The recent US drone strike at Pakistan’s Balochistan province was imminent. Earlier this year, America refused to sell its fighter jets to Pakistan, and then in April, it said it would sell the planes, but not as the agreed-on subsidized price. Putting a month-long cap, US threw the ‘take it, or leave it’ condition, knowing well that Pakistan won’t be able to make the non-discounted payment.
While Pakistan was still sulking over the matter, USA’s House of Representatives voted to block $450 million US aid to Pakistan. Three days later, without informing Pakistan, US drones flew over Balochistan, bombarding areas in an attempt to kill that the Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammed Akhtar Mansour. The Afghan Taliban announced on 25 May that the assault had indeed killed their leader.
While Pakistan saw red, fuming about the violation of sorts, US retained a solid stance, saying the move was an attempt to arrest the growing menace of the Afghan militants that have their base in Balochistan, the province that shares a soft border with Afghanistan.
While Pakistan’s powerful military establishment has quietly cooperated with the CIA’s campaign of drone strikes against al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban in the northwestern tribal areas, it has refused past requests from the spy agency to expand the drone flights into Baluchistan, former US officials said. Until the strike against Mansour, Washington had resisted the temptation of going after Taliban sanctuaries out of fear of angering Pakistan. But no more!
The US has been persistently pressuring Islamabad that it prevents Hakkani Network and other terror units from using Pakistan as the base.
Talks are rife in the corridors of Islamabad that it will not run after the American F16 fighter jets; it would rather buy planes from China. May be this is an arm-twisting tactic of Islamabad to wrest a cheaper deal from the US. There are also mumbling among Pakistani law-makers that the Indian lobby in Washington is responsible for derailing the jet deal. However, America has cleared the air that India has nothing to do with their decision.
Pakistan is in dire straits today. The terror outfits that its army and the ISI have nurtured for so long, has now become a grave threat to the nation. The world looks at them as a terror-funding nation, while America, the ‘Big Brother’ that have been sending millions in terms of foreign aid is tightening the screws now. Islamabad is also losing its sleep over India’s growing closeness to the Obama government.
Carlotta Gall’s book The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan 2001-2014 says that America’s original enemy is not Afghanistan or Taliban; it’s Pakistan! The book which is very popular among the American think tanks.
Like Pakistan, US is caught in its own web too. The Bush government had used Pakistan in its fight against the al qaeda. In return, Islamabad would receive hefty cheques. But now that al qaeda has been replaced by the ISIS, Washington’s lack of patience can be understood. With America’s focus on Syria and Iraq now, Pakistan has taken a backseat, and the results are but so obvious.