Friday, April 13, 2012

What Security Looks Like | Pakistan and the War

After weeks of debate, the Parliament of Pakistan has unanimously endorsed a list of demands to guide discussions with the United States.

The paper, drafted by the national security service, is the latest step in redefining ground rules after 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed by US airstrikes in a November cross border attack.

The result is a series of comprehensive demands, including an official apology for the killing of the Pakistani soldiers, an end to CIA drone strikes, and a ban on the transport of US/NATO weapons and ammunition thru Pakistan to the war in Afghanistan.

There is a prohibition on overt or covert military operations in the country, a ban on private contractors and a call on the government to pursue a natural gas pipeline with Iran.

This level of engagement by Parliament is really a demand for transparency. Claiming oversight responsibilities with the demand that no verbal agreements regarding national security be entered by the government.

If these demands are met, the US/NATO supply lines – for food and fuel – would be opened. The demands are non-binding and must be approved by senior US and Pakistani officials.

It is a positive sign. If only the US were as committed to diplomacy and dialogue as we are to supply lines. That map below illustrates the lengths the US and NATO have gone through to continue the war fighting.

Before the November attack, one-third of American war supplies moved through Pakistan, costing about $17 million a month. Since then, coalition forces have relied on the Northern Distribution Network, a system of supply lines in countries such as Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, inflating supply costs by $87 million more per month, according to the Associated Press.

More links on Pakistan here.

What regional security looks like here.

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Afghanistan 101 is a blog of the American Friends Service Committee
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