Last week I wrote an article about recent “possible” negotiations taking place between a Pakistani based Taliban group and government officials in Islamabad. Today the U.S. froze 700 million dollars in aid to the Pakistani government, demanding Islamabad officials take action against Taliban’s hand-made bombs. It seems relations between the two countries continues to strain.
The home-made bombs used by Taliban and al-Qaida are among the most devastating and deadly tactics used against American and NATO forces. Suspicion of Pakistan’s involvement comes from the fact that one of the agents used in creating these bombs (ammonium nitrate) is smuggled across Pakistan’s border, into enemy hands in Afghanistan.
Since 2001, the U.S. has provided around 20 billion dollars in aid to Pakistan’s military and government and has begun to freeze funding until they receive assurance that Pakistan is not supporting terrorist groups as they fight against us. Though 700 million is a paltry sum compared to the billions we’ve already allocated to this country, this move may foreshadow further cuts and sanctions against Pakistan if they continue to play both sides of the field.
As America’s call for sanctions continues to grow, Pakistani officials argue that freezing such funds will only further strengthen its people’s suspicion towards western society. Others state that further cooperation and talks should be instituted between American and Pakistan, instead of implementing sanctions. Whatever happens in upcoming months, Pakistan’s reliance on our dollars to help support and stabilize their economy will not magically disappear. They need our support (in the form of funding). and we need theirs in the form of cooperation.