The Pakistani Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani has mentioned that there is a credibility gap between Pakistan and US and both the countries need to trust each other more if they are really interested in decreasing this gap. He mentioned in a recent interview, "Yes there is a credibility gap, we are working together and still we don't trust each other," and "I think we have to improve our relationship so that… we should have more confidence in each other."
Pak-US relations have been going through a declining trend since the hunt of Osama Bin Laden on the Pakistani land by US troops. With certain inconsiderable efforts for improvement during the process, the incidents have kept on leading the relations towards the lowest possible point and that is where it stands now. Pakistan has always had an important role in Afghanistan and has influenced it in some way or the other. Though, its role has not always been positive, its importance has been felt, not only to get rid of terrorism but also establishing a strong political order in the country.
Moreover, since the beginning of war against terrorism, the imperative triangle – Afghanistan, US and Pakistan – has been required to have a proper shape but that has not happened the way it had to. On some occasions US has been over aggressive while on some others Pakistan has been too much tricky. The remaining shortcomings have been fulfilled by the reluctance and corrupt attitude of Afghan authorities.
After the NATO attack on the Pakistani military post that resulted in the death of 24 Pakistani soldiers, the US-Pak relations are heading towards further deterioration. Pakistan has shown serious reaction to the event and has taken certain steps in this regard. It has disconnected the communication channels with NATO and has blocked the NATO supply routes which provided NATO with some of the basic supplies like fuel. The vehicles carrying the supply are standing near the Af-Pak border where some of them have been even attacked by culprits. They may remain blocked unless there is some improvement in the relations.
As far as the attack is concerned, there are controversies regarding the opinion of Afghan and NATO troops on one side and of Pakistan on the other. NATO has mentioned that the attack was a reaction to the firings that they received from Pakistani side of the border during an Afghan-NATO joint operation against the terrorists in the bordering areas of Kunar.
Moreover, NATO has also mentioned that they are sorry for the Pakistani casualties. US also mentioned condolence and promised to carry out a fair investigation into the matter. Pakistan's has mentioned that it would not be a part of any sort of investigation. Apart from that Afghan officials have also kept on blaming that Pakistan has been involved in helping the terrorists and that particular attack was meant to target the terrorists.
Pakistan in response to all these claims have clearly mentioned that the attack on the checkpoint were 'unprovoked' and lasted for few hours even after Pakistan had contacted NATO to stop the attacks. Moreover, Pakistani officials have claimed that there were no fires from Pakistani checkpoint on the NATO or Afghan forces. Moreover, the Pakistani official also asked US to evacuate Shamsi base, which according to latest reports has already been evacuated. Shamsi base has been used by US to launch drone attacks on the terrorists.
There are many ambiguities which are yet to be resolved. Hopefully, the investigation that has been set will definitely work to remove these ambiguities and make the realities clear to everyone since this particular incident is going to have lasting impact not only on the relations of US and Pakistan but it is going to affect the Afghan-Pak relations to a large extent.
The other regional countries like Iran, China and Russia are also against the US presence in Afghanistan and they have been condemning any sort of US interference in Afghanistan's neighboring counties. China that has been considered as a true friend of Pakistan also mentioned that the attacks were the violation of Pakistan's sovereignty.
Chinese statement came through the foreign minister Yang Jiechi, "China is deeply shocked by these events, and expressing strong concern for the victims and profound condolences to Pakistan," and a foreign ministry spokesman added, "China believes that Pakistan's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected and the incident should be thoroughly investigated and be handled properly."
In short, it comes to the front that the triangle – Afghanistan, US and Pakistan – has only been able to make the regional countries and international world more ambiguous about Afghanistan and war against terrorism. The Bonn II conference that had to be very decisive has not been able to achieve great milestones.
The first Bonn Conference was very much productive, while this second was victim of unpreparedness, and conflicts among these main players. The boycott of Pakistan from the conference because of the deteriorated relations with US casted a negative impact on the conference and will also influence the future of Afghanistan. However, it does not suggest that its presence could have made a very huge difference. It would only serve to make the world see that the triangle is in shape but it has shown that it has gone out-of-shape.
Afghanistan has not been a very active part of this triangle but it has always played important role. On most of the occasions it has not been able to decide its position in the triangle without the influence of other two sides. In fact it has been the smallest side of the triangle. However, it must not forget that without it triangle is incomplete.
All it wants are some strong and wise steps in its diplomatic relations. For Afghanistan at this moment it is necessary that it should maintain strong relations with regional countries along with the Western allies. The neighboring countries should not feel that the country is being used for aggression on other countries.
At this crucial moment Afghanistan must maintain strong diplomatic relations with Pakistan and handle the situation tactfully and at the same time make US trust on it. Afghanistan and Pakistan and US are connected to one another in the war against terrorism in such a way that non of the three can extract itself out of it without influencing the others and without putting an end to the entire phenomenon of terrorism. Nevertheless, Afghanistan must never sacrifice its national interests in the process.