Cutting Off Pakistan, U.S. Takes Gamble in Complex Afghan War
By Mujib Mashal and Salman Masood
Jan. 5, 2018
Afghan officials have pleaded with three American presidents to reconsider their support for Pakistan, which was both receiving billions of dollars in American aid and harboring the leaders of a Taliban insurgency that the United States has struggled to defeat.
But when President Trump suspended nearly all American security aid to Pakistan on Thursday for what he called the country?s ?lies and deceit,? any jubilation in the halls of power in Afghanistan ? and there was some ? was leavened with worry over how the move might affect a complex war that has pushed the Afghan government to the brink.
If there is one consensus among Afghan leaders and their American counterparts, it is that dealing with Pakistan is both vital and difficult.
[US Middle East Strategy] [Afghanistan] [Pakistan]
Piling on pressure over safe havens, U.S. suspends military aid to Pakistan
Supporters of Pakistani religious groups rally in Karachi on Jan. 2 to condemn President Trump?s comments about Pakistan. (Fareed Khan/AP)
By Missy Ryan, Annie Gowen and Carol Morello January 4 at 7:42 PM
The United States will suspend most of its security assistance to Pakistan, the State Department said Thursday, signaling the Trump administration?s intent to force the country to eliminate militant safe havens.
The announcement came just days after President Trump lashed out in his first tweet of the new year, saying Pakistan had repaid years of generous U.S. aid with ?nothing but lies & deceit,? a claim that Pakistani leaders labeled ?completely incomprehensible.?
Unveiling the new measure in a news briefing, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the suspension would remain in effect until Pakistan takes ?decisive action? against the Taliban and Haqqani network, militant groups blamed for stoking violence in Afghanistan and prolonging a conflict that has become America?s longest war.
?No partnership can survive a country?s harboring of militants and terrorists who target U.S. service members and officials,? Nauert said.
Officials acknowledged that the suspension, which follows a previous decision to freeze $255 million in military aid, will have a mostly symbolic effect in the near term. But it is certain to accelerate a downward trajectory in a fragile anti-terror allegiance forged after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
[Pakistan] [Alliance] [Incompetence] [Counter-productive]
?No more!? Trump tweets to Pakistan, accusing it of ?lies & deceit?
Pakistan?s foreign minister, Khawaja Muhammad Asif (shown here at a Dec. 26 metting in Beijing) promised to give a full accounting of how U.S. aid has been spent. (Pilipey/European Pressphoto Agency-EFE/Rex/Shutterstock)
By Shaiq Hussain and Annie Gowen January 1 at 4:19 PM
ISLAMABAD ? Pakistan?s defense minister responded angrily Monday to an early-morning tweet by President Trump that accused America?s once-close ally of ?lies & deceit,? countering that the United States had given Pakistan ?invective & mistrust? in return.
In his first tweet of the new year, Trump had said the United States had ?foolishly? given Pakistan $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years, ?and they have given us nothing but lies & ?deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools.?
Trump wrote further: ?They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!?
Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir-Khan hit back on ?Twitter, writing that Pakistan, as an ?anti-terror ally? of the United States, had given Washington land and air communication, military bases and intelligence cooperation that ?decimated Al-Qaeda over last 16yrs? while America ?has given us nothing but invective& mistrust.?
[Trump] [Pakistan] [Incompetence]