It is likely that Pakistan and the US have finally reached some kind of resolution on how to deal with the complex relations between Afghan Taliban, the TTP, and Al Qa'eda on the one hand and between Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the US on the other. For Islamabad, this may have involved agreement on joint operations and continued intelligence sharing vis-s-vis Al Qa'eda and TTP operatives. That has brought US economic and security assistance with the release of $600 million from the Coalition Support Fund and another $200 million for the Bhasha Dam.
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Beyond the headline talk of a "coup", the truth is that it may only be symbolic. "There won't be a take-over of power by Kayani because well, he already rules," said one Pakistani analyst. The military has only ceded power to the elected government in name: all national security initiatives have to be run past the generals before they can be implemented by the government. Frequent meetings are held between the civilian officials and the military to decide matters such as the fate of Osama bin Laden, the flood disaster relief efforts, relations with Afghanistan and the US, foreign aid, terrorism within Pakistan, law and order, eand ven some aspects of the economy.
Pakistan Snapshot: Top US Military Commander "Pakistani Intelligence is Linked to Insurgent Network" (Syed)
The US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Admiral Michael Mullen, was in a mood to name and shame on Wednesday.
Without mincing his words, he made it clear that ISI’s continued links with the Haqqani network were at the core of Pakistan’s problematic relations with the United States.
He said ISI’s relationship with the network was unacceptable to the American leadership.“The ISI has a rich history of how they operated in this part of the world, to protect their own country; I understand that some of the aspects of that we strongly disagree with and that is something that we continue to address.”
The Pakistani government has decided to reopen the Torkham border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the route whereby 70 percent of US/NATO supplies and 40 percent of fuel are brought by truck into Afghanistan. The Pakistani Frontier Corps and the Afghanistan National Army began work Sunday to coordinate the clearing of the huge backlog of trucks that have been stuck at the crossing for a week and a half. Some reports say that the opening is expected to occur on Monday.
Pakistan closed the crossing to trucks transporting goods for NATO & the US after a September 30 incident in which US helicopter gunships made incursions into Pakistani territory and then fired missiles at a Frontiers Corps checkpoint, apparently mistaking the scouts for Taliban. Two scouts were killed and four wounded. Pakistani nerves were already raw because of unmanned drone strikes on Pakistani territory.
US President Barack Obama and Gen. David Petraeus appear to have decided to push for more hot pursuit missions into Pakistan from Afghanistan, and this decision was absolutely unacceptable to the Pakistani military, as well as to the public.
The US Government has offered a series of apologies to Islamabad for airstrikes and cross-border raids that killed Pakistani soldiers. General David Petraeus, the US commander in Afghanistan, said coalition forces "deeply regretted" the "loss of life". Anne Patterson, the US ambassador to Islamabad, cited the importance of “Pakistan’s brave security forces”. The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, offered a private apology to the head of Pakistan’s military, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, in a telephone call.
In the understatement of the year, "American and NATO officials said privately that the Pakistani government’s closing of a crucial border crossing might have made it easier for militants to attack backed-up tanker trucks carrying fuel through Pakistan to Afghanistan to support the American war effort".
Yet I'm not sure, at least from the account in The New York Times, how fulsome the US apology is. The emphasis of the story is, yeah, yeah, stuff happens, but let's get over it.
Certainly Islamabad is, at best, taking its time before accepting US apologies as sincere. Abdul Basit, Pakistan's foreign ministry spokesman, said on Thursday that authorities were still evaluating the situation and a decision to reopen the Torkham crossing to NATO tankers, supplying troops in Afghanistan, will be taken "in due course".