Thursday, March 15, 2012
Pakistan still not opening Afghan border to U.S.
After a recent meeting of Pakistani leaders no decision was made to reopen the Afghan border. Most supply deliveries as well as troop withdrawals are made through crossings from Pakistan.
The meeting of a leadership council decided to leave the decision on the opening to the Pakistani parliament. Given that the parliament long ago passed a motion demanding that drone strikes cease but the attacks continued, it is unlikely that the parliament would pass a motion to open the border. The government is already seen as too pro-American by much of the populace. There are elections coming up.
A week or so ago the commander of CENTCOM James Mattis predicted a reopening soon. The border has been closed since last November after the U.S. killed a number of Pakistani soldiers in a border attack. Prime Minister Gilani said it would last several weeks. Another month and it will have lasted half a year!
The Pakistani government is already facing very strong anti-American sentiments among much of the population. The parliament is not about to stoke the anti-American fires or face defeat at the polls. Meanwhile Russia that has roused the ire of the U.S. for supporting Syria seems set to offer a base to the U.S. from which it can supply Afghanistan and also transport troops. See this article. Russia is anxious that the U.S. continue the Afghan war. Shouldn't that be a reason for the U.S. to think about getting out!