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Monday, April 06, 2009

Syed Saleem Shahzad: All roads lead to Pakistan

Asia Times Online has learnt that the US officials want broader and more direct participation of their civilian officials in Pakistan, without the intervention of the Pakistan armed forces or the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Pakistani President Asif Zardari, the Pakistani ambassador in Washington, Husain Haqqani, and Holbrooke recently discussed a mechanism for new rules of engagement, at a secret meeting in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The parties decided on the issues on which the Pakistan army would be taken on board, and on those that would be dealt with separately through the Pakistani Ministry of Interior and the government of Pakistan. This plan will raise the US's involvement in Pakistan to an all-time high, possibly including clandestine special operations, beside stepped-up intelligence-sharing.

The US has already run up a bill of US$700 billion for its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan . Adding Pakistan as a new theater will only add to this cost. And in return, it will lead to growing influence for Russia, China and Iran - and last but not least, the militants.


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