Pakistan "Reevaluating" US Ties

A two-hour series of NATO airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers has led Islamabad to reconsider cooperation with the US.

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Gabe Kahn.,

Yousef Raza
Yousef Raza
CC/World Economic Forum

Relations between Pakistan and the United States continue to deteriorate with Islamabad saying Monday it would "reevaluate" ties with Washington after 24 of its soldiers were killed in US airstrikes.

"Pakistan is re-evaluating its relationship with the United States," Prime Minister Yousuf Raza told CNN.

He emphasized Pakistan wanted to maintain its relationship with the United States as long as there was "mutual respect and respect for Pakistani sovereignty."

But the prime minister highlighted incidents such as the killing of the Pakistani troops and a US raid into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden as violations of his country’s sovereignty.

Pakistan closed its borders to NATO forces after the airstrikes, turning back 300 trucks carrying NATO supplies and fuel into Afghanistan on Monday. Pakistan is a vital land supply route into Afghanistan for the United States and its allies.

Separately, Pakistani military spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas denied to the AFP that Pakistani troops opened fire first on the NATO helicopters - and accused the alliance of continuing the airstrikes for two hours, even after Pakistani commanders pleaded with them to stop.

NATO secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen earlier said it was a “tragic unintended” incident, and pledged to ensure such attacks don’t reoccur.

The Pakistani Taliban appeared Monday to try to widen the rift between Pakistan and the United States, urging leaders in Islamabad to "respond in kind" to the incident.

Meanwhile, in Kabul, a senior adviser to Afghan president Hamid Karzai told Reuters Afghanistan and Pakistan may be on a course toward war. Ashraf Ghani accused Pakistan of harboring and assisting the terrorist insurgency in Afghanistan.

He also said Islamabad had probably aided the suicide bomber who Burhanudin Rabbani in September. Rabbani, a former Afhgan president, was Kabul's chief peace negotiator.

“You need to talk to Pakistan and Pakistan needs to choose,” Ghani said. “Does it want to slide down a path of three generations of conflict with Afghans?”