Strong response: Pak will pull troops from Afghan border if US cuts aid

Published: July 12, 2011
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Defence minister hopes US will not repeat Bin Laden ‘mistake’ in the hunt for Zawahiri. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Defence minister hopes US will not repeat Bin Laden ‘mistake’ in the hunt for Zawahiri. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar has said that Pakistani troops will pull back from the Pak-Afghan border in reaction to the suspension of nearly $800 million worth of US military aid.

Speaking exclusively on the “Evening Hour with Kirsten Seymour” show (to be aired today on Express 24/7 at 8 pm), Mukhtar said that Pakistan would pull back troops from the nearly 1,100 check posts set up along the Pak-Afghan border.

The defence minister said that $300 million of this aid specifically goes to troops serving in this troubled region. At the same time, this move will sabotage efforts against the Taliban and al Qaeda in the region.

Mukhtar said “this money (US military aid) is not for fighting the war, but is money that we have spent already.”

Mukhtar said that Pakistan could not afford to keep its military out in the mountains or in the border areas for a long period of time.

“The next step would be that the government or the armed forces will pull back the forces from the border areas,” he said.

There are also fears that the forces are being ambushed by tribal militants from across the border, and, if this continues, there could be cross-border fighting. This is a prospect that Pakistan does not look forward to.

Shamsi Airbase

The defence minister went on to say that the US, by way of the UAE, had been allowed the use of the Shamsi air strip for non-lethal weapons, such as unarmed drones and as a logistics support site.  “The understanding was that the drones would fly from Shamsi base but only for surveillance … they were not supposed to be lethal and the next thing we knew they were using it for military attacks,” he said.

However, Mukhtar maintained that this was a problem that could be resolved if both the US and Pakistan came to some arrangement.

Raymond Davis

The defence minister also said that the government has asked American military trainers to leave the country because they were seen to be connected with Raymond Davis. He said that the government had asked them to leave for because they broke the rules.

Zawahiri

In his comments on the American assertion that Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahiri was in the tribal areas, Mukhtar said that he hoped the United States would not repeat the mistakes it made in the raid to capture Osama Bin Laden. This time round, he said, we hope the Americans will work with the Pakistanis and share their intelligence. This falls in line with the request by the Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) to share information with Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2011.


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Reader Comments (70)

  • Emmon Khan
    Jul 12, 2011 - 12:39AM

    Haha! This is somthing like saying ‘We are not going to defend ourselves if you are not giving us money!’ In other words holding a gun to one’s own head to frighten others. What children our leaders are!

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  • Noor Nabi
    Jul 12, 2011 - 12:44AM

    Oh no, not again. Give us a break Defence Minister. Your comments will soon be disowned and refuted by the Prime Minister as well as the Information Minister.

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  • Mirza
    Jul 12, 2011 - 12:45AM

    Pakistani public would surely suffer at the hands of Terrorists if Pakistan army moves away from Afghan border. Just because the US is not funding Pakistan army, they would withdraw so the terrorists can come in and cement their position and fight against poor Pakistani civilians.
    If Pakistan army would not be at the borders where the terrorists are coming from, what would the half a million army then do? The Indian border is not in a state of war and does not require all the army.

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  • Aadersh
    Jul 12, 2011 - 12:54AM

    USA certainly need to pay for the loses which we have faced in this war which wasn’t our war at all…It’s our right…it’s not the aid it’s our own money which we have spent and US promised us to pay for the loses…

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  • Bangash
    Jul 12, 2011 - 12:55AM

    Stupid blabbering by a fool who plays zero part in foreign and defence policy.

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  • Jameel
    Jul 12, 2011 - 1:14AM

    ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Defence Minister
    Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar threatened to
    withdraw Pakistani troops from the
    Pak-Afghan border in reaction to the
    suspension of nearly $800 million
    worth of US military aid.

    So, we are not going to defend our borders unless someone pays us for it.

    What about the 800 billion the army extracts from the nation, Mr Defence Minister?

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  • Cautious
    Jul 12, 2011 - 1:18AM

    What a worthless threat — the Taliban and Al Qaeda move across the border with impunity and probably with assistance from the border guards anyway. If he said that directly to a USA representative I suspect he/she had a hard time keeping a straight face.

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  • Ali
    Jul 12, 2011 - 1:34AM

    Pathetic Defense minister as usual dancing to His Master’s voice..when you have people like Mukhtar as your defense minister who needs external enemies….

