Role reversal since 9/11: US to now rely on Afghanistan to deal with Pak threats



Washington, June 23: The United States took Pakistan's help to eliminate terrorists after the 9/11 attacks, but 10 years later the entire scenario has changed with Washington relying on Afghanistan to deal with threats emerging from Pakistan.


Hours after the September 11 attacks, the Bush administration sought Pakistan's help, and asked Islamabad to choose between continuing its alliance with the Taliban or join forces with the United States.

Ten years later, President Barack Obama's announced withdrawal from Afghanistan, as the US officials argue that the killing of Osama bin Laden last month deep inside Pakistan, combined with scores of other counterterrorism strikes, have given it greater leeway to reduce its troop numbers in Afghanistan, the New York Times reports.

Yet Pakistan's angry reaction to that raid also makes it more urgent than ever that the United States maintain sites outside the country to launch drone and commando raids against the militant networks that remain in Pakistan, and to make sure that Pakistan's fast-growing nuclear arsenal never falls into the wrong hands.

American planners hope to negotiate with the Afghanistan government an agreement to keep upward of 25,000 American forces in Afghanistan, even after the 30,000 "surge" troops are withdrawn over the next 14 months, and thousands of more by the end of 2014.

The first reason is to assure that Afghanistan never again becomes a base for attacks on the US. But the more urgent reason is Pakistan, the New York Times reports.

In his speech, Obama invited Pakistan to expand its peaceful cooperation in the region, but he also noted that Pakistan must live up to its commitments and that "the US will never tolerate a safe haven for those who would destroy us."

Pakistan has already made it clear, however, that it will never allow American forces to be based there.

"We don't see a transnational threat coming out of Afghanistan. The threat has come from Pakistan," a senior Obama administration official said on Wednesday in briefing reporters before the president's speech.

Those realities have placed increasing pressure on Obama administration officials to secure some long-term success from the war in Afghanistan, the paper reports.


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