On a given day the US State Department appreciates Pakistan’s security forces effort to rescue the Canadian-American couple from the Taliban at Kurrum Agency. On another day, the Director CIA, Mike Pompeo, says that the couple was held captive in Pakistan and not in Afghanistan for five years. He further adds that Pakistan has been warned to rescue the couple or else be ready for an OBL like operation inside Pakistan. A few days back, in another bout of mood swings, the US had objected to the CPEC route, calling it a passage through a disputed territory. When reminded that the US administration had approved the project earlier, the statement was taken back. This flip-flop attitude would only infuse non-seriousness in the US-Pakistan relation with a direct bearing on Afghan crisis.

Coleman and Boyle were kidnapped in 2012 from the remote area of Afghanistan, where the couple had gone, apparently, to assist people who had not been reached by any human rights organization or NGO. According to the initial reports, Coleman was seven months pregnant then. After the rescue, Boyle told the press conference in Canada that her wife was raped by one of the security guards and lost her child. Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesperson for the Afghan Taliban, rejected the allegation and said that it was against Islamic principle of Jihad to humiliate a woman in custody.

So far the ISPR has not responded to the CIA allegation perhaps considering it a usual mood swing.

For the last many years, the US has mostly been blaming Pakistan for its failure in Afghanistan. Almost in its every new US policy on Afghanistan Pakistan is featured the source of all that goes wrong in winning the war. So has been the case with the Trump’s strategy. Ever since it has been floated, Pakistan is given one ultimatum after another, to either mend its ways or be prepared to face the music. US Defence Secretary James Mattis had said at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee that the US would try “one more time,” to work with Pakistan before trying other options to stop Pakistan from supporting the militant groups. The likely responses could be more drone strikes and removal of Pakistan as a non-NATO ally. Both options could result in disadvantage to Pakistan in term of its perceptual value at home and abroad.

Drone attacks had been despised in Pakistan and were the cause of more terrorism. It generated hatred for the US among the people of FATA, the target area of most of the drone attacks. Though the CIA and the US military started drone strikes in Pakistan under President George Bush, it was during President Obama’s tenure that the rate of drone strikes rose by 631 per cent. President Trump has so far ordered five drone strikes. The second option of making Pakistan a non-Nato ally would end Pakistan’s rights of accessing military-related goods, services, research projects, grants and other assistance on priority bases from the US and other countries.

The problem with Pakistan US relations has been the nature of the bond that relied more on finding quick fixes to the problem than solving issues on shared values. Pakistan’s dependence on the US economic aid, for military build-up, and the US perception about Pakistan of a state that would, in exchange, serve US interests in the region contributed to keeping this relationship need-based.

It’s an irony that a superpower could not win a war, because, a handful of Taliban with the support of Pakistan, could not let it happen. Not only this argument sounds incredulous it cast doubt on the capacity of the US to curtail Afghanistan. The question is, if all the US policies have failed to bring peace in Afghanistan, why not try other options. Such as the option to mediate among the warring groups and bring about a government that suits the important factions in Afghanistan. The US can force the Ghani government to sit with the Taliban and agree on a constitutional model that includes both the secular and Islamic elements. The US can assure the dissident groups including the Taliban, with a timeline, that once peace returns, the US will leave Afghanistan. And last but not the least, the US can keep India from getting a more significant role in the Afghan crises so that Pakistan could deal with regional terrorism without its hands tied to the domestic turbulence.

The latest surge in attacks in Afghanistan has once again called into question the US policies in Afghanistan. Almost 250 people have been killed in multiple attacks in Afghanistan in a week time. Most of the attacks were targeted at the military and security installation; a clear message against the US presence. The solution to the Afghan problem is not difficult to find unless the US has decided to keep swinging between moods to prolong the war to justify its stay in the region.