Pakistan Says “NO” to US request for military bases!!!
To the chagrin of the United States, Pakistan, a close U.S. ally, refused to grant access to its military bases so the U.S. can operate drones.
At issue, the U.S. wants to keep its presence in the region to monitor the Taliban and in a desperate need for a base for its drones. Washington wants to use drones to prevent Afghanistan from slipping into Chaos. And Pakistan looks like the only option in the region.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan stated categorically that Islamabad will not allow the U.S. to operate its drone operations from Pakistani soil. Khan has long refused the presence of U.S. troops on Pakistan’s soil. Even before his election, Imran Khan has held rallies against U.S. drones in his country.
Pakistan’s Geopolitical/Economic Dilemma
While Pakistan may never miss an opportunity to be in the good graces of Washington, providing a base or access to its air space can cost Pakistan heavily. Taliban and China are the two major factors that impact Kahn’s decisions.
At the time of this writing, Taliban has control over 50 districts in Afghanistan, thus far, and it is just a matter of time (possibly by the end of this year) before Taliban takes over Kabul. Of note: The Taliban has warned neighboring countries not to grant military bases to the U.S.
China, on the other hand, is Pakistan’s financial lifeline when considering the ongoing projects in Gwadar and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), an estimated US $62 Billion project.
One thing is sure: Pakistan allowing the U.S. to use military bases for carrying out combat missions will likely be a cause of concern for two of Pakistan’s neighbors: China and Iran. And that both countries are adversaries of the U.S. is even more troubling.
David Oualaalou is a Geopolitical Consultant, Award Winning Educator, Veteran, Author, and former International Security analyst in Washington, D.C.