Bin Laden's death may provide opening for new U.S., Pakistan relationship

Copies of a newspaper are seen outside the World Trade Center site after the death of accused 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden was announced by U.S. President Barack Obama

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The killing of Osama bin Laden took place in a huge compound just outside of the Pakistani capitol of Islamabad. Since 9/11, Pakistan has been an ally in the U.S. fight against terrorism. And a recipient of billions of dollars in U.S. financial aid. But just how much a role Pakistan played in bin Laden's death is debatable.

Dr. Farzana Shaikh is author of the book, "Making Sense of Pakistan" and she's with us now. Hello.

FARZANA SKAIKH: Hello.

CHIOTAKIS: Did our ties with the country of Pakistan help us with this operation?

SKAIKH: It's really very difficult to tell. I mean, as you know, we've had very strained relations between the United States and Pakistan in the last few weeks and months. And certainly the Pakistani government has gone out of its way in this morning's statement to say that the capture and killing of Mr. bin Laden was entirely an American operation. I think for the Pakistani authorities, it's extremely difficult in the climate of anti-Pakistani sentiment in the country to claim that it had a decisive role in this latest operation. I suspect though, that the Pakistani authorities will probably not take an inter-confidence by the United States because of course, there is a long history of mistrust between these two apparent allies.

CHIOTAKIS: What about the financial relationship between the United States and Pakistan? We've given lots of money to Pakistan over the years in the anti-terrorism effort.

SKAIKH: Absolutely. And that money to the tune of something like a $1 billion a year, could now be compromised because I think it's no secret that assistance to Pakistan was predicated on its cooperation in this war with the United States. And with chief objective of that war having now been achieved, there will certainly be question marks about whether or not Pakistan deserves or merits to receive the kind of assistance that it has received from the United States over these last few years.

CHIOTAKIS: Dr. Farzana Shaikh, author of Making Sense of Pakistan. Thank you, Doctor.

SKAIKH: Thank you.

About the author

Steve Chiotakis was the host of Marketplace Morning Report until January 2012.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...