A senior Pakistani official called the US Ambassador to Afghanistan a "little dwarf" on Twitter.
Her angry words in this case are more than just an insult: they have the potential to improve the Trump administration's years of efforts to secure a peace treaty in Afghanistan that would allow it to withdraw troops after nearly 20 years of war.
The following happened: John Bass America's highest diplomat in Afghanistan, tweeted directly to Pakistan's new prime minister and former cricket star Imran Khan early Wednesday morning about a controversial statement he had made regarding the Afghan government.
"Some aspects of #cricket are good in diplomacy, others are not," he wrote, adding that it was "important to resist the temptation to manipulate the #A Afghanistan peace process and its internal affairs."
Khan has not responded to Bass's tweet, but Shireen Mazari, Pakistan's human rights minister, had some electoral passwords for the US envoy.
If you think that "she will certainly withdraw that" – no such luck. In response to the criticism on Twitter, she sent another Zinger : "But seriously, what diplomatic norms? US dips have hurt her all day from Zalmay to this idiot! "
What is going on here?
Why the Pakistani Minister of Human Rights is angry at the US
The US State Department declined to comment, but it seems that Basse's tweet was a direct response to a comment that Khan said on March 25 that Afghanistan would be one Should have interim government, which should help in peace talks, although it is unclear how this would help the situation.
That has angered the US government of Afghanistan allied government and led Kabul to pull his ambassador from Pakistan.
Basse's Tweet apparently came in response to this last step. He certainly tried to support Afghanistan and blame Khan for his comments. Some were obviously not satisfied with the way he did it.
"Some Pakistanis are now angry at the bass tweet and believe it is an inappropriate way to address the Pakistani Prime Minister," said Pakistani expert Alyssa Ayres at the Council on Foreign Relations, I was told. "This is how you end up at the pygmy tweet."
To be fair, there would not be a government official if her boss openly rebukes a foreigner. In this sense, the comments by Mazari are a bit understandable. It has also proven to be tough on Pakistan, including some human rights groups.
But the online git might endanger US-Pakistan relations in the short term and long-term peace talks in Afghanistan. Pakistan has long played a major role in the Afghan war, largely through the support of the Taliban, an Islamic insurgent group that has been fighting the Afghan government for nearly two decades. This makes Pakistan an important player in the Trump government's months-long negotiations with the Taliban to end the war and possibly bring all 14,000 US troops home.
However, the prospects of improving US-Pakistan relations are not good. "The United States has foolishly provided Pakistan with more than $ 33 billion in aid over the past 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deception "Trump wrote on January 1, his first tweet this year. "They provide a safe haven for the terrorists we chase in Afghanistan with little help. No more! Later, he spent up to $ 1.3 billion on military aid to Pakistan.
Khan was already skeptical of the United States before coming to power last summer. Trump's earlier steps – and Bass's undiplomatic tweet – will certainly not help his perception.
So it's no surprise that Mazari (like others in the Khan government) is hostile to the US. However, calling a US Ambassador a "small Pygmy" during a sensitive diplomatic negotiation could lead to further complications.