Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics
Pakistan’s anger over U.S. drone strikes in its northwest region is unabated and this weekend protesters sat on a highway blocking convoys carrying supplies for NATO troops in Afghanistan.
Disrupting supplies, including fuel trucks, can severely impair the huge war effort in Afghanistan and its the sort of escalatory action that will likely draw a swift response from the United States, one way or the other.
The question though is how have the two allies – reluctant partners as they have always been – come to such a stage in their relationship they appear to be inflicting more damage on each other than the Islamist militants they pledged to fight together.
Two Pakistan writers have suggested that this whole fight between the United States and Pakistan may not be about drones, but about Afghanistan and what happens there once America leaves. Pakistan wants the United States to concede to it a coveted role in the Afghan endgame that has been denied to it so far, Time magazine’s Omar Waraich wrote in an article. He argues that the drone campaign targeting al Qaeda and the Taliban in the northwest corridor of the country has been going on since 2004, gathering pace once President Barack Obama took office in January2009. Pakistan has either tolerated the covert U.S. campaign or even given its silent approval to the offensive against the militants including those threaten the Pakistani state itself.
U.S.- Pakistan ties are entering an even more dangerous phase, going by the language that the two sides are employing ever since a public airing of differences over covert U.S. activities in Pakistan
It’s a game of smoke and mirrors and some of it could be bluff and bluster, but there is little doubt that Pakistan and America are stuck in an unhappy relationship, attacking each other as much as the militants they joined forces against ten years ago.