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Being an Indian, I have always wondered why Pakistan is so important to the United States that it would ignore everything it does and still help it.

For example,

  • Pakistan protected Osama bin Laden near their army territories.
  • Their agency ISI is protecting many a people having red corner notice and who are wanted by US (like Daud Ebrahim and Hafiz Saeed).
  • They use the money and weapons given for use against terrorists to attack India and Afghanistan.
  • They provide special railways for events organised by Hafiz Saeed.
  • Their state governments provide funds to terrorist organisation.

But ignoring all this, US always gives it more money and freebie weapons. What is the reason behind this? Also the people of US don't seem to be speaking against this at all.

I guess this is related to the cold war era. Pakistan supported and protected the fighters-cum-terrorists trained by US to fight Russia (USSR). Now those people are troubling Pakistan. So Pakistan expects US to help them. It is kind of, "Your dog bit my son, now you pay the hospital bills".

But I cannot verify this. So I need a more appropriate answer.

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    I can't give a full answer, but we should remember that going back to the late 50's, India was quite friendly with the USSR and the United States had a very strange alliance with Pakistan and a friend of Pakistan, China. – Bernard Massé Feb 19 '15 at 0:14
  • @bernard So can it be that US wants pak just in case a war brokes out with russia. They know that India and China won't go against Russia so they will have to use Pak for whatever purpose they need(airports, docks,fuel) – Registered User Feb 19 '15 at 7:15
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    My answer pertained to the 50's and 60's when the USSR and China started their separate ways and is not indicative of what could happen today. It merely replaces your question in a historical context. – Bernard Massé Feb 19 '15 at 13:53
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    Your dog bit my son, now you pay the hospital bills -- IMO, this quote stands true for countries with somewhat equal military capabilities. What makes you think that US cannot deny Pakistan any help at all? – Firelord Mar 29 '15 at 17:38
  • Pakistan's relationship with the U.S. is highly ambiguous and fluid. And, as a nation with more than 100 million people with nuclear weapons the U.S. must have some relationship with it as it does with every other nation. If its not a diehard friend and not a hardcore enemy, you end up with the piecemeal and sporadic policy towards Pakistan that exists today. – ohwilleke Mar 16 '18 at 0:34
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tl;dr; - During the initial years, Pakistan needed the US. During the Soviet-Afghan war, the US needed Pakistan. And after the Sept. 11 attacks, the US needed Pakistan even more, mostly citing security concerns.

The US-Pakistan is one dysfunctional relationship. It has changed course since 1947, and each has needed the other for its own interest from time to time.

  1. 1947-1958 - After gaining independence and going through a bloody partition, Pakistan needed to establish its institutions. Pakistan decided not be a non-aligned member and chose to join the US group. During this time, Pakistan was in more need of US support and the army general made frequent trips to Washington. Also, its arch enemy, India was on friendly terms with the USSR, Pakistan doubted to what degree the USSR could help.

  2. 1958 - 1971 - In 1958 came the military dictatorship of Ayub Khan. He was always known for his pro-US stand. The Pakistan Army needed US support, financial, military, diplomatic etc., to predominantly counter India. So this was a very good arrangement. Almost all dictators ( in future as well as Ayub Khan) were pro-US for this very same reason. During the 1971 Indo-Pak war, President Nixon and Henry Kissinger were trying to manipulate/ take advantage of this situation to further their interest against the USSR. Since the USSR was aligned with India, it was kind of natural for the US to side with Pakistan. Also, the USA tried to drag China into the war with the help of Pakistan. This also helped US-Pakistan relations. This war saw the height of two faced US diplomacy. It wanted to restrain Pakistan as well as did not like pro-USSR India to dominate.

  3. 1971-1977 - This was the time of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a socialist leaning, elected head. So, the relations were in a frozen state.

  4. 1977-1989 - This was the time when US needed Pakistan for its war against the Soviets. Gen. Zia ul Haq was, like his predecessors, a pro-US dictator who wanted financial and military help from the US. So, it was a win-win situation for both.

  5. 1989-2001 - This period had a democratic(?) government. So US-Pak relations suffered. Plus, Pakistan's nuclear tests, the 1999 Kargil war, and the US leaning (a little bit) towards India, led to strain in relations.

  6. 2001 - now - This is the time when US was heavily dependent on Pakistan for its war on terror. Pakistani military leadership have taken full advantage of this weakness, and have had dual strategy. They supported a lot of terror networks (Haqqani, Harqat-ul-Mujahideen etc.) through ISI and in turn got lot of aid from the US.

So, whenever there was a dictatorship, the relationship flourished.

