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US frustrated with Pakistan's double game?

By Lalit K Jha
July 28, 2010 01:10 IST
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The leaked Pentagon documents reveal the increasing American frustration with Islamabad's ambiguous policy toward terrorism and how the US is basically at war in Afghanistan with elements of the Pakistani establishment, US experts feel.

"The leaked documents do reveal a level of US frustration with Pakistan's dual policy of fighting some extremists while harbouring others that is not always apparent in US official statements praising Pakistan as a steadfast ally in the war on terrorism," noted South Asian expert, Lisa Curtis, of the Heritage Foundation said.

"Given the continuing challenges posed by Pakistan's ambiguous policy toward terrorism in the region, the Obama administration must consider carefully whether its current Pakistan policy is providing sufficient dividends or whether it needs to be recalibrated in ways that convince the Pakistanis to shift their strategy toward the Taliban in more fundamental ways," Curtis said.

"If all of the media stories to date have not been clear enough, the WikiLeaks documents describing in great detail how active Pakistan's ISI has been in supporting and even managing the Afghan Taliban leave little room for doubt -- the United States is basically at war in Afghanistan with elements of the Pakistan government," said Asia Society Executive Vice President Jamie Metzl.

"Unless this is changed and governance within Afghanistan improves significantly, there is no chance for anything resembling success in Afghanistan and American public support for the war will collapse," he said.

"WikiLeaks may not be the Pentagon Papers, but the current situation of a military holding on in a far-away war and a disillusioned American public no longer willing to shoulder the burden is starting to look eerily familiar," Metzl said.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama, in a meeting with Congressional leaders at the White House, sought their support for his efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan and approve the funding for the war against terrorism in the region.

"I urged the House leaders to pass the necessary funding to support our efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan," Obama told media persons after his meeting with Congressional leaders at the White House.

Speaking for the first time after Wikileaks released more than 92,000 classified documents on the war against terrorism in the region; Obama said he is concerned about the disclosure of sensitive information from the battlefield that could potentially jeopardize individuals or operations.

"The fact is, these documents don't reveal any issues that haven't already informed our public debate on Afghanistan. Indeed, they point to the same challenge."

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Lalit K Jha in Washington
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