NEWS: U.S. and Pakistan: A frayed alliance

U.S. and Pakistan: A frayed alliance

Five years ago, elite Pakistani troops stationed near the border with Afghanistan began receiving hundreds of pairs of U.S.-made night-vision goggles that would enable them to see and fight al-Qaeda and Taliban insurgents in the dark. The sophisticated goggles, supplied by the Bush administration at a cost of up to $9,000 a pair, came with an implicit message: Step up the attacks.

But every three months, the troops had to turn in their goggles for two weeks to be inventoried, because the U.S. military wanted to make sure none were stolen or given away, U.S. and Pakistani officials said. Militants perceived a pattern and scurried into the open without fear during the two-week counts.

“They knew exactly when we didn’t have the goggles, and they took full advantage,” said a senior Pakistani government official who closely tracks military operations on the border.

The goggles are but a fragment of the huge military aid Washington sends to Pakistan, but the frustrations expressed by Pakistani officials are emblematic of a widening gulf between two military powers that express a common interest in defeating terrorism. [complete article]

See also, Thousands flee strife in northern Pakistan (Reuters).

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