US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was hoping to use his visit to Pakistan as a chance to shore up a fraying alliance and, as every other top American official visiting the nation has, a chance to pressure the nation to embark on even more offensives.
But Secretary Gates left disappointed after unusually pointed comments from the Pakistani military, ruling out new wars in its tribal regions for at least the next 6-12 months.
“The Pakistan army is overstretched and it is not in a position to open any new fronts,” noted Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas. Pakistan has committed some 200,000 troops to the current clashes at America’s behest, and is still fighting a massive offensive in South Waziristan as well as lingering unrest in and around the Swat Valley.
Gates does not appear to have completely given up, however, dangling the prospect of finally offering drones to the Pakistani military, something they have long sought, as a way of “improving” ties between the two nations.