US hopes Pakistan will partner in safeguarding region

WASHINGTON: The United States (US) on Friday expressed hope that Pakistan will be a partner in safeguarding the region and would “do more” to uphold regional peace in South Asia.

The statement was passed by Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Dana White during the regular briefing held at the Pentagon.

Referring to the security situation in Afghanistan, White said Pakistan had been a victim of terrorism and alleged that the Pakistan and Afghanistan have also “sponsored terrorism”.

The US claim has been refuted multiple times by the country’s top military and civil hierarchy. Pakistan, over the years, has carried out comprehensive counter-insurgency operations in the tribal areas, once a hotbed for militancy, and has been successful in restoring the writ of the state and eliminating terrorist safe havens on Pakistani soil.

The Pentagon spokesman further said that Pakistan can do more with respect to the security of Afghanistan.

When asked regarding deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s statements regarding the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, White said it is an “inflection point” for the country. She reiterated that the US expects more from Pakistan and hopes it will play a major role in maintaining peace.

On January 1, US President Donald Trump said that the US ‘foolishly’ gave aid to Pakistan over the course of 15 years but Islamabad remained deceitful by providing safe havens to ‘terrorists’ from Afghanistan.

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!,” Trump said in a late-night tweet.

In December, the Pakistan Army while rejecting the Trump administration’s pressure to do more in the fight against terrorism, insisted that Pakistan had done enough and could not do more for anyone.

In what appeared to be a policy decision, the unusually candid statement – coming from Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, the chief military spokesperson – suggested that Pakistan would not accept any further US demands.

Following the statement by the US president, Pakistan’s military aid was also suspended. INP

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