US wants positive ties with Pakistan in continuing fight against al Qaeda

Published: February 1, 2012

General David Petraeus says US has been able to capture al Qaeda leaders with cooperation from Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

WASHINGTON: In a hearing of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, members of the US intelligence committee said it was important to have positive relations with Pakistan.

The hearing, attended by leaders of the US intelligence community including the heads of the CIA and National Intelligence, focused on worldwide threats in 2012.

In his submitted remarks to the committee, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said, “We judge al Qaida operatives are balancing support for attacks in Pakistan with guidance to refocus the global jihad externally against US targets. Al Qaida will increasingly rely on ideological and operational alliances with Pakistani militant factions to accomplish its goals with Pakistan and to conduct transnational attacks. Pakistan military leaders have had limited success against al Qaida operatives, other foreign fighters and Pakistani militants who pose a threat to Islamabad.”

Clapper added that the intelligence community anticipates that with sustained counterterrorism pressure, the core group of al Qaida will “suffer sustained degradation, diminished cohesion and decreasing influence in the coming year.” In his written remarks, he said Pakistan’s government has been unable to persuade coalition members to agree on policy and tax reforms, and Pakistan’s “economy recovery is at risk.”

Clapper, in response to a question on US-Pakistan relations, said that they agreed that relations with Pakistan should remain positive, however he added that their interests sometimes differed, and Pakistan considered India as an existential threat.

Acknowledging relations with Pakistan had become strained after the November 26 incident that led to the death of Pakistani soldiers, CIA Director General (retd.) David Petraeus said that there were domestic tensions in the country, including tensions between the Supreme Court, Pakistani military, ISI director and the Pakistani government. However, Petraeus noted that these tensions might be decreasing, especially in light of former Pakistani ambassador Husain Haqqani being allowed to leave the country. He added that the US needed engagement and diplomacy in improving relations with Pakistan.

The spy chief added that on the level of intelligence services, relations with Pakistan were productive and communication was still going on.

Senator Saxby Chambliss, vice-chairman of the committee, asked the intelligence leaders what was being done about safe havens of terrorists in Pakistan. NI Director James Clapper replied that they were talking to Pakistan about it, while CIA Director David Petraeus said that in October, they had “captured or killed” four al Qaeda leaders, which was also due to some co-operation with Pakistan. He added that while Pakistan had conducted operations in FATA and Swat, they had not pressured the Haqqani Network or Mullah Nazir’s group, nor pressured those present in Balochistan.

Reader Comments (10)

  • Hussaini
    Feb 1, 2012 - 1:26AM

    BUT WE DONT WANT ANY TIES WITH YOU WHTSOEVER! just leave us alone!

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  • Feb 1, 2012 - 2:28AM

    Washington DC has no idea about Pakistan, its people, its culture. Its relationship with Pakistan has mostly been one sided in favor of America. The 180 million Pakistanis are literally fed up with this one sided relationship that has again and again taken Pakistan backward.

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  • Roflcopter
    Feb 1, 2012 - 2:35AM

    lol if Pakistan shattering TTP is considered a “limited success” then what is their Afghanistan misadventure? The greatest failure of all time?

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  • Rafaqat
    Feb 1, 2012 - 2:54AM

    @Hussaini:

    It would be insanity to have no relations with the largest economy in the world. And having no ties with a country that is Pakistan’s largest trading partner is basically a wish for financial suicide. But what do i know ?

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  • Harry Stone
    Feb 1, 2012 - 9:02AM

    That probably works both ways as far as the US is concerned. But I am not sure you really mean what you are suggesting unless Chinses is going to become the language of choice in PAK.

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  • Harry Stone
    Feb 1, 2012 - 11:03AM

    @Pervaiz Lodhie:

    End the relationship and move forward but do so then without the US.

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  • Feb 1, 2012 - 9:55PM

    @Harry Stone:
    Pakistan is one of the most resource rich country of the world which can easily become a aid giving nation if it is allowed to be ruled by honest and capable people. It is resource rich in people, agricultural land, minerals, weather and overall LOCATION – LOCATION – LOCATION. The West wants it, Russia wanted it, China want access to the waters. Pakistan was used by America to win the cold war, left a mess and 5 million refugees, helped push drug culture into cities of Pakistan. Now since 2011 Pakistan has again paid the heaviest price in resources and lives lost for Americas war on terror. True friendship works only when both parties have respect and value of each other. Pakistan was the bridge fro America to connect with China. Pakistan is the main bridge to connect West with the 1.3 billion Muslims and an economic power around the world. America is loosing the ECONOMIC war unless it recognizes its past mistakes and does course correction and quickly.

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  • Feb 1, 2012 - 11:08PM

    No one can deny that the United States and Pakistan have achieved much together in this fight against Al-Qaeda and its affiliates. Our leadership has explicitly acknowledged the contribution of Pakistan’s government and military in eliminating some of the big name terrorists. We acknowledge the sacrifices the people and the Pakistani military have made in the last decade. The U.S.-Pakistan relationship is no doubt complicated, severely challenged by competing perspectives and a deficit in trust. But while our differences are real, so, too, are our common interests. Is it not time to move on and focus on bringing peace to the region in turmoil?

    Pakistan is an important country in the region, and it is necessary to continue a great level of cooperation between all the countries of the region to ensure that terrorism is completely eradicated. Do we not agree that terrorists are on the run and in their desperation trying to inflict as much damage as possible on the innocent people of Pakistan and Afghanistan? For the sake of the sacrifice of the people of both countries, it is important we work together to bring back peace.

    Maj David Nevers
    DET-United States Central Command
    http://www.centcom.mil/ur

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  • Feb 1, 2012 - 11:55PM

    I absolutely agree with Maj David Nevers. Gen Petraeus is a man of peace. US-Pakistan relationship if repaired properly can help bring peace dividends economically and global poverty reduction to the whole world. Pakistan does have many rooted problems. Good democracy is taking root for the first time in Pakistan. America has NOT connected with the people of Pakistan. The trust deficit cannot be overcome in the present ways. There are close to a million Pakistani Americans. Most are professionals and have played very important role in keeping America as the greatest democracy built by immigrants. These Pakistani immigrants should have been the resource and facilitators helping build strong bridge of US-Pakistan relationship. The Washington DC civil or military institutions do not use them.

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  • American Pakistani
    Feb 3, 2012 - 4:14AM

    @US CENTCOM:

    Maj David with all due respect sir i beg to differ, if terrorists were on the run pak US and afghan government would not be eager to talk to them, some want to talk to them in Qatar and some in Saudia, they obviously proved that they are the ones who call the shots in afghanistan and they would be the last men standing in afghanistan, so instead of addressing the hard questions with politically correct statements we should acknowledge the ground realities and start adressing them at all levels to achieve the true peace in afghanistan if thats part of anybody’s foreign policy at all.

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