Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

United States working with Pakistan on military supply routes to Afghanistan: Mattis

Charlie Simmons | 09 January, 2018, 01:02

On January 1, US President Donald Trump accused Islamabad of providing "safe haven to the terrorists" despite multibillion US assistance to Pakistan.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis played down the prospect that Pakistan might close NATO's supply routes into Afghanistan after the Trump administration said it would suspend military aid to Islamabad. A super-power like the USA could get away with any blunder - that may also be its way of "balancing" equations in the region.

On Friday, Pakistan criticized what it called "shifting goalposts" and said the USA suspension of aid was counter-productive.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi then called a meeting of his National Security Committee which issued a statement noting "deep disappointment..."

Though there was no immediate reaction from Islamabad to the USA move, defence minister Khurram Dastagir said on Thursday that, "we need to have a holistic review of the entire situation. We are conducting a complete analysis and coolly formulating our response".

Taken as a whole, Burrows said he was doubtful Trump's actions over the last week were part of a broader strategy.

President Donald Trump on Saturday hinted at ending all aid to Pakistan.

Currently, the US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation depend on Pakistan for logistical support for their operations in Afghanistan, a key part of fighting terrorism.

USA lawmakers and diplomats, not to mention previous presidents, have long grumbled about the "two-faced" role played by the Pakistanis.

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"There is a United States dollars 10 million reward out for information leading to his re-arrest, the person who is the mastermind of the Mumbai attacks who was let go in Pakistan", Nauert said.

CSF funds, which fall under Defence Department authority, are covered by the freeze, said Pentagon spokesman Patrick Evans.

"W$3 e pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect".

The official also said the suspension is mostly about the security assistance and does not include civilian assistance. The amount appropriated in a certain year usually "expires" by September 30 of the next year. Mattis along with the secretary of state Rex Tillerson have travelled to Pakistan in recent months to deliver tough message to the country's leadership.

Mathew Burrows, director of the Atlantic Council's Strategic Foresight Initiative, said he would describe Trump's foreign policy moves over the last week as "rhetorically aggressive", but added that few had concrete actions associated with them. "But at this time that's what is suspended", the official said. In diplomacy, often what is meant is not always said and what is said is not always meant. "How do you keep supplying the ANSF?" she asked, referring to the Afghan national security forces. "And so the decision was made to take this step as one step to indicate that we can not continue business as usual with the Pakistani government if they are not going to be a partner with us", said a state department official in the briefing for reporters.

"We have not done anything that's irreversible here".

The UNHCR is undertaking a repatriation programme for 1.4 million Afghans, a lot of them living in Pakistan since their country was invaded by Soviet Russia in 1979. He wrote that the money could instead be used to improve infrastructure in the US. "What matters I think to the Pakistanis is that it is the symbolism of doing this that it represents a deterioration of our relationship that they care about a great deal", the official said. Because Pakistan is carrying out military operations in the tribal areas, along the border, and helping the United States fight terrorism. In 2009, then-president Barack Obama pointed to the terrorist "safe havens" in Pakistan as part of the need to ramp up American troop levels in Afghanistan.

On Thursday, the US State Department also tweeted that it has placed deeply conservative Muslim Pakistan on a special watch list for severe violations of religious freedom.

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