In the weeks preceding US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Pakistan last month there were daily salvos being fired from Washington and criticizing the Pakistan Army for not proceeding against the Haqqani terrorists group ensconced in North Waziristan in Pakistan. From here in safe sanctuaries provided by Pakistan Army, the Haqqanis had been launching suicide bombings against the US Embassy in Kabul, US Forces and even the Indian Embassy in Kabul. The United States had warned that should the Pakistan Army not proceed against the Haqqanis, US Forces would initiate military operations against them with or without Pakistani help.
The United States resolve for tough unilateral action on its own soon evaporated by the time US Secretary of State was leaving Islamabad. What followed were placatory statements from the American side in a manner unbecoming a Superpower dealing with a failing rogue state.
In public perceptions in Pakistan and in South Asia the impression rightly or wrongly has gone around that since American appeasement sequentially followed dire warnings by the Pakistan Army Chief General Kayani that United States should think ten times before a military intervention in Pakistan, implicit in which was that Pakistan was a nuclear weapons state and capable of military retaliation, and therefore the United States had caved in.
One wonders who in Washington scripted such a strategy which was bound to lead to a diminishment of the United States image in the region where symbolism counts highly.
One is also at a loss to fathom as to what compels the United States to time and again succumb to Pakistani Army blackmail. In the instant case what has really happened is that the Pakistan Army has snooked its thumb at the United States and dared it to take any military intervention in Pakistan. What it amounts to is that the Pakistan Army stands emboldened to be in strategic defiance of the United States.
Till date the United States has not initiated any military intervention in North Waziristan and further attacks and suicide bombings have taken place against US Forces in Kabul. What is therefore unfolding is a sorry spectacle in which the United States has been rendered helpless by the shenanigans of the Pakistan Army, an Army whose lifelines are being provided by the United States at exorbitant cost to the average American taxpayer.
The United States has at its disposal a wide array of strong coercive leverages against Pakistan Army but it has not used them despite tremendous public pressure from American lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
The excuse that the United States needs Pakistan for a safe and orderly exit from Afghanistan is not sustainable as the Pakistan Army is not part of the solution but is the main problem itself.
It is high time that the American tax payers’ vociferously demand that the United States stop appeasement of Pakistan Army and cut all lifelines to Pakistan Army till such time it becomes amenable to safeguard American interests.