Pakistani military harassing US diplomats

Yesterday, I wrote a piece for my own blog entitled "Our Friends, the Pakistanis." In it, I detail the Pakistani government's refusal to assist us in defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Now comes word from Jane Perlez and Eric Schmitt of the New York Times who write of some serious harassment of American diplomats that is preventing them from delivering aid, among other things:

Parts of the Pakistani military and intelligence services are mounting what American officials here describe as a campaign to harass American diplomats, fraying relations at a critical moment when the Obama administration is demanding more help to fight the Taliban and Al Qaeda.The campaign includes the refusal to extend or approve visas for more than 100 American officials and the frequent searches of American diplomatic vehicles in major cities, said an American official briefed on the cases.

The problems affected military attachés, C.I.A. officers, development experts, junior level diplomats and others, a senior American diplomat said. As a result, some American aid programs to Pakistan, which President Obama has called a critical ally, are "grinding to a halt," the diplomat said.

American helicopters used by Pakistan to fight militants can no longer be serviced because visas for 14 American mechanics have not been approved, the diplomat said. Reimbursements to Pakistan of nearly $1 billion a year for its counterterrorism operations were suspended because embassy accountants had to leave the country.

"There's an incredible disconnect between what they want of us and the fact we can't get the visas," the diplomat said.

Pakistani officials acknowledged the situation, but said the menacing atmosphere resulted from American arrogance and provocations, like taking photographs in sensitive areas, and a lack of understanding of how divided Pakistanis were about the alliance with the United States.

In truth, President Zardari is riding the tiger by aligning his administration with the Americans. Pakistan is one of the most anti-American countries in the world and the president's fundamentalist opponents make his close ties to the US an issue whenever they can.

But this is just petty. The Pakistanis are just shooting themselves in the foot by delaying much needed aid. Not only that, the State Department has been extraordinarily solicitous of Pakistani feelings about this aid, trying to get Pakistani NGO's to deliver the assistance whenever they can.

If that be "arrogance," then the Pakistanis are in deeper trouble than they know.

 

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky


Yesterday, I wrote a piece for my own blog entitled "Our Friends, the Pakistanis." In it, I detail the Pakistani government's refusal to assist us in defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Now comes word from Jane Perlez and Eric Schmitt of the New York Times who write of some serious harassment of American diplomats that is preventing them from delivering aid, among other things:

Parts of the Pakistani military and intelligence services are mounting what American officials here describe as a campaign to harass American diplomats, fraying relations at a critical moment when the Obama administration is demanding more help to fight the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

The campaign includes the refusal to extend or approve visas for more than 100 American officials and the frequent searches of American diplomatic vehicles in major cities, said an American official briefed on the cases.

The problems affected military attachés, C.I.A. officers, development experts, junior level diplomats and others, a senior American diplomat said. As a result, some American aid programs to Pakistan, which President Obama has called a critical ally, are "grinding to a halt," the diplomat said.

American helicopters used by Pakistan to fight militants can no longer be serviced because visas for 14 American mechanics have not been approved, the diplomat said. Reimbursements to Pakistan of nearly $1 billion a year for its counterterrorism operations were suspended because embassy accountants had to leave the country.

"There's an incredible disconnect between what they want of us and the fact we can't get the visas," the diplomat said.

Pakistani officials acknowledged the situation, but said the menacing atmosphere resulted from American arrogance and provocations, like taking photographs in sensitive areas, and a lack of understanding of how divided Pakistanis were about the alliance with the United States.

In truth, President Zardari is riding the tiger by aligning his administration with the Americans. Pakistan is one of the most anti-American countries in the world and the president's fundamentalist opponents make his close ties to the US an issue whenever they can.

But this is just petty. The Pakistanis are just shooting themselves in the foot by delaying much needed aid. Not only that, the State Department has been extraordinarily solicitous of Pakistani feelings about this aid, trying to get Pakistani NGO's to deliver the assistance whenever they can.

If that be "arrogance," then the Pakistanis are in deeper trouble than they know.

 

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky


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