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Domestic Political, International Political, Terrorism

US, Afghanistan


Ausaf, 29 December, p 13

Article Says Pakistan-US Ties Touching Lowest Ebb After Salala Attack

Article by Chaudhry Ahsan Premi: "End of Pak-US Security Partnership1"

Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar has said that our roads bore wear and tear because
of NATO containers plying on them, and the supply would not be restored free of cost. Few days
back talking to media persons, he said that we would charge from the NATO to repair our roads.
We want better relations with United States and if it is our ally, it should safeguard our interests
too. He further said that we would continue war against terror, if required, even after United
States departs from the region. A US daily New York Times has published a detailed article about
the new phase of Pak-US relations having a gist that United States is faced with the reality that it
has lost Pakistan's partnership in terms of security.

The US officials are trying to save a limited anti-terrorism cooperation with Pakistan. They know
it very well that it would not only affect attacks against extremists, but also would complicate the
supplies to its troops fighting in Afghanistan. The paper has quoted Pakistani and US officials
claiming that now United States would be forced to decrease its drone strikes and the number of
spies and soldiers on ground would also be reduced.

The United States would have to spend more on supply of goods to allied forces fighting in
Afghanistan. The newspaper claims that the foresighted partnerships moves started by late
Richard Holbrooke, special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, in the sectors of economy,
health, and supremacy of law all have ended.

In place of them, probably limited cooperation would stay as the top priority. The CIA's drone
strikes have ended altogether after November 16 and the US diplomats are basically waiting for
the red lines that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani referred to and that are being carved out to
determine new Pak-US relation so that sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan may be

The newspaper says that anti US feeling were seen during Lahore and Peshawar rallies attended
by thousands of people and in Imran's rally in Karachi that was attended by around 100,000
people. This cricketer-cum-politician is against drone attacks and having relations with United
States. Some of the politicians are reported openly claiming that if any drone is found violating
Pakistan's sovereignty, it would be shot down.

According to the paper, as per new security paradigms, thousands of trucks carrying goods to
Afghanistan for the NATO would be have to pay more fees and the amount can be worth billions
of dollars. Moreover, military officials of Pakistan and the United States guess that that the
United States would also drastically reduce its military support to Pakistan now. This includes $1
billion of grant cancelled after Usama Bin Laden was killed in the operation carried out in May.

The daily also claims of having contacted around two dozen US, western and Pakistani officials
but none of them predicted a silver lining regarding the relation between the two states.
Newspaper has pointed to the fact that next month Pakistan would become a member of the UN
Security Council for two years. It says that there is so much at stake that it is impossible to end
relations completely.

New York Times further states that a high-ranking diplomat was sent to Pakistan, who on his
return has made it clear that no improvement in relations is possible until President Obama
formally apologizes for the last month's air attack, which his advisers claim to be not happening.
Whereas a high official has asked Pakistan to provide maps and positioning of all its security
check posts and deployment so that in future attacks like Mohmand Agency, which 24 Pakistani
soldiers lost their lives, may be averted in.

US Military Chief General Mattis has said that the lesson to be learnt from the incident is that
both countries have to improve coordination along the border. He said that both states would
have to improve basic level confidence building process for this objective. He stressed on
Pakistan that it should provide maps of all important buildings and check posts located along the
border and provide updates of them through a common database.

The November 26 attack of NATO forces in Mohmand Agency has plummeted the relations
between Pakistan and the United States to the lowest level ever. Last week, the US military
presented a report following inquiry of the incident and blamed lack of coordination as the
reason behind the incident.

Demonstrating sharp reaction to the deaths of 24 of its troops, Pakistan has banned the NATO
supplies, and Shamsi airbase in Balochistan has also been taken back from Unites States' control.
Pakistani foreign office spokesman has said that the Parliament was reviewing relations with the
United States and the NATO and once it is decided, only then the future regarding restoration of
supplies to allied forces would be finalized.

The US central command CENTCOM has disclosed that the operation on Salala check post was
kept confidential and was not shared with the Pakistani officials as it was apprehended that the
information might leak out. The central command has issued a detailed report of the attack on
Salala check post in which 24 Pakistani soldiers lost their lives. The CENTCOM has said that
obstruction in mutual coordination, firing from Pakistani check posts and their continuity, and
lack of trust on both sides were some of the reasons behind worsening of circumstances.

The report further says that foreign ground forces reached Kunar province of Afghanistan to
launch an action against miscreants, while they received fire from across the border, they sought
aerial support and the clashes ensued.
According to the CENTCOM report, no information of the US forces border operation was
shared regarding 26 November with the border coordination office of the allied forces by the
United States. [to be continued]