Pakistan-US relations: Who will blink first (Part-III)

February 14th, 2011 - 2:04 pm ICT by ANI  

Taliban As opposed to the stake that the US has in the persona of Davis and others like him across the world, are the stakes that the US has in Afghanistan and Pakistan in pursuing the war on terror.

The fact of the matter is that the US cannot withdraw from Afghanistan without an exit strategy for which it needs Pakistan. They are also hugely dependent on Pakistan for supplies to its 1.5-lakh troops in Afghanistan. According to one estimate, almost 80 percent of US/NATO supplies and 60 percent of fuel comes through Pakistan.

In October 2010, Pakistan had stopped US/NATO supplies in retaliation for the killing of three of its soldiers in a NATO helicopter attack in Pakistani air space in the Khurram Agency.

Pakistan closed the Torkham check post and it was opened only on October 10 after the US Ambassador to Pakistan Ann Patterson had apologized on October 6 for the terrible accident.

According to Pakistan’s spin-doctors, it was only after the US apologized that they allowed the supplies to be resumed. According to the US spin-doctors, Pakistan could not withstand stopping the supplies for more than ten days.

Either way, the incident demonstrated how much the US needed Pakistan for its war effort in Afghanistan.

In addition to logistics, without Pakistan’s even grudging participation in the war on terror, the US would find the going much tougher in Afghanistan, than at present.

Finally, the US would hardly relish seeing Pakistan implode as it is teetering on the edge of radicalization. Disruption in relations with US and especially of economic assistance, could spiral out of control and finally push Pakistan towards rapid radicalization. With a nuclear arsenal, the last thing the US would want is a Talibanised Pakistan.

On its part, Pakistan desperately needs the US to keep it afloat, to bail it out of its massive economic crisis and to ensure that Pakistan is not squeezed by international financial institutions and other donor countries leading to default on its payments.

Three other factors make the situation complex for Pakistan and render an easy way out difficult.

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