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28 April 2017 06:31 (South Africa)

American pressure builds tension in US-Pakistan relationship

As the US presses Pakistan to drive militants from tribal areas, this is straining relations. Pakistan’s offensive in South Waziristan means large swathes of the country are effectively under siege. Militants previously in the tribal areas are bringing their fight to the cities and Pakistanis are blaming the US for the results. Secretary of state Hillary Clinton is due in Pakistan shortly. She will find a nuclear-armed state with doubts about the utility of this alliance and resentful of constant American nagging. America is also still dealing with Pakistan’s annoyance about its new aid package of $7.5 billion over five years. As the legislation passed Congress, Pakistan’s generals denounced it as interference in their domestic affairs. Richard Holbrooke, Afghanistan/Pakistan special envoy, said the administration wanted to know if Pakistan’s army was “dispersing” or “destroying” the militants. The army is using about 28,000 soldiers to deal with 10,000 guerrillas, a low ratio according to counterinsurgency theory. Moreover, given the uncertainty of America’s Afghan plans and Pakistani sentiment, and India being  “up to no good” in Baluchistan and tribal areas, the army is unlikely to abandon the militant groups it has used as proxies in Afghanistan and in Kashmir against India. For more: The New York Times

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