Pakistani government, military wary of U.S. overtures

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Islamabad, Jan.25 (ANI): American officials have failed to win over Pakistan's military and civilian establishment here insofar as stepping up the offensive against Afghan and Pakistani militants along the borders of the two countries.

According to the Washington Post, differences between the two partners could cause problems at the international conference on Afghanistan that opens Thursday in London, which will be attended by 60 countries.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has regretted having curtailed military ties with Islamabad after the end of the Afghan-Soviet war in 1989 and has offered to provide Pakistan unarmed, unmanned surveillance planes.

Nevertheless, the responses he has received from the army and the press, have been either sceptical or defiant.

Washington has been urgently pressing military officials to take on Islamic militants in the tribal area of North Waziristan, but the officials announced during Gates's visit that they could not launch any operation for at least six months.

There is also a view within the Pakistani establishment that Washington is becoming more India-centric in its actions, and has urged for a balanced and equitable approach.

Although some of the negative reaction may be nationalistic hype or negotiating tactics, analysts and diplomats said, it also reflects a deep divergence of views between the two countries, even though their governments are allied in a costly fight against Islamic extremists.

Other observers pointed to a cultural cause for the disconnect between the United States and Pakistan, despite the recent infusion of U.S. economic aid and the fence-mending visits from Washington.

Pakistanis understand the need to curb violent militant groups, they said, but do not want to be seen as doing Washington's bidding. (ANI)

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