Time to put the squeeze on Pakistan: NYT editorial


An editorial in The New York Times has urged the US government to ‘put the squeeze on Pakistan’ for continuing to play a double game in its dealings with the US and Afghanistan.

“Nearly 15 years after 9/11, the war in Afghanistan is raging and Pakistan deserves much of the blame,” reads the paper’s editorial, while highlighting the immense aid ($33 billion) already given to Pakistan for fighting terrorism in the region.

The editorial goes on to add that Pakistan holds the key to the only ‘long-term’ solution to the Afghan war: negotiations with certain factions of the Taliban, namely the Haqqani network which is believed to be close to certain elements in the Pakistani establishment.

However, the piece does highlight how there are now efforts in Washington to “exert more pressure” on the Pakistan Army, while citing the recent move by US Congress to block a move by Washington to subsidise Pakistan’s purchase of eight Lockheed Martin Corporation’s F-16 fighter jets.

The deal, which has not been scrapped entirely and can still go through as long as Pakistan arranges to pay the full price of the jets valued at over $700 million.

Previously, Islamabad was supposed to pay only $270 million while the Barack Obama-led administration was to pay $430 million in subsidy through the US foreign military financing budget.

“While such pressure makes sense, severing ties as the United States did in the 1990s after Pakistan developed a nuclear weapon is unwise,” the editorial cautions, adding how the US needs to be able to maintain a dialogue and help Pakistan keep the nuclear weapons out of the hands of extremists.

Ending with some advice for outgoing President Obama’s successor, the editorial says the US government must find a way to convince Pakistan to stop fueling the war in Afghanistan.