Perspectives on Pakistan
America’s unwelcome offer
Brushing off Pakistan’s insistence that it does not want foreign troops on its soil, the United States says it is ready to send its soldiers to help the Pakistan army fight against Taliban and al Qaeda militants. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said last week the United States was “ready, willing and able” to send troops to Pakistan.
In The Huffington Post, Ambassador Marc Ginsberg sees this as more than an innocent offer but rather “a trial balloon” by Gates meant to test the waters for sending U.S. troops to Pakistan. “All this is to say that the real war against al Qaeda has yet to be fought where it counts — in Pakistan…” he writes.
Earlier this month, the Stratfor intelligence group argued that the end-game of the U.S. war against al Qaeda and the Taliban “always had to be played out in Pakistan”.
So were Gates’s comments merely an offer of help? A trial balloon? Or a means of putting pressure on President Pervez Musharraf?