Thursday, December 17, 2009

Harassment of US Diplomats in Pakistan?

Jane Perletz and Eric Schmitt this week wrote on the reported harassment of U.S. diplomats in Pakistan (Pakistan Reported to Be Harassing U.S. Diplomats | NYT | December 16, 2009). Quick excerpts below:

Parts of the Pakistani military and intelligence services are mounting what American officials here describe as a campaign to harass American diplomats, fraying relations at a critical moment when the Obama administration is demanding more help to fight the Taliban and Al Qaeda. […] The problems affected military attach├ęs, C.I.A. officers, development experts, junior level diplomats and others, a senior American diplomat said. As a result, some American aid programs to Pakistan, which President Obama has called a critical ally, are “grinding to a halt,” the diplomat said.

American helicopters used by Pakistan to fight militants can no longer be serviced because visas for 14 American mechanics have not been approved, the diplomat said. Reimbursements to Pakistan of nearly $1 billion a year for counterterrorism have been suspended because the last of the American Embassy’s five accountants left the country this week after his visa expired. […] At least 135 American diplomats have been refused extensions on their visas, the senior American diplomat said, leaving some sections of the embassy operating at 60 percent of capacity.

One of the most harmful consequences, the diplomat said, is the scaling back of helicopter missions by the Frontier Corps paramilitary troops fighting the Taliban because of a lack of trained American mechanics.

Read the whole thing here.

No comments: