Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Distorted Strategic Relations

Recrimination over Haqqani terror network continues blurring relations between the United States and its ally Pakistan. The two countries' relations grew distorted following US Navy SEAL's unilateral operation to hunt Al Qaeda Chief Osama Bin Laden. Soon after the incident, US congressmen called for revision of ties with Pakistan and US's aid to that country.

However, Islamabad denied links with Bin Laden and his terror network. Today, the question is over Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) links with the Haqqani militant network. The group has launched a series of lethal operations against Afghan and American forces and institutions since the very first days of US forces presence here in late 2001.

It is known as the most violent armed group fighting against Afghan government and its international allies. Recent terrorist attacks in Kabul, US officials say, left traces of attackers' link with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

In view of that, Obama administration officials have stressed the need to put pressure on Pakistan for cutting ties with the militant group. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen was the first to make blunt statements on Pakistan's link with Haqqani network.

US senior officials joined him in condemning ISI supports for the militant group. Condemnations continued Sunday with US's Sen. Lindsey Graham who believes that there was broad bipartisan support in Congress for a military attack on Pakistan and that "all options are on the table" against the nation.

United States has seriously asked its Pakistani ally to take sufficient and immediate action against Haqqani militants using FATA safe havens in Pakistan. However, Pakistani army resists rebuffing allegations. They say Pakistani forces' death toll in fight against militants in the tribal areas demonstrates the country's commitment to peace and stability in the region.

Nevertheless, Pakistan's chief of army staff called his top generals for an extraordinary meeting last week to discuss the series of stinging American rebukes. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is expected to call a rare cross-party conference, although he has dismissed the American allegations.

Divergences arise as the US-led NATO forces are preparing to leave Afghanistan and handover security job to Afghan government by 2014. As seen clearly, the US and Afghan government acknowledges that Pakistan's function in fighting terrorism remains substantial.

Despite criticism and shortfalls, the US needs Pakistan's companionship to push forward the lagging process of peace building in Afghanistan. And president Karzai's government has also sought Pakistan's help over reconciliation process.

To help the mission get accomplished successfully, to save Afghan and Pakistani nations and to secure the world, Pakistan requires taking more practical steps to uproot militancy there. Acknowledging the sacrifices it has made so far in fight against terrorism, more needs to be done. Pakistan holds the key to overcome this scourge.