Amid the hopes that bilateral relations between Pakistan and the United States (US) will normalise, the ties have received yet another blow as the US military is seeking to reallocate $300 million in aid to Pakistan. The reprogramming of the funds is the latest move of Pentagon in coercing Pakistan to do more against the terrorists and militant outfits that America holds responsible for the insurgency in Afghanistan. The move of Pentagon has come just a few days before US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo’s visit to Islamabad.
While Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, has already hinted that Islamabad will continue cooperating with Washington, much of how bilateral relations take shape in future will become clear after Pompeo’s visit. However, James Mattis, US military chief, who will also accompany Pompeo has already made it clear in a statement given a few days ago that the “primary part” of the talks with the government in Islamabad would be convincing Pakistan to do more in the fight against terrorists.
Imran Khan who has remained a vocal critic of American adventurism abroad will be dealing with the US officials this time. His position on American wars is not naïve. Many prominent scholars of international affairs, instead of blaming Pakistan for America’s failure in its war on terror, think that American intervention is the cause of all instability in Kabul. After all, for Islamic State’s growing influence in Afghanistan, no one else but hawkish American policy of invading country after country is to blame.
Contrary to the belief of the White House that a determined crackdown on terror outfits by Pakistani forces will decide the outcome of the seventeen years old war in Afghanistan, the roots of instability in Kabul lie in American’s foreign ambitions. Pompeo’s visit should find new vistas for bilateral cooperation rather than making Pakistan scapegoat for its failures in Afghanistan.