Thursday, January 04, 2018

Pakistani Outrage

"[The United States had] foolishly [given Pakistan $33-billion in aid over the past fifteen years] and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools."
"They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!"
American President Donald Trump

"[Pakistan, an] anti-terror ally [of the U.S. gave Washington land and air communication, military bases and intelligence cooperation that] decimated al-Qaeda over the last 16 yrs. America] ha given us nothing but invective and mistrust."
Pakistani Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir-Khan

"[Pakistan is prepared to publicly present an accounting of] every detail [of American aid that Pakistan has received]."
"We have already told the U.S. that we will not do more, so Trump's 'no more' does not hold any importance."
Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif

"The Trump administration has been keen to take a harder line on Pakistan, but up to this point it hasn't been clear if the White House would follow through on the threats. This tweet suggests some type of change could be afoot."
"We shouldn't overstate the policy significance of this tweet [however]."
Michael Kugelman, deputy director, Asia Program, Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington
Marines shown boarding a CH-53 in Afghanistan in 2009
Image: US Marines boarding a CH-53 in Afghanistan. File pic

The United States has appropriated $34-billion in direct aid and military reimbursements for Pakistan since 2002, according to a report from the congressional Research Service. Another $345-million has been set aside for proposed security and economic assistant for the coming fiscal year representing a significant decrease from the allotment of $526-million in fiscal 2017. If this represents a coming trend, it will be too little, too late, but on the other hand, about time.

From the time of former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf forward, the United States persisted in viewing  Pakistan as a partner in the war against terrorism, a view that Islamabad certainly cultivated, quite pleased with the billions in military aid it received from America. The country's Inter Services Intelligence agency, ISI, was a beneficiary of American largess. Both the military and the ISI were known for their al-Qaeda sympathies, for the infiltration of the Taliban into their ranks, for their training and arming of both.

Effectively, in financially supporting the Pakistan military and their Intelligence agency, the United States was supporting the Taliban. Inchoate indignation expressed by Pakistan's ministers over this American president's vocal recognition of the fact, however, tardily, that Pakistan has never exerted itself to earn its financial rewards by working to defeat the Taliban and al-Qaeda, belies the very fact that Osama bin Laden was able to live for years safely cloistered in Abbottabad in stone's throw of an elite military college.
Pakistani soldiers arrive at a terrorist attack site in Quetta, Pakistan, on Tuesday in which at least 12 people were injured. The US is suspended its funding for counter-terrorism operations. Photograph: Xinhua / Barcroft Images

In financially supporting the military and the ISI, the United States, in effect, also enabled the financial support of the military-linked fundamentalist terrorist group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba responsible for the dreadful mass assault and bombing of Mumbai with its devastating loss of life. Afghan journalists have written books outlining just how ridiculous American authorities have been in expressing their appreciation for Pakistan's aid in combating Islamist terrorism. Nothing could have been further from fact.

So while Pakistani ministers rage over the injustice, the insults, the misguided allegations, the truth is that the United States which once considered Pakistan to be a close ally in the war against terror but has now, under Trump resorted to "Lies & deceit", history itself attests to the truth that the lies and deceit were wholly expressed on the part of Pakistan, assuring the gullible U.S. administrations it had their back and was actively engaged in routing out terrorism. Once Pakistan began to cope with its own Pakistani Taliban the government focused on defense against its near-capture of territory near its nuclear arms depository sites.

Its encouragement of and haven-giving to the Afghan Taliban continued, and remains the single most potent support in the arsenal of the Afghan Taliban tormenting Afghanistan, targeting government offices and the presence of foreign diplomats, along with assaults against Afghans in the sectarian war that Islam has descended to. And U.S. financial support to the Pakistani military enabled in part the attacks that India suffered over the Kashmir disputes.

Mumbais iconic Taj Palace Hotel was one of the places attacked by terrorists. (File Photo: PTI)
Mumbai's iconic Taj Palace Hotel, one of the places attacked by terrorists from  Pakistan

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