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News Analysis |

Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson has hinted at possible air strikes inside Pakistan as part of the Trump administration strategy to compel Pakistan to stop its alleged support to terrorists. Tillerson alluded to such a possibility while he rolled out a list of options available to the administration to back up Trump’s tough line against Pakistan.

“We are going to attack terrorists wherever they live, and we have put people on notice that if you are harboring or providing safe haven to terrorists, be warned, be forewarned,” said Tillerson. President Trump while announcing the new South Asia policy had chastised Pakistan for allegedly harboring and supporting terrorists. He lamented Pakistan’s so-called duplicitous role of taking money from the US while bolstering the very terrorists who are fighting the US.

The US finds itself amidst deep trouble in Afghanistan and with regional realignments taking place, its leverage over Pakistan is fast-diminishing

While Trump did not spell out as to how Pakistan would be deterred and compelled, pundits and officials point out to the fact that the US has little leverage over Pakistan. However Tillerson said that Pakistan could be inflicted with pain. “All those things… are on the table for discussion, if, in fact, they are unwilling to change their posture or change their approach to how they’re dealing with the numerous terrorist organizations that find safe haven in Pakistan,” he added.

Read more: Will Trump’s ‘new’ Afghan strategy be successful?

Tillerson said that Pakistan must change its approach and that the US will help them in their anti-terror efforts. He said: “We are going to be conditioning our support for Pakistan and our relationship with them on them delivering results in this area. We have some leverage in terms of aid, their status as a non-NATO alliance partner — all of that can be put on the table.”

Hence, any attack on Pakistan will exert public pressure on the military to retaliate, which it may not cave into owing to various logical reasons. This would help the US and India to discredit the Army, causing a compelling effect

India while welcoming US’ request for its role in stabilizing Afghanistan, showed enthusiasm over Trump’s references to terrorist safe havens in Pakistan. Delhi wants the US to inflict compelling punishments on Pakistan by hitting alleged targets inside Pakistan. Tillerson’s comments will hence go down well with Delhi.

Why are Air strikes on the table?

Though a tad early to say the US may be enticed to go for strikes inside Pakistan. The US time and again violates Pakistani airspace and carry-out drone strikes. Twice they have gone a step further in 2011. One was the Abbottabad Operation which took out Osama Bin Laden and the other was when NATO and US forces attacked a Pakistani check post in Salala, martyring 26 Pakistani army personnel.

Read more: President Trump’s speech and our reactions

All these events and the Raymond Davis saga for that matter fuelled anti-American sentiments. However, it harmed the repute of the armed forces. Common Pakistan venerates, trust and laud the armed forces of the country. More or less all agree on the fact that the security forces are competent enough to thwart the very many challenges that Pakistan is facing.

A day before Trump gave his strategy speech, the ISPR briefed a large section of the media on the various counter-terrorism efforts of the armed forces

As the US in tandem with India and Afghanistan tries to portray the Pakistani military as complicit in terrorism, the military is dishing out details of its efforts against the menace of terrorism. In the war of narratives, the military is actively engaged in disseminating its unprecedented achievements.

The COAS General Qamar Bajwa has repeatedly implored his US counterparts to recognize the meritorious contributions of Pakistan in the war on terror. A day before Trump gave his strategy speech, the ISPR briefed a large section of the media on the various counter-terrorism efforts of the armed forces. Besides, Indian subversive role in Afghanistan and the Kashmir issue was also discussed in detail.

Read more: The winners and losers in Trump’s Afghan Strategy – 1

One was the Abbottabad Operation which took out Osama Bin Laden and the other was when Nato and US forces attacked a Pakistani check post in Salala, martyring 26 Pakistani army personnel

The US wants to compel Pakistan to do what it allegedly doesn’t want to do. The non-military options are unlikely to have a telling impact on Pakistan. The US may find it tenable to target the repute of the Army and drive a wedge between the people and the armed forces.

Airstrikes or offensive operations can be responded to by the Pakistan military but it will run the risk of deadly escalation. Hence, any attack on Pakistan will exert public pressure on the military to retaliate, which it may not cave into owing to various logical reasons. This would help the US and India to discredit the Army, causing a compelling effect.

The US finds itself amidst deep trouble in Afghanistan and with regional realignments taking place, its leverage over Pakistan is fast-diminishing.

25 COMMENTS

  1. If push comes to shove, Pakistan will be compelled to shoot down US drones.We have the capability. As for the mighty USAF, they were humbled by the Vietcong with obsolete Chinese anti-aircraft guns. Do we have the resolve that matches the Vietcong?

