Stories about NATO

Afghanistan needs our help!

The central bank of Afghanistan imposes a fine on shopkeepers to stop them from using foreign currency. Pakistani currency also known as Kaldhar in the war-stricken country is widely used, which reflects the lack of confidence of Afghani businessmen and traders in their economy. Afghanistan’s economy appears stable if compared to Pakistani rupee that lost almost half its value to the dollar. 90% of Afghanistan’s budget depends on foreign aid. However, will the bubble economy survive when the US is itself embroiled in a financial crisis back home? Rich Afghans are already escaping with their money stashed in suitcases. $4.6 billion has ...

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US-Af-Pak tripartite interests: Time is running out!

Amidst reports of an anti-Taliban insurgency in the provinces of Ghazni, Paktia, Kunar, Nuristan and Laghman gaining strength, time for Pakistan’s clay-footed policymakers is running out fast. The restless provinces of Kunar and Nuristan are registering signs of a coordinated anti-Taliban militancy led by the former Mujahideen commanders. While it looks increasingly possible that US-led Nato forces and IEDs could eventually pull off something resembling a military victory on which to build a negotiated settlement with the hostile forces, the Pakistani defence establishment seems to be frozen in the past. While Pakistan decided to run endless talk shows analysing the ...

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The power of ‘sorry’

Back in 1967 during the Six-Day War, the USS Liberty, an American technical research ship stationed in the international waters of the Sinai Peninsula, was attacked by Israeli Air Force jets, who killed 34 crew members and wounded 170 more. Controversy surrounded the attack: was it a mistake or a purposeful strike designed to draw America into war against Eygpt? Nevertheless, the Israeli government subsequently paid out millions of dollars in compensation to the families of the men killed in the attack, as well as money for the wounded and to repair the catastrophic damage to the ship. The incident ...

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From Russia, with love

At a time when Pakistan and the United States are not enjoying good relations, due to stoppage of the Nato supply routes, Russia has come up with a plan to provide Pakistan financial and technical assistance, needed for its energy problems such as the Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Iran (TAPI) pipeline project, the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline and the (CASA-1000) power import project. Is it a revival of relations between Pakistan and Russia to recover the trust lost during the war in Afghanistan in Ziaul Haq’s era? Whatever may be the reason; Russian cooperation with Pakistan will not only revive relations but will also balance ...

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America, apologise!

Let’s cut right to the chase. The US government should apologise for last November’s tragic raid at Salala. I say this for three reasons. Firstly, Pakistani soldiers were killed by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) firepower. Though the details remain unclear, and the incident may have been just a terrible accident, regardless of how it happened, the bottom line is that Pakistanis who should not have been killed were in fact killed. When such incidents occur in Afghanistan, and Afghan troops are killed by US or Nato troops, Washington describes them as “friendly fire” accidents and promptly apologises. America’s refusal to ...

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Its not time to “move on”, Mr Panetta. Not yet

The US government continues to remain predictable  and resort to its usual clichés. Yesterday, the Pakistani state was asked to  “move on”. No, Defence Secretary Panetta, we were not asking for closure after a cheerless  breakup, rather, demanding some much needed accountability for the killing of our armed forces which was reasonably against all precepts of international law. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, has  nonetheless, predictably but unacceptably, all but ruled out an apology over an air strike last year that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and badly set back efforts to improve US-Pakistani ties. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) airstrike that ...

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Al Libi’s death: Another milestone in war against terror

The second in command of al Qaeda, Abu Yahya al Libi, was reportedly killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan on June 4. The Obama Administration has already hailed al Libi’s death as another significant milestone in the drive to root out terrorists from their safe havens in Pakistan. Meanwhile, our Foreign Office has again let the US authorities know that the drone strikes violate our country’s sovereignty. At this point, I think it would be worthwhile if we asked ourselves why the US resorted to using these Predator drones in the first place. The Americans claim that they have broken ...

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Start the rails: Of the NATO supply route

About six months have passed since the tragic incident at Salala by the US-led Nato forces followed by the closure of Nato supply routes to Afghanistan through Pakistan. All major parties, except government allies, found an opportunity to shine their politics on the issue. They would not tire of announcing large-scale protests and long marches if the government opened the route. On the other hand, the US and Nato are repeatedly asking Pakistan to open the route which means that either there is no alternative for them to take equipment to their forces or it is more expensive to export it ...

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What the NATO Summit achieved

The Pakistanis came, they didn’t quite conquer, and now they’re leaving. At the end of the day, the NATO Summit in Chicago produced no news, and yet there was much to report. With hundreds of media personnel camped at the massive media centre at McCormick Place, the venue of the summit, the subject of the day remained Afghanistan and Pakistan. Reporters tried to work out whether Pakistan would announce the re-opening of the supply routes, an issue that has been raised in nearly every press conference that took place during the summit. All that work really was in vain – Pakistan ...

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NATO conference: A tale of too many non-attendees

For quite some time, the world has been talking about this month’s NATO conference, which will be held in Chicago on May 20 and 21 and shall focus in great part on Afghanistan’s future. Yet with the event now just days away, the roster of attendees makes it hard to take the conference very seriously. How many of Afghanistan’s neighbours are confirmed participants? One, and that is Pakistan. (Incidentally, Russia has also now announced it will be present—another example of a nation at odds with the policies of certain Nato countries yet nonetheless willing to hold its nose and travel ...

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