The 21st Century Phenomenon



The mutual mistrust and suspicion between USA and Pakistan is rooted already in the aftermath of The 9/11 when US learned from the Indian intelligence that Pakistani Military Intelligence ISI chief Lt’ Gen’ Mahmud Ahmad and Omar Saeed Sheikh, wired 100.000$ to Mohamed Atta some time before June 2000.

Khalid Shaik Mohammed, the mastermind of The 9/11, was captured in Pakistan with one of The 9/11 financier, Mustafa al-Hawsawi, on 03/01/2003, near Islamabad, Pakistan, in a safe house belonging to the Pakistani ISI who were patrons and financial supporters to Al Qaeda in the past. It suggest although the 9/11 perpetrators were singled out and recruited to the mission through Al Qaeda’s training camps in Afghanistan, the planning, coordination and organization of the attack were, at least partially, carried out in ISI safe houses, mainly in Karachi.

Despite generous American aid to the Pakistani Army in order to enhance Pakistani cooperation with USA, the common Pakistani-Afghan border remains basically open for Taliban and Haqqani Network for cross border operations. FATA region in Pakistan remains a safe haven for Afghan insurgency and there is accumulation of endless evidence that Pakistan is actually supporting, even coordinating, terror operations against NATO-ISAF in Afghanistan (see – Waldman Report). Furthermore Pakistan often seals the routes of supply to Afghanistan in order to “punish” USA for any occasion of unfortunate incident between Pakistan and NATO forces on the common border (see – Supply blockade 09.10). Anti American sentiments are high in Pakistan and the shaky relations deteriorated even more after the Abbottabad Raid, on 05/02/2011, in which Osama Bin Laden was killed in the center of the Pakistani security establishment, the town of Abbottabad (see -Ambiguous Ties) .

In the coming year the dependency of NATO-ISAF in general and the USA in particular on Pakistan will be almost absolute since the planned withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan successfully depends fully on Pakistani roads and Pakistani harbours. The other alternative of withdrawing the troops through the former Russian republics of central Asia is totally dependent on air transportation and will force NATO to leave behind heavy equipment worth billions of dollars.

Therefore no wonder that US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has warned, on Thursday 06/07/2012, in his visit to Kabul, that Washington is running out of patience with Pakistan over alleged safe havens for Taliban militants. On an unannounced trip to Kabul, Leon Panetta said Islamabad must act against the Haqqani militant network, which attacks NATO troops based in Afghanistan. “I think it’s important to make sure we are aware of the kind of attacks [the Taliban] are going to engage in… as we go through the rest of the summer…We are reaching the limits of our patience here,” Mr Panetta said after talks with Afghanistan’s Defence Minister.

Last September outgoing Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm Mike Mullen said that the Haqqani network “acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency” (see – Panetta Briefing 09.20.11). The following month, Pakistan’s army chief Ashfaq Kayani warned the US that it should focus on stabilising Afghanistan instead of pushing Pakistan to attack militant groups on the crucial border region.

But the main question always remains – what are the real options of USA in the region and in Afghanistan and the answer remains the same: USA is fully dependent for now, on Pakistan and not vice versa and it is Pakistan who has all the options open in neighbor Afghanistan.

But in the longer run Pakistan should be concerned that America will shift its support from Pakistan to rival India and build, with India, a counterweight coalition against China – which can be a major blow for Pakistan’s strategy.



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