Pakistan has turned against the US

IDB EDITORIAL

Pakistan has closed its border to NATO traffic and refuses to reopen it, knowing full well that this endangers American lives. It may be time to reassess our ties with this “ally.”

With friends like these, who needs enemies? Pakistan has closed a badly needed border-crossing in response to CIA-directed strikes against suspected terrorist sites inside Pakistan.

The stepped-up activity by U.S. Predator and Reaper drones in Pakistani airspace hasn’t happened in a vacuum. It came only in response to Pakistan’s unwillingness to help hunt down both al-Qaida and the Taliban groups operating within its own borders.

In the last week, several NATO fuel convoys have been attacked, leaving at least six drivers dead and causing severe logistical problems. As of Thursday, 127 NATO fuel trucks had been damaged or blown up.

This is entirely due to the Pakistani closure of the Torkham crossing, a key border point in the strategically vital Khyber Pass. The closure has turned NATO fuel tankers that use the crossing into sitting firebombs just waiting to be lit by terrorists.

The closure of Torkham followed a Sept. 30 U.S. helicopter attack that killed two Pakistani soldiers, mistaking them for terrorists that NATO was pursuing across the border.

It was a tragedy, but the U.S. didn’t do it on purpose. And U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson duly and appropriately tendered “our deepest apology to Pakistan and the families of the Frontier Scouts who were killed and injured.”

Pakistan’s response: Torkham remains closed, NATO trucks keep getting torched, and U.S. troops are still in danger.

For the U.S. and NATO, this act should make it clear that Pakistan is, at best, a shaky ally and, at worst, a treacherous friend that can’t be trusted when things get tough.

As noted here Thursday, the U.S. has been more than generous with Pakistan, supporting its struggling democracy, agreeing to $3 billion in aid, providing massive assistance after its devastating floods, and even occasionally taking its side in its bitter, long-simmering feud with democratic India, our real ally.

Unfortunately, Pakistan’s loyalty has always been in question.

The ISI, Pakistan’s powerful and pervasive intelligence agency, all but openly aids and abets Taliban and al-Qaida forces inside Pakistan — and in Afghanistan. It also supports terror attacks against India, as in 2008’s murderous atrocity in Mumbai.

In many ways, our war in Afghanistan is as much about Pakistan as it is about Afghanistan. If Afghanistan isn’t stable, neither is Pakistan, which has nuclear weapons.

To be sure, moderates in Pakistan’s government weren’t helped when President Obama announced a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in June 2011. They felt abandoned — left to the not-so-tender mercies of the implacable terrorists who want to take over.

They look at Afghanistan and see that nation’s leader, Hamid Karzai, in “peace” talks with the Taliban. Why should Pakistan help us, if the Taliban is going to end up in power anyway?

These are all legitimate concerns on Pakistan’s part.

Given all this, the U.S. needs to convince the Pakistanis that we’re in this for the long haul. But we also have to let them know that destructive behavior that kills NATO troops won’t be tolerated.

October 8, 2010 | 1 Comment »

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  1. America always seem to back the wrong side in any conflict, always throws in the end their allies under the bus, gets involved in conflicts they can’t or won’t win, costing by now trillions of $ and tens of thousands of American and enemy lives. For what purpose?

    As bad as the Taliban is they are a block to Iranian expansion.

    It’s not as if America didn’t know who and what Pakistan is: 3 billion in aid? Peanuts they get more than that from the drug trade. Only Israel seems to be the only country willing to sell it’s sovereignty, and for peanuts yet.