopen them until July 2012.
The United States was well into the surge at this point; between NATO forces and Afghan forces, there were hundreds of thousands of troops to resupply, all of whom had relied on the routes through Pakistan. The need to find alternative routes by land and air—including through Central Asia—ended up costing the Americans about $100 million per month more than the previous arrangement. Many feared that while this worked to get supplies into Afghanistan, it would not be sufficient to get massive amounts of war materiel out of Afghanistan when the United States and NATO withdrew. Consequently, the U.S. government hoped that Pakistan would reopen the ground routes. But it turns out that weaning itself off them was not such a bad option after all.
I argued at the time that Americans should not fall for the cheap ground transport solution Pakistan seemed to offer, in part because what America later spent on air supply was cheaper than the so-called Coalition Support Fund payments they paid Pakistan to help guarantee the use of those routes. Moreover, having kicked the cheap ground supply habit, the United States could be in a better position to do what it needed to do if it wanted to win: Put real and costly pressure on Pakistan for continuing to support the Taliban, which was one of the principle reasons for the U.S. inability to prevail in Afghanistan.
Arguably, America is in an even better position now than in 2011, because it only has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan compared to 90,000 or so in 2011 (of a total of 132,000 NATO troops). America can certainly sustain this through air shipments, especially if it’s pocketing savings by not paying Pakistan the nearly $1 billion a year in Coalition Support Funds, among other funding streams.
But Pakistan has aces in sleeve.
Pakistan now says the alliance is over—and good riddance. Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif complained that “This is not how allies behave.” He is absolutely correct: U.S. allies do not take its lower and middle-class taxpayers’ hard-earned money and hand it over to enemies such as the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Asif went on to offer the usual protestations that Pakistan’s military operations have cleared Pakistan of sanctuaries for these groups to hide in. But if there were such scoundrels on Pakistan’s territory, he said that if Pakistan went after them, “then the war will again be fought on our soil, which will suit the Americans.”
What is not clear in Asif’s statement is what Pakistan will cease doing. (We know for certain that it will not cease supporting the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, or Lashkar-e-Taiba.) Will Pakistan do as it has done in the past: Close the ground resupply routes? Will it escalate and close down its air space to American resupply flights? If that happens, what will the Trump administration do? Will it consider this action to be an act of war?
There is still space for further escalation short of conflict. Washington has been silent about U.S. economic assistance to Islamabad, which has totaled more than $11 billion since 9/11 and is thus about one third of the total $34 billion given to Pakistan thus far. And there are several kinds of sanctions that could be applied against persons as well as the country. It is not likely that the administration has pondered the next steps that both capitals can or will take.
In the meantime, Pakistan has repeatedly said that its relationship with the United States is redundant because it now has China. In fact, after Trump’s contumelious tweet, China’s Foreign Ministry declared that it is “ready to promote and deepen” its cooperation with Pakistan. But as with all things that sounds too good to be true, so is the Chinese embrace.
Unlike Washington, which has given Pakistan mostly grant aid, the Chinese only disburse loan aid, largely designed to enable Chinese businesses to build infrastructure in Pakistan on terms favorable to the Chinese. Sri Lanka provides a case study of the risks: Unable to pay back a Chinese loan to finance a port, Sri Lanka was forced to relinquish sovereignty over it and now the Chinese hold the lease to the port for 99 years. China is not truly a substitute for the United States, and it will take time for China to assemble a suite of programs to replace U.S. aid.
Still, Pakistan likely suspects it has the upper hand, and for good reason: It has cultivated a global fear that it is too dangerous to fail. This is why many Americans have been afraid to break ties with Pakistan and have never encouraged the International Monetary Fund and other multilateral organizations to cut off the country and let Pakistan wallow in its own mess. Pakistan believes it has effectively bribed the international community with the specter that any instability could result in terrorists getting their hands on Pakistani nuclear technology, fissile materials, or a weapon. In fact, Pakistan has stoked these fears by having the world’s fastest-growing nuclear program, including of battlefield nuclear weapons. It is conceivable that Pakistan could use funds from a future IMF bailout to service its burgeoning Chinese debt.
Still, one positive side effect of having an erratic head of state is that the United States now has a genuine and credible threat to act against Pakistan. America has not been in such a position since 9/11, when it used its position of leverage to coerce Pakistan to facilitate the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Whereas Pakistan had long comforted itself that neither Presidents Bush nor Obama would seriously alter course, due to the petting zoo of Islamist militants that Pakistan cultivated as crucial tools of foreign policy, and to its nuclear weapons, Pakistan will have to seriously consider that Trump means what he says. Since the early months of the war on terror that began in October 2001, the United States has ultimately swerved when confronted with Pakistani brinkmanship. Pakistan can’t count on that this time.
 

