For those who follow relations between the United States and Pakistan closely, the accusations of “lies and deceit” against Pakistan by Donald Trump have hardly come as a surprise. In the past few months various top U.S. officials have issued statements against Pakistan. Most of these aggressive statements were accompanied with demand for the persistent call of “do more”.
In Tuesday’s statement, Trump claimed that his country has foolishly given Pakistan $33bn in aid and alleged that Pakistan did little in return and takes U.S. leaders as fools. He further alleged that Pakistan gives safe haven to the terrorists U.S. is fighting against in Afghanistan. The timing of these statements is also interesting as it came just a few days after Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) chief Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said that Pakistan had done enough and it was time for the U.S. and Afghanistan to do more.
Merely two weeks back, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during a visit to Afghanistan issued a warning to Pakistan accusing the country of providing safe haven to terrorists. Pence also claimed that President Trump has now “put Pakistan on notice.”
Before Pence, early in December, US Defence Secretary James Mattis during his visit to Pakistan had asked to “redouble its efforts to confront militants and terrorists operating within the country.”
Mattis’ demand of redoubling efforts was preceded by a warning to Pakistan by CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Pompeo in a statement warned Pakistan that United States will act against alleged militant sanctuaries inside Pakistan if Pakistan fails to take action itself. The Trump administration since the announcement of the new Afghan policy back in August this year has been mounting pressure on Pakistan and has repeatedly issued harsh statements asking Pakistan to act against alleged militant safe havens on its territory. The stalemate with regards to action against militants between the U.S. and Pakistan has been lingering on for long now. Pakistan has time and again suffered due to terror attacks originating from Afghan territory but has been repeatedly blamed by the U.S. for not acting against alleged terrorists on its soil. The diverging stance of both countries has now attained the form of a deadlock and relations between two countries will come under immense stress in the coming days.
As far as Trump’s statement is concerned, The U.S. President seems surprisingly unaware that a large portion of aid figure he quoted included Coalition Support Fund which is not aid but reimbursement of expenses incurred by Pakistan as coalition partner. Moreover, Pakistan provided GLOCS/AIRLOCS facility free of charge to U.S./NATO forces in Afghanistan. The cost would have run into billions of dollars if charged. More importantly, Pakistan suffered huge losses both in human and financial terms due to the war against terrorism. These losses are estimated to be $100 billion.
Constant threats hurled from Trump administration towards Pakistan are far from reality.
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