The US State Department has said that Pakistan is an important partner but it also knows what it needs to do.
“The United States expects Pakistan to take decisive action against the Haqqani Network and other militants who are operating from its soil,” said State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert while responding to questions during a regular press briefing on Tuesday.
The President of the United States Donald Trump said on Monday 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.
“Pakistan is an important partner,” said Nauert, “We have a lot of issues in that region. Pakistan knows that, we all know that, and we try to work carefully together on some of those issues, but Pakistan – I don’t want to say that Pakistan can do more, but Pakistan knows what it needs to do.”
She said, “We [Trump administration] expect Pakistan – and we’ve made clear, and the President has made clear in the past also through his new strategy that was announced back in August about the Asia – the new Asia strategy – that the United States expects Pakistan to take decisive action against the Haqqani Network and other militants who are operating from its soil.”
“And they need to better – to earn, essentially, the money that we have provided in the past in foreign military assistance, they need to show that they are sincere in their efforts to crack down on terrorists,” clarified the US State Department official during the media briefing.
The US State Department spokesperson also informed that “Secretary Tillerson and also Secretary Mattis spent some time over there in Pakistan not too long ago. And they shared with the Pakistani Government and their counterparts our concerns. We would like Pakistan to do more through cooperation. They have a lot; it’s not just us. We’re not the only ones who benefit from it. But they have a lot to gain through additional cooperation on the issue of terrorism. So we expect them to take greater actions.”
She added that Trump’s concern about Pakistan not taking enough action about terrorism was nothing new.
The same day, the White House had said it wanted to see Pakistan do more to fight terrorism and that it would likely announce actions to pressure Islamabad within days. Trump’s UN envoy Nikki Haley earlier in the day also announced at the United Nations that Washington would withhold $255 million in assistance to Pakistan.
“Our goal is that we know that they can do more to stop terrorism and we want them to do that,” White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders told reporters.
Relations with Washington have been strained for years over Islamabad’s alleged support for Haqqani network militants, who are allied with the Afghan Taliban.
However, Pakistan’s civilian and military chiefs rejected Trump’s comments a day after and summoned American Ambassador David Hale to explain his tweet.
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