Eagle1

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Pakistan handed over 27 Haqqani network, Taliban terrorists to Afghanistan
30 Jan 2018


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Foreign Office has revealed that Pakistan has handed over at least 27 terrorists belonging to Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network to Afghanistan to show it's sincerity to the Afghan war against terrorism.

However despite this fact the blame game from the Afghan side is continuing and after every terrorism incident in Afghanistan , Afghan intelligence and government officials leave no stone unturn to blame Pakistan.

Spokesperson for the Foreign Office, Dr. Mohammad Faisal, said on Tuesday that Pakistan has handed over 27 individuals, who were suspected of belonging to Tehreek-i-Taliban Afghanistan (TTA) and Haqqani Network (HN), to Afghanistan in November 2017.

The statement by the FO spokesperson on social media comes after Pakistan had earlier rejected “knee-jerk allegations” by some Afghan circles after the attack on a hotel in Kabul and subsequent attacks in the Afghan capital, including an ambulance bomb which killed more than 100 people.

Faisal also said that Pakistan has continued to push any suspected TTA and HN elements to prevent them from using Pakistani soil for terrorist activity in Afghanistan .

Elaborating on the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan, the FO spokesperson said the country has lost 75,000 civilians and 6,000 soldiers during the war.

He added the country's armed forces has one of the highest officer-to-soldier casualty rateglobally and has suffered economic losses worth $123 billion.

Earlier in January,the United States announced that it was suspending the transfer of military equipment and security-related funds to Pakistan.

The suspension of security assistance to Islamabad came after Washington accused Pakistan of playing a “double game” on fighting terrorism and warned Islamabad it would have to do more if it wanted to maintain US aid.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley had also confirmed that Washington would withhold $255 million in assistance to Pakistan.

Haley's statement followed an angry tweet from Trump that the US had been rewarded with “nothing but lies and deceit” for giving Pakistan billions in aid.

In August, Trump concluded a months-long review of America’s strategy to win the brutal war in Afghanistan — now entering its 17th year — and called for an increase in the tempo and intensity of strikes against the Taliban.

The aim was to persuade some Taliban factions to enter talks with the government in Kabul.

This month’s spate of bombings and Trump’s comments indicate that the end game may be further away than the White House would like.

https://timesofislamabad.com/30-Jan-2018/pakistan-handed-over-27-haqqani-network-taliban-terrorists-to-afghanistan
 

Eagle1

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Not Haqqani Network but China’s expansion through CPEC is the target of US: Analysts
30 Jan, 2018

ISLAMABAD - Since September over five thousand soldiers lost their lives and 1,500 were injured due to Trump policies in Afghanistan. The US is responsible for the whole situation in Afghanistan.

The US tries to resolve all the issues in Afghanistan through wars and continuously trying to implement its policies through guns. The people of Afghanistan give least importance to their lives on the matters of national interest and they cannot accept the dictation of the US.

Now President Trump becomes confuse as he announced the victory of NATO in Afghanistan. Trump is under severe pressure as all his policies have been failed in Afghanistan.

The US should give proper time frame for peace in Afghanistan. Actual target of the US is Pakistan, China, Russia and CPEC .

Pakistan and China should find negotiated settlement for Afghan issue to ensure peace in the region.

On one side, the NATO has increased use of power and in retaliation Taliban also poses threats to the security situation in Afghanistan. Since 2001, a large number of US forces are present in Afghanistan and it is not clear that the use of force is not solution to the Afghan problem.

All the stakeholders should initiate talks to resolve the issues. Afghanistan should design policies along with the neighboring countries to ensure peace in the region.

The use of force will result in the loss of man and material in Afghanistan. The only solution to Afghanistan problem is talks and dialogue.

