The Pakistani parliament on Thursday unanimously declared that the U.S. must immediately stop violating its sovereignty, including through drone strikes.
The Guidelines for Revised Terms of Engagement with USA/NATO/ISAF states that the “U.S. footprint in Pakistan must be reviewed,” and demanded “an immediate cessation of drone attacks inside the territorial borders of Pakistan,” an immediate stop to all military incursions into Pakistani territory for any reason, and a prohibition on using Pakistani territory or airspace to supply NATO troops in Afghanistan.
Pakistan has been saying as much for months, especially after U.S. warplanes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at an outpost in the Mohmand Agency last November. Supply routes to NATO troops in Afghanistan have been closed to the U.S. since then and, even though the Obama administration restarted the drone program in January, Islamabad has consistently condemned them as “unlawful.”
The decade-long war in Afghanistan has terribly destabilized Pakistan and the Obama administration’s drone program – the institutionalization of extra-judicial execution and mass murder of innocent men, women, and children – has caused immense suffering and resentment. The parliament’s declaration is therefore unsurprising.
The statement comes as Washington struggles desperately to negotiate an end to the useless war in Afghanistan. But Pakistan’s interests in Afghanistan have run counter to Washington’s since the beginning of the war. With the inevitable U.S. defeat and the impending withdrawal of combat troops in 2014, Pakistan can be expected to support Taliban sway in Afghanistan to counter the influence of its archenemy, India.
Pakistan’s new stay-out-of-our-affairs declaration is frankly a long time coming. And the political entanglements of the region are an indication of how remote Afghanistan and Pakistan are to U.S. interests and what a massive waste the last decade of murderous and misguided engagement in the area has been.