News that Pakistan has detained five of its citizens who allegedly gave information assists to US efforts to track down and kill Osama bin Laden raises fundamental questions about the solvency of Pakistan’s government and course. These five individuals deserve honors, not harassment.
There have long been doubts about Pakistan’s commitment to rid itself and its region of the scourge of violent, transnational Islamic terrorists — and now in the aftermath of bin Laden’s death, Pakistan seems to be confirming these suspicions by going after those who helped successfully shut down bin Laden.
These trends are worrisome — and America’s Afghanistan War only enhances the strategic dependence of the US and allied forces on Pakistan.
America must draw down the Afghanistan War not only to diminish the sense that the military is fatigued and over-stretched but because it removes constraints on Pakistan’s behavior.
Pakistan is not a rogue state – yet – and there are many in the political and military leadership who are clearly on the side of what is right in trying to tackle Islamic extremism inside the country. However, the US needs more freedom of movement and more options to be able to impose costs for episodes like the detention of those who cooperated in helping to take out bin Laden.
The US cannot gain leverage or get more latitude with Pakistan as long as Pakistan controls the choke points of America’s Afghan War.
— Steve Clemons