Such solution could benefit people and the government of Afghanistan.

https://timesofislamabad.com/30-Jan-2018/not-haqqani-network-but-china-s-expansion-through-cpec-is-the-target-of-us-analysts
 

Eagle1

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US drone strikes in Pakistan to continue: Report
29 Jan, 2018

us-drone-strikes-in-pakistan-to-continue-report-1517214903-4457.jpg

ISLAMABAD - The United States has made it clear to Pakistan that drone strikes inside the Pakistani territory will continue until Islamabad “satisfies” Washington of indiscriminate action against all the militant groups, The Nation has learnt.

Senior officials at the foreign ministry said that the US rejected Pakistan’s protests against the drone strikes, saying Pakistan would have to “earn” an end to such attacks – by taking action against all the militant outfits.

Citing recent contacts with Washington, an official said: “They [the US] believe we are sheltering some militant groups and are playing a double game. They want us <link>to satisfy them for an end to the drone attacks <link> . It doesn’t seem easy to satisfy them.”

He added: “We have told them [the US] about the resentment against the drone attacks <link> in <link>Pakistan <link> . People want military reaction against the drone strikes, which could worsen the Pak-US tension. They [the US] have not given any positive response so far.”

Last week, <link>Pakistan <link> had warned that thedrone attacks <link> by the US <link> inside the Pakistani territory could prove detrimental to the Pak-US partnership.

This came after a US <link> drone strike in the Kurram Agency killed two people.

Reports said two missiles hit a house in Spin Tal area.

The foreign office reacted sharply to the strike warning “such unilateral actions, as that of today (January 24), are detrimental to the spirit of cooperation between the two countries in the fight against terrorism.”

https://timesofislamabad.com/29-Jan-2018/us-drone-strikes-in-pakistan-to-continue-report
 

I.R.A

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The foreign office reacted sharply to the strike warning “such unilateral actions, as that of today (January 24), are detrimental to the spirit of cooperation between the two countries in the fight against terrorism.”

AT have some 40% of the Afghanistan under their full control, they have their own governors and tax system, why they would need shelters anywhere else ........... and drone strikes happen inside Pakistan's area. Beyond logic and reasoning. And no one is ready to accept that this is stupid and intentional ........
 

Hithchiker

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AT have some 40% of the Afghanistan under their full control, they have their own governors and tax system, why they would need shelters anywhere else ........... and drone strikes happen inside Pakistan's area. Beyond logic and reasoning. And no one is ready to accept that this is stupid and intentional ........
Everyone knows it but this is pressure tactics to do something in retaliation and sanction US free hand to peruse its agenda.
 

Joe Shearer

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US India nexus and implications for Pakistan
4 Mar, 2018






ISLAMABAD - Let me begin by very briefly putting India-US relations in its geopolitical context. There is dangerous instability prevailing in many parts of the globe. The world is facing the perilous international security situation in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia and Iran are vigorously sponsoring respective proxy conflicts in the region. Developments in the Middle East are expected to be ‘revolting’ after President Trump’s decision to shift USA’s embassy to Jerusalem.

Iran reportedly pursues its nuclear weapons program by and large as usual. The prospects for the progress of ‘Middle East Peace Process’ between Israel and the Palestinians are the grimmest. The basic trends in Afghanistan are negative. Russia’s relations with the West are unlikely to get much better very soon if at all. Much of the developing world is reeling from world economic downturn.

This is the treacherous context in which US-India relationship in the near-term have and will develop, though India switched over from Moscow to Washington DC in 1991 exploring the avenue through Tel Aviv.
Henry Kissinger had put it much earlier in these words: ‘The world faces four major problems — terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the movement of the centre of gravity from the Atlantic region to Asia and the impact of a globalised economy on the world order. The US and India have compatible, indeed overlapping, vital national interests in all four areas.’

India-US bilateral relations have developed into a ‘global strategic partnership’ based on shared democratic values and the increasing convergence of interests on bilateral, regional and global issues. President George W. Bush based his transformation of the US-India relations on the core strategic principle of democratic India as a critical factor in balancing the rise of Chinese power.

To be explicit, this was not at all based on the concept of containing China. Instead, it centred on the idea that the United States and India in the decades ahead had enormous equities in promoting responsible international policies on the part of China.

The deep US-India bilateral cooperation in that respect was in the vital national interests of both countries, i.e. USA and India. It was with this strategic paradigm in mind that the Bush Administration treated India with at least as much importance as China.