  2. USA IS THE BIGGEST TERRORIST IN THE WORLD. USA WANTS TO LOOT AND PLUNDER THE WEALTH OF MUSLIM COUNTRIES. JUST AS THERE WERE NO WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION IN IRAQ, THERE ARE NO TERRORISTS IN PAKISTAN.USA IS IN AFGHANISTAN NOT FOR THE LOVE OF AFGHANIS BUT MINERAL WEALTH WORTH TRILLIONS.

    • THE USA WILL NEVER FORGET AND NEVER ALLOW ANOTHER BIN LADEN TO HIDE IN AFGHANISTAN. THE USA IS GOING TO STAY IN AFGHANISTAN AND DESTROY THE TALIBAN AND ISIS.

      WE ARE SEEING A CHANGE IN STRATEGY WHERE WE WILL SAVAGE PAKISTAN TERRORIST FACTORIES AND DECIMATE THE TALIBAN.

    • NOT REALLY. THE US PULLED COMBAT TROOPS OUT BUT WE CONTROL THE SKIES AND WE HAVE A STABLE AND DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT IN KABUL.

      ON THE CONTRARY IT IS PAKISTAN THAT IS THE BIG LOSER IN AFGHANISTAN AS IT LOST ITS PRECIOUS TALIBAN CONTROL.

      YOU PAKISTANIS ARE BEING WARNED THAT THE AMERICANS ARE GOING TO COME AFTER YOU NOW IF YOU DON’T CHANGE YOUR WAYS.

  3. If Pakistan refuses transit facility to the USA/NATO, the threat would be over. Pakistan should just say NO to war that will kill innocent Afghans, Pakistanis, and Americans, yes even Americans as their innocent children will be sent to the war to get killed or injured.

    Just say ‘NO’ to providing any kind of support to the war.

    Get the PM to speak at the joint session of the Senate and the National Assembly and we will have won.

  4. LOL at moron Pakistanis who think they can shoot down US drones! The USA will destroy your terrorist air force and sanction and sink your crappy economy if you interfere with anti-terror operations.

  5. Pakistan economy is going down the toilet and it is begging in front of the US controlled IMF and at the same time clueless Pakistanis are showing false bluster.

    The US owns your Pakistani azzes. Pakistan Generals will namaaz in front of master US and will aquiesce to the US demands for drone and airstrikes.

  6. PAKISTAN IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE A BEGGAR NATION WHO WILL NEVER BE IN ANY POSITION TO DICTATE TERMS TO ANYONE LETE ALONE THE UNITED STATES.

    THE UNITED STATES HAS PAKISTAN GENERALS ON THEIR KNEES DOING NAMAAZ. IF THE UNITED STATES PERFORMS AIRSTRIKES AND DRONE ATTACKS PAKISTAN GENERALS WILL NAMAAZ AND SAY YES MASTER. PAKISTAN PEOPLE AND POLITICIANS CAN BLUSTER ALL THEY WANT BUT THE TRUTH IS THAT PAKISTAN IS A BEGGAR AND SLAVE COUNTRY.

  7. THE UNITED STATES WILL CONTINUE THE AFGHAN WAR FOR MANY ADMINISTRATIONS AFTER THIS ONE.

    EVENTUALLY AFTER A DECADE OR SO, AFGHANISTAN WILL HAVE A STABLE GOVERNMENT AND A FUNCTIONING ARMY AND AIR FORCE. PAKISTAN WILL BE A THIRD WORLD HELL HOLE LEFT BEHIND BY THE REGION.

    • Lolz, this is your dream. Pakistan is going to take break India into pieces, India is the only culprit in the region who is inviting US as their new daddy and compelling Afghanistan to do so.

  8. Afghanistan and US can both go to hell. We are done with both of them.It’s the US policy failures in Afghanistan and they should deal with it however if they try to mess with Pakistan the US can have a serious problem. Remember we are not our ancestors and this generation is a aggressive one and it will die rather than backing down.

  9. LMAO @ this cow-worshiper (Fab) pretending he’s an American when everyone can see he’s just a Ganges-bather – I’m laughing my head off at this oily-haired call-centre fraudster teaching us about politics in the region… you filthy urine-consumer, if it weren’t for you retarded, peasant cow-dung-eaters who invited the British in to come and rule over you – rape and plunder you – for over 200 years (TWO FUCKING CENTURIES, HAHAHA, HOLY FUCK!) – there’d be no precedent set for your colonial masters to raid or bomb the crap out of wherever they choose!!! So instead of lauding and praising the people who’s ancestors raped your nation and land for 2 centuries, why not just grow a pair for a change and tell it like it is? The entire region is weak and at the behest of the West. Yes, your precious, holy India included. Just admit that first. Stop being in denial about how much power you Indians yield. You yield FUCK-ALL, you filthy, unwashed lunghi-wearers. Peace Out xxx

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