So it would seem that Pakistan has finally called for the CIA to vacate the Shamsi Air Base where classified drone strikes were being carried out. The decision has come out since a NATO strike had killed around 25 Pakistani soldiers with an additional supply chain cut off of NAT supplies from Pakistan into Afghanistan. Yet this doesn’t come at a surprise considering the increasing amount of accidents, tensions over the “Osama Operation”, as well as Pakistani public pressure and opinion. However, the CIA/USFG have made it clear that counter-terrorism operations would continue and it doesn’t seem to be letting up on its drone war.
Yet, this still brings us to a more salient question. Does the United States still want to cooperate with Afghanistan? Would just getting things done without Pakistan ever be a good idea? What would happen?
In short, it seems like the United States military would do well with maintaining relations with Pakistan. Supplies as well as coordinated operations with the Pakistanis is essential to bringing out any sort of benefit to transitioning from a softer counter-insurgency operational tactic to a hard-liner counter-terrorism operation. However, this remains difficult. Politically, accidents and distrust seems to permeate any sort of relations that the US still has with the Pakistani country. Even with a good, relationship with Pakistan, there is always a fear of the darker, secretive side of what is going on behind proverbially closed windows. But a deeper seated characteristic of Pakistan that has the largest detrimental barrier to any sort of trustful relationship , is the cultural and public perception that the Pakistani people have with the United States. They do not see the US a partner that is cooperating with Pakistan, but rather as an invader of sorts – especially when the drone accidents get sensationalized. All the public sees is how the US has messed up in some way and there is a definite notion of a malevolent, western, imperialistic power in the country.
Whether or not the US is able to move past the current issues when dealing with peaceful relations with Pakistan would have to come at a later date. In the meantime, it would probably benefit the United States if they were to lay low, lower accident rates, and try to, at least, keep up diplomatic dialogue with the country. However, it seems increasingly difficult to do so with the amount of distrust that has built up since the Osama mission.