Serious debate in Washington
The US Administration under President Donald Trump has been seriously considering hardening its approach towards Pakistan for not deterring militants launching attacks in Afghanistan. Washington is also considering downgrading Pakistan’s status as “major non-NATO ally” and expanding US drone strikes deep into its territory.
Reuters reports that some US officials were skeptical of the prospects of success arguing years of previous US governments efforts have failed in curbing Pakistan’s support to the militant groups. Growing US-India relations undermine the chances of any breakthrough with Islamabad.
However there are officials in Pentagon who seek more cooperation with Pakistan, not a rupture in ties after the present review. A US official, speaking on a condition of anonymity, was quoted as saying, “We’ve never really fully articulated what our strategy towards Pakistan is. The strategy will more clearly say what we want from Pakistan specifically.”
But others believe that additional US troops deployment in Afghanistan will fail to meet their ultimate objective without more pressure on militants within Pakistan who target Afghanistan
Meanwhile Hamdullah Mohib, Afghan ambassador in Washington said, “I believe there will be a much harder US line on Pakistan going forward than there has been in the past.”
On the other hand Pakistan denies allowing any militants safe heaven on its territory and rejects US claims of ISI having ties to Haqqani network militants who are blamed for some of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan.
Haqqani group was allegedly involved in a devastating May 31 truck bomb that killed more than 80 people and wounded 460 people in diplomatic enclave in Kabul.
Pakistan has received more than 33 billion dollars in US assistance since 2002, including 14 billion dollars Coalition support funds. However, last year, Pentagon decided not to pay Pakistan 300 million in CSF funding.