The article reproduced below from the New York Times is probably what caused the Trump outrage. What is surprising is that even after the bad experience with the advice from the likes of Fuad Ajami and Ahmed Challabi before invading Iraq, they continue to listen to renegades —– presumably because they suit their purpose..
U.S President Trump has again singled out Pakistan to send a special message on New Year’s Day condemning her for not doing enough for the $33 billion she has received in aid over the past 16 years. The figure is substantially more than what has been previously mentioned. One suspects it includes repayments for goods and services that Pakistan has been providing to the U.S forces in Afghanistan over this period, the bills for some of which are still outstanding.
Leaving this aside, it is worth taking a look at what Pakistan has actually done to help in the U.S’ so-called War on Terror.
Bob Woodward in his book, Bush at War quotes ‘an elated’ Secretary of State Colin Powell telling the National Security Council after his telephone conversation with Pakistan’s General Musharraf, ‘I’d like to tell you what we told the Pakistanis today,’ before loudly and proudly reading out the seven demands. When he finished, he told the meeting that Musharraf has already accepted them. ‘It looks like you got it all,’ Bush said. Others in the room asked for a copy of the US charter of demands.
What Pakistan provided on the ground was spelt out by the U.S CENTCOM website: http://www.centcom.mil/Operati
ons/Coalition/Coalition_pages/ Among other things it included: pakistan.html.
1. Making available five air bases as well as services that included 0.4 million litres of aviation fuel per day and an air corridor that covered two-thirds of the country.
2. Facilities at Pasni on the coast for landing 8,000 U.S marines and their equipment.
3. Carrying out 99 raids to capture and hand over 420 foreign suspects to the U.S in the first year alone. The practice was continued afterwards.
4. Established 665 military check posts along the Afghan border each comprising 40 men.
5. In CENTCOM’s words, ‘In spite of ominous threat on Eastern Border, Pakistan is maintaining a sizeable portion of her strategic forces on Western Border.’ She has mounted major operations in the region costing the lives of 8,000 troops, more than three times what the U.S has lost.
6. In addition, according to CENTCOM in 2002 alone, ‘Pakistan’s economy suffered a loss of over US$ 10 billion. Major losses were caused to the civil aviation, tourism, investment and shipping due to rise in the rates of insurance. Besides this, Pakistani exports also suffered adversely and foreign investments experienced a visible decline’ The hemorrhaging has continued since then.
The war had cost Pakistan upwards of $250 billion dollars by 2016 according to Pakistan’s minister of finance.
No other country has done more for the U.S than Pakistan. There was hardly any terrorism in Pakistan to speak of until she joined the U.S’ war. Since then she has been subjected to more than 500 suicide bombings alone costing more than 75,000 innocent lives.
None of this is acknowledged in all the rhetoric. All we hear is that Pakistan is an ‘ally from hell’ because she does not do more. And if she didn’t, she is threatened with dire consequences that have no real meaning.
The threat to cut off aid to Pakistan does not amount to much when looked at in the above context. Erstwhile Vice President of World Bank and Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Dr. Ishrat Husain had analysed the issue as far back as in April 2007 in his article ‘How Critical is US Assistance’ in which he had concluded that the effect will be minimal.
Any direct or indirect military action against Pakistan could have dire consequences that will almost certainly extend far beyond her borders and will gain nothing but trouble for the U.S.
There are limits to what Pakistan can and cannot do. There was a time when she did everything she was asked which drove the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad to bemoan that US agencies like the FBI have been given free run of the country without getting anything in return.
This is no longer possible for Pakistan as it has her own vital national interests that are not up for sale for any amount of love or money, least of all bluff bluster and threats. It is time to take a cool, hard and realistic look at the situation if complete rupture is to be avoided.–Comment by Khan Zia
Pakistan’s military still views its accommodation of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network as in the country’s security interest.
WASHINGTON — When Pakistani forces freed a Canadian-American family this fall held captive by militants, they also captured one of the abductors. United States officials saw a potential windfall: He was a member of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network who could perhaps provide valuable information about at least one other American hostage.
The Americans demanded access to the man, but Pakistani officials rejected those requests, the latest disagreement in the increasingly dysfunctional relationship between the countries. Now, the Trump administration is strongly considering whether to withhold $255 million in aid that it had delayed sending to Islamabad, according to American officials, as a show of dissatisfaction with Pakistan’s broader intransigence toward confronting the terrorist networks that operate there.
The administration’s internal debate over whether to deny Pakistan the money is a test of whether President Trump will deliver on his threat to punish Islamabad for failing to cooperate on counterterrorism operations. Relations between the United States and Pakistan, long vital for both, have chilled steadily since the president declared over the summer that Pakistan “gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence and terror.”
The United States, which has provided Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid since 2002, said in August that it was withholding the $255 million until Pakistan did more to crack down on internal terrorist groups. Senior administration officials met this month to decide what to do about the money, and American officials said a final decision could be made in the coming weeks.
The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the sensitive discussions, did not detail what conditions Pakistan would have to meet to receive the aid. It was not clear how the United States found out about the militant’s arrest, but an American drone had been monitoring the kidnappers as they moved deeper into Pakistan.
Caitlan Coleman, an American, and her Canadian husband, Joshua Boyle, were freed along with their children in an October raid after five years in captivity. Pakistani troops confronted Haqqani militants as they ferried the family across the tribal lands of northwest Pakistan.
The Trump administration has foreshadowed a cutoff in recent days with harsher language. Last week, in announcing his national security strategy, Mr. Trump again singled out Pakistan for criticism. “We make massive payments every year to Pakistan,” he said. “They have to help.”
Vice President Mike Pence reinforced that message in a visit to Afghanistan just before Christmas, telling cheering American troops that “President Trump has put Pakistan on notice.” The reaction of his audience was notable, analysts said, since the Pentagon has historically been one of Pakistan’s defenders in Washington because of its longstanding ties to the Pakistani military.
Pakistan, however, has few friends in Mr. Trump’s National Security Council. Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, served in Afghanistan, where he saw firsthand how Pakistan meddled in its neighbor’s affairs. Lisa Curtis, the council’s senior director for South and Central Asia, brought critical views about Pakistan from her previous post at the conservative Heritage Foundation.
In a report she wrote in February with Husain Haqqani,Pakistan’s former ambassador to Washington, the two called for the administration to “avoid viewing and portraying Pakistan as an ally.” If Pakistan did not take steps to show its commitment to America’s counterterrorism goals, they wrote, Mr. Trump should strip it of its status as a major non-NATO ally.
Such a step would be more punitive than withholding the $255 million in State Department assistance known as Foreign Military Financing, Mr. Haqqani said in an interview, because it would deprive Pakistan of access to military equipment. He said Pakistani officials were bracing for some kind of aid cutoff.