Are U.S.-Pakistan Ties Even Worse Than We Thought?

WikiLeaks cables shine new light on the troubled alliance

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The release of new WikiLeaks cables, this round pertaining to Pakistan, have shed harsh new light on the troubled U.S.-Pakistan relationship, which has been disintegrating this year. They reveal a failed U.S. effort to remove some of Pakistan's weapons-grade uranium, difficult struggles between the country's military and political leadership, and more. Here's what people are saying about the cables.

  • U.S. Tried, Failed to Remove Pakistani Uranium  The Washington Post summarizes, "A cable from 2009 describes failed efforts by U.S. officials to remove highly enriched uranium from Pakistan because of the poor perception of the United States in the country." Officials on both sides worried that removing the uranium would deeply exacerbate Pakistani anti-Americanism. "
  • Tension Runs Deep in U.S.-Pakistan Relations  The New York Times' Jane Perlez, David Sanger, and Eric Schmitt call the nuclear issue "the most unnerving evidence of the complex relationship — sometimes cooperative, often confrontational, always wary — between America and Pakistan nearly 10 years into the American-led war in Afghanistan. The cables ... make it clear that underneath public reassurances lie deep clashes over strategic goals on issues like Pakistan’s support for the Afghan Taliban and tolerance of Al Qaeda, and Washington’s warmer relations with India, Pakistan’s archenemy. ... The cables portray deep skepticism that Pakistan will ever cooperate fully in fighting the full panoply of extremist groups."
  • Pakistani Military Considered Coup in 2009  The Guardian's Declan Walsh writes, "Pakistan's army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, considered pushing President Asif Ali Zardari from office and forcing him into exile to resolve a political dispute, the US embassy cables reveal. Kayani aired the idea during a frantic round of meetings with the US ambassador Anne Patterson in March 2009 as opposition leader Nawaz Sharif rallied thousands of supporters in a street movement that threatened to topple the government. Kayani said that while he disliked Zardari, he distrusted Sharif even more, and appeared to be angling for a solution that would prevent the opposition leader from coming to power."
  • Military Leader's Shadowy Influence  The U.K. Spectator's Peter Hoskin writes, "While they don't tell us too much that is surprising – being mostly about the duplicitous game that country is playing with the West – they do highlight some potentially worrying trends. Chief among them is the growing influence of General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani, the head of Pakistan's army. His name is littered generously throughout the US briefings, and it is often connected with dangerous conspiracy and double-dealing."
  • Pakistan Executing Suspects Without Trial  Foreign Policy's Katherine Tiedemann summarizes, "Main motive for Pakistani army extrajudicial killings is revenge for terrorist attacks on security targets. And the Pakistani military lets it happen because of a 'lack of viable prosecution and punishment options' available." The New York Times has details and a horrifying video.
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