| 23 May 2024, Thursday |

Even as Washington tries to maintain friendly relations with Pakistan, its actions indicate concern

In an attempt to Maintain a relationship with Pakistan, as it seems to be of interest to the United States, and according to a recent news report by Dawn, all references to Pakistan have been dropped from a bill that earlier sought to blame Pakistan for aiding the Taliban in taking control of Kabul back in August.
In the US National Defence Act of 2022, it was originally written that the US secretaries of defence and state must certify to a relevant congressional committee that providing “covered support” to Pakistan was in the national security interests of the United States.
However, in the amended version, the word “Pakistan” has been struck out and “any country in the near abroad of Afghanistan” has been substituted.
According to the news report, the original text also had additional references to the Taliban’s unexpected victory in Kabul. In addition, the original text gave a reference that sought to determine the role Pakistan played in this. The amended version does not mention either of these references.
Despite this, the act contains a condition that probes the effects and causes of the US withdrawal. Instead of mentioning a particular country, it suggests the creation of a commission to study Afghanistan’s immediate and distant neighbours’ roles in this regard.
In another indication of the US’s continued interest in maintaining, at least, a working relationship with Pakistan came earlier this month, when the Biden administration invited Islamabad to its inaugural democracy summit in Washington on December 9 and 10.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan factory manager’s tragic death in Sialkot seems to have intensified concerns about the security situation in Pakistan as American officials become more secretive about official US visits to Pakistan.
An American Senate delegation visited Pakistan soon after the lynching of Sri Lankan factory manager Priyantha Kumar on Dec 3.
In their meeting with Imran Khan on Saturday, the delegation expressed their desire to maintain friendly relations with Pakistan.
News of their arrival and meetings in Islamabad came out after the delegation had already left, apparently at the direction of the US.
Pakistan has been a concern for the United States and other Western nations since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but Washington had over time slowly eased up.
In fact, US officials had begun talking about future Pakistan visits, although schedules were not announced. However, after the tragedy in Sialkot, the Americans seem to have reverted to their old practice of talking about a Pakistan visit only after the event has ended.