Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

The occupation of
Afghanistan by Soviet troops, beginning in December 1979, raised Pakistani fears for their own security. The government undertook three main approaches in dealing with the crisis. The first approach was to explore a possible revitalizing of the relationship with the United States. Early in the year, the United States offered $400 million in economic and military aid to Pakistan, in an attempt to provide a modicum of security, but Pakistan turned it down, considering it an inadequate response to the grave threat facing the country and believing that only a formal treaty approved by the U.S. Congress would send the necessary message to Moscow. The unwillingness of the Carter administration to proceed along these lines was reportedly taken to indicate a lack of American seriousness. A visit by the U.S. presidential national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, to Pakistan failed to resolve many of the two nations' differences.

A second approach was based on the belief that concerted action by the Islamic bloc would make it more difficult for the Soviets to sustain the occupation or, at least, to move against other countries. Toward this end, an Islamic Foreign Ministers Conference was held in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad in late January and again in May, and a special group composed of representatives of three countries, including Pakistan, was set up to seek ways of resolving the Afghan situation and securing the withdrawal of Soviet troops.
Pakistan's friendship with China suggested a third approach to the Afghan situation. While it was acknowledged that Peking's options were somewhat limited, its support for Pakistan was expected to discourage Moscow from taking any major action against the Pakistanis—particularly if China's support was coordinated with American assistance.

The presence of over a million Afghan refugees in
Pakistan has been an additional source of potential trouble between Pakistan and the Soviet Union. Two Pakistanis were killed in a border attack in late September, and the Soviets made numerous reconnaissance flights over the refugee camps. In addition, the refugees are an economic burden that Pakistan can ill afford. Pakistan's President Muhammad Zia ul-Haq met with U.S. President Jimmy Carter in early October to discuss economic assistance for the refugees, among other matters of concern.

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