US Secretary of State John Kerry says Washington is sensitive to Pakistan’s concerns after a drone strike killed the Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of Pakistani Taliban.
Pakistan’s government has denounced the US drone strike on the terrorist leader as a blow to peace talks in the region.
This is the second major incident in the past few weeks where a US raid has killed a leader of the Pakistani Taliban that was engaged in peace talks with governments in the region.
In the previous incident, US forces seized a Pakistani Taliban commander who was reportedly working on a deal with the Afghan government to focus its violence against Pakistan in exchange for safe haven treatment inside Afghanistan.
Now Pakistan is claiming that killing the head of the Pakistani Taliban will undermine Pakistan’s efforts to seek peace with the militant organization.
In my previous assessment of the situation in Afghanistan, I said that the incident highlighted the lack of trust between the three major governments in the region: Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US.
The reaction by Pakistan to the killing of the Pakistani Taliban leader proves this point and more.
It’s now clear that both Afghanistan and Pakistan are planning for life after International forces withdraw in 2014 by seeking strategic alliances with militant groups.
The stark reality is that international forces will have done little to change the strategic reality in the region even after nearly 15 years of constant fighting.
Pakistan is, by their own admission, seeking peace with militant groups along the Afghan border. They are undoubtedly promising continued safe haven treatment in exchange for militants focusing their violence against Afghanistan, as has been the standard practice for decades.
Afghanistan has already been revealed to be doing exactly that to the Pakistanis.
And the US is stuck as the last security force in the region actually focused on stopping/killing militant groups that are clearly intent on destabilizing the region.
Pakistan and Afghanistan have learned nothing from the last 15 years and seem committed to continuing their death spiral of supporting regional militants.
The United States has also learned nothing. They continue to believe that stopping the return of the Taliban and other terrorist/militant groups was ever a priority for the region’s governments.
If Secretary of State John Kerry truly meant that the US was sensitive to Pakistan’s concerns they would abandon all air strikes against militant groups. That is clearly what Pakistan wants.
Going forward, the US attempts to battle militants in the Af-Pak region will be increasingly condemned by regional partners, leaving the US as the enemy of militants and national governments.
The US will be, as all foreign powers in this region have been in history, the odd man out in the battle against violence.