Pakistan threatens to abandon frontier after US aid cut

posted at 4:53 pm on July 13, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Pakistan has made the latest chess move in the escalating feud with the US after the successful raid that killed Osama bin Laden just yards from Pakistan’s most elite military academy.  Saying that they will “fight the menace of terrorism in our own national interest using our own resources,” Pakistan’s defense minister publicly threatened to fight terrorism by, er, moving the army out of the region where the terrorists operate:

Pakistan’s defense minister has said that the country might withdraw thousands of troops from its volatile border areas in response to a suspension of U.S. military aid, a move that would undermine Washington’s interests in a region that is home to al-Qaeda and a stew of other Islamist militant groups.

In an interview that aired Tuesday on a private Pakistani television station, Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar contradicted statements earlier in the day by the nation’s powerful military, which said forces would continue counterterrorism operations despite a decision by the Obama administration to delay $800 million in promised aid and reimbursements. Although the reason for the inconsistency was unclear, Mukhtar’s comments are a sign that Pakistan is likely to react to the U.S. decision with greater defiance rather than cooperation.

The proximate cause for this threat came from a suspension of American aid that occurred after Pakistan refused to grant visas to more than a hundred Special Forces trainers.  Hillary Clinton announced the suspension as only a temporary measure “to ensure cooperation,” but the Pakistanis seem to be less interested in cooperation than ever before.  They are also coming under political pressure from the ramped-up drone strikes, including four this week that killed over 50 suspected militants:

In a development likely to exacerbate tensions, the CIA this week continued its controversial drone campaign in Pakistan’s remote tribal belt, killing more than 50 suspected militants in North and South Waziristan in four strikes starting Monday night, according to Pakistani intelligence officials and residents in the area. Pakistani officials tacitly approve the strikes, but their support has grown warier amid public anger and the widening bilateral rift.

One might think that Pakistan would take alarm at a porous border that allows a free flow of radical Islamists into their country, but for some, that’s a bug rather than a feature.  The proof of that is the threat to withdraw from the region.  Pervez Musharraf once inked a deal with radicals in the tribal territories to allow him to pull out, only to find that the US was not impressed and that the terrorists don’t honor agreements.  His military action on the frontier were very unpopular, and thus far the same kind of operations aren’t making the elected Gilani government any more popular, either, and the drone strikes are making Pakistani cooperation with the US even less so.

If Pakistan follows through on its threat, we will find our already tough slog in Afghanistan even tougher, unless Barack Obama decides to react by sending forces over the border in “hot pursuit” of Taliban forces trying to hide behind it, which will clearly be a provocation to Islamabad.  A withdrawal will give the US an even better excuse to continue escalating drone strikes, and at least this way the Pakistani army will be known to be out of the way when those are launched.  However, if we want to remain in Afghanistan to give Kabul time to stand up its own army, we’d better be careful about pushing so hard that we get an entire break with Pakistan and lose our lines of communication for NATO forces across the border.

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Big deal.

Obama killed Osama and so the war on terror is over.

angryed on July 13, 2011 at 4:56 PM

They weren’t defending anything anyway, so why pay money for that?

JavelinaBomb on July 13, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Alternative headlines:

Wolf stops guarding sheeps

angryed on July 13, 2011 at 4:58 PM

I am of the opinion that since we don’t care about winning (thanks Obama), we should stop giving them money, let Pakistan take their toys and go home. Then we can bring our troops out of harm’s way in Afghanistan. Let the militants blow up Pakistan and see how they like it.

search4truth on July 13, 2011 at 4:58 PM

that the terrorists don’t honor agreements.

Caststeel on July 13, 2011 at 4:59 PM

Alternate headline: Hey India, would you still like to attend my pizza party? I’m not inviting you-know-who.

JavelinaBomb on July 13, 2011 at 5:00 PM

I didn’t realize that Pakistan was in Alaska./

upinak on July 13, 2011 at 5:00 PM

An Afghanistan without the threat of the Islamists or Taliban will, in the eyes of Islamabad, grativate towards India.

Pakistan is terrified of that. The Taliban is their ace card.

They’re opposed to anything that might remotely help India.

SteveMG on July 13, 2011 at 5:00 PM

They pretend to be our friends and we will pretend to pay them.

Schadenfreude on July 13, 2011 at 5:00 PM

so that means ATF can ship them weapons right?

DanMan on July 13, 2011 at 5:00 PM

One might think that Pakistan would take alarm at a porous border that allows a free flow of radical Islamists into their country, but for some, that’s a bug rather than a feature. The proof of that is the threat to withdraw from the region.

I think you mean that the “porous border” is a feature not a bug. Many articles (including some written by you) have stated that the Pakistani Intelligence Service is actually supporting the Taliban. Thus they want the U.S. to fail in Afghanistan.

sabbahillel on July 13, 2011 at 5:01 PM

I DO love the idea of telling Pakistan we like India better anyways.

search4truth on July 13, 2011 at 5:04 PM

So when can we put the ISI and the Paki government on the terrorist list?

