In the 'War on Terror' started under US leaderrship after the terror attacks of 11 September 2001, about 5 lakh people have died, as per a report released by US-based Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.
The report released the other day with the title 'The Costs of War', deals only with the 'anti-terror wars' in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. While in Iraq and Afghan, it was a unilateral occupation by America and Nato, in Pakistan such direct military operations were rare. It may be remembered that in these wars, America's most vital non-Nato ally was Pakistan.
Even in such a situation, in Pakistan alone more than 70,000 people lost their lives, and thousands of villages were decimated by US drone attacks. Despite such heavy losses, Pakistan remained a part of US allied forces and yileding to its wishes. Despite behaving like a slavish country in this manner, the fate of Pakistan is to hear all the blame. What US President Donald Trump said during an interview, and later through Twitter, is that Pakistan does not have even the slightest sincerity in its 'war on terror', and that if they had intended, they could have captured those like Osama bin Laden very early. Now, following Pak prime minister Imran Khan's expression of displeasure over Trump's comments, the matter has escalated into a diplomatic issue. While Pakistan summoned the US envoy and conveyed its dissatisfaction, America has sounded a warning with a threat of sanctions.
In fact there is nothing new in Trump's allegation. All that can be said now is that a topic simmering at the back end over the last few months regarding American aid to Pakistan, has now come to the brink of explosion. Early this year, America stopped 500 million dollars worth of aid to Pakistan citing these same reasons. In addition to this, Trump administration denied Pakistan another military aid of 1.66 billion dollars. But the Pakistan regime of that time failed in raising this as a diplomatic issue. But things changed with Imran Khan assuming power on 18 August. On 1 September, Pentagon officially informed Pakistan that it would not be able to transfer the 300 million dollars that was due to Pakistan. That was a threat in the form of pressure tactics by theTrump administration. But Imran strongly protested at this, and argued that the said amount was not a military aid due from America, but the amount spent by Pakistan for the 'war on terror'. Although American State Secretary Mike Pompeo personally went over to Islamabad to cool down Imran, the issue was not resolved. It was when he was asked about these developments that Trump became aggressive about the 'insincerity' of Pakistan.
Imran's reply to that would speak for the pathetic situation of that country. By being part of that military alliance, Pakistan had to spend 123 billion dollars. And what it received from America was a mere 20 billion dollars. This, Imran made it unambiguously clear, only resulted in turning the Pak population more insecure and into refugees. And Imran's question how Osama bin Laden was able to escape from Afghanistan despite the country being under the control of nearly 1.5 lakh Nato forces, would in fact put in question the sincerity of America too in its war on terror.
Beyond the mere issue of funds, Trump's and Imran's statements are sure to open a new war front in south Asia in general and in Pakistan in particular. Read together with this is the fact that all this is happening when American envoys are having peace talks with Taliban with the help of Pakistan. Two rounds of discussions have already been completed in the Qatari capital of Doha, with indications emerging that there will be a peace treaty with Taliban. Not only that, on another front under the leadership of Imran Khan, steps are progressing to liberate Pak people out of their agonizing memories of military rule.
To put it in other words, it is when seeds of democracy and peace are sprouting in the biggest conflict zone of south Asia, that Trump is entering the scene in the role of a mediator and scuttling it. One can suspect that the agenda behind the new moves is to ensure for America an intermediate base permanently in the region, even after withdrawal of the entire force from Afghanistan. Further, in Trump's trade war with China, south Asian countries are by and large against America. The considerable headway made in discussions on trade channels after Imran's assumtion of office is also a setback for Trump. The path chosen by Trump to overcome all this is that of threat and sanctions.