Washington: Underlining that Pakistan’s “double game” has long frustrated US officials, a leading American daily today said the country remains a “duplicitous and dangerous” partner for the US and it was time to “put the squeeze” on it.
“Pakistan’s double game has long frustrated American officials, and it has grown worse. There are now efforts in Washington to exert more pressure on the Pakistan Army,” The New York Times said in a lead editorial today.
In the editorial ‘Time to Put the Squeeze on Pakistan’, the New York Times Editorial Board said nearly 15 years after 9/11, the war in Afghanistan is raging and Pakistan “deserves much of the blame”.
“It remains a duplicitous and dangerous partner for the United States and Afghanistan, despite USD 33 billion in American aid and repeated attempts to reset relations on a more constructive course,” the editorial board wrote, questioning the Pakistan policy of the Obama administration.
Of the view that the key to talks with the Taliban and bringing peace in Afghanistan lies with Pakistan, The New York Times said Pakistan’s powerful army and intelligence services have for years given support to the Taliban and the Haqqani terrorist network and relied on them to protect Pakistani interests in Afghanistan and prevent India from increasing its influence there.
“Under American pressure, the Pakistan Army recently waged a military campaign against the Taliban in the ungoverned border region. But the Haqqanis still operate in relative safety in Pakistan. Some experts say the army has helped engineer the integration of the Haqqanis into the Taliban leadership,” the daily said.
The New York Times praised Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for putting a hold on the sale of eight F-16s to Pakistan with American tax payers money.
“Mr Corker told The Times he would lift the hold on the aid if Pakistan cracks down on the Haqqani network, which he called the ‘No. 1 threat’ to Afghanistan and American troops there,” the daily said.
However, the daily was of the view that serving ties with Pakistan is not an option given the fast expanding nuclear weapons arsenal of this South Asian country.
The New York Times said the “grim reality presents difficult choices for Mr Obama, who must decide whether to keep the current troop strength and possibly to change the military’s role to fight the Taliban more directly.”