Home inContext U.S., Pakistan’s Rocky Road

U.S., Pakistan’s Rocky Road

Samara Greenberg

Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S., resigned Tuesday after he was accused of being involved in a memo seeking Washington’s assistance in fending off a possible government overthrow by Pakistan’s military after the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May. In return, according to the memo, a new Pakistani national security team would assist in capturing al-Qaeda members and ensure that Pakistan’s spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, cuts ties to the Taliban and other anti-American militant groups it is known to support.

Haqqani has repeatedly denied any involvement in the scandal. He is known for being critical of the military’s role in his country and for understanding American concerns, making him what some would call a neutral go-between for Washington and Islamabad as well as a potential target for the military interested in gaining power.

Newly appointed Pakistani ambassador to the U.S., Sherry Rehman

On Wednesday, Pakistan named Sherry Rehman to Haqqani’s former post, a move that surprised some who presumed the army would try to force a candidate closer to the military into the position. Rehman, like Haqqani, is known as a proponent of civilian rule in the country where the civilian government and powerful military leadership often butt heads.

Even so, with Haqqani’s forced departure, there is more concern than ever before about the deteriorating alliance between Washington and Islamabad. The U.S. has given Pakistan about $20 billion in U.S. aid over the last decade with the hopes that it will support U.S. interests. It often doesn’t, leaving many to wonder why Washington spends all that money on the relationship in the first place. It is a worthwhile question that will have to be answered in the not-so-distant future.