Hindu Vivek Kendra
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US threatens to snap military ties with Pakistan

US threatens to snap military ties with Pakistan

The Free Press Journal
March 29, 2000
Title: US threatens to snap military ties with Pakistan
Publication: The Free Press Journal
Date: March 29, 2000

NEW DELHI: Worried over the Inter Services intelligence's non-committal attitude in returning some 600 'Stinger' missiles to US from Afghan Mujahideen, the Americans have threatened to snap military ties and intelligence liaisoning with Pakistan if the  latter hesitate to resolve the issue immediately.

American President Bill Clinton has strongly warned Pakistan during his brief stopover in Islamabad on Saturday asking General Parvez Musharraf to honour the 1997 agreement, otherwise relations will further deteriorate between the two country.

The delay as well as misleading information amounting to breach of trust in returning some 600 odd Stinger 'missiles' to US by Pakistani security agencies has irked American security and intelligence agencies who have been pressing for early solution to the problem after holding ISI and military as responsible.

According to diplomatic sources, this is one of the contentious issues, which has forced Americans to make remarks of further isolation for Pakistan in international fora, if urgent steps are not taken to resolve the dispute.

Though the 'left over' arms issue with Pakistan has a history of cold war era, it has worried the American security agencies particularly the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) about the impending crisis of small and medium arms presence in the region, the sources  maintained.

In fact, the US had created a 3.2-billion dollar secret project 'Operation Cyclone' in the 80s to aid Afghan Mujahideens to fight Russian occupation but the entire project was implemented through Pakistan and its ISI.

As part of the project, there was an agreement between the US and Pakistan to execute the project in full knowledge of Americans as well as all the 'left over' arms will be returned to US once the war is over. Moreover, the responsibility was entrusted to ISI to act as a liaison agent.

To start the 'Operation Cyclone', the US had offered 30 million dollar in 1980 which went upto 250 million dollar in 1981 and finally it rose to one billion dollar in 1986.

However, in 1983 10,000 tons of arms including 'Stinger' missiles were supplied to Afghan Mujahideen through Pakistani agencies and that reached 65,000 tons in 1987. But the ISI had misled the US about the actual arms supply and grabbed some of the consignments for its won purpose.

After the Afghan war, the US wanted to take back all the 'left over' arms from Pakistan which was working as an agent. In the meantime, the relationship between US and Afghan regimes, particularly after the taking over of Taliban in 1996, underwent a sea change.

The US which realised about the danger of small arms presence including deadly Stinger in the region entered into a 800 million dollar agreement with ISI in 1997 to retrieve all the 'left over' arms currently at the hands of Pakistani terrorists, Pakistani military and  Taliban regime as well as Mujahideen.

However, only 200 Stingers were returned to US by the ISI with an assurance of complete return. But the Kargil episode exposed Pakistan when some Stingers were used in the conflict and subsequently Indian Army also recovered three such missiles during mopping up operations in the Kargil sector last year.

Besides, there are reports of Mujahideen selling 'Stinger' to hostile countries and a likely joint venture between Pakistan and China to jointly manufacture the missile which is highly effective for mountain  warfare. Since then, the US has been insisting Pakistan to hand over all the 'left over' arms without any delay or face the dire consequences.

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