By Tahir Nazir
The killing of Osama bin laden in Abbottabad by US SEAL have raised several important questions about the future of US – Pakistan relations and the United States led ‘war on terror’. U.S declaration that Pakistan was not informed about the raid on OBL’s compound in Abbottabad shows a growing trust deficit between the two countries.
OBL death came at a time when US – Pakistan relations were already tensed over several issues like the continued United States drone attacks on South and North Waziristan, US Pressure on Pakistan to do more against the militants groups such as Haqqani Network which according to U.S posing a grave threat to US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, issues of Pak-Afghan border security and cut in military aid to Pakistan.
The U.S war on terrorism in Afghanistan is coming to its final phase. The recent announcement by Obama administration about ten thousand U.S troops withdrawal from Afghanistan and U.S engagement in dialogue with the Taliban are the prime example of the fact that U.S wants ‘dignified exit’ from Afghanistan. On the other hand U.S is putting pressure on Pakistan to do more against the militants in North and South Waziristan and Al-Qaida.
Despite the fact that Pakistan played a very important role as a front line state in the war against terrorism, it has suffered most losses in terms of economic and manpower. Despite its enormous efforts in war against terrorism, Pakistan has always been criticized by the US “for not doing enough”. It is crystal clear that US cannot win this war without Pakistan’s assistance, as 70 percent of US and NATO supplies pass through Pakistan. Pakistan has deployed more than 150,000 of its troops in tribal areas. Pakistan has lost more than five thousand soldiers and 30,000 civilians in this war.
Pakistan is the only US partner which has captured or killed more than 700 Al-Qaida terrorists and handed over to U.S. in spite of all these brave efforts, Pakistan has been blamed for not doing enough.
Recently Obama administration announced they have halted $800 million military aid to Pakistan. It includes about $300 million to reimburse Pakistan for some of the costs of deploying more than 100,000 soldiers along the Afghan border to combat terrorism, as well as $100 of millions of dollars in training assistance and military hardware.
In response to this announcement, ISPR reacted very strongly. Major Gen Ather Abbas stated that Pakistan does not need military aid for the war on terror .moreover he highlighted that Pakistan has conducted SWAT and South Waziristan operation indigenously.
This clearly shows that the rift between Pakistan and United states are widening further more it also highlights the fact that there are clear disagreements on ‘Afghan end Game’.
Tahir Nazir is a Research fellow at South Asian Strategic Stability Institute. He has done master in Defense and Strategic Studies from Quaid-e-Azam University.