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Do more to stop terrorism, US tells Pakistan
By Tariq Butt / Agencies January 04, 2018
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WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD: The United States accused Pakistan on Tuesday of playing a “double game” on fighting terrorism and warned Islamabad it would have to do more if it wanted to maintain US aid.

“They can do more to stop terrorism and we want them to do that,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters.

The White House said it would likely announce actions to pressure Pakistan within days, shortly after US Ambassador Nikki Haley said at the United Nations that Washington would withhold $255 million in assistance to Pakistan.

“There are clear reasons for this. Pakistan has played a double game for years,” Haley told reporters.

“They work with us at times, and they also harbour the terrorists that attack our troops in Afghanistan.

“That game is not acceptable to this administration. We expect far more cooperation from Pakistan in the fight against terrorism.”

The comments followed an angry tweet from President Donald Trump on Monday that the United States had been rewarded with “nothing but lies and deceit” for “foolishly” giving Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid in the past 15 years.

“They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” he tweeted.

Pakistan civilian and military chiefs on Tuesday rejected “incomprehensible” US comments and summoned American Ambassador David Hale to explain Trump’s tweet.

Pakistani UN Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said in a statement that her country’s fight against terrorism was not based on any consideration of aid but on national interests and principles.

“We have contributed and sacrificed the most in fighting international terrorism and carried out the largest counter terrorism operation anywhere in the world,” Lodhi said.

“We can review our cooperation if it is not appreciated.”

Meanwhile, Pakistan has decided not to react in haste to Trump’s provocative assertions.

Islamabad made it clear that it was not alone responsible for the US failures in Afghanistan and Trump’s statement was unfortunate, said an official statement.

The National Security Committee (NSC) in its urgent meeting reached a consensus that despite all unwarranted allegations, Pakistan could not act in haste and would remain committed to playing a constructive role in an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, not just for the sake of its own people, but also for peace and security of the region and international community.

The NSC session chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was attended by Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Interior, Khurram Dastgir, Minister for Defence, General Zubair Mehmood Hayat, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of the Army Staff, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Chief of the Naval Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff, Miftah Ismail, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Lt-Gen (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua, National Security Adviser (NSA) and senior officials.

The NSC noted its deep disappointment with some of the recent statements articulated by the American leadership and observed that the close interaction with the US leadership following the initial pronouncement of President Trump’s policy on South Asia had been useful in creating a better understanding of each other’s perspectives on the best way forward to achieve durable peace and stability in Afghanistan.

The committee observed that given this positive direction of progression, recent statements and articulation by the American leadership were completely incomprehensible as they contradicted facts, struck with great insensitivity at the trust between two nations built over generations, and negated the decades of sacrifices made by the Pakistani nation - a nation that has contributed so significantly to regional and global security and peace.

The participants noted that over the past several years, Pakistan’s counter-terrorism campaign has served as a bulwark against possible expansion of scores of terrorist organisations currently present in Afghanistan - a fact acknowledged by US authorities at the highest levels.

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