Sunday, 7 August 2011

Excellent explanation of Pakistan-US tensions

The clearest explanation I have read so far of the spat between Pakistan and the USA, written by Sebastian Abbot, Kathy Gannon and Kimberly Dozier and published by AP last Wednesday, was followed only by the Washington Times and Pakistan's Dawn newspaper. 
It reveals that the US Ambassador to Islamabad phoned Washington in an urgent attempt to get the CIA to call off a drone strike on 17 March, the day following the release of CIA contractor Raymond Davies. Cameron Munter believed the attack would further inflame already strained ties with Islamabad.
In the event the attack was approved by CIA director Leon Panetta , resulting in the death of around 40 people. The CIA said they were all militants, but strong evidence from the region suggests a local jirga, set up to discuss a mining dispute, was attacked.
Other attacks followed, many of which seemed timed to cause maximum embarrassment to both countries.
As predicted, relations deteriorated very rapidly and were only set back on course again recently with the removal of the second Pakistan CIA station chief within six months. An excellent article.

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