Christine Fair, an American professor who Tweets and writes regularly about Pakistan, posted something really unfair about the NATO attack. She wrote:
Irony: Pakistanis howl that NATO killed 28 Pak troops. AMCITs blissfully ignorant that Pak-backed proxies kill thousands of US/NATO troops.
Apparently, AMCIT is code for “American citizens”. (At least, that’s what the Google told me.) So what’s so unfair about this Tweet? Whether or not the respected professor intended it to, the way this was read by me and thousands of other Pakistanis is that we shouldn’t complain about about our boys being killed since our agencies allegedly back proxies (read: Haqqani Network) that are killing American troops. In other words, “tit-for-tat”.
I was embarrassed on the anniversary of 9/11 when I heard people saying that the Americans should “get over” the deaths of thousands of their countrymen in those attacks. I am embarrassed for Christine Fair also. Whether she meant it that way or not, her statement during this difficult time could only be taken as telling us to “get over” our own loss. This war is not a competition about who has suffered more. It is a fight against an enemy that has planned and carried out attacks against innocents in America, Europe, Afghanistan and Pakistan also. Our common enemy is not each other. We must stop acting like it is.
The Americans have apologized for the deaths, and even if you do not doubt their sincerity, as
DG ISPR Gen Abbas correctly said : “This (apology) is not good enough.” There needs to be more than just an apology and another toothless inquiry. We are supposed to be allies in this war, and if we are to be allies in more than just words, we need to stop apologizing and start actually working together.
In response to the attack, PM has vowed no more “business as usual”. That is the right response because obviously “business as usual” was sowing the seeds of distrust and suspicion. We need to stop treating each other as untrustworthy. That means the Americans need to stop treating us as their “ally from Hell”.
When American Army Maj. larry J. Bauguess Jr. was killed in 2007, some in America claimed that it was an act of war by our forces. According to the Pentagon’s own investigation, though, it was the act of a lone gunman who killed him. After this latest attack that martyred two dozen of our soldiers, some in Pakistan are claiming that this was an act of war by NATO forces. What it is is a tragedy that should never be forgotten and never be repeated.
It is clear that our goals and the Americans’ goals in Afghanistan are not 100 per cent aligned. But there are definite areas of overlap, and this is where we should concentrating. The Americans need an Afghanistan that will not serve as a staging ground for terrorists. We need an Afghanistan that will not serve as a staging ground for terrorists also. We want the Americans to go home, and the Americans want to go home also. Surely we can work together towards these common goals.
Our concerns about the alignment of Kabul must be taken into consideration, but let’s think about this rationally for a moment. The only way we can ensure a Kabul that is our ally is if we help to build the country and move it forward. Actually, by helping to stabilize Afghanistan, we will be speeding up the Americans exit also. It’s a win-win. Which is much more effective than “tit-for-tat”.
Demands for “blood against blood” are a natural emotional response, but are ultimately self-defeating and will only result in more loss, and more death. The Americans, though, need to think long and hard about this incident and how to make it right. We are already being killed by Taliban, we don’t need to be killed by our friends also.