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2 Mar, 2007 03:07

USA shifts policy towards Pakistan

USA shifts policy towards Pakistan

The USA has clearly indicated a shift in its policy towards Pakistan. According to  U.S. officials, the Pakistani leadership is not doing enough to counter terrorist activities. 

Last year, when Afghanistan was still overshadowed by Iraq, U.S. President Bush referred to Pakistani President Musharraf as “my buddy.”

Then the war with Al-Qaeda, which is considered by the USA as one of the main terrorist organizations, moved to a new level, and some public revelations were made in Washington.

“Al Qaeda is the terrorist organisation that poses the greatest threat. They continue to plot attacks against our homeland and other targets with the objective of inflicting mass casualties. And they are cultivating stronger operational connections and relationships that radiate outward from their leader's secure hideout in Pakistan to affiliates throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Europe,” said John Negroponte, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State.

His successor re-iterated this concern about terrorist sanctuary in Pakistan in his own way after the U.S. Vice President's whistle-stop visit to Islamabad.

“Al-Qaeda continues to be the terrorist organization that poses the greatest threat. They continue to plot attacks against our homeland and other targets with the aim of inflicting mass casualties. Al-Qaeda also is forging stronger operational connections that radiate outward from their camps in Pakistan to affiliated groups and that works throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Europe,” underscored Mike McConnell, the Director of National Intelligence.

In Islamabad,  U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney admonished the Pakistani President for playing footsie with Al Qaeda and Taliban brethren.

Dick Cheney’s stern message leaves no doubt that the White House has run out of patience and has decided to abandon its policy of appeasement towards Pakistan altogether.

There is a strong indication that it is not just a tactical shift in a stick-and-carrot policy, but rather a long-awaited adjustment in counter-insurgency strategy.

Meanwhile, Pakistan vies for $US 300 MLN in military aid, that the U.S. Congress threatens to cut.

Nevertheless, it was the USA that flared up insurgency from Pakistan against the Soviets in Afghanistan, and that now has to admit the consequences of this covert operation.

“After the Soviets left, the United States made a mistake. We neglected Afghanistan and extremism took control of that country and the United States paid a price for that on September 11, 2001. We won’t make that mistake again. We are here for the long haul,” stressed Robert Gates, the U.S. Defense Secretary, who visited Islamabad on February 12, 2007.