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  • rashid
    Jul 12, 2011 - 1:52AM

    In reaction to this statement US must change its decision from “Suspension to STOP aid”

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  • Arsalan Mustafa
    Jul 12, 2011 - 2:01AM

    Still, all they want is aid or US money, why don’t they just take the step against US. Pakistan should change its allies from US to Russia, China and worth mentioning England. They should understand that Pakistan don’t need US but they need us to win this so called war on terror. Though, for Mr. Mukhtar he is nothing but a liar, why Shamsi base had been bestowed to Americans.

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  • Faction
    Jul 12, 2011 - 2:14AM

    Oh no! The Pakistani army withdrawing from the border? Think of the lawlessness that will result! LOL!

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  • Babloo
    Jul 12, 2011 - 2:16AM

    Doesn’t the defense minister, Mr Mukhtar, have to retract his statement within 24 hours, everytime he opens his mouth ?

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  • Chandler
    Jul 12, 2011 - 2:17AM

    “Pakistan Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar threatened to withdraw Pakistani troops from the Pak-Afghan border in reaction to the suspension of nearly $800 million worth of US military aid.”

    Excellent! Now we can start our plans to create Pakthoonistan. Please withdraw your troops from the Af-Pak border ASAP and redeploy them in the eastern border with India. It will accelerate the creation of Pakthoonistan.

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  • Jul 12, 2011 - 2:39AM

    Withdraw within your own country? Wow! That will show them!

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  • Hedgefunder
    Jul 12, 2011 - 3:06AM

    Mr Minister,
    Firstly any statement you make after, Shamsi Air Base Fiasco was simply pure Embarrassment on International Level for a Minister of State of any Nation.
    Do you really think that the US is going to pay heed to anything more you say!!
    The threat of withdrawel of troops from the border regions is really non starter from Pakistan’s point of view as this would give access to those who may choose to enter Pakistan’s Sovereignty on, as when they desire from the other side of the border, cause problems and just simply leave!!!!
    The US is not going to be blackmailed by Pakistan, as they can deal with the mess with the resourses they have on ground in Afghanistan and will cross border to deal with the Jihadis, they have stop short so far due to their previous special relationship!!!
    Don’t tempt them as this is exactly what they would like from Pakistan to show their neglect to honour the deal, hence their entry in your turf!!! Do you feel Lucky??
    Your statements sounds like “some child cryimg wolf” rest assure its not going to be bought by Washingtom !! You need to change your advisors and Policy Makers ASAP!!!

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  • Meekal Ahmed
    Jul 12, 2011 - 4:20AM

    The amount spent is not $800 million but rather $300 million.

    By all means pull back from the Af border and reap the whirlwind.

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  • Aamir
    Jul 12, 2011 - 4:28AM

    I’m sure Firdous Ashiq Awan will reject this news shortly.

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  • American
    Jul 12, 2011 - 4:29AM

    Pakistan has been threatening to implode, unless the rest of the world gives it money, trade, water concessions, Kashmir, F-16s, Missiles, loans, write offs, etc.
    This game has been going on for years, and may be the rest of the world is getting tired.

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  • Jul 12, 2011 - 5:16AM

    “Dear Sir You said “It’s our right…it’s not the aid it’s our own money which we have spent and US promised us to pay for the loses…” May I ask why Sir Why some one else should pay you for defending you and your country from the terrorists who are entering your country and attacking you and destroying your fabric of peace. Specially when your State thinks that these terrorists are your STRATEGIC FRIENDS. Sir, You are wrong.@Aadersh:

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  • fahim
    Jul 12, 2011 - 5:39AM

    what are we common citizens paying 70% of OUR hard earned money to you for? What the hell are you army/ISI guys are there??? You are servant to the people of this country, and your only job is to serve this country. Shameless military/ISI/politicians pocket billions of dollars, roam around in BMW, kill common citizens mercilessly, spread hatred against every other community and country with OUR tax money, MY tax money, and then have the guts to come and lecture us that we dont have money to maintain troops ? Shameless beggars…

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  • faraz
    Jul 12, 2011 - 5:41AM

    Over a thousand taliban attacked Dir last month from Afghanistan and this dud is talking of removing the forces so that the cleared agencies again fall into the hands of TTP

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  • R S
    Jul 12, 2011 - 6:56AM

    Withdraw troops from Pak-Af border and no to drones, only make Taliban happy. It is dangerous to Pakistan in short term, but also dangerous to India and US in long term.

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  • Malik Rashid
    Jul 12, 2011 - 7:12AM

    Pakistan’s Defense minister says US must pay or troops could be withdrawn from Afghan border. It means Pakistan army will stop killing the lower cadre of their homegrown terrorists if US doesn’t pay up. For some dollars, they could continue the farce. World is trying to contain the terrorist threat within Pakistan. For Pakistanis, the homeland has become a death trap.

