Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen told reporters in Afghanistan Tuesday that cooperation between U.S. and Pakistani soldiers is better than its ever been.
Mullen, who was in eastern Afghanistan Tuesday, said “we have chased bad guys into their network, and [the Pakistanis] have hammered them, and vice versa," as reported by the American Forces Press Services.
Mullen, however, knows the difficulties that lie ahead. He will be visiting Pakistan this week in an effort to repair damage from the fall-out regarding both CIA contractor Raymond Davis, who shot two Pakistani men he said threatened him at gun point and the continuing drone strikes, which Pakistani officials say are killing innocent civilians in the tribal belt. Both topics will be at the top of the list.
However, are those the real reasons that Pakistani officials are so upset?
In a number of interviews with both U.S. and Pakistani officials, the complaints I’ve heard range from Pakistan’s desire to have access to U.S. drone technology, concerns that Pakistan will not be a major player in Afghanistan if India takes more of a role and fear that a U.S. drawdown will leave Pakistan vulnerable.
On Tuesday, the Pakistani provincial Assembly unanimously voted to have the Pakistan federal government summon the U.S. ambassador in Islamabad to demand a halt to drone attacks that violate their sovereignty. The resolution also suggests that the U.S. give Pakistan access to unarmed drone technology, so they can effectively take their own action against the terrorists, according to Pakistan media.
It seems Adm. Mullen will have his work cut out for him.