U.S.-Pakistani Relations Continue Tailspin

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Army photo

U.S. troops train with their M119 howitzer in Kunar province, Afghanistan

So how well did President Obama’s telephoned condolences to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday go over? The call was intended to smooth relations between the two nations ruptured 10 days ago when NATO aircraft killed 24 Pakistani troops in a colossally snafued attack. The call, apparently, didn’t go over well, according to Monday’s The Express Tribune of Pakistan:

Pakistan has decided to scrap all existing anti-terror cooperation agreements with the United States in a development that may not only take the uneasy alliance between the two countries to the point of no return but also impede world efforts at bringing sustainable peace in Afghanistan.

U.S. officials have seen this kind of bluster from Islamabad before, but it appears more serious this time.

Not only has Pakistan shut down land routes into Afghanistan the U.S. relies on to supply its troops, and kicked the U.S. out of a base it was using for drone operations, but it is boycotting the international conference now underway in Bonn on Afghanistan’s future.

All this is occurring as the U.S. has begun to pull troops out of Afghanistan, even as U.S. casualties have risen dramatically over the past two years. That’s because Obama dramatically increased the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan and his commanders launched offensives in the southern and eastern parts of the country.

U.S. officials continue to believe the storm with Pakistan eventually will be weathered, but concede it was a tough weekend. On Sunday, Iran claimed it had shot down a U.S. drone flying above Afghanistan’s eastern border with Iran. On Monday, Islamabad made clear that because of NATO’s attack on Afghanistan’s eastern border that rough seas remain.