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  • Jul 12, 2011 - 7:29AM

    And will it make a difference to the border ?
    Smuggling, Taliban and militants move freely back and forth.
    Can’t we afford to pay salaries to our own military at check-posts ?

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  • Rock
    Jul 12, 2011 - 7:40AM

    I love this defence minister. He is great entertainer. Hats off to him.

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  • Analyst
    Jul 12, 2011 - 8:07AM

    So if Pak army does not get paid, the Pak army will vacate its positions on western borders so that militants can rule it !!!

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  • Analyst
    Jul 12, 2011 - 8:08AM

    So Pak army wont defend Pakistan unless USA pays for it ?

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  • Jul 12, 2011 - 8:28AM

    I agree with arsalan mustafa.
    First we should wait for information minister’s remarks.
    But before withdrawing our troops for tribal belt,Pakistan needs to talk to taliban.

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  • Peace On Earth
    Jul 12, 2011 - 9:02AM

    Why are so many Pakistanis in denial about the War On terror NOT being our war? Guess what, IT IS! With extremists crossing into Pakistan with impunity and killing civilians, this was not the doing of the US but our government which foolishly thought it could control a band of backward-minded religious zealots.

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  • Bambbaayyaa
    Jul 12, 2011 - 9:28AM

    Attacks on checkposts by 100’s of militants from Afghanistan … Rings any bells ???
    U can fool some people sometime … cant fool all the people all the time … Time has come to accept the reality … better to succumb to time than do further self destruction

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  • sam
    Jul 12, 2011 - 9:32AM

    OMG not guard our border because we dont get aid…. like i said sadly we dont need aid but instead we want aid.bloody pathetic.. how can you protect your own people if you wont stop millitants from crossing the border………

    initially we were working with the US to fight the war in afghanistan and it was only fair that the US pay for the expenses incurred given pakistans fiscal deficit etc etc. but now that the war is in pakistan its shameless of any of our ministers and leaders to ask for charity money

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  • Fahad
    Jul 12, 2011 - 9:49AM

    Most of the comments that appear under the news items are anti Pakistan, mostly insulting.
    I would request Tribune to check this and take some appropriate measures to stop this nonsense, as I feel these comments seem unlike Pakistani doings, but rather a forced effort to show disharmony among us.

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  • Ahmer Ali
    Jul 12, 2011 - 9:53AM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.Statements’ giving time has been expired and the practical time has come.Now the time has come to withstand against USA to protect and secure Pakistan’s and Pakistan’s nation’s honor,grace,dignity,self-respect,integrity and sovereignty and for this purpose now talk to US officials from eye ball to eye ball on bilateral level instead of showing weakness and bowing down the knees by trusting only Allah Almighty firmly and strongly and by showing courage,bravery and boldness

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  • Imran
    Jul 12, 2011 - 10:07AM

    @Emmon Khan:
    It might also mean “We are not going to prevent/minimize attacks on you if you are not going to pay us money” … Your survival is in our hands as ours is in your hands ,,, Understood ?

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  • Mr. Nobody
    Jul 12, 2011 - 10:16AM

    are ijaz butt,ahmed mukhtar and rehman malik related?

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  • Shafique
    Jul 12, 2011 - 10:32AM

    this stamps the fact that the war is american and we have a rented army to fight on their behalf…. when we dont get the money, we dont fight… fair enough…..

    if americans stop funding backwater today, would they continue their service to their masters.. no… so why pak army??

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  • saad
    Jul 12, 2011 - 10:42AM

    btw who in the first place created talibans and al qaeda (never heard of it before 9/11)? whoever did should eliminate them. and mr. DM what do u need the aid for? for bullet proof cars and farm houses? n on what occasions do u mention ‘sovereignty’? and ever heard of self respect? well, about time some losers who simply want to be prez, PM and ministers to be talked about in their families and social circles should start practicing it. pathetic!

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  • Salman
    Jul 12, 2011 - 10:57AM

    So much for the ‘our-war’ mantra! The civilian and military leadership has turned world’s seventh biggest army into a mercenary force… what a pity!

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  • sohail
    Jul 12, 2011 - 11:18AM

    Month ago US General said that they will focus on east border, and we have seen insurgents attacking Dir Bala, killing many local people and escaping from the area. What it mean?They said and they done…Think

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  • Maher
    Jul 12, 2011 - 11:36AM

    Beggars can’t be choosers ….Recommend

  • Jul 12, 2011 - 11:47AM

    “Mukhtar said that he hoped the United States would not repeat the mistakes it made in the raid to capture Osama Bin Laden.”

