Pakistan Pains

This week’s visit by Richard Holbrooke and joint chiefs chairman Mike Mullen to Pakistanhas been a reminder of the weirdness and dysfunctionality of the government there and our relationship with it. For instance, the Times reports today that the chief of Pakistan’s intelligence agency refused a meeting with the American envoys (though he sat in one one that included Pakistani military officials). I’m guessing he was fuming over recent leaks about the ISI’s Taliban ties. But this is really not someone we can afford to have as an antagonist.
Meanwhile, Dawn says president Zardari is graciously offering to take out the militants himself if we give him a bunch of our drones and tell him where to shoot:
We would much prefer that the US share its intelligence and give us the drones and missiles that will allow us to take care of this problem on our own.
Uh, thanks but no thanks: The Pakistanis–or at least some elements of their government, i.e. the ISI–are notorious for tipping off radicals just before big raids. Plus, with Robert Gates looking to ramp up drone production to meet a fast-growing need, it’s not like we’re itching to give the things away. Not gonna happen.
Meanwhile, Mullen and Holbrooke are now in India, where the latter stressed the need for Pakistan-India cooperation–but said the US won’t be mediating. “We cannot negotiate between the two countries,” Holbrooke said, delighting the local media.
Photo: Richard Holbrooke stands to introduce journalists to Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi (sitting-R) as US military commander Admiral Mike Mullen looks on prior to starting a meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad on April 7, 2009.

–Michael Crowley

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