Blocking CSF exposes Obama’s inability to curb terrorism

(Eschmall Sardar, Peshawar)

As China, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan signed a quadrilateral counterterrorism agreement on August 3, the Pentagon same day withheld $300m military funding to Pakistan under the CSF program, for not taking “sufficient action against the Haqqani network” (HN) reportedly having its sanctuary in North Waziristan and allegedly having links with the ISI. The Coalition Support Fund had been stopped many a time, but this time it is stopped because of HN as the US blames that the network is involved in attacks on US-allied personnel inside Afghanistan. President Obama grapples with deteriorating security in Afghanistan where stepped-up Taliban attacks do not let him to end his long military presence. Experts say the decision aims to increase pressure on Pakistan to crack down on militants causing trouble in Afghanistan. After the killing of OBL in Abbottabad US stopped $800m in security aid for Pakistan. Earlier this year America blocked sale of F-16s, presuming, Pakistan will use it against India.

To me the Pentagon decision is not surprising. It shows double-speak on part of the US. Recently a high-powered US mission visited Pakistan under Senator John McCain. The Senator visited North Waziristan and witnessed areas retaken from TTP, including HN. He was all praise to Pakistan army and of successful Zarb-e-Azb. In his press talk and while briefing the US officials, he not only appreciated Pakistan’s role, Gen Raheel’s leadership but also warned against isolating Pakistan at this crucial juncture.

In his interview with Hamid Mir on Geo, the US ambassador to Pakistan expressed similar views, while the outgoing US Counsel General in Lahore talked to Moeed Pirzada on Dunya and hurled generous praises on Pakistan for playing ‘incredible role’ in war on terror. The all-encompassing Zarb-e-Azb operation has cleared all areas of terrorists of all sorts and groups without discrimination, including HN. As Senator McCain saw, there was no HN present on Pakistan’s side, they were either killed or crossed over to Afghan side. A number of terrorists, including Mullah Fazlullah escaped to Afghanistan and used the Afghan soil to launch attacks inside Pakistan. The cost Pakistan has paid is heavier than any country of the world, including the US. Pakistan’s fight against terrorism continues. Army is now focusing on managing the border so that the terrorists cannot be able to return, reassemble and reassert.

Pakistan had not been getting CSF for operating against terrorists hiding in Afghanistan. The $14bn CSF so far given to Pakistan is far less than around $1tr worth losses Pakistan has suffered so far since 9/11. It has suffered heavy casualties. $14bn cannot be regarded as a rent-price for thousands of lives Pakistan paid. It was the mutually agreed assistance for being coalition partner and non-Nato ally of the US in the global war against terrorism. Calling it rental price is insult to our martyrs and those crippled and maimed. If finally some sense has been driven into the Obama-led philanthropists, they are welcome. Aid does nothing for the people’s well being, nor has helped enhanced Pakistan’s military muscle. Rather the war machinery has nearly exhausted. Americans have denied its replacement by design. Pakistan has had to look to other countries for defence purchases in order to meet the day to day needs of the WOT.

Pakistan is now used to using its own ingenuity and resources to accomplish something that is where the dignity lies. Wealth is not above dignity. Not so as it turns out. The Western world has made Pakistan a laughing stock. Who asked you to pay CSF? Because Pakistan delivered. Even we all die for you, Uncle Sam, you won’t be happy. But why you look to us and ask us for help, again and again? We have thousands of Khizer Khans whose sons have laid down their lives for you. We bore hundreds of 9/11s on our soil but did not let another 9/11 happen on your soil. I know the saner elements like Senator McCain recognize this fact.

Stopping of this aid is political decision, not pragmatic. Obama’s term is close to ending. So it is left to handle for the next administration. Secondly, it is hide Obama’s weaknesses and inability to handle terrorists in Afghanistan. World is not oblivious of this fact. Be wise.

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