Washington: The United States may have described the just-concluded strategic dialogue with Pakistan as ‘a new beginning’ in their bilateral relationship, but it would be a mistake to read that as an indication about the long standing trust deficit being bridged.
According to noted Washington Post columnist, David Ignatius, while Pakistan has made certain moves to showcase its commitment to root out militancy from its soil, Islamabad’s relationship with Washington can not turn out to be a truly strategic partnership until the Army takes decisive action against its key long-time ally in Afghanistan, the Haqqani network.
“This is the ‘trust but verify’ detail of the US-Pakistan rapprochement, reminiscent of the US-Soviet détente,” Ignatius said in his article.
“When there is a decisive move to cut them (the Haqqani network) off, the US will see and verify it. At that point, in the minds of the US intelligence chiefs, the strategic shift will truly have taken place and the real celebration can begin,” he said.
Ignatius said he believes that Pakistan is well aware of the fact that any peace talks in Afghanistan would fail unless they include all parties to the conflict, including elements of the fearsome Haqqani group.
However, Pakistan, is also eager to hop on to the ‘US-powered peace train’ for Kabul before it gets too late in order to safeguard its cause in the region, he said.