US pressure on Pakistan keep on mounting

U.S. President Donald Trump announces his strategy for the war in Afghanistan during an address from Fort Myer, Virginia, U.S., August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Washington: The US has given a clear cut warning to Pakistan that they would cut aid alongside downgrading Islamabad’s status as a major non-NATO ally if they don’t behave in a proper way.

After President Donald Trump announcement on an open-ended conflict in Afghanistan and singled out Pakistan for harboring Afghan Taliban insurgents and other militants, it was time for U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to speak up.

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“We are going to be conditioning our support for Pakistan and our relationship with them on them delivering results in this area,” said Tillerson.

If sources are to be believed, U.S. officials are not happy by what they see as Pakistan’s reluctance to act against groups like Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network that they believe exploit safe haven on Pakistani soil to launch attacks on neighboring Afghanistan.

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Pakistan denies it harbors militants fighting U.S. and Afghan government forces in Afghanistan.

“We have some leverage that’s been discussed in terms of the amount of aid and military assistance we give them, their status as non-NATO alliance partner – all of that can be put on the table,” he added.

Trump promised a stepped-up military campaign against Taliban insurgents who have gained ground against the U.S.-backed Afghan government.

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Point to be noted here is that U.S.-backed Afghan forces overthrew the Taliban’s hard-line Islamist government in late 2001 because it sheltered al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, architect of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington that year.

U.S. forces have been bogged down since in a war.

The Afghan government welcomed Trump’s speech, but the Taliban said it would make the country a “graveyard for the American empire.”

On an expected note, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said it was “disappointing that the US policy statement ignores the enormous sacrifices rendered by the Pakistani nation” in fighting terrorism.

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“As a matter of policy, Pakistan does not allow use of its territory against any country,” it said.