Revisiting foreign policy: US ready to talk – but end to drone strikes unlikely

Published: April 13, 2012

United States ready to discuss the new framework for relations with Pakistan.

ISLAMABAD: 

The United States is ready to discuss the new framework for relations with Pakistan, said American officials after Parliament unanimously approved new guidelines on relations with the United States on Thursday in a key step towards repairing troubled ties.

However, chances that Washington will accept a demand for an immediate halt to drone strikes inside the country’s tribal belt are slim.

Even though the US is willing to address Pakistan’s concerns on certain issues, it is highly unlikely that the Obama administration would revisit its CIA-piloted drone campaign in the tribal regions, an American diplomat, requesting anonymity, told The Express Tribune.

“The US can accommodate Pakistan’s concerns by reviewing the mechanism under which the drones operate but it is not possible at this stage that the entire campaign is brought to a halt,” he maintained.

The Obama administration considers the CIA-led drone campaign in the tribal areas of Pakistan as a vital tool to dismantle the ability of al Qaeda and its affiliates to target US interests. But the policy has stoked widespread anti-American sentiments in Pakistan and the civilian leadership sees it as counter-productive to its anti-terror efforts, even though there is suspicion that Islamabad might have a secret understanding with Washington on the use of drones.

Meanwhile, the US’ official stance is a neutral one at the moment.

“We have seen that the joint session of the Pakistani parliament has approved the final recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security. We respect the seriousness with which this review has been conducted,” said a US embassy spokesperson Mark Stroh.

Stroh said the US would want to reengage with Pakistan based on the new terms that seek to redefine the relationship between the two.

“We look forward to discussing these policy recommendations with the Government of Pakistan,” he added.

An American diplomat, requesting anonymity, told The Express Tribune that the US is likely to offer a public apology over the Nato airstrike in Mohmand that killed at least two dozen soldiers in November last year.

Resumption of Nato routes

The US now awaits the reopening of vital land routes for Nato forces stationed in Afghanistan. The revised policy terms have not explicitly addressed the issue of Nato supplies except a vague reference that Pakistan territory, or its airspace, shall not be used for transportation of arms and ammunition to Afghanistan.

Since US coalition forces in Afghanistan do not use Pakistani land routes for the supply of weapons and other ammunition, it should not be a difficult decision for the government to lift the almost five-month blockade, said the diplomat.

Nato used Pakistani routes to transport fuel and other supplies only while all munitions, whether small arms ammunition, artillery shells, or missiles, are transported by air.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Sky
    Apr 13, 2012 - 8:02AM

    I think they should involve Pakistani operators for drones. Better if Pakistan acquires the technology and use it. There is trust deficit that needs to be corrected.

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  • Apr 13, 2012 - 8:28AM

    drama staged has come to an end, legalizing americans activities in this country – welcome back yankees…..

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  • Harry Stone
    Apr 13, 2012 - 9:59AM

    @Sky:

    Will not happen. PAK cannot use the technology it now has. The trust deficit will only grow……..get use to it.

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  • Abdur Razaaq
    Apr 13, 2012 - 10:07AM

    Interesting isn’t it that the US is desperate for us to open the supply lines. They are not bombing us back to the stone ages when we closed the lines. But our policiticans have recommended opening the supply lines. And our military has achieved its obejctive of passing the responsibility of the decision to the parliament, thereby extricating itself from the responsibility. So, the US bombs and kills our soldiers, the miitary closes the nato supply lines (which it said it could never say no to the US), and then asks parliament to open. Is their no honorouable men within our ranks????

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  • Fareed
    Apr 13, 2012 - 12:34PM

    I just say Pak Government–>Pak Military–>USA . No conspiracy but the reality.

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  • Umar
    Apr 13, 2012 - 1:26PM

    Why is the Tribune doing the bidding of the Americans by encouraging drone strikes in Pakistan? That’s a clear violation of international law!

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  • Maqbool
    Apr 13, 2012 - 1:33PM

    What’s the matter with so much hue and cry about drones. They are similar to contraceptives, only used as a cure and not avoidance.

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  • Tony C.
    Apr 13, 2012 - 2:23PM

    @Harry Stone:
    Dear Harry,
    You do not know what you are talking about as usual. I was working with Pakistan air force personnel some sixty years ago and they were of a very high caliber. I am sure they have gone to a higher level since then. I will not write about the level of Americans, because if I did it would not be complimentary. Try to get real.

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  • MarkH
    Apr 13, 2012 - 2:29PM

    @Abdur Razaaq:
    If the situation registered as desperate you should look into Aspergers. It’s misdiagnosed 99% of the time but you could be the real thing.

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  • Ahsan
    Apr 13, 2012 - 2:50PM

    What a Mess!

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  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Apr 13, 2012 - 5:41PM

    Wise step . Now solution to some intricate issues of south Asia are also likely to emerge with good understandings among the concerned policy makers , world over …….?

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  • M. Ghani
    Apr 13, 2012 - 7:41PM

    This is nothing but the games of global powers to further their agenda of hegemony and control. Who gets killed in Pak or Afghanistan or dies of hunger, disease or remain underfed, illitrate doesn’t matter to the coffers of those in GHQ, Islamabad, Lahore and elsewhere in this land where lossed are inherited by those at the bottom. This inheritence gets lesser and lesser as you go up.

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  • Zabandraz
    Apr 13, 2012 - 8:31PM

    US ready to talk – but end to drone strikes unlikely
    WHAT NOW ??? STILL WANT TO REOPEN THE ROUTES????? PATHETIC!!!!

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  • Cautious
    Apr 13, 2012 - 9:05PM

    It would appear that Pakistan’s leverage isn’t as great as you thought. Pakistan was responsible for about 30 percent of the supplies to Afghanistan and because of the chronic Pakistani theft of supplies the USA stopped using Pakistan’s land route for anything considered critical or even “high value” long ago. Like any USA govt operation there is always considerable waste and it’s likely that they could tighten their belts by 30% without an appreciable impact on operations.
    It’s unlikely the USA is going to give Pakistan much of what you have asked for — maybe some money and maybe some additional cooperation – but if you want more than that your probably going to have to be satisfied with the status quo.

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  • Nasir
    Apr 13, 2012 - 9:12PM

    @Cautious: the problem is that most of my fellow Pakistani’s are living in self denial and think that the world cannot do without Pakistan , when in reality it is Pakistan that cannot do without the world

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  • rk
    Apr 14, 2012 - 4:42AM

    @Sky:

    u r way up in the sky…get down to earth hahhahahaa

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  • Tony C.
    Apr 14, 2012 - 2:09PM

    @Nasir:
    Dear Cautious, Nasir,
    The U.S. are in the Pakistan/Afghan area without permission, and everybody got along for several thousand years without them. Now the area has several million plus dead people because of them. Not many people will complain when they leave. We wish.

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