The US continues to play “Wolf and the Lamb” with Pakistan; this time to avenge the “most humiliating defeat in history,” inflicted by the Taliban creditably but being “credited” to Pakistan incredibly. On September 27, 22 Republican senators, including the former presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, moved a bill in the Senate. Titled the “Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight, and Accountability Act of 2021,” the bill envisages the imposition of sanctions on the Taliban and Pakistan. It mandates the Secretary of State to submit a report on the support, extended by Pakistan to the Taliban, within 180 days of the enactment of the Act. The report must contain details of the support, extended by state and non-state actors in Pakistan, to the Taliban between 2001-20, in terms of “sanctuary space, financial support, intelligence support, logistics, medical support, training, equipping, and tactical, operational, or strategic direction.” It must also determine Pakistan’s role in helping the Taliban in toppling the Ashraf Ghani government and capturing Panjshir. The bill empowers the US President to impose sanctions on “any foreign person, who has provided support to any terrorist group in Afghanistan, engaged in serious human rights abuses,” and “played a role in drug trafficking” in the country. The sanctions would block transactions in property, deny entry into the US and revoke existing visas. Besides, the current sanctions on the Taliban would continue; and the US allies would be encouraged to follow suit. History is repeating itself. The history of Pak-US relations is the sad saga of intermittent imposition, relaxation, removal, re-imposition, and so on, of the US sanctions on Pakistan. The 1965 suspension of military assistance affected Pakistan more severely because of Islamabad’s heavier dependence on Washington. Pakistan and the US established diplomatic relations in 1947. Pakistan’s strategic location, astride the route that links important regions of South Asia, Central Asia, West Asia and China, gave it a unique position as a gateway to these regions. The US agreement to provide economic and military assistance to Pakistan and the latter’s partnership in the Baghdad Pact, CENTO and SEATO, during the early days of its nationhood, marked their first honeymoon and laid the foundation of a long and difficult relationship between the two countries. Concurrently, responding to the Cold War compulsions, the US viewed India as a potential counterweight to communist China and the Soviet Union; wooed it, overlooked its fledgling nuclear program, and even provided it with nuclear technology, under the Atoms for Peace program. The US also trained Pakistani nuclear scientists and supplied Pakistan with a nuclear research reactor. However, during the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war, the US suspended its military assistance to Pakistan. Although the suspension applied equally to India, it affected Pakistan more severely because of Islamabad’s heavier dependence on Washington. The ban remained in force till 1975, when arms sales were ultimately resumed. India test-fired the Smiling Buddha in May 1974. This gave a spur to Pakistan’s nuclear program and triggered the US legislation on nuclear non-proliferation. In 1976, the US Congress adopted the Symington Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. This amendment prohibited most US economic and military assistance to any country, delivering or receiving nuclear enrichment equipment, material, or technology, not safeguarded by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The following year, Congress adopted the Glenn Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, which prohibited US assistance to any non-nuclear-weapon state that conducted a nuclear explosion. The Symington and Glenn amendments did not apply to India and Pakistan retroactively. In 1978, Congress passed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act, which prohibited the export of nuclear technology to non-nuclear-weapon states, unless recipient states accepted full IAEA safeguards. The Act also threatened sanctions against any state, attempting to acquire un-safeguarded technology. These sanctions were imposed on Pakistan immediately. In April 1979, President Carter slapped military and economic sanctions on Pakistan, because Islamabad was secretly constructing a facility to enrich uranium and was, therefore, in violation of the Symington Amendment. (These sanctions did not stop food assistance and grants and loans from international financial institutions.) The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 brought about a sudden and major qualitative change in the US attitude towards Pakistan. Responding to its national security concerns, the US waived the above-mentioned sanctions, despite evidence that Pakistan was pursuing a nuclear weapons program. This was obviously meant to prepare Pakistan for an anti-Soviet role in Afghanistan and signalled the second honeymoon in their bilateral relations. In 1981, the US approved a $3.2 billion military and economic assistance program, aimed at helping Pakistan deal with the heightened threat to security in the region and its own economic development needs. In March 1986, a second such programme worth $4 billion was approved for the period 1988-93. Ironically, while the US Administration was wooing a nuclear-capable Pakistan to fight its war in Afghanistan, the Congress was busy building scaffoldings for the nuclear proliferators. Amid the Afghan Jihad, the Congress adopted Pakistan-specific Pressler Amendment (1985) to the Foreign Assistance Act. This amendment banned most economic and military assistance to Pakistan unless US President could certify on an annual basis that “Pakistan did not possess a nuclear device and that the US aid would reduce the risk of Pakistan possessing such a device.” Although Pakistan disclosed in 1984 that it could enrich uranium for nuclear weapons, and revealed in 1987 that it could assemble a nuclear device, the US continued to certify Pakistan’s non-nuclear status until 1990. To be continued The writer is a former diplomat, based in Canberra, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.