'US also responsible for unhealthy civil-military ties in Pak'

"Despite our commitment to democracy, we have provided little backing to Pakistan's civilian leaders over the decades. The US is not wholly responsible for Pakistan's unhealthy civil-military relationship, but it is not innocent of responsibility," Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst, wrote in a forward to the book 'The Future of Pakistan'.

Brought out by Brookings Institute – a Washington-based think-tank, the book is a compilation of a series of articles by eminent scholars from the US, India and Pakistan, including Stephen P Cohen, C Christina Fair, Shuja Nawaj, and Kanti Bajpai.

"For most of the last century the United States has been a partner of Pakistan's military dictators, enthusiastically embracing all four generals who have ruled Pakistan.

"Presidents from Kennedy to Bush have invited them to the White House for state dinners and intimate consultations," Riedel wrote in the book that hit the stands this month.

"We have jointly embarked on great clandestine projects such as the U2 base in Peshawar in the late 1950s; Henry Kissinger's secret trip to Beijing from Islamabad in July 1971; the covert war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan that helped destroy the USSR in the 1980s; and the battle against al-Qaeda in this century. All were done with the involvement of Pakistan's military dictators," he wrote.

Riedel said three years ago President Barack Obama had called him and asked him to chair an urgent interagency review of policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"He (Obama) said that no issue on his foreign policy agenda was more important than the fate of Pakistan, which he rightly has described as the epicenter of the global terrorist threat today," he said in the forward to the book, adding that Pakistan is a country of growing, indeed crucial, importance to the United States and to the rest of the world.

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