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PAKISTAN-U.S TIES

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Although USA blamed the Taliban in Afghanistan for hosting Al Qaeda and providing a hotbed for The 9/11, Afghanistan was in large extend controlled by the Pakistani notorious intelligence apparatus – ISI. The relations between the Taliban and ISI resembled in many ways the relations between the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Hizbullah. Furthermore much of the planning of The 9/11 was done in Karachi, probably in ISI safe houses like the one where Khalid Shaik Mohamed was captured, on 03/01/2003, near Islamabad.

After The 9/11 the Indian Intelligence provided hard evidence that with the help of Pakistani Military Intelligence chief  Lt’ Gen’ Mahmud Ahmad and in his presence, Omar Saeed Sheikh wired 100.000$ to Mohamed Atta, the 9/11 field organizer, some time before 06/2000 (see –Aftab Ansari). Pakistan was not behind The 9/11, certainly not deliberately, but Pakistan rather then Afghanistan provided, probably unintentionally, the environment, some of the means, a safe base and a hotbed for The 9/11, way more then the Taliban in Afghanistan.

All the history of the Pakistani/USA relations can be described as extremely ambiguous (see – ANBIGUOUS PAKISTAN). Pakistan helped USA to capture many of the leading figures in Al Qaeda but, at the same time, is protecting determinedly Osama Bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahiri. Pakistan is fighting the pro-Taliban groups in Pakistan and, at the same time, hosts and protects the “Quetta Shura” in Pakistan, the Supreme Council of the Taliban. Pakistan enabled the CIA to operate in Pakistan and to conduct UAV missile attacks against the Taliban leadership in Pakistan (see – Datta Khel 03.17.11) and, at the same time, left the common border with Afghanistan opened so Taliban fighters could cross the border almost freely and support the Taliban in Afghanistan (see – Waldman Report).

The game changer is the plan of USA to withdraw most of its troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and more specifically the declaration of US Defence Secretary Robert Gates in Afghanistan, on Monday 03/07/2011, that the USA is “Well-Positioned” to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in July (2011).

Eventually the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan understand well that they will be left behind to cope with the mess USA created in the region. Both countries have a bad experience when USA almost overlooked the region and its fundamental problems after the Russians left Afghanistan in 1989. They have to cope with Islamic militancy, with deep public resentment toward USA and to be accounted for their relations and dependency on USA. Just recently USA proved to the world how easily USA is able to abandon long time allies in Egypt and Bahrain.

Both countries therefore are now lining up with their societies and to large extent against the USA. Just few days ago, on 04/01/2011, the Afghan president Hamid Karzai denounced publically the burning of a Quran book in Florida, which the population in Afghanistan was totally not aware off, igniting a wave of violence against USA, UN and the Western World and portrayed him as a defender of Islam and a protector of the Quran to the dismay of the USA (see – Mazar 04.01.11).

Just a day after the Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari complained in an interview to the Guardian British newspaper, on Monday 04/11/2011, that The Afghan war is “destabilising Pakistan” and undermining democratic development in Pakistan. He pointed to widespread concern in Pakistan at the slow pace of efforts to end the Afghan conflict and said some US politicians showed limited understanding of the impact of American policy. Pakistan went further on to distance itself from USA and to reach out toward its own population. Pakistan has asked the USA, on Tuesday 04/12/2011, to reduce the number of CIA agents in the country and to limit drone UAV strikes along the Afghan border, US media reports say. The reports quote unnamed officials and come as US and Pakistani spy chiefs met at the CIA’s US headquarters.

It is assumed that although the number of CIA operatives in Pakistan will be reduced some sort of cooperation will continue but USA must prepare itself that both Pakistan and Afghanistan will make efforts to distance themselves, at least on the public level, from USA as the withdrawal plan from Afghanistan will proceed forward (see – Petraeus W Plan).
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