The first detailed White House comments by Press Secretary Jay Carney on the future trajectory of US-Pakistan ties in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden's killing underline Washington's interest to pick up the treads of counterinsurgency cooperation and move on. Carney's remarks will be well-received in Islamabad. Carney made out the following points:
A. US-Pakistan relationship is a complicated one but it is also an important one.
B. On the whole, Pakistanis have been "very helpful in many ways" in the fight against al-Qaeda.
C. Pakistan assisted and helped in the "gathering of intelligence and information" that enabled US to assemble the "mountain of information" that went into the Abbottabad operation.
D. Pakistan remains a "key partner" in the unfinished fight against al-Qaeda.
E. US regards Pakistan as "extremely helpful" and "looks forward to cooperating into the future."
F."Complicated differences" have arisen at times on how the two countries "approach and view things" but at the end of the day there has also been "a great deal of important cooperation" and that shouldn't be lost sight of in arriving at a "complete picture of that relationship".
G. Without doubt, Pakistan has been a "frontline" state in the fight against al-Qaeda and has "suffered in large numbers."
H. Pakistan is a big country with a "big government" and "there are many people in Pakistan and there are many people in the Pakistani government" - implying it isn't a monolithic structure and there are many power centres. Naturally, it isn't a question of "trust" at state-to-state level, but more a "question of the interests we share and the cooperation we've forged".
I. There are indeed differences with certain sections in Pakistan but "you have to be careful about tarring everyone either in the country or the government."
J. US intends to probe how bin Laden could have taken shelter in Pakistan and enjoyed a "support network" or "who, if any" within the Pakistani establishment was aware of the Abbottabad safe house, but it will approach the issue without preconceived notions.
K. US-Pakistan relationship has run into testing times in the past and US has "worked hard" on the relationship since it is an "important and complicated" relationship. US is "confident" that cooperation will continue.
L. Pakistan remains an "essential partner" much as "very divergent opinions" may arise int e relationship.
Most significantly, Carney completely sidestepped the issue of US aid-cut off, as some Congressmen have belligerently demanded. He implied that no such move is in the consideration zone of the US government. The briefing is a signal to Islamabad that once the dust settles down over Osama's killing, there is important business to transact and Washington will approach in a cooperative spirit rather than adversarial. Quite obviously, given the endgame in Afghanistan and the impending draw down of US troops in July, as well as the uncertainties that are arising in the Persian Gulf security (especially with regard to Saudi Arabia), the imperatives of US-Pakistan cooperation remain stronger than ever. It is important to factor in that an estimated 30000 Pakistani personnel provide security for Bahrain, where the US' Fifth Fleet, which is the anchor sheet of US regional strategies in the region, is based. US would factor in the unique status of Pakistan as the Praetorian guards of the Saudi regime if a major crisis arises in the Persian Gulf region.