Islamabad: Pakistan is concerned that the United States will “again desert Islamabad” after it gets al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, due to which the Asian nation is hesitant to fully cooperate with its key ally, a diplomatic cable unveiled by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks has revealed.
“The Pakistani team will come hoping, once again, to forge long-lasting ties with the US. As Vice President Biden has noted, however, the relationship for too long has been transactional in nature. It also has been based on mutual mistrust,” the cable quoted the then US Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W Patterson, as saying.
“Pakistan hedges its bets on cooperation because it fears the US will again desert Islamabad after we get Osama bin Laden; Washington sees this hesitancy as duplicity that requires we take unilateral action to protect US interests,” it added.
The cable, classified as ‘confidential’, noted that after 9/11, the then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf made a strategic shift to abandon the Taliban and support the US in the war on terror, but “neither side believes the other has lived up to expectations flowing from that decision”.
“The relationship is one of co-dependency we grudgingly admit--Pakistan knows the US cannot afford to walk away; the US knows Pakistan cannot survive without our support,” the leaked document said.
In the same cable, Patterson also said that as “we work to prevent Pakistan-based attacks on the US and its forces, we should be clear that al Qaeda (AQ) now wants more than just a safe-haven in Pakistan, and defeating a growing witches’ brew of AQ, Taliban, local extremists and criminals will be a long 10-15 year fight.”
According to the cable, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari had summed it up by saying, ‘the militants now are after me and my job`.
“The militant takeover of Swat in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) is the most striking example of how far and how fast the government is losing control over its territory. As the fight continues, we expect AQ to increase both its offensive and defensive operations to protect its equities. It simply has nowhere else to go,” it added.