The combination of largely overlapping US-Indian vital national interests and shared democratic values may produce a bright future for strategic collaboration between New Delhi and Washington in future
Regular exchange of high-level political visits has provided sustained momentum to bilateral cooperation. The wide-ranging and ever-expanding dialogue architectures have established a long-term framework for India-US engagement.
Today, the India-US bilateral cooperation is broad-based and multi-sectoral, covering trade and investment, defence and security, education, science and technology, cyber security, high-technology, civil nuclear energy, space technology and applications, clean energy, environment, agriculture and health. In my view, the United States has four declared national interests in the South Asian region concerning Pakistan:
to prevent Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and materials from coming into the possession of extremists; to ensure that Afghanistan does not become a sanctuary to repeat terrorist attacks against the United States and its Allies, and to avoid war between India and Pakistan.

The US government clearly has its work cut out for her described ‘national interests’. The possible effect of enveloping US preoccupation with Pakistan seems on its way ‘practical’ thereby constraining the US-India unconditional future relationship.

This produces an understandable and growing US interest in trying to reduce tensions in the India-Pakistan relationship. Islamabad will definitely ‘repeat the argument’ that tensions with India and the Kashmir dispute are preventing it from moving robustly against the terrorists on the Western borders. So, India will continue encountering eventual pressure from the USA about normalising the situation in Kashmir.
It therefore strongly makes a case for Pakistan to internationalise the ‘Kashmir issue’ as it is in line with the US’s desire to improve the situation on Pakistan’s western borders. This may sound a repeat of the old arguments, but the facts can’t be simply ‘brushed off’.

India emphatically considers it a mistake for Washington to treat India, mostly at the margin of US consideration of policy toward Af-Pak, as a lesser player on issues related to the future of South Asia. It is India that Pakistan claims is illegally occupying Kashmir. And it is only India that could find itself at war with Pakistan.
So, India is profoundly connected to the future of Pakistan, not on the periphery of it. Also, a segment of the US’ top brass and officials opine that the United States, India and Pakistan are now together in facing ‘a common threat, a common challenge, a common task’, in seeking to defeat terrorists based in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

It is now commonly believed in the US that NATO cannot win in Afghanistan as long as Taliban sanctuaries exist in Pakistan. But as George Friedman assumes, ‘While the US and NATO forces must rely increasingly on Pakistani supply routes to fight the war in Afghanistan, Pakistan — fearful that the United States and India will establish a long-term strategic partnership — has the incentive to keep the jihadist insurgency boiling (preferably in Afghanistan) to keep the Americans committed to an alliance with Islamabad, however complex that alliance might be’.

As Henry Kissinger remarked: ‘The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose.’ Perhaps with this in mind, President Trump ordered the deployment of additional troops in Afghanistan. But he has made it clear that to defeat the Taliban, America will have to embark on a long and expensive campaign in Afghanistan and solicit assistance and support from Afghanistan’s neighbours specifically Pakistan.

The US Administration has recently revisited its policies in detail regarding the war in Afghanistan, a conflict that the United States and its allies are not winning and may be apparently losing.

Iran is another knotty issue in US-India relations and a potential source of considerable bilateral tension. For many reasons, India is unlikely to go along with Americans as related to US policy decisions about Iran.
Also, it is not clear how Washington’s dominant preoccupation with economic cooperation with China will affect Indian government calculations related to the US-India bilateral relationship and regional security. But if the US treats China in a privileged fashion, this is unlikely to produce spontaneous concessions from the Indian side on other matters of importance to Washington.

It appears that India does not figure as prominently in the US calculations regarding Afghanistan imbroglio as speculated by the Indian mass media. Washington may not object to India’s economic development activities in Afghanistan but is considerably sensitive to Islamabad’s complaints about India’s covert involvement against Pakistan.
So, the US administration will not give sufficient weight to India’s views regarding Afghanistan as compared to those of Pakistan, the NATO Allies, Iran, China and Russia. The US ultimately will have to seek to limit the degree of Indian involvement in Afghanistan.

The combination of largely overlapping US-Indian vital national interests and shared democratic values may produce a bright future for strategic collaboration between New Delhi and Washington in future. But in the immediate period before us, the bilateral ties are likely to be more problematical than prophesied by the Indian cronies in the USA.

By: Nawazish Ali, *The writer has served in Pakistan Army*

https://timesofislamabad.com/04-Mar-2018/us-india-nexus-and-implications-for-pakistan?utm_source=push-notification&utm_medium=direct
 

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