Talks between the United States and Pakistan — ostensible allies in the “war on terror” — have broken down over a failure to come to terms on the reopening of roads through Pakistan that are crucial to the overland deployment of NATO troops and materiel.
The amity between the two nations has been on the decline for months and the strain on the very loose ties that bind Washington to Islamabad worsened when during a visit to Kabul, Afghanistan, U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters that the United States was “reaching the limits of [its] patience” with Pakistan regarding its alleged harboring of al-Qaeda and other associated militants.
Following Panetta’s public criticism, negotiators from the Pakistani armed forces cancelled a scheduled meeting with officials from the Pentagon. The American Defense Department personnel (described as “senior officials” by one source) spent six weeks in Pakistan expecting to meet with their Pakistani colleagues and hammer out the details of an agreement to end the supply line blockade.
Of course, scores of dead Pakistanis killed by American Hellfire missiles launched by remote control, as part of President Obama’s pet drone program, cannot be helping the situation, either.
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Photo: Pakistani protesters chant anti-NATO slogans, during a demonstration to condemn U.S. drone strikes in the tribal areas, in Multan, Pakistan: AP Images