They’ve got nukes? We’ve got more.

Aquateen Hungerforce on July 13, 2011 at 5:04 PM

Loyalty from someone you are “renting” their friendship?

Ask Client #9 how much loyalty he got from his high priced prostitutes. Not very much.

I think the US should expect the same.

barnone on July 13, 2011 at 5:07 PM

When our borders are secured…

… I will give a flying flip about Pakistan.

Seven Percent Solution on July 13, 2011 at 5:12 PM

I thought the world would love us if we elected Barry Hussein…..next you will tell me the oceans are not receding….

SDarchitect on July 13, 2011 at 5:13 PM

Do it and stick OUR troops right in that region. See if the Paki’s have any interest in defending that border THEN.

clement on July 13, 2011 at 5:17 PM

They don’t want to defend that border? Fine. Send in the B-52′s and turn the entire region into moonscape.

evilned on July 13, 2011 at 5:18 PM

If Pakistan follows through on its threat, we will find our already tough slog in Afghanistan even tougher

Tough slog? More like seemingly never ending mind numbing stupidity.

Lon Chaney on July 13, 2011 at 5:25 PM

Pakistan’s defense minister has said that the country might withdraw thousands of troops from its volatile border areas…

Would those be the same Pakistani troops that fire at our soldiers across the border in Afghanistan?

We have to make this very clear to the Paks: if you cannot or will not control this area of your country, you thereby surrender any claims of sovereignty over it.

slickwillie2001 on July 13, 2011 at 5:25 PM

However, if we want to remain in Afghanistan to give Kabul time to stand up its own army, we’d better

plan on being there a thousand years … … for starts. Anyone who thinks we should stay Great Islamic Society Nation Building in Afcrapistan is insane.

Lon Chaney on July 13, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Let them withdraw. Then, carpet bomb it.

trigon on July 13, 2011 at 5:28 PM

We can always hope that India finally gets tired of all the terrorist attacks against them emanating from Pakistan and finally tells them it is time for them to bend over and kiss their Muslim asses goodbye.

Lon Chaney on July 13, 2011 at 5:31 PM

Helen Piszoff is the new Foreign Complaints Dept. Director. So if Pakistan has a complaint about U.S. foreign policy, tell them to go to Helen Piszoff.

Lone Star on July 13, 2011 at 5:33 PM

TAKE their nukes and GTFO.

RealMc on July 13, 2011 at 5:35 PM

So we stop giving them money to go against us, and they threaten? Ummm call me an idiot, but does Pakistan even have any legitimacy left?

capejasmine on July 13, 2011 at 5:37 PM

After today’s bombs in Mubai, I bet we could just support India to take over the Paki frontier.

TexasDan on July 13, 2011 at 6:03 PM

I think you mean “that’s a feature, not a bug”.

:)

hadsil on July 13, 2011 at 6:16 PM

Does this mean the Pakistani Military will no longer be actively helping the terrorists fight?

Snake307 on July 13, 2011 at 7:04 PM

“Pakistan’s defense minister” Like he has a say in whether the border guards stay or not. The W.H. is waiting to hear from the guards union to see what they are supposed to do next.

multiuseless on July 13, 2011 at 7:15 PM

Yes, let the Pakistanis withdraw their forces from their borders with Afghanistan. They were never serious about fighting the Islamist terrorists in the first place, so we’re saving ourselves billions in aid.

Face it, folks. Pakistan is a Muslim country, and Islam is at war with the infidels of the West. We were never going to get their full cooperation. So they have nukes. India has nukes, too, as does China, as do we, and despite all our differences with each other, we are never going to tolerate a nuclear-threatened takeover of the world by a bunch of old beardy-weirdies in dresses and turbans.

RebeccaH on July 13, 2011 at 7:41 PM

Probably for the best. The next President might decide to open top mine it.

Limerick on July 13, 2011 at 7:47 PM

Yeah, um.. let’s see.
If Pakistan actually stopped terrorism in the area, then we wouldn’t actually need to be involved with them militarily at all, would we?
On the other hand, if they not only allow terrorists to operate in the area, but actively support it, we give them TONS ‘o cash, AND we help to safeguard their leaders from any competition.

Gee, I just can’t figure it all out.

Hopefully at some day, not just Obozo, but the American People will say “ENOUGH” – because they realize we’ve just been getting played by the Muslims in the Middle East, and the TRILLIONS of dollars that went to their economies instead of ours – OR our allies!

KMC1 on July 13, 2011 at 10:20 PM

How about we threaten to turn their frontier into a moonscape so poisonous that a cockroach would need a full-body suit to survive?

Uncle Sams Nephew on July 13, 2011 at 10:36 PM

Ok, leave then. We can handle it.

dogsoldier on July 14, 2011 at 6:23 AM