Trump eyes hardening line towards pakistan

- Reuters, washington

Jun 21, 2017-

President Donald Trump’s administration is exploring hardening its approach toward Pakistan to crack down on Pakistan-based militants launching attacks in neighboring Afghanistan, two US officials tell Reuters.

Potential Trump administration responses being discussed include expanding US drone strikes, redirecting or withholding some aid to Pakistan and perhaps eventually downgrading Pakistan’s status as a major non-Nato ally, the two officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Other US officials are skeptical of the prospects for success, arguing that years of previous US efforts to curb Pakistan’s support for militant groups have failed, and that already strengthening US ties to India, Pakistan’s arch-enemy, undermine chances of a breakthrough with Islamabad.

US officials say generally they seek greater cooperation with Pakistan, not a rupture in ties, once the administration finishes a regional review, due by mid-July, of the strategy guiding the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan.

The discussions include officials from across the Trump administration, including the White House and the Defense Department, both of which declined comment on the review before its completion.

Precise actions have yet to be decided. 

“The United States and Pakistan continue to partner on a range of national security issues,” Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said.

But Pakistan’s embassy in Washington warned against “scapegoating” Pakistan to explain the stalemate in Afghanistan, pointing instead to Afghanistan’s own troubled internal dynamics. 

“Singling out Pakistan and pinning the entire blame on Pakistan for the situation in Afghanistan is neither fair nor accurate, nor is it borne out by the ground realities,” said Abid Saeed, press minister at the embassy.

Published: 21-06-2017 09:45

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