Relationship between Pakistan and the United States

By | December 18, 2021

Forged in the midst of the bipolar opposition, the relationship between Pakistan and the US has always been characterized by phases of rapprochement and as many distances, often coinciding with the changing of US interests in the South Asian chessboard. The first alliance treaty between Pakistan and the USA was signed in 1954: it was inscribed in the midst of the climate of the Cold War, with the US need to contain the possible Soviet expansion in central-southern Asia. The adhesions of Islamabad to two pro-Western defense alliances in the region date back to the same period, namely the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (Seato) and the Central Treaty Organization (Cento). The sixties and early seventies, with the two Indo-Pakistani wars and the risk of a nuclear arms race in the Indian subcontinent, led to the American choice of a unilateral cut in the relationship and the consequent closure of the loans generously provided by Washington over the years. previous. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 forced the White House to make a decisive turnaround, transforming Pakistan into the most natural and precious ally in the attempt to obstruct the Soviet Union. After 1989, the rigidity of bipolar alignments dissolved, relationships cooled again for about a decade. U sain fact, they decided to make political support and economic aid conditional on Pakistan’s abandonment of the nuclear program. But it was again the invasion of Afghanistan, this time by the US in 2001, that marked a change of pace between Washington and Islamabad, necessitating the logistical and operational collaboration of Pakistan: a pact that in 2004 led to the Bush administration to include Pakistan on the list of ‘Non- Born Ally’ majors. For Pakistan geography, please check

The importance of the renewed partnership was finally confirmed by the new Obama presidency and by the elaboration, by Washington strategists, of the so-called AfPak strategy, which expresses so much the desire to unify the two sides of the Line from an operational point of view. Durand (the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan), as well as the awareness of the impossibility for the Atlantic Alliance to achieve any lasting success in Afghanistan without the close cooperation of Islamabad. Together with military and financial aid, Pakistan has thus also seen pressure from the United States increase for his closer cooperation in the fight against Islamic terrorism. A commitment that can no longer afford to make any distinction between the Afghan Taliban, the Pakistani Taliban, al-Qaeda terrorists or other extremist groups operating in the border regions, or to feed, as often in the past, the idea of ​​a committed Pakistan, with one hand, to support Washington in the fight against global terrorism and with the other to finance jihadist groups operating in the region, convinced of their strategic usefulness in an anti-Indian function. Furthermore, they are increasingly convinced of the need that their financial aid cannot be destined only for military purposes (and therefore be used mainly as an anti-Indian deterrent), but must also be used to revive the national economy and improve the Pakistani welfare state, thus completing, in parallel with the military offensive, the work of eradicating Islamic extremism, which finds fertile ground in poor, degraded regions with high unemployment rates.

The relations between Washington and Islamabad are constantly in the spotlight of the Pakistani public debate and the strong anti-Americanism spread in the society becomes a relevant topic in the national political competition. A sentiment, that of anti-Americanism, fueled by the repeated interference of the USA in Pakistani political dynamics (as in the request for a common management of Islamabad’s nuclear arsenal, especially in the event of the activation of emergency procedures), by frequent operations soldiers that cross the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, conducted through the use of drones (unmanned aircraft used by the CIAfor targeted attacks against terrorists), and by the suspicion aroused by the close diplomatic relations that Washington maintains with India. To these issues was added the embarrassment caused by the killing of Osama Bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, in May 2011. The operation was conducted by US special forces in Abbottabad, a city about fifty kilometers away. from Islamabad. The fact that the terrorist most wanted by the US hiding in Pakistani territory has raised suspicions about Pakistan’s effective collaboration in the fight against terrorism, just as the US’s lack of prior information about the action has created discontent among the government of Islamabad. The incident, however, did not compromise cooperation between the two countries, which continues to be central to Washington’s anti-terrorist strategy. However, the situation could change with the withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan, which is being completed in the last months of 2014. Pakistan could find itself playing a greater role in maintaining stability in the region, but it could also see the substantial aid that Washington pours into its coffers diminish. Along with changes in economic flows, shifts in strategic balances could also occur. Pakistan, disappointed with the conditions imposed by the US to maintain aid and opposed by the US drone strategy, could turn more and more towards China, thus scoring a point in favor of Beijing in the competition for leadership in Asia.

Pakistan and the United States