In the aftermath of NATO's cross-border airstrike that killed two dozen Pakistani troops, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said that relations with the U.S. would not be "business as usual."
During an interview with CNN, Gilani said the relationship could continue if based on "mutual respect and mutual interests" -- but right now, neither condition is being met. "If I can't protect the sovereignty of my country, how can we say it's mutual respect and mutual interests?" he said.
Islamabad claimed the attack was unprovoked, but Afghan and U.S. officials said they took fire from fighters in Pakistan before ordering in the fatal airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at two checkpoints near the border, further marring relations between the erstwhile allies. Senior American and Afghan officials privately assert that Pakistani forces turn a blind eye to the militants operating in their midst, essentially inviting attacks on coalition positions.
Amid the conflicting narratives, U.S officials immediately promised to investigate the raid, but Pakistan has already demanded the U.S. vacate a suspected drone base within 15 days and closed its border crossings with Afghanistan, effectively halting the path of NATO supply trucks into the country.
Tensions between Washington and Islamabad have been simmering since the covert U.S raid in May that killed Osama bin Laden in his compound in Abbottabad. With this latest incident, anger at Pakistan appears to be growing on Capitol Hill.
Sens. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said on Sunday that Washington should use diplomacy to soothe tensions with Pakistan and persuade Islamabad to reopen NATO supply routes into Afghanistan. But the lawmakers also warned that extensive American financial aid to Pakistan could be cut back if Islamabad didn't relent.
"They need to understand that our support for them financially is dependent on their cooperation with us," Kyl said.
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