The government of France is joining Britain in taking a tough stand on Pakistan for its double-dealing with the Taliban in Afghanistan. From Reuters:
French officials have said little in public about the WikiLeaks reports but the Foreign Ministry said President Asif Ali Zardari's visit would allow Paris to "tackle questions of security and the fight against terrorism, the regional situation, as well as economic cooperation" with Pakistan.
"We have to hope that President Sarkozy will talk about the Afghan question," said Christophe Jaffrelot, senior research fellow at the Centre for International Studies and Research at the Sciences Po institute in Paris.
"Pakistan has two sides to it, which sometimes puts our troops in danger," he told France Info radio. "Objectively, it is our ally. All our reinforcements pass through there but at the same time it uses all the resources from the West to conduct its own policies and back Islamic groups, including the Afghan Taliban."
France, which has 3,500 troops in Afghanistan, has lost 45 soldiers in Afghanistan since it took part in the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 to oust the Islamist Taliban movement and fight its al Qaeda allies.
Zardari's visit to Paris has been overshadowed by his trip later in the week to Britain, whose Prime Minister David Cameron has infuriated Pakistan by suggesting Islamabad was not doing enough to fight terrorism.
The U.S. response, on the other hand, has been underwhelming. Just one day prior to the release of the WikiLeaks documents, which provide more evidence of Pakistan’s collusion with the Taliban, the Department of Defense issued a preemptive press release praising Pakistan’s fight against the Taliban. Further releases praising the Pakistani government have since been published. Yesterday, President Obama praised Pakistan for its fight against al Qaeda. And the U.S. is now preparing to open up the channels to allow Pakistan to import an export version of the unmanned predator.
Washington continues to operate under the assumption that by praising and buying off the Pakistani government and its military (the real power in Pakistan), it will somehow lead the Pakistanis to do what it hasn't done for nine years: End its support for the Taliban and eliminate it once and for all.