The Pakistani-U.S. Alliance Evolves

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Despite nearby chants of “death to the U.S.,” a lasting result of the cartoon controversy raging in Europe, U.S. army medics held a small ceremony in Pakistan yesterday to say goodbye to the last U.S. MASH unit there.

The Mobile Army Surgical Hospital has been stationed in Pakistan for the last four months in response to the October 8th earthquake that killed more than 80,000 people. The $4.5 million unit in Northern Pakistan consisted of 84 beds, a surgical suite with two operating tables, two intensive care units, a pharmacy, laboratory, radiology units and a power generation system. The entire operation was donated to Pakistani doctors as the U.S. transitions into using smaller, more flexible, traveling medical teams.

According to U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, the MASH unit “caused tens of thousands of Pakistanis up in this area to change their view of America.” Crocker called the recent violent uprisings and slogans the product of a few “agitators,” claiming they are not representative of broad Pakistani sentiment towards America.

With the United States giving $510 million to quake relief and reconstruction in Pakistan, the two countries have deepened the alliance that was forged in 2001 at the start of the “war on terror.” The Pakistani Surgeon General even announced “Pakistan and the United States have been very close allies for a very long period…these mutual exchanges will further strengthen our bonds.”

But in upcoming months Pakistan must solidify its position as an American ally, and prove that the U.S. will benefit from these ties. In addition to recovering from the earthquake, Pakistan now faces periodic revolts, and is redirecting large numbers of ground forces including six army brigades and 25,000 paramilitary men to the Southwestern province, where Baluch nationalists, who accuse the government of exploiting their natural resources, have left 215 dead, carrying out what the Pakistan Human Rights Commission calls, “indiscriminate bombing and strafing.”

Thus far the U.S. has called the deteriorating condition of the region an “internal matter”, for Pakistan to address. But if the carnage continues, it will ultimately affect Pakistan’s participation as an ally against Al-Qaeda, calling into question its value as an ally.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend