Pakistan US Rift

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1380148/p...but-lies-and-deceit-us-president-donald-trump
United States (US) President Donald Trump on Monday began his new year by accusing Pakistan of giving Washington "nothing but lies and deceit".

The US president also tweeted that Islamabad thinks of US leaders "as fools".

He said Washington had "foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years", but Pakistan had given "safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help".

"No more," he added, without specifying what punitive actions — if any — his administration is considering.

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!
3:12 PM - Jan 1, 2018
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The American president's tirade was responded to briefly by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, who said Pakistan would "soon" show the world the "difference between facts and fiction."

Khawaja M. Asif@KhawajaMAsif

We will respond to President Trump's tweet shortly inshallah...Will let the world know the truth..difference between facts & fiction..
4:06 PM - Jan 1, 2018
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The US president's tweet came in the aftermath of an increasingly terse back-and-forth between Washington and Islamabad since Trump announced his administration's latest national security strategy.

During the announcement, the US president had been quick to remind Pakistan of its 'obligation' to help America "because it receives massive payments" from Washington every year.

"We have made clear to Pakistan that while we desire continued partnership, we must see decisive action against terrorist groups operating on their territory. And we make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help," the US president had said.

A Pentagon report to the US Congress, released to the media on Dec 17, had said Washington would also take 'unilateral steps' in areas of divergence with Pakistan while expanding cooperation between the two countries where their interests converge.

Subsequently, US Vice President Mike Pence had, in a surprise visit to Afghanistan's Bagram airbase on Dec 22, warned that Trump has "put Pakistan on notice" in what was the harshest US warning to Islamabad since the beginning of the Afghan war over 16 years ago.

Official sources had told Dawn last week that the Trump administration was also considering withholding $255 million from a fund meant to provide military training and equipment to Pakistan, adding to already existing cuts on reimbursements.

The Pakistan Army spokesman, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, had at a press conference last week asserted that the aid Pakistan received from the US was "reimbursement for support we gave to the coalition for its fight against Al Qaeda."

"Had we not supported the US and Afghanistan, they would never have been able to defeat Al Qaeda," he had said.

"The armed forces are working with friends and want to continue doing so, but there can be no compromise on our national honour. We do not want a conflict with our friends, but will ensure the security of Pakistan," he had added.

His briefing was considered perhaps the strongest-ever reaction from Islamabad since US functionaries began alluding to the possibility of unilateral action.

Hitting back at the US, the civilian-controlled Foreign Office (FO) had also warned against the "malicious campaign" being "used to trivialise Pakistan's achievements in the war against terrorism", and noted that "allies do not put each other on notice."

The FO had further complained that recent US statements are "at variance with the extensive conversations we [Islamabad] have had with the US administration".
 
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https://www.dawn.com/news/1380351/pm-chairs-nsc-meeting-to-discuss-trumps-accusations
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is chairing a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) to discuss US President Donald Trump's most recent accusations against Pakistan.
In his first tweet of the new year, Trump had accused Pakistan of basing its relationship with the US on “nothing but lies and deceit”.
“They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” the US president had said.
Pakistan's ambassador to the US has been summoned to the NSC meeting, which will look to discuss Pakistan's response to President Trump's fresh tirade while also reviewing the country's overall foreign policy, DawnNews reported.
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Shortly before the meeting commenced, the military had finalised its suggestions for Pakistan's response to Trump's allegations in a Corps Commanders' Conference held at General Headquarters.
A meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security has also been called on January 5 to discuss the US's allegations.
Worsening relations
The US president's tweet had come in the aftermath of an increasingly terse back-and-forth between Washington and Islamabad since Trump announced his administration's latest national security strategy.
During the announcement, the US president had been quick to remind Pakistan of its 'obligation' to help America "because it receives massive payments" from Washington every year.
"We have made clear to Pakistan that while we desire continued partnership, we must see decisive action against terrorist groups operating on their territory. And we make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help," the US president had said.
A Pentagon report to the US Congress, released to the media on Dec 17, had said Washington would also take 'unilateral steps' in areas of divergence with Pakistan while expanding cooperation between the two countries where their interests converge.
Subsequently, US Vice President Mike Pence had, in a surprise visit to Afghanistan's Bagram airbase on Dec 22, warned that Trump has "put Pakistan on notice" in what was the harshest US warning to Islamabad since the beginning of the Afghan war over 16 years ago.
Official sources had told Dawn last week that the Trump administration was also considering withholding $255 million from a fund meant to provide military training and equipment to Pakistan, adding to already existing cuts on reimbursements.
 
