US security assistance and Pakistan

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby informed the media men during a press briefing that the US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin spoke with Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa on telephone and shared regional interests and objectives. During the call, the Secretary Blinken reiterated his appreciation for Pakistan’s support for the Afghanistan peace negotiations. and expressed his desire to continue to build on the United States-Pakistan bilateral relations. While responding to media query regarding possibility of US military bases in Pakistan, Mr. Kirby said that he doesn’t have any specific updates in terms of the potential for overseas basing there, after US withdrawal. According to Kirby, US is exploring a range of options and opportunities to be able to provide a credible and viable over-the-horizon counter-terrorism capability. While responding to a question, Kirby said that currently US security assistance to Pakistan is still suspended, and he gave no clarity whether it is going to resume during coming days or not.

Pakistan and United States established diplomatic and military relations since after creation of Pakistan in 1947. It will be a better illustration of US-Pakistan relations that these relations mainly remained transactional and dependent on military to military cooperation and most interestingly Pak-US relations always flourished during the Military rule in Pakistan. These relations witnessed many ups and downs over the last seven decades primarily due to divergence or convergence of US interests. This relationship witnessed historic low after assumption of office by President Trump in early 2017. The reason of such tarnish relations was lay in Afghanistan instead of Pakistan.

In fact, Trump’s aides assured the President that Pakistan is the reason of all ills in Afghanistan and it can do all that America’s need, but the South Asian nation was not cooperating with the US. Pakistan informed the US authorities that Afghanistan is another country having several centers of power, however Pakistan is ready to cooperate with US as it can. However, Pakistan doubled the numbers of its troops and check posts on Pak-Afghan border to address US complaint of border crossing by the terrorists and also started construction of fencing on Durand line, besides offering full diplomatic support to United States for a peaceful settlement. However, in early days of January 2018, Trump busted on Pakistan by using twitter platform and Department of State Spokeswoman Heather Nauert announced to end US Security Assistance to Pakistan. Pakistan strongly protested Trump’s remarks against it and categorically informed the US administration that it does not need US aid or assistance for any purpose however it demanded respect and dignified treatment from the United States. America extended security assistance to Pakistan in early 2002, when Pakistan deployed its military in tribal areas alongside the Durand line to deter militant’s penetration into its territory and initiated haunting operation against Al-Qaeda. Pakistan maintained that its fight against terrorism is in its national interests. Pakistan will continue its battle against terrorism in the country and would be ready to play a positive role in Afghanistan when needed. After applying all corrosive tactics and techniques, US asked Pakistan for help in bring peace in Afghanistan and Pakistan played a positive role there which is being acknowledged by the US administration. However, Pakistan is not eager to get US security assistance anymore because its only demand is respect and equality from others including US and apparently, Americans have understood Pakistan’s viewpoint so far.