    I have never once heard the US saying that move was a “mistake.” They said it would happen again if the situation called for it. Selective hearing?

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  • bulbul
    Jul 12, 2011 - 11:48AM

    WOW, the person who did speak is the one nobody listens to !

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  • Ali
    Jul 12, 2011 - 11:54AM

    Very good decision by Pak Govt, Pak should ask more amount as this condition arrised after U.S.A attack over Afghanistan, U.S.A forced Pakistan to be the part of the war,Alas! we did or bearing the brunt and sucide attacks or poor economy is result of it.

    U.S.A should bear all expense.

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  • AD
    Jul 12, 2011 - 1:13PM

    He should withdraw , but he must live in those areas with his family for a year to show the world that it is safe to live within the borders of Pakistan.

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  • Zaheer Ahmed
    Jul 12, 2011 - 1:37PM

    This is another blunder committed by US Administration. It could be true that Pakistan has not been very transparent with US in this war on terror but who is. Eventually it all boils down to each country’s vested interests. Despite of the huge economic quagmire the country is in, USD 800 million will not make much difference. However the real fear is that US may use its influence over IMF and World Bank to stop providing liquidity to Pakistan. Such attempts by US has never worked in the past and this will not win them many friends in Pakistan.

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  • Jul 12, 2011 - 1:42PM

    A Timid Man came Home, peeped into his bedroom and saw his wife sleeping with another man. Feeling spiteful and thirsting for revenge at this ‘insult’, he went out, took the man’s umbrella and broke it across his knee. Then, feeling avenged, he said to himself : “There… Now I hope it rains!”Recommend

  • aman
    Jul 12, 2011 - 1:48PM

    @Imran

    It might also mean “We are not going
    to prevent/minimize attacks on you if
    you are not going to pay us money” …
    Your survival is in our hands as ours
    is in your hands
    ,,, Understood ?

    and before that, what about pakistan??
    Your survival is in our hands as ours is in your hands – do America or others wait for that kind f survival again and again?? think.. its pakistan’s responsibility to wipe out terrorists in pakistan, only after that it comes to other’s.

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  • Anwar
    Jul 12, 2011 - 2:07PM

    Pak will pull troops from Indian border too if US cuts aid. After all rentseeking is our famous hobby.

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  • Khan
    Jul 12, 2011 - 2:11PM

    @VINOD: Mr Vinod not someone else but USA should pay to defend pakistan.. because they created those terrorists and left them for Pakistan. so if they want to eliminate them they need to support pakistan.

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  • Junaid Alam
    Jul 12, 2011 - 2:44PM

    Mr. minister! you perhaps forgot that you’ll need the troops to stay there even more alert once the Americans go aloud against you… Taliban are no enemies if the Afghan border is properly guarded and the elements within the American CIA and Indian R&AW are kept from assisting them with their agenda.

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  • R S JOHAR
    Jul 12, 2011 - 3:09PM

    The poor Pak Defence Minister is unfairly being targeted for his statement whose text was most likely be given to him by the military itself. Mirza has rightly pointed out that Pakistan doesnt need such a huge army when it is not being deployed along highly sensitive Western border vis-a-vis Eastern border which is completely quiet.

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  • bhai
    Jul 12, 2011 - 3:18PM

    Mr. Mukhtar is going to get his American citizenship cancelled!!

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  • mind control
    Jul 12, 2011 - 3:49PM

    Pakistan will be fighting for its survival, once all US aid, including military aid is withdrawn. Obviously, then the first priority will be defending the ‘strategic assets’ a.k.a. ‘nuclear bums’. Pakistan army will have to withdraw forces from the borders, cede territory to Taliban/TTP/TNSM etc in order to secure the safety of the ‘bums’.

    Defence Minister knows what he is talking about.

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  • S Khan
    Jul 12, 2011 - 5:19PM

    This is what they want.

    US want pakistan to withdraw forces from border so Takiban and AQ start attacking Pakistan. Once taliban enters inside Pakistan then west gets excuse to launch full attack on Pakistan under the pretex of safeguarding nuclear weapons..

    Is anyone else smelling something nasty coming to Pakistan or it’s just me ??

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  • Hassan Farooqi
    Jul 12, 2011 - 5:25PM

    If you really want to do us a favor, remove your brother-in-law Ejaz Butt from the chairmanship of PCB. Then maybe Pakistan’s image will get better, and PCB will stop running in loss.

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  • Hassan Farooqi
    Jul 12, 2011 - 5:28PM

    USA wants action against the Haqqani group who fights in Afghanistan, not Pakistan. However it is against all action against the Mehsud group which was created by their agent, and is full of RAW agents, and operates only in Pakistan. Pakistan should focus on wiping the Mehsud group, and start it from Karachi.

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  • Hedgefunder
    Jul 12, 2011 - 5:39PM

    @Hassan Farooqi:
    Pakistan should stop being selective and start dealing with all the groups !!
    One only has to see the actual state of affairs in the country, to realise as to urgency of dealing with them!!!
    The most important commercial hub, is in the state of bloodbath everyday !!!
    How does one get outside investments or support when the whole place is falling apart???

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  • Umang
    Jul 12, 2011 - 6:34PM

    country that destroys itself. It creates the terrorists to threaten India, when that does not work they try to threaten the US and when that does not work they threaten themselves!!! Is this guy for real?! Is this country for real??!!Recommend

  • Ali
    Jul 12, 2011 - 6:48PM

    The brave Afghans stoodup and defeated a mighty army. The cowardly Pakistanis are asking please do not attack us…or we will do nothing…Allah gives glory to the brave and shame to the cowardly.

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  • My Name is Khan
    Jul 12, 2011 - 7:06PM

    @ Farhad – yes, actually all negative commenters are paid agents of foreign governments. NOT. Why can’t people have an opinion?

    @ Ali – who did the Afghans defeat? Defeating and repelling someone are different things. You would be wise not to support terrorism.

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  • let there be peace
    Jul 12, 2011 - 7:34PM

    Good. Now let international forces take things in their own hand to enter and manage troublesome areas of Pakistan.

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  • Khalid Rahim
    Jul 12, 2011 - 7:53PM

    It seems the Defense Minister has mustered enough moral courage to by pass the standing orders of the Presidency and give statements in the same tone given by the former Foreign Minister on Raymond Davis issue. In both cases these two men were ridiculed by the two women very very close to the Presidency.It would now be a matter of time when the PM is called by Co-Chairperson and told that Mukhtar Awan must be replaced? The question now
    faced by the Armed Forces and Nation is how long before the country becomes another Cambodia or Bosnia. Specially if we do not read between the lines statements given by the
    MQM leadership with six months stop gap. Time for three political leaders to set aside their
    self-centered ego and pray for wisdom and join hands to pull the country out of the crisis and prevent ” Disaster of 1971 ”. PML(N) ANP PTI and if others ponder wisely we would not
    only survive as a nation but move peacefully and progressively.

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  • Tariq
    Jul 12, 2011 - 7:53PM

    Maybe China can pay Pakistan the billions, since they are such good friends

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  • Husein Ali Khan
    Jul 12, 2011 - 7:59PM

    will the government disown this statement also….

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  • N
    Jul 13, 2011 - 12:23AM

    did Zardari tell him to say that???????? coz it sure sounds like him!

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  • AnisAqeel
    Jul 13, 2011 - 6:12AM

    What a bunch of idiots are our statesmen! Military chief says we don’t need American aid and without it we can defend our country and Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar says we are going to stop defending ourselves unless America…..!
    Beggars are threatening themselves to fill the bowl or we are going to blow ourselves.
    If America is our friend, they should help only in the field of education, health and poverty reduction and no military aid and help expose the corrupt civil and military personnel.

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  • Pragmatist
    Jul 13, 2011 - 6:52AM

    Cutting off the nose to spite the face is a well-worn cliche. But for Pakistan, which always has a gun to its own head, it is not. Pakistan’s “think-tank” will rather have the country teeming with violent Taliban foot-soldiers just to teach the Americans a “lesson”. But, I suspect, the Americans will be pretty glad to dump the whole Taliban problem on Pakistani laps and get the hell out.

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  • harkol
    Jul 13, 2011 - 10:05AM

    Just a thought.

    US cuts Military Aid to Pakistan, Pakistan pulls back troops from Afghan Border in ‘retaliation’?

    US would cut all Aid to Pakistan, and Pakistan will further retaliate by moving further away from border?

    US would welcome that. Makes their job easy to launch an attack on Pakistan from Afghanistan, should then need to do so!! :-)

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  • bewildered
    Jul 13, 2011 - 5:19PM

    Pull them

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  • Dr,A.K.Tewari
    Jul 13, 2011 - 5:25PM

    Noora kusti ..? Or,..Reality show ?
    Can Pakistan exist without U.S. ?
    UAE can be expelled from Pakistan ! The air strip is the sole property of the King . Who can dare in Pakistan to go against ,the high value targets are always beyond the scope of any mistake .

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