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No organised terrorists sanctuaries in Pakistan: ISPR
5 Jan, 2018

RAWALPINDI - Suspension of US assistance will undermine bilateral security cooperation and regional peace efforts but it will not deter Pakistan's counterterrorism resolve.
This was stated by ISPR Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor during an interview with Voice of America on Friday.

He said Pakistan never fought for money but for peace.
He said that there are no more organized terrorist sanctuaries inside Pakistan.

https://timesofislamabad.com/05-Jan-2018/no-organised-terrorists-sanctuaries-in-pakistan-ispr
 
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No organised terrorists sanctuaries in Pakistan: ISPR
5 Jan, 2018

RAWALPINDI - Suspension of US assistance will undermine bilateral security cooperation and regional peace efforts but it will not deter Pakistan's counterterrorism resolve.
This was stated by ISPR Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor during an interview with Voice of America on Friday.

He said Pakistan never fought for money but for peace.
He said that there are no more organized terrorist sanctuaries inside Pakistan.

https://timesofislamabad.com/05-Jan-2018/no-organised-terrorists-sanctuaries-in-pakistan-ispr
Sir, What do you think is the US really after?
 
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Sir, What do you think is the US really after?
1) A convenient scapegoat for failures in Afghanistan

2) Cancellation of CPEC

3) Cancellation of Pakistan's nuclear program.

I would like to point something out as well, Nawaz Sharief made a half hearted attempt at a reply. Imran Khan gave a good one. PPP, and the Achakzai's, ANP and others - pin drop silence.

Pakistanis need to come to the streets and get rid of these traitor politicians, fix their own backyard first, then deal with anyone else.
 
#7

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US suspends security assistance to Pakistan
By: Aaron Mehta and Matthew Pennington, The Associated Press
05 Jan 2018

WASHINGTON – The decision by the U.S. to suspend security assistance to Pakistan could have serious consequences for the American-led fight in Afghanistan, and potentially further strengthen ties between Islamabad and China.

State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert announced new restrictions on Thursday that cover security assistance above and beyond the $255 million for Pakistani purchases of American military equipment that the administration held up in August, but it was not immediately clear how much money and materiel was being withheld.

Nauert made clear the $255 million was still blocked. The new action targets payments of so-called Coalition Support Funds that the U.S. pays to Pakistan to reimburse it for its counterterrorism operations. Those funds are typically paid later in the year, and already require U.S. certification, so the effect of Thursday’s announcement was unclear.

The move comes days after President Donald Trump’s New Year’s Day tweet that accused Pakistan of playing U.S. leaders for “fools,” as well as a growing number of voices from the administration that have complained Pakistan is not doing enough to combat militants targeting U.S. personnel in neighboring Afghanistan.

On Monday, Trump said the U.S. had “foolishly” given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid in the last 15 years and had gotten nothing in return but “lies & deceit.” He reiterated longstanding allegations that Pakistan gives “safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan.”

The big question facing the American effort in Afghanistan now becomes whether Pakistan retaliates by shutting down the supply lines for materiel into Afghanistan, known as the ground lines of communication, or GLOC.

Hours before the announcement, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis was asked if there were any signals from Pakistan that cutting the aid would result in the GLOC being closed, to which he responded, “we have had no indication of anything like that.”

But closing the GLOC remains a long-standing concern for the U.S. Those lines represent the cheapest way of getting supplies to U.S. forces in Afghanistan, something the Pentagon learned the hard way between Nov. 2011 and July 2012, when Pakistan shut the GLOC routes down following an incident where 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed by NATO forces along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Reporting in 2012 revealed that costs for getting needed supplies into Afghanistan went from $17 million a month to $104 million a month, a significant upcharge even by Pentagon budget standards. With significantly fewer troops in Afghanistan today than in 2012, the costs would not be quite so high, but could still hurt a Department of Defense that finds itself lacking budget stability.

