Thursday, 20 November 2014

Can America Trust Pakistan?

Raheel Sharif's visit, the first by any Pakistani army chief in four years, comes at a time when the US is in the final stages of its withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Officials say the US may not need Pakistan's ports and roads as before to sustain its Afghanistan operations, but the engagement between the two nations will continue.
The relationship took a heavy blow following the US raid in Abbottabad to kill Osama Bin Laden, but efforts have been made over the past year to rebuild the military ties.
Mr Sharif, after taking over the post last year, has overseen a major military operation against Islamists in the tribal areas of Pakistan, a long-pending US demand.
Experts say Islamabad is using this as a way to extract a commitment from the US regarding enhanced engagement and continuation of military aid to Pakistan post-2014.
Signs of thawing relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have helped create some positive vibes in the US towards its uncertain ally.

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Why should America's enemies unnecessarily become our enemies?”
Sartaj AzizPakistan National Security Advisor
But there still remains a huge trust deficit.
Many officials and members of Congress have openly expressed frustration at Pakistan's efforts to combat militant groups like the Haqqani Network, who pose a direct threat to US interests.
Earlier this year the US had to free five top Taliban fighters from the Guantanamo Bay prison to secure the release of one of its soldiers, Pvt Sgt Bowe Bergdahl, who was allegedly in the captivity of the Haqqani Network.
The deal left many Pentagon officials cringing. They believed Sgt Bergdahl could have been snatched from the Haqqanis if the Pakistani Army had extended its cooperation.
"They placed a higher value on their relationship with the Haqqanis than they did on their relationship with the United States, " said former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense David Sedney.
Incidents like these have led many in Congress to question the effectiveness of this strategic partnership.

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