Shifting Strands of US-Pakistan Relations
In Usama Butt & Julian Schofield, eds., Pakistan: The US, Geopolitics and Grand Strategies (London: Pluto Press, 2012), pp 130-148
This chapter seeks to analyse the impact of US Af-Pak strategy on the current dimension and future course of relations between Pakistan and the United States. It argues that the two countries share the main goal of the Af-Pak strategy, which is to defeat Al-Qaeda and its hard-core allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, they are yet to realise a truly strategic partnership in their relationship, as their preferences to counter-terrorism in the region differ, despite the common goal, and this recurrently generates mutual mistrust and consequent crisis in relationship. However, it is important to note that whenever such a crisis occurs, the preferences of the two countries’ top civilian and military leaders is to engage with each other and try to resolve it amicably. For instance, in October 2010, in the aftermath of the killing of three Pakistani soldiers by NATO forces from across the Durand Line, the United States was quick to order an enquiry, which established that NATO was at fault. Apologies by both US and NATO leaders followed, and the volatile issue was quickly resolved. In early 2011, US-Pakistan relations suffered another blow, when the US undercover agent Raymond Davis killed two armed Pakistanis in a busy locale of Lahore on January 27. Islamabad and Washington were poles apart in their stances on whether Davis enjoyed diplomatic immunity, even though the United States agreed to let a Pakistani court decide the issue. Eventually, however, the top military and intelligence leadership of the two countries was able to communicate and engage each other positively so as to resolve the issue and ensure the intelligence activities of the two countries in Pakistan and the region are not at cross-purposes. Full Text

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