Tag Archive: US

It was USSR which had humiliated defeat at the hands of Afghan Mujahideen leading to its break-up. These Afghans were aided and supported by Pakistan and the US. In effect, USSR was fighting USA in Afghanistan. But as they say there is no permanent enemies and no permanent friends in international relations. The validity of this statement has been proved by Russia, the successor of the former USSR. Russia has come to rescue the US in its predicament of having a risky supply route to its forces in Afghanistan. According to The Moscow Times, Russia’s State Duma ratified an agreement Friday to allow the United States to ferry troops and supplies across Russian territory for military operations in Afghanistan.

The Duma voted 347-95 in favor of the 2009 deal, which has already been implemented pending ratification. Communists, who opposed the ratification, denounced the agreement with the United States as a “unilateral concession.”

The U.S.-Russian transit agreement was drawn up during a trip by U.S. President Barack Obama to Moscow in 2009 in an effort to “reset” relations that had been damaged by a 2008 war between Russia and Georgia. Currently, about 80 percent of NATO’s supplies cross through Pakistan. But NATO has been trying to reduce its dependence on convoy routes through Pakistan, where they are prey to Islamist militant attacks. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the Duma on Friday that there have been 780 U.S. flights over Russia — carrying 115,000 U.S. troops and more than 19,000 metric tons of cargo to and from Afghanistan — since September 2009.

Ryabkov said the air route has accounted for 16 percent of all U.S. military shipments to and from the country. He said the agreement has helped improve ties with the United States and NATO and protects Russia’s interests in other areas. Moscow said last year that the deal could also be expanded to allow vehicles in need of repair and refurbishment to be sent back to NATO countries. But the transit deal stops short of opening the Russian route for weapons for the NATO mission in Afghanistan, where Moscow fought a disastrous 1979-89 war that killed 15,000 Soviet troops. Russia has struck similar deals with Germany, France and Spain and has touted them as a key contribution to international efforts to stabilize Afghanistan.

Who is this guy whose real name we have yet to find out and who has been given the name of Mr. Raymond Davis? Why is the US administration of President Obama ready to go to any extent to secure his release, even if it means abandoning of a strategic ally like Pakistan, sacrificing its core values and further tarnishing the US image as a bully and a bulldozer of the process of law? We are told that his real identity is being concealed which means that he was sent to Pakistan and the diplomatic status to him, if at all it was granted, was granted on a fake identity. Is it how the entire diplomatic staff is posted to the US posts around the globe or was it a special gesture shown for a country which made tremendous sacrifices to keep the West safe from terrorists? These questions are very intriguing and sometimes it sounds as if the man in question is a top US official whose release has become a matter of life and death for the US.

Pakistan and the US have been close allies in difficult times. US has always bailed Pakistan out in the times of economic crises and Pakistan is fighting a bloody war on its Western front so that US citizens could sleep tight without the fear of devastating attacks like the 9/11. But ignoring all this, the US is pressurizing Pakistan to free him at all costs. This pressure has divided the Pakistani society and those who always thought US to be a society respecting the rule of law are forced to review their love for Uncle Sam. The US pressure is being exerted in many forms. According to a report in the Financial Times, the US has postponed a meeting with Pakistani officials in Washington amid an escalating dispute over the fate of Raymond Davis, an American embassy official who shot dead two men. The Obama administration is placing mounting pressure on Pakistan to free Mr Davis, on the grounds that embassy staff are entitled to diplomatic immunity. Pakistan’s government has said the courts must decide his status.

According to the report, this stand-off has chilled relations at a time when the US is seeking to win broader co-operation from Pakistan’s military in its campaign in Afghanistan. The US State Department said at the weekend that it was postponing a February 23-24 meeting of senior officials from the US, Pakistan and Afghanistan. P.J. Crowley, a State Department spokesman, said the decision had been taken “in light of political changes in Pakistan” and after discussions with Afghan and Pakistani officials in Washington.

The postponement of the meeting has been interpreted in Pakistan as a snub designed to underline Washington’s growing impatience with the government of  Pakistan. The case places Pakistan’s leadership in an acute dilemma. Pakistan is the second biggest recipient of US economic aid and its government is rightly and justifiably reluctant to antagonize Washington. But the prospect that Mr Davis could escape punishment for the shooting, which occurred last month in the eastern city of Lahore, has crystallized widespread anti-American sentiment in Pakistan. The government fears unleashing popular anger if he is repatriated.

“It will be extremely counterproductive if one incident or one person … destroys a relationship of 60 years. It is simply unthinkable,” Reuters quoted senior Pakistani official as saying.

The case has raised questions over what Mr Davis, a former US Army Special Forces soldier, was doing in Pakistan. The US embassy has described him as a member of its “administrative and technical staff.” Unanswered questions over why he was armed and his precise role have fuelled speculation in Pakistan’s media that he may have been involved in some form of intelligence gathering.

In remarks that will complicate the government’s position even further, Pakistan’s former foreign minister said that the foreign ministry had no record of Mr. Davis being registered in Pakistan as a diplomat. Police arrested Mr. Davis after the January 27 incident in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province, but he has yet to be formally charged in connection with the deaths of the two men. A passer-by was killed when a US vehicle rushed to the scene.

If Mr. Davis is in a position to alter the relationship between two country, then he is simply not an intelligence operative or even a diplomat. The anxiety of US administration to secure his release at all costs shows that he is a very important person or was on a very important assignment.