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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Analysis: Cheney Presses Pakistan

Council on Foreign Relations

February 26, 2007
Prepared by: Carin Zissis

Vice President Dick Cheney made a surprise stop in Islamabad to deliver a stern warning (NYT) to President Pervez Musharraf that Washington may reduce aid to Islamabad if he does not take a more offensive approach toward terrorists that have allegedly sought refuge close to the Afghan border. President Bush’s new budget includes $300 million in military aid to Pakistan to support counterterrorism activities and stop cross border raids into Afghanistan. The U.S. Congress has threatened to cut the military funding (CSMonitor) if Islamabad does not take a more aggressive approach toward controlling militants within Pakistan. The new pressure marks a change in tone from just last year, when Bush referred to Musharraf as “my buddy.” After Cheney’s brief visit, Pakistan’s foreign office responded pointedly, saying Islamabad does not take orders (The News) on how it handles counterterrorism efforts.

The U.S.-Pakistani alliance is under increasing scrutiny at a time when North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) troops face a Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan seen as bolstered by militants crossing the border from Pakistan. European resolve on involvement in the Afghanistan conflict is also showing cracks, demonstrated by Italian Prime Minister’s surprise resignation (Guardian) last week over his parliament’s resistance to maintaining Italian troops in Afghanistan and allowing for a U.S. base to be built in Italy.

Victory in the Afghan war may be unattainable as long as the Taliban and al-Qaeda continue to operate in Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal areas and border region. The tribal regions, which have long resisted Islamabad’s control, are explained in this Backgrounder. Writing in Foreign Affairs, Afghanistan expert Barnett R. Rubin blames the “continued sanctuary” of Taliban leaders in Pakistan for preventing “real victory” in Afghanistan.

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Copyright 2007 by the Council on Foreign Relations. This material is republished on GlobalSecurity.org with specific permission from the cfr.org. Reprint and republication queries for this article should be directed to cfr.org.

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