Alice Hunt Friend, an Obama-era senior adviser to the deputy undersecretary of defense for strategy, plans and forces and country director for Pakistan, believes a GLOC shutdown may be coming.

“Closing the GLOCs is certainly in the Pakistani playbook and would not be a surprising move,” she said. “It would make sense for Pakistan to do something to make the administration reconsider Pakistan's utility to the U.S., and that's a direct way to do it.”

Another potential result of cutting off aid could be to drive Islamabad to strengthen its relations with China.

Pakistan has for years tried to counterbalance its alliance with the U.S. with one from China, including with its military relationships. Industrially, Pakistan has agreed to work with China to produce a new submarine fleet as well as working together to develop what in Pakistan is known as the JF-17 jet fighter. In addition, China has developed the Azmat-class missile boat for Pakistan, which will carry Chinese-built weapons.

Notably, a Pentagon report from last June concluded that China will seek to develop a military base in Pakistan, which would represent only the second People’s Liberation Army military facility outside of China

Associated Press writers Josh Lederman and Zeke Miller contributed to this report.

https://www.defensenews.com/global/.../us-suspends-security-assistance-to-pakistan/
 
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Trump Suggests Freezing $1.9B in Aid to Pakistan Just the Start
January 06, 2018

by Ayaz Gul

WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD —
U.S. President Donald Trump appears to be ratcheting up the pressure on Pakistan, suggesting he would be in favor of cutting all aid to Islamabad over the government’s refusal to take more decisive action against terrorism.

The president tweeted late Friday that ending U.S. assistance to Pakistan would be a “Good Idea,” in response to a tweet from U.S. Senator Rand Paul.


“I’m introducing a bill to end aid to Pakistan in the coming days,” Paul said in his Tweet. “My bill will take the money that would have gone to Pakistan and put it in an infrastructure fund to build roads and bridges here at home.”

The suggestion of cutting all funding to Pakistan, a long-time ally with a history of uneasy relations with the U.S., runs counter to the message White House officials were putting out earlier in the day.

“I just want to be clear that it’s been suspended. Nothing has been reappropriated,” a senior administration official said of the $1.9 billion in aid. “We’re hopeful that we can lift the suspension and the aid will be able to go forward.”

'A matter of frustration'

But the official also warned, that the Pakistani government had pushed President Trump’s patience past its limits.

“He’s monitoring Pakistan and how Pakistan has responded to our requests," the official said. "It was a matter of frustration. The kinds of information that were coming to him were not satisfying."

“There has been ample time for Pakistan to show that it is taking our requests seriously,” the official added, calling the U.S. requests “very clear.” “Unfortunately,we have not seen the type of meaningful action we are seeking.”

The Trump administration announced its decision to suspend the aid Thursday, saying it would remain frozen until Islamabad takes "decisive action" against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.

The funding freeze affects $1 billion for military equipment and another $900 million in payments to defray the cost of counterterrorism operations, officials said Friday.

“There has been ample time for Pakistan to show that it is taking our requests seriously,” a senior U.S. administration official said Friday.

“We have made very clear what our expectations are,” the official said. “Unfortunately, we have not seen the type of meaningful action we are seeking.”

Pakistan: US move undermines cooperation

But Pakistan’s military dismissed the U.S. action as a meaningless deterrent that would serve only to undermine security cooperation and regional peace efforts.

“Pakistan never fought for money but for peace,” army spokesman Major-General Asif Ghafoor told VOA.

Ghafoor also denied U.S. allegations that Pakistan was giving either the Taliban or the Haqqanis any sort of safe haven from which they can attack U.S. forces in neighboring Afghanistan.

Military-led counterterrorism operations, Ghafoor said, have targeted terrorists “indiscriminately,” including the Haqqani network at a “heavy cost of blood and treasure.” He insisted there are no more “organized” terrorist sanctuaries inside Pakistan.

“Casting doubts on our will is not good to our common objective of moving toward enduring peace and stability. Pakistan shall continue its sincere efforts in [the] best interest of Pakistan and peace,” the army spokesman said.

