US relations with Pakistan have been steadily deteriorating ever since a Navy Seals team killed Osama bin Laden near Islamabad in May. Matters became still worse in September, when Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, accused Pakistan’s intelligence agency of supporting an attack on the American Embassy in Kabul.
And on Saturday, the relationship hit a new low when a NATO airstrike mistakenly killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers, and Pakistan retaliated by shutting down supply routes to Afghanistan that crossed its territory. With the Russian threat to cut land routes for supply to Nato troops in Afghanistan, the Afghan battleground may turn into a cold deathtrap for Nato, defence analysts believe.
They say that Pakistan should utilise the opportunity for a peaceful and prosperous Pakistan by pulling it out of the American war. The northern supply route through Russia and Central Asia is the more expensive of NATO’s two routes into Afghanistan.
But it is also the only one active after Pakistan closed the southern route earlier this week to protest the US attack on their military bases. Since the Pakistan route is never all that safe from attack, NATO has taken to stockpiling extra supplies in Afghanistan for short term cuts. But if NATO has managed to alienate both Russia and Pakistan to the point that the closures are long term, Afghanistan could find itself entirely without a supply route.
Russia has threatened to cut off Nato supply routes to Afghanistan if the alliance doesn’t compromise on its missile defence plans. “If Nato doesn’t give a serious response, we have to address matters in relations in other areas,” Russian news services reported. Russia’s cooperation on Afghanistan may be an area for review, the news services reported.