- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
CIA contractor release eases Pakistan-U.S. tensions
Question of the Day
ISLAMABAD (AP) — A “blood money” deal to free a CIA contractor who killed two Pakistani men removes a major thorn in relations between the United States and Pakistan, but bruising from the incident and disagreements over Afghanistan mean the alliance will likely remain stormy.
The already weak Pakistani government has also seen its standing among the country’s 180 million people further diminished, though it remains to be seen whether right wing and Islamist parties are able to organize large-scale protests to destabilize it further.
Raymond Allen Davis was released Wednesday after heirs of his victims were given $2.34 million in exchange for a pardon in a closed-door court session. He shot and killed the men on Jan. 27 in the eastern city of Lahore, allegedly in self-defense.
The deal was a way out of a toxic situation for the U.S. and Pakistani governments, which were able to say it was the families and Pakistan’s legal system — not them — that made the release happen. As such, they were sheltered from the full force of public anger in Pakistan.
Pakistan and the United States are locked in a complex relationship that is increasingly strained due to disagreements over strategic interests in Afghanistan. Many analysts said the crisis generated by the Davis affair was largely a reflection of these tensions.
“This was a bump along the road,” said Samina Ahmed of the International Crisis Group, an international think tank.
“The bigger issue, which still remains, is that of Afghanistan.”
The United States wants Pakistan to crack down on Afghan Taliban factions sheltering on its soil to enable it to quickly withdraw troops from Afghanistan. But Pakistan has resisted doing this fully because it believes the militants could be allies when the Americans leave and help ensure that Afghanistan is not an ally of its long-term enemy, India.
The United States insisted all along that Davis had diplomatic immunity, but Pakistani officials never confirmed this.
Davis‘ arrest was highly embarrassing for the ISI, which was criticized for either allowing — or being unaware of — his presence in the country. Critics and conspiracy theorists said Davis was one of many covert CIA operatives in the country, undermining its sovereignty.
One ISI official said the agency had backed the deal after CIA Director Leon Panetta had assured his Pakistani counterpart that it would declare all its operatives and contractors in Pakistan. U.S. officials said the two men had spoken, but did not confirm that.
“I have a feeling that the relationship between the ISI and the CIA has been redefined as a result of this incident,” said former army general and military analyst Gen. Talat Masood. “The ISI must have insisted that the CIA stop operations in Pakistan without their knowledge and extend their tentacles to a point where it is embarrassing and impinges on the country’s sovereignty.”
Few facts were ever released about what Davis was doing in Lahore, as well as the identities of his victims. Some reports said they were robbers; others that they were known to him, or possibly even ISI operatives themselves.
The obfuscation continued when news of the deal to free him broke.
TWT Video Picks
By David Keene
Allowing states to innovate could reduce dependency on bureaucracy
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- White House defends Kerry failure to broker Middle East cease-fire
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- Border surge puts Obama legacy on immigration at stake
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia's gay marriage ban
- Federal judge rules D.C. ban on handguns in public is unconstitutional
- White House says Russia 'losing' war in Ukraine
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq