Exclusive: Trump seen hardening line toward Pakistan after Afghan war review

U.S. President Donald Trump walks to the White House in Washington, U.S. following his arrival from Camp David June 18, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Thayer
U.S. President Donald Trump walks to the White House in Washington, U.S. following his arrival from Camp David June 18, 2017.

REUTERS/Eric Thayer

By Phil Stewart and Idrees Aliseems ready to harden its method towards Pakistan to crack down on Pakistan-based militants launching assaults in neighboring Afghanistan, U.S. officials inform Reuters.

Potential Trump administration responses being mentioned embrace expanding U.S. drone strikes, redirecting or withholding some support to Pakistan and possibly sooner or later downgrading Pakistan’s status as a massive non-NATO ally, the officers stated, talking on condition of anonymity.

Some U.S. officials, alternatively, are skeptical of the potentialities for achievement, arguing that years of earlier U.S. efforts to curb Pakistan’s Reinforce for militant teams have failed, and that already strengthening U.S. ties to India, Pakistan’s arch-enemy, undermine chances of a leap forward with Islamabad.

U.S. officials say they are looking for higher cooperation with Pakistan, no longer a rupture in ties, as soon as the administration finishes a regional overview of the technique guiding the Sixteen-yr-outdated conflict in Afghanistan.

Actual moves have but to be determined.

The White House and Pentagon declined to touch upon the overview prior to its completion. Pakistan’s embassy in Washington did not straight away reply to a request for comment.

“the us and Pakistan proceed to partner on a variety of National Security concerns,” Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump stated.

But The discussions by myself suggest a shift toward a MORE assertive technique to handle protected havens in Pakistan which were blamed for partially helping turn Afghanistan’s warfare into an intractable conflict.

Experts on The Us’s longest struggle argue that militant safe havens in Pakistan have allowed Taliban-linked insurgents a place to plot lethal strikes in Afghanistan and regroup after ground offensives.

Even Though long mindful of Pakistan, the Trump administration in up to date weeks has put MORE emphasis on the connection with Islamabad in discussions because it hammers out a the regional method to be introduced to Trump Via mid-July, just about six months after he took office, one reliable mentioned.

“We’ve Got never actually fully articulated what our technique in opposition to Pakistan is. The strategy will MORE certainly say what we wish from Pakistan namely,” the U.S. reputable said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Different U.S. officers warn of divisions inside the government about the fitting means and query whether any mix of carrots and sticks can get Islamabad to change its habits. At The finish of the day, Washington wants a associate, although a less than perfect one, in nuclear-armed Pakistan, they are saying.

the us is once more poised to deploy lots EXTRA troops in Afghanistan, an acknowledgment that U.S.-backed forces aren’t winning and Taliban militants are resurgent.

With Out EXTRA power on militants inside Pakistan who target Afghanistan, Consultants say Additional U.S. troop deployments will fail to meet their ultimate purpose: to drive the Taliban to ultimately negotiate peace.

“I imagine there will be a a lot more difficult U.S. line on Pakistan going forward than there has been previously,” Hamdullah Mohib, the Afghan ambassador to the U.S., told Reuters, With Out citing explicit measures under evaluation.

Kabul has lengthy been critical of Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan.

Pakistan fiercely denies permitting any militants protected haven on its territory. It bristles at U.S. claims that Pakistan’s undercover agent agency, the Inter-Products And Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate, has ties to Haqqani network militants blamed for one of the most deadliest assaults in Afghanistan.

“What Pakistan says is that we’re already doing so much and that our plate is already full,” a senior Pakistani govt source advised Reuters, speaking on situation of anonymity.

The supply doubted the Trump administration would press too arduous, announcing: “They don’t need to push Pakistan to desert their war towards terrorism.”

Pakistani officers point against the toll militancy has taken on the u . s .. Due To The Fact That 2003, virtually 22,000 civilians and virtually 7,000 Pakistani Security forces had been killed because of militancy, consistent with the South Asia Terrorism Portal, which tracks violence.

Experts say Pakistan’s coverage in opposition to Afghanistan is also pushed partially Through fears that India will gain influence in Afghanistan.

IS PAKISTAN AN ALLY?

Nuclear-armed Pakistan won the standing as an incredible non-NATO ally in 2004 from the George Bush administration, in what Used To Be At The time viewed partly as popularity of its significance within the U.S. battle towards al Qaeda and Taliban insurgents.

The status is principally symbolic, allowing restricted advantages similar to giving Pakistan sooner get entry to to surplus U.S. militia hardware.

Some U.S. officials and Experts on the area scoff At The title.

“Pakistan just isn’t an ally. It’s not North Korea or Iran. Nevertheless It’s not an ally,” mentioned Bruce Riedel, a Pakistan knowledgeable On The Brookings Establishment.

But yanking the title could be considered With The Aid Of Pakistan as an incredible blow.

“The Pakistanis would take that very seriously as a result of it will be a slap at their honor,” stated a former U.S. reliable, conversing on condition of anonymity.

Lisa Curtis, senior director for South and Imperative Asia On The Nationwide Safety Council, co-authored a report with Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to Washington, through which they really helpful the Trump administration warn Pakistan the status can be revoked in six months.

“Thinking of Pakistan as an ally will continue to create problems for the next administration because it did for the Final one,” said the February report.

    It Was Once doubtful how seriously the Trump administration Was Once taking into consideration the suggestion.

The growing threat to Afghanistan from suspected Pakistan-based militants Was Once underscored By Means Of a devastating Could 31 truck bomb that killed greater than Eighty individuals and wounded 460 in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul.

Afghanistan’s main intelligence agency said the attack – one of the most deadliest in reminiscence in Kabul – had been conducted Through the Haqqani community with assistance from Pakistan, a cost Islamabad denies.

Washington believes the strikes seemed to be the work of the Haqqani network, U.S. officers advised Reuters.

U.S. frustration over the Haqqani’s presence in Pakistan has been building for years. the united states exact the Haqqani network as a terrorist organization in 2012. U.S. Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, then the top U.S. defense force officer, informed Congress in 2011 that the Haqqani network Was Once a “veritable arm” of the ISI.

The Potential U.S. pivot to a EXTRA assertive manner would be sharply completely different than the method taken at the start of the Obama administration, when U.S. officials sought to courtroom Pakistani leaders, including Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani.

David Sedney, who served as Obama’s deputy assistant secretary of Safety for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Critical Asia from 2009 to 2013, mentioned the try and flip Islamabad into a strategic companion Was a “catastrophe.”

“It did not impact Pakistan’s behavior one bit. Actually, I Would argue it made Pakistan’s conduct worse,” Sedney mentioned.

EXTRA DRONES, MONEY REDUCE-OFF

Pakistan has bought greater than $33 billion in U.S. assistance For The Reason That 2002, together with greater than $14 billion in so-referred to as Coalition Make Stronger Dollars (CSF), a U.S. Protection Division software to reimburse allies which have incurred prices in aiding counter-insurgency operations.

It Is crucial type of foreign currency echange for the nuclear-armed united states and one that is getting in particular shut scrutiny right through the Trump administration evaluation.

Final year, the Pentagon made up our minds to not pay Pakistan $300 million in CSF funding after then-U.S. Secretary of Protection Ash Carter declined to signal authorization that Pakistan Was taking ample action in opposition to the Haqqani community.

    U.S. officers mentioned the Trump administration Used To Be discussing withholding at least some assistance to Pakistan.

Curtis’ record additionally singled out the help as a goal.

But U.S. aid cuts may cede even more affect to China, which already has dedicated nearly $60 billion in investments in Pakistan.

Some Other possibility below evaluate is broadening a drone marketing campaign to penetrate deeper into Pakistan to target Haqqani fighters and Other militants blamed for attacks in Afghanistan, U.S. officials and a Pakistan knowledgeable said.

“Now the American Citizens (can be) announcing, you are not taking out our enemies, so due to this fact we are taking them out ourselves,” the Pakistan skilled, who declined to be recognized, mentioned.

Pakistan’s Army chief of personnel Final week criticized “unilateral movements” comparable to drone strikes as “counterproductive and against (the) spirit of ongoing cooperation and intelligence sharing being diligently undertaken Through Pakistan”.

(Additional reporting With The Aid Of Josh Smith in Kabul, Drazen Jorgic in Islamabad and John Walcott in Washington; Enhancing By Way Of Yara Bayoumy and Howard Goller)

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