James Forsyth

Pakistan refuses US request to expand drones’ area of operations

Pakistan refuses US request to expand drones' area of operations
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Part of what makes the war in Afghanistan so complicated is how easily the Taliban can be supplied from over the border in Pakistan. Pakistan has been more cooperative recently but the Washington Post reports today that Pakistan has refused a US request to expand the areas in which its drones can operate. The Pakistanis are also resisting requests from the US to take a military grip on North Waziristan, a base for several of the groups fighting the US in Afghanistan.

Worryingly, the Post quotes a senior Pakistani military official as saying, "You have timelines of November elections and July x'11 drawdowns - you're looking for short-term gains," the official said, referring to President Obama's pledge to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan in July. "Your short-term gains should not be our long-term pain.”

This is one of the problems with time lines, it makes policies appear short-termist. Although, it would be foolish to deny that the clock is ticking politically and that it would be very hard to maintain the support of Western publics for a combat mission beyond 2014.