U.S. – Pakistan relations at all-time low

The security relationship between the United States and Pakistan has sunk to its lowest level since the two countries agreed to cooperate after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, endangering counterterrorism programs that depend on the partnership, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials.

Both sides say further deterioration is likely as Pakistan’s military leadership comes under unprecedented pressure from within its ranks to reduce ties with the United States. The army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, was jeered last month by fellow officers who demanded in a town-hall-style meeting that he explain why Pakistan supports U.S. policy.

Kayani “is fighting to survive,” said one U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of current sensitivities. “His corps commanders are very strongly anti-U.S. right now, so he has to appease them.”

Outspokenness to top officers is virtually unheard of in the strict Pakistani military hierarchy, and open criticism of Kayani “is something no Pakistani military commander has ever had to face before,” another U.S. official said. “Nobody should underestimate the pressure he’s now under.”

Tension over U.S.-Pakistani relations is building on the American side, as well. Lawmakers on Wednesday expressed outrage that a number of Pakistanis who had helped gather intelligence for the CIA about Osama bin Laden’s compound have been arrested.

Among them is Maj. Amir Aziz, a doctor in the Pakistani army’s medical corps who lived next to the bin Laden residence in Abbottabad for several years and has not been seen since shortly after the raid by U.S. commandos in early May that killed the terrorist leader.

Source

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