It's been a tumultuous year for U.S.-Pakistan relations. First came the arrest of a CIA contractor in Lahore who killed two Pakistani citizens, then the raid by U.S. special forces that ended in the death of Osama bin Laden. But relations hit a new low last month when a NATO air strike killed 26 Pakistani soldiers. A Pentagon report released Thursday says both countries share in the blame for the deadly attack, that Pakistani forces fired first.
The State Department remains tight-lipped on the role of the American man recently arrested in Pakistan for murder. The man in question, Raymond Davis, was suspected of being a spy. The Obama administration claimed that Davis had diplomatic immunity and should be set free from Pakistani custody. Last Friday, P.J. Crowley, State Department Spokesman would only say to The Takeaway that Davis is a U.S. Diplomat entitled to diplomatic immunity. You can hear that interview here. But reports out yesterday confirm that Davis was working in a part of a C.I.A. team, as an independent contractor. Either way, what does the case of Raymond Davis mean for the U.S. Pakistan relationship?
On October 7th, 2001, less than a month after the attacks of September 11, American and British forces entered Afghanistan seeking to disrupt terrorist activities and capture members of al-Qaida. Nine years later we look back and reflect on one of the longest armed conflicts the U.S. has ever seen. Gideon Rose, editor of Foreign Affairs joins us for the hour.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is in Washington today for a week of meetings with President Obama and other high-level U.S. officials. The tenor of this visit is vastly different from the last time the two leaders met when Obama flew to Kabul in late March to lecture Karzai on corruption in Afghanistan.
On Wednesday, a suicide bomber killed eight American civilians in Afghanistan, according to U.S. officials. The incident happened at Forward Operating Base Chapman, which is located in a highly hostile area near the Pakistan border. It is still unclear how many people were injured and whether or not the bomber was targeting the civilians, reportedly CIA employees. With the latest is Marvin Weinbaum, former State Department analyst on Afghanistan and Pakistan, along with Peter Greste, BBC correspondent in Afghanistan.
Attitudes towards Americans and American diplomats in Pakistan have become so hostile they border on harassment, according to a new report from The New York Times. From refusing to approve visas for over 100 U.S. officials, to what some describe as an unreasonable uptick in vehicle searches, relations between Pakistan's military services and Americans are unraveling at a crucial moment for security in the region. We talk about these strained relationships with Marvin Weinbaum, scholar at the Middle East Institue, and Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council.
President Obama has rejected four options for upping troop levels in Afghanistan. A decision on how many troops to send to the war-torn nation had been expected after the president met with his national security team on Wednesday, but a series of cables from the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, warned Obama against deploying more troops in the face of rampant corruption in the Afghan government. We speak to Marvin Weinbaum, a former State Department analyst on Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Militants linked to the Taliban launched a bold attack on Pakistan’s army headquarters this weekend. The Pakistan army took back the building, but at least 41 people were killed. The attack raised questions about Pakistan's ability to keep their security infrastructure – including their nuclear weapons – safe, and whether the U.S. will need to deal directly with the Taliban in order to stabilize the region. We speak to Marvin Weinbaum, a scholar at the Middle East Institute and former State Department analyst on Afghanistan and Pakistan, and BBC Islamabad correspondent Aleem Maqbool.
"What the (Pakistan) army does, is it has a fairly rigorous means of trying to sort out those kinds of people. They don't mind people being religiously oriented; in fact, many of the people in the junior ranks are. But they want their loyalty to be to the military first."
—Marvin Weinbaum, a scholar at the Middle East Institute and former State Department analyst, on how Pakistan's military ensures against their members joining the Taliban
This week will mark the eight-year anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, and the casualty rate is ticking upward. The United States lost eight troops in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, lending more urgency to the debate over what the Obama administration's next steps will be in Afghanistan.
We talk to Andrew Bacevich, professor of International Relations and History at Boston University. He is author of "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism"; and Marvin Weinbaum, a scholar at the Middle East Institute and a former State Department analyst on Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Five U.S. troops were killed in Afghanistan over the weekend. As President Obama weighs the next steps for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, top members of his party are making their positions clear. The Senate’s top Democrat on military issues, Carl Levin, said on Friday that he does not support sending more troops until more Afghan forces are trained. We'll look at new pressure from lawmakers and how the president might act as we talk to Marvin Weinbaum, a scholar at the Middle East Institute and former State Department analyst on Afghanistan and Pakistan; and Howard Hart, a retired CIA agent who worked in Afghanistan for several years.
"We lost the initiative in the last two or three years. We have to remember that the Taliban’s strategy has been from the very beginning just to outlast us. And they’re on course on that."
—Marvin Weinbaum, scholar at the Middle East Institute and former State Department analyst on Afghanistan and Pakistan, commenting on the war in Afghanistan.
In Pakistan, local and state authorities were challenged by a spate of attacks over the weekend. NATO oil tankers were set ablaze along the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and a suicide bomber struck a group of volunteer policemen in the Swat valley, leaving 17 dead, according to reports from Associated Press. Pakistan's law enforcement say they've responded with a new offensive that has killed at least 30 members of the Taliban.
The border region is considered the main arterial route between Afghanistan and Pakistan. What can be discerned from these events about the ongoing fight against the Pakistani Taliban? Here to lay it out for us is Marvin Weinbaum, a scholar at the Middle East Institute and former State Department analyst on Afghanistan and Pakistan.