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May 09 2011

Pakistan’s Threats

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For decades, relations between Pakistan and United States have been questionable. Although the relationship has not been stable, keeping Pakistan as an ally has been a priority for the United States. On May 1st, the death of Osama Bin Laden was announced to the world by the United States government. At first, details of the assassination were unclear, but later it was revealed that Bin Laden had been living in a Mansion outside of Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. The al-Qaeda leader had been hiding in “an enormous compound in an affluent suburb.” Bin Laden’s compound has been compared to the size of West Point’s campus. Directly following the attack, Pakistan’s military chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, ordered Pakistani forces to take arms against any American troops that attempted to raid anywhere on Pakistani ground. Kayani demanded that the U.S. military be removed from inside Pakistan and that “any future raids into the country would prompt a far-reaching reevaluation of Islamabad’s ties with Washington.”

On Monday, May 1st, highly-trained Navy Seals raided Bin Laden’s compound and recovered DVDs, hard drives, and a wide array of computers. All of this was done without one single American casualty. The Pakistani government had not given permission for the raid, nor did they have any knowledge of it.

So how could the most wanted man in the world be living under Pakistani security personnel in a compound comparable to the size of West Point for five years without anybody knowing? Why should we continue relations with the Pakistan government if they are holding they man we have spent a decade looking for?

Democratic Representative Howard Berman of California has urged the Obama administration to rethink its military alliance to Pakistan in result of bin Laden’s discovery within their borders.

“I am writing to express my deep and ongoing concerns regarding the impact of United States security assistance to Pakistan—concerns that have been exacerbated by the discovery of Osama bin Laden’s lair in Abbottabad. Certain elements of the Pakistani defense and intelligence establishments continue to provide direct and indirect support to groups that directly threaten the United States, Afghanistan, and Pakistan’s own stability…Pakistan’s continued resistance to cooperate with the United States in counterterrorism bespeaks an overall regression in the relationship. “

The United States is urging Pakistan to enhance “intelligence sharing about other wanted militants, especially bin Laden’s probably successor Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is thought to be hiding in the country’s lawless border regions, and to take stronger military action against the insurgent safe havens along Pakistan’s porous border with Afghanistan.” I believe the U.S. should continue to put pressure on the Pakistani government. Pakistan should not have the upper hand when they failed to communicate with the U.S. on bin Laden’s whereabouts. I believe Pakistan’s security personnel knew that bin Laden was living within their borders and they should be concerned on making amends with the U.S. rather than vice versa.