US Struggles to Rescue Pakistani Military Ties

The upper echelon of Pakistan’s military has a long history of close ties with the United States, and today that is no different. But from the Pressler Amendment of the 1980s to the controversial policy of unilateral US drone strikes today, US policy over the past two decades have increasingly distanced Pakistan’s younger officers from the US and, as today’s leadership gradually retires the next generation of Pakistani military leadership will come into its positions with a starkly different view of American military influence.

At this point, the sole direct US contact Pakistani officials are liable to be aware of is a small and controversial program to train Pakistani army instructors. Even this was put into doubt after US air strikes killed several members of Pakistan’s Frontier Corps.

And even if Pakistan’s civilian government has a “tacit agreement” with the United States about the drone strikes, Pakistan’s military doesn’t seem to be uniformly aware of this, and indeed has been practicing the destruction of US drones. America may have the support of President Zardari’s tenuous coalition government, but in Pakistan civilian government come and go, the military has historically been the long-term driver of the nation’s policy.

Yes, today’s military leadership in Pakistan still sees America as a staunch ally, but will tomorrow’s?

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of