Image via WikipediaYesterday, April 27, the Wall Street Journal’s Matthew Rosenberg broke the story of Pakistan urging Afghanistan to ally itself with Islamabad, and Islamabad’s BFF, Beijing. Just so you know, China has long been considered by Pakistan as its “all weather friend”, except during calamitous floods and earthquakes when the US appears to be its main BFF. Quick excerpts below:
Pakistan is lobbying Afghanistan’s president against building a long-term strategic partnership with the U.S., urging him instead to look to Pakistan—and its Chinese ally—for help in striking a peace deal with the Taliban and rebuilding the economy, Afghan officials say.
The pitch was made at an April 16 meeting in Kabul by Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who bluntly told Afghan President Hamid Karzai that the Americans had failed them both, according to Afghans familiar with the meeting. Mr. Karzai should forget about allowing a long-term U.S. military presence in his country, Mr. Gilani said, according to the Afghans. Pakistan’s bid to cut the U.S. out of Afghanistan’s future is the clearest sign to date that, as the nearly 10-year war’s endgame begins, tensions between Washington and Islamabad threaten to scuttle America’s prospects of ending the conflict on its own terms.
With the bulk of U.S.-led coalition troops slated to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, the country’s neighbors, including Pakistan, Iran, India and Russia, are beginning to jockey for influence, positioning themselves for Afghanistan’s post-American era.
Some U.S. officials said they had heard details of the Kabul meeting, and presumed they were informed about Mr. Gilani’s entreaties in part, as one official put it, to “raise Afghanistan’s asking price” in the partnership talks. That asking price could include high levels of U.S. aid after 2014. The U.S. officials sought to play down the significance of the Pakistani proposal. Such overtures were to be expected at the start of any negotiations, they said; the idea of China taking a leading role in Afghanistan was fanciful at best, they noted.
Pakistani officials say they no longer have an incentive to follow the American lead in their own backyard. “Pakistan is sole guarantor of its own interest,” said a senior Pakistani official. “We’re not looking for anyone else to protect us, especially the U.S. If they’re leaving, they’re leaving and they should go.”
Active links added above. Read in full here.
On the same day, eight U.S. trainers and one contractor were killed by an Afghan air force officer. Below is a statement from DOD:
Eight International Security Assistance Force service members and an ISAF civilian died today following a shooting incident in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul, military officials reported.
Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, said ISAF has confirmed that the service members and civilian were Americans. Because next of kin had not yet been notified, he would not provide the service affiliations of the service members who were killed.
The shooter reportedly was an Afghan air force officer who was killed during the incident, Lapan said.
USA Today also reported that the Afghan pilot who killed nine U.S. trainers in Kabul came from the security force that has been more closely screened for insurgent sympathizers than any other force. If this does not spell trouble …
More than nine in 10 members of the Afghan air force had undergone screening for criminal, drug and medical problems as part of program to weed out unfit recruits or Taliban infiltrators.
There are 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan and 284,000 Afghan troops and police. President Obama has asked Congress for $12.8 billion to train and equip the Afghan security forces this coming fiscal year.
The attack is not the first of its kind, and it won’t be the last, if we stay in that sand pit.
Then today, the Frontier Post reported that Pakistan rejected as baseless assertions the news that it is ‘lobbying Afghanistan’s president against building a long-term strategic partnership with the U.S’. A denial from the Afghanistan Government should also be forthcoming, unless they want you all to sweat some more …
Well, of course, that WSJ report must be wrong! It must be ….because wait….don’t we have a rather expensive
strategic strategeric partnerships with these lovely folks?
You know what I think every time I hear the word “partnership”? It reminds me of a marriage of convenience made in hell. You can spin it all you want, at the end of the day, you cannot/cannot buy love, and splitville is just a sigh away. Was there a signed pre-nup? Yo! Every partnership needs one.