The World

May 23, 2011

My enemy’s enemy is my friend: fragile US-Pakistani relations

Pakistan needs to retain a strong alliance with Afghanistan, no matter who is in power, more than it needs the US.

Professor Damien Kingsbury

Crikey international affairs commentator

It is reasonably widely accepted that Osama bin Laden was able to stay in the Pakistan town of Abbottabad because he had the protection of Pakistan’s military, in particular its powerful Inter Services Intelligence organisation. It would have been all but impossible for bin Laden to have stayed in one place in Pakistan without the ISI knowing, implying it at least tolerated his presence. More likely, the ISI’s involvement was more active than mere tolerance.

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2 thoughts on “My enemy’s enemy is my friend: fragile US-Pakistani relations

  1. Gavin Moodie

    This interesting piece is marred by several errors. I note just 2.

    India may be Pakistan’s principal enemy but it certainly isn’t its principle enemy. Even better, India may be Pakistan’s main enemy.

    ‘Conversely, should India and Afghanistan go to war again, Pakistani forces would likely fare poorly against the numerically much larger Indian forces and would need to be able to retreat . . ‘.

    Shouldn’t this be ‘. . . if India and Pakistan go to war again . . .?

    Quite apart from its importance as a military ally, isn’t Pakistan important for trade and stability for the whole region, in which case isn’t it in everyone’s interests for Pakistan to have a stable government and society? Isn’t that enough to keep US involved in Pakistan for many decades to come?

  2. MLF

    In my humble view I think this is a good insight and summary. I agree with Gavin though that I think the US cant walk away from Pakistan – not for trade necessarily but for stability, Afg, Taliban, terror. The US/Pak relationship has always been strained because the government tacitly supports anti US and/or terrorist activity. For their part the US move btw distrust of and support for the ISI. And of course there are reports that the Pak army have been complicit in the drone attacks on their own soil. Like everywhere else, it is a mess. One that is going to get uglier and deadlier unless someone can make real and drastic change.

    Let those winds of ME progress blow!

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