Pakistan might withdraw border troops, defense minister says

Pakistan might withdraw border troops, defense minister says
By Karin Brulliard, Published: July 12 | Updated: Wednesday, July 13, 7:26 AM
KARACHI, Pakistan — 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.

“We cannot afford to keep our military out in the mountains for such a long period of time,” said Mukhtar, a member of the civilian government, which is viewed as subordinate to the military.

A Pakistani army spokesman, Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, said it would be “inappropriate” to comment on Mukhtar’s statement.

Early Wednesday, the Associated Press, citing a Pakistan army spokesman, reported that the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency was on his way to Washington. The spokesman did not give details of Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha’s trip.

After a meeting Tuesday, Pakistan’s top generals released a statement saying they had resolved to “fight the menace of terrorism in our own national interest using our own resources.”

White House officials said Sunday that the United States, which has provided billions of dollars in military aid and reimbursements to Pakistan over the past decade, was withholding about one-third of this year’s payments to express discontent over poor security cooperation. Bilateral strains have intensified in the months leading up to and after the U.S. raid in May that killed Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani garrison city and prompted many in Washington to question whether the al-Qaeda leader had official support.

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.

Some of the suspended U.S. military assistance had gone toward training a ragtag Pakistani paramilitary force that patrols the mountainous border region, through which militants slip easily into Afghanistan. Pakistan recently canceled more than 100 visas for U.S. Special Operations trainers working with that force, a move that U.S. officials cited as a reason for withholding aid. Mukhtar said that up to 15 soldiers at each of 1,100 border checkpoints might have to be withdrawn.

On Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the U.S. aid suspension was “not a shift in policy but underscores the fact that the partnership with Pakistan depends on cooperation.”

But distrust of the United States is pervasive in both Pakistan’s society and its military, and Pakistani analysts said the U.S. aid decision was likely to deepen it. Abbas said Monday that Pakistan did not need “external support,” but he and other military officials suggested that they could seek assistance from China — a country Pakistan views as an all-weather friend that, in contrast to Washington, refrains from demands or critiques.

“The majority in Pakistan and also many in the ranks of the military are angry at Washington,” a Pakistani military official said. He added that Pakistan and China are discussing air and naval projects. “This, in turn, will put pressure on the government and military to review and reassess the counterterrorism cooperation with the U.S.”

Special correspondents Shaiq Hussain in Islamabad and Haq Nawaz Khan in Peshawar contributed to this report.

Pakistan might withdraw border troops, defense minister says - The Washington Post
Double dealing scumbags!

and these Pakistanis think China is going to fund them and save them...let me remind them that during the floods America gave 600 million in aid while China gave only 18 million, China only thinks about China.
I find Mr B&T quite amusing, where as you 'the boy liker' and conduit of goats cheese are so ever so slightly annoying. You do make me smile with your rhetoric though so, carry on!!!!
While Pakistan is inching towards failed state status, it is still more advanced, civilised and law abiding than it's neighbour Afghanistan.

Both countries would benefit from being re-colonised; and probably will be in time. Either by China or India.


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Double dealing scumbags!

and these Pakistanis think China is going to fund them and save them...let me remind them that during the floods America gave 600 million in aid while China gave only 18 million, China only thinks about China.
ah but that 600 million american would have ended up buying goods from america which could have been bought from china for 18m - the american aid promises are usually totally false. instead of turning up with a chq book and buying local goods from local businesses and encouraging trade they will buy american goods and fly them over in american planes and destabilise the local economy making it worse. if the iraq and afghan aid money was spent locally then every male would earn 8k a year for doing the same job its costing 80k+ for now not counting security etc... they could have employed the iraqi army to stay in barracks or just sweep the desert clean and saved themselves an insurgency.

the biggest tragedy of the floods was the faliure to prosecute the bigwigs who blew the levvies to protect their own farmlands at the expense of all else.

back to topic though if the pakistani military pull out of the mountains then they may as well not bother going back in as it cost them enough in their attempt to pacify the tribal areas at american request last time. they would be better drawing a new border and declaring the tribal regions independant and watching it regress back to the stone age, maybe then the poeple would get fed up and turn on their warlords and mullahs.
Most of the Pak military are still sulking about Barry whacking their poster boy Osama and he now is delaying nearly a $billion of their regular bung. I'm not surprised they are miffed, this is a deal breaker for them.

Who does Barry think he is playing domestic politics like this? Feeble DC has long appeased Pindi's sponsorship of various talibans and turned a blind eye to their fondness for transnational terrorism. The worm was not expected to turn.

I'd add looning about in FATA as the shortsighted Pentagon has unwisely demanded has lost the Pak army tens of thousands troops and main affect is just stirring a considerable domestic Hornets nest in the Punjab which offers DC only a larger headache.

If they don't get their salt Pindi will be giving Barry's tiny cojones a good hard squeeze by closing the Khyber again. There's no way The Pentagon can supply the surged US deployment without the Karachi-Peshwar LOS. Barry has no means of rapid withdrawal without political humiliation. The usual Pindi bribe is dwarfed 100s of $billions the US has pumped into this war. The POTUS is buggered and will be made to pay this Danegeld.

Finally Pindi also may have other longterm sources of sponsorship. Riyadh has just bribed the new Cario Junta with $4 billion to stave of democracy, a bigger bung than a cash strapped DC can muster for anyone but Israel. The Saudis are eager for alternative military muscle to the unreliable Kuffar's of DC and perhaps a nest egg of nuclear weapons. The shield of the Arabs, Iraq, has fallen to Shi'a Untermenschen and the genocide prone Pakistanis conveniently border a smaller, much weaker Iran.

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