The U.S.-Pakistan ties have strained following the detention of American diplomat Raymond Davis in Lahore and the Abbottabad raid which killed Osama bin Laden, affecting the bilateral military cooperation, President Barack Obama has told the Congress.
“Bilaterally, the fallout of the raid resulting in the death of Osama bin Laden continued to complicate the United States-Pakistan relationship, further strained by a series of media reports based on alleged leaks from both the United States and Pakistan,” Mr. Obama said in a new report to Congress on U.S. operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“The kidnapping of an American citizen United States Agency for International Development (USAID) contractor provided an avenue for cooperation between law enforcement authorities, but simultaneously added a new level of security concern to U.S. partners working in Pakistan,” Mr. Obama said.
The unclassified section of the report running into 25 pages has been obtained by Press Trust of India.
“This report covers the period from January 1, 2011, through June 30, 2011. To the extent possible, the report also provides an assessment through August 31, 2011,” Mr. Obama said.
Between April 1 and June 30 period, Mr. Obama said, the overall indicators and metrics against this objective declined.
“Pakistan’s response to the raid against Osama bin Laden on May 2 strained military-to-military cooperation and collaboration between the U.S. and Pakistan,” he said.
“The continuation of the Pakistan-directed drawdown of the U.S. military assistance effort dramatically reduced the U.S. ability to support Pakistan’s COIN and CT fight,” Mr. Obama said referring to the decision of Pakistan to reduce the number of American troops and trainers inside the country after the Abbottabad raid in May.
“The security situation in the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) and KPk (Khaibar Pakhtoonwah) continued to deteriorate slowly during this reporting period (April 1 to June 30), while the returned focus of militant violence against government infrastructure targets demonstrated the resiliency of the insurgency and the non-permanent effects of Pakistani operations in key insurgent areas,” Mr. Obama said.
The negative reaction to the bin Laden raid within Pakistan included unprecedented public and internal military criticism of the leadership of the Pakistani military.
As a result, the leadership of Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishments focused a significant amount of time and effort on managing internal opinion during this reporting period, said the report.
The security situation in the FATA and KPk continued to slowly deteriorate as in the previous reporting period.
Operations in Mohmand settled into a largely static and defensive posture, but unlike previous reporting periods, as Pakistan’s ground operations in Mohmand stalled, so too did opportunities for ISAF and ANSF cooperation and collaboration with the Pakistani military on future plans and troop movements, necessary for effective combined planning along the border.
According to the report reductions of the U.S. military presence that began at Pakistan’s direction at the end of the last reporting (January to March 2011) period continued during this reporting period (April to June).
This reduced U.S. support to Pakistan’s COIN and CT fight, in part by hindering the ability to maintain relationships and understand the operating realities of key counterparts conducting COIN operations in the FATA and KPk.
“This significantly degraded the U.S. ability to support the Pakistani military in its fight against militancy through the provision of training and equipment,” the report said.
Years of progress in cross-border coordination and collaboration faced increased challenges, while the drawdown of U.S. military elements in Pakistan continued the trend of a decreased U.S. ability to contribute to Pakistan’s COIN and CT efforts, it said.
“Pakistan military operations continued in the FATA, but insurgent activity and high-profile strikes against security and government forces contributed to a decline in the security situation,” the report said.
According to the report, despite efforts to develop more robust communication and coordination mechanisms to de-conflict cross-border incidents, the period between July 1 to August 31 saw an increase in incidents along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border as well as an overall decrease in coordination and collaboration.
“Insurgent activity along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border continues to pose a challenge to stabilisation efforts in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Attacks occurred along the border of both the northern and southern FATA agencies, with a number of large-scale attacks resulting in high casualty rates for Pakistan’s security forces in the north,” it said.
Referring to the Raymond Davis case early this year, the report said his seven-week detention by Pakistani authorities undermined the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, slowing ongoing efforts to strengthen the civilian government.
“The detention created division amongst the civilian leadership in Pakistan as well as between Pakistan civilian and military leaders. Civilian authorities were unwilling and unable to recognize the official’s diplomatic immunity and deferred the issue to Pakistani courts for resolution,” he said.