Rise of Imran Khan in Pakistan does not go well in US: Report

Rise of Imran Khan in Pakistan does not go well in US: Report

WASHINGTON: After the strong warning of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to new Pakistan government now the officials have said that rise of Imran Khan in Pakistan could complicate new talks between American diplomats and the Taliban about ending the war in Afghanistan, fraying an already strained relationship between the nuclear-armed Islamic nation and the Trump administration, reported *The New York Times.* link

Tensions between Pakistan and the United States were exacerbated in January when the Trump administration suspended nearly all American security aid to Islamabad.

But the relationship threatens to be further inflamed by Khan, who has voiced past support for the Taliban’s fight in the 17-year conflict in Afghanistan, calling it “justified”. He also has accused the United States of recklessness in its use of drone strikes on suspected extremists in Pakistan, signalling he wants them to stop.

Khan tempered his harsh anti-American language with an olive twig, if not a branch, in his victory speech last week.

“With the US, we want to have a mutually beneficial relationship,” Khan said. “Up until now, that has been one-way — the US thinks it gives us aid to fight their war.”

Recently, in a reversal of a longstanding policy, American diplomats held face-to-face talks with Taliban representatives in Qatar without Afghan government officials present. It was a significant shift in American strategy toward the Taliban in Afghanistan, and analysts said Khan’s victory could now set up Pakistan to play the role of spoiler in the peace process.

“The US doesn’t care much about Pakistan right now, but that issue will rise to the top,” said Shamila N Chaudhary, a former State Department and White House official who oversaw Pakistan issues during the Obama administration.

“Khan and the Pakistani military will want Pakistan to have a very strong role in shaping Afghanistan’s future,” Chaudhary said. “I don’t think the US is angling for Pakistan to have a strong role.”

Still, “the US needs Pakistan’s acquiescence, if not cooperation,” said Laurel Miller, a senior foreign policy expert at the RAND Corporation, who was a top State Department official with responsibility for Afghanistan and Pakistan in both the Obama and Trump administrations.