WASHINGTON: Describing the current state of US-Pakistan relations as ‘strained’, US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey reiterated that the US did not deliberately attack the Pakistani border posts on November 26. He added that closing supply routes said ‘a lot about the US relationship with Pakistan’.
In an event organised by the Atlantic Council think tank, General Dempsey said it was regrettable that Pakistan’s military thought airstrikes on the border posts in Mohmand Agency was intentional. “They believe we did this intentionally, in some way or the other, to discredit them or to goad them into further action.”
He said it was incomprehensible for him that Pakistan believed that, based on the US efforts to build the relationship over time. “If you think we did, I have to ask, what in the world would we hope to gain from doing this.”
“As I sit here today, I don’t know what happened in the Nato airstrikes,” Gen Dempsey asserted.
Recalling that Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and him were batch mates at Fort Leavenworth, he said that he had spoken to him after the Nato airstrikes, and other US officials had also been in touch with their Pakistani counterparts.
Dempsey said the US could adjust the supply routes for Nato, but added it would be more expensive.
“The real problem for me is not the cost …what’s troubling me is that Pakistan would close the routes and what it says about the relationship,” he said.
Regarding the torching of Nato oil tankers, the US military chief said the US does not pay for the fuel until it gets delivered.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 10th, 2011.
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