In conclusion, Pakistan is a very important 'ally' for the US for various strategic, geopolitical and security reasons. And Pakistan uses this importance to its advantage, especially the military, to get more financial and technological aid.

Common interests

US-Pakistan relations

SATP

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I am no expert but one way to look at it is to ask what an alternative could look like. After all, Pakistan did go along with some US plans, does maintain at least some level of collaboration/communication and basically tolerates drone operations and the like. If the US increased the pressure on the Pakistani government to do things differently, it might just as well turn into another Iran or perhaps Afghanistan. Clearly, it would serve US interests even worse than the current uneasy alliance/hypocrisy.

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The problem with your question is, this is trying to judge US treatment of Pakistan with an Indian glass.

Being an Indian, I have always wondered why Pakistan is so important to US that it would ignore everything it does and still help it.

This thought of you is being raised because you think India is an ally of the USA. But, let us not forget that India's bonhomie with the USA is very much new.

Pakistan protected Osama bin Laden near there army territories.

Not proven by all means. Besides, if that was so obvious, why didn't the USA take any action on Pakistan then?

There agency ISI is protecting many a people having red corner notice and who are wanted by the US ...

This accusation on Pakistan regarding protection of anti-US personnel is relatively new for some reason.

... (like Daud Ebrahim and Hafiz Saeed)

Those two guys are not US's concerns. They are Indian concerns.

They use the money and weapons given for use against terrorists to attack India and Afghanistan. They provide special railways for events organized by Hafiz Saeed. There state govts provide funds to the terrorist organization. But ignoring all this, US always gives it more money and freebie weapons. What is the reason behind this? Also, the people of US don't seem to be speaking against this at all.

Indian narrative, not US.

I guess this is related to the cold war era. Pakistan supported and protected the fighters-cum-terrorists trained by US to fight Russia (USSR). Now those people are troubling Pakistan. So Pakistan expects US to help them. It is kind of, "Your dog bit my son, now you pay the hospital bills".

  1. You have to remember that Pakistan is a nuclear power and a regional player with a very powerful military. As an example: why do you think Turkey can exert so much pressure on the USA and do whatever they like to do around their country?

    • They occupied Cyprus.
    • They are running military operations in Syria.
    • Being a NATO member they are purchasing sensitive Russian weapon system.
    • They arrested US officials working in the US embassy in Ankara.
    • They once stopped giving away Turkish visas to US citizens.
    • ...
  2. Pakistan's alliance with China is a major headache for the USA. It is not because of Pakistan, but because of China's growing influence on the region.

  3. The region where Pakistan is situated in a junction of Middle East, Middle Asia, and South Asia. In the past, Soviet Union took control of Afghanistan and wreaked havoc on the US interest. This area has become important once again because of having the potential of hosting Chinese and/or Russian military bases.

  4. Pakistan has a very strong influence on the House of Saud.


Note

  1. Let us not forget that the USA betrayed Pakistan during 1965's Indo-Pak war by stopping civil and military aid. The aid was dropped almost overnight. Even though India had no alliance with the USA and Pakistan had several alliances with the USA and Pakistan was considered an active member of US bloc.

  2. War on terror was not Pakistan's war. But, USA goaded Pakistan into this war which costed Pakistan billions of dollars and lives - both military and civil.

  • 'Besides, if that was so obvious, why didn't the USA take any action on Pakistan then?' - This argument is false , because U.S. also hasn't taken any actions on Saudi Arabia (which is funding a lot of terrorist groups) . Anyway if U.S. did take any actions ,then it could actually backfire because Pakistan is a very strategic ally of U.S. when it comes to fighting terrorist organizations. – user17709 Mar 15 '18 at 17:58
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    @AashishLoknathPanigrahi, exactly!! Pakistan has some leverage over the regional politics. – user17569 Mar 15 '18 at 18:05
  • +1 for "trying to judge US treatment of Pakistan with an Indian glass". – Thern Mar 16 '18 at 10:32
  • "Those two guys are not US's concerns. They are Indian concerns." Daud Ibrahim is a veteran of mujahedeen war, which was backed by CIA. The USA wants him dead or under it's captivity anyhow for hiding dirty history. Hafeez Saeed is a leader of UNSRC 1267 banned designated terrorist organisation, so already it is not alone US's concern but actually almost whole world's concern. I don't know what's your logic behind "it is alone India's concern". – 9gagger Mar 18 '18 at 18:54
  • @9gagger, if those two guys were US concerns, they would have been in Guantanamo by now. So, that is a definitive proof that they are not US concerns. – user17569 Mar 18 '18 at 20:47

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