Pakistani army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani told a parliamentary defense committee on Tuesday that Pakistan was no longer in need of American military aid.
Iftikhar Khan of Dawn.com reported that Kayani received a call from Washington asking if he meant it. “My reply was we mean what we say,” Kayani said during the briefing in Rawalpindi, stressing that Pakistan would not compromise its national sovereignty.
The General also ruled out the possibility of unilateral U.S. military action on Pakistani soil, saying the Americans will have to “think 10 times before going for this.” Kayani’s comments come in light of a U.S. military build-up near North Waziristan, home of the Haqqani Network militant group.
Kayani had been asked to comment on the possibility of a U.S. strike in Pakistan for its failure in Afghanistan, similar to the way the U.S. attacked Laos and Cambodia during Vietnam. Kayani said he would like to remind the Americans that Pakistan was a nuclear power and must not be compared with Iraq and Afghanistan.
The General also rejected allegations that his country was using the Haqqanis to wage a proxy war in Afghanistan, claiming that Pakistan was part of the solution, not the problem. He scoffed at the notion that Pakistan wanted to control Afghanistan, because it was evident from history that no one has ever succeeded in doing so:
“When the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union failed to do so how can it be expected of Pakistan? We do not have a magic wand to succeed in doing what others failed,” Kayani added.
U.S. Admiral Mike Mullen recently called the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network “a veritable arm” of the ISI – Pakistan’s spy agency, angering Pakistani military as well as civilian leaders.
Pakistan’s Business Recorder claimed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was scheduled to visit on Thursday. Pakistani leaders were expected to ask the U.S. to restore military aid and expedite the flow of assistance under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), however, Kayani’s bold words seem to contradict this assertion.
The U.S. has unsuccessfully tried to use military aid as leverage against Pakistan in attempts to get them to root out the Haqqani network from Pakistan’s tribal area. Now one wonders if the U.S. has any “sticks” left to achieve its desired outcomes.
Team Obama has been playing a game of “good cop, bad cop” with the Pakistanis, according to Josh Rogin in Foreign Policy, as a means of ratcheting up pressure. Rogin quoted a U.S. offical as saying:
“Hillary is trying to position herself in the middle and say to Pakistan that there are those of us who want to engage and others who want to fold. How long do you want to play this game of poker?” the official said.
Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institution underlined in a recent New York Times op-ed how the two countries have conflicting strategic interests, which will remain so as long as “Pakistan’s army controls Pakistan’s strategic policies”.
Riedel also asserted that the U.S. “…must contain the Pakistani Army’s ambitions until real civilian rule returns and Pakistanis set a new direction for their foreign policy.” He also advocates abandoning efforts to seek Pakistani assistance, especially in light of the assassination of Afghan high peace council leader Burhanuddin Rabbani by Pakistani-based Taliban elements.
“When one party murders the [peace process] leader on the other side, we pretty much have an answer as to whether or not there’s going to be a political reconciliation process,” Riedel said.
Meanwhile, according to CNN, one NATO official on Tuesday reported a marked increase in Haqqani infiltration into Afghanistan from Pakistan in recent weeks.
The U.S. has accused Haqqani fighters of killing more than 1,000 coalition and Afghan forces and launching a series of “spectacular attacks” this summer, including a 20-hour attack on the American Embassy in Kabul.
For more articles by Michael Hughes about Afghanistan, Pakistan and U.S. Foreign Policy visit Michael’s website at www.MichaelHughesAssoc.com
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