In a separate statement Friday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry criticized the U.S. for “arbitrary deadlines” and “unilateral pronouncements.” It asserted that Islamabad has fought the anti-terrorism war “largely” from its own financial resources.

“Emergence of new and more deadly groups such as Daesh in Afghanistan call for enhancing international cooperation,” the Pakistani statement said, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

And the ministry called U.S. pressure “counterproductive in addressing common threats.”

Trump tweet

The war of words between the two allies was triggered Monday, when U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to slash funding for Pakistan, accusing it on Twitter of providing a haven to terrorists and playing U.S. leaders for “fools.”

In his Twitter comments, Trump said Washington has received “nothing but lies and deceits” in return for giving Pakistan more than $33 billion in the last 15 years.


Pakistani officials say they have received $14 billion and that Washington still owes the country $9 billion.

Both the U.S. action and Trump’s remarks have upset many in Pakistan.

A leading opposition politician, Imran Khan, on Friday demanded the government categorically refuse to accept any future U.S. assistance in the wake of Trump’s remarks.

“Despite Pakistan clearing up North Waziristan, still half of Afghanistan is in Taliban hands. So, who is responsible for this?” Khan asked. “To make Pakistan the scapegoat of a failed strategy in Afghanistan is not just a travesty of justice, it is deeply insulting and humiliating.”

Wavering ties?

Despite the tough talk, some U.S. officials are hopeful Washington and Islamabad can resolve their differences.

“We are still working with Pakistan and we will restore the aid if we see decisive movements against the terrorists, who are as much of a threat against Pakistan as they are against us,” U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters Friday.

Senior U.S. officials also said some of the suspended funding could be made available on a case-by-case basis in order to protect U.S. national security interests.

A senior U.S. official warned, however, that the government in Islamabad had pushed President Trump’s patience past its limits.

“He’s monitoring Pakistan and how Pakistan has responded to our requests,” the official said. “It was a matter of frustration. The kinds of information that were coming to him were not satisfying.”
Pakistan’s reluctance to undertake counterterrorism operations, specifically in the Waziristan region, has been a major irritant in relations with the U.S., which sees the area as a training ground for Taliban and Haqqani militants.

U.S. officials say such safe havens remain intact, allowing the Taliban and Haqqani to conduct attacks in Afghanistan, such as a May 31, 2017 bombing that ripped through Kabul’s diplomatic quarter, killing more than 150 people.

Still, the Trump administration’s hard line with Pakistan is not without risk.

“For all the talk of how the U.S. may finally be taking its pressure to a new level to get the results it wants, pushing harder could backfire in a big way,” cautioned Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Program at the Wilson Center, a Washington-based foreign policy think tank.

“If Pakistan feels sufficiently provoked by tough U.S. measures, it could retaliate in ways that damage U.S. interests in South Asia,” Kugelman said. “The most likely scenario is that Pakistan could shut down NATO supply routes on its soil, which would make America’s difficult war effort in Afghanistan all the more challenging.”

Risk acknowledged

The Pentagon sought Friday to downplay such concerns, but Trump administration officials admit that is a risk, and say there have been some preliminary talks with other allies in the region about providing lethal aid to coalition forces.

“I’m not saying it would be impossible, but it would not be easy,” the senior administration official said.

The U.S. has been forced to find alternate supply routes before.

In 2011, Pakistan shut down U.S. supply routes through its territory and airspace for months after U.S. airstrikes that mistakenly hit and killed 24 Pakistani border forces.

“We haven’t exactly entered uncharted territory in U.S.-Pakistan relations,” Kugelman said, noting both countries have found ways to forge ahead in the past. “There’s a good chance that if the screws start to tighten on Pakistan, then Pakistan may be compelled to take some modest measures to appease the U.S. in the short term.”

For now, though, it’s the frustration that has come to the fore.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, in an interview with the local Geo News television, said the U.S. was “now neither a friend nor ally but a friend who always betrays.” He went on to say that Islamabad will have to review its ties to Washington and to strengthen relations with key regional patterns, including China, Iran and Russia.

VOA's Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb contributed to this report.
https://www.voanews.com/a/united-st...akness-terror-could-cost-country/4194906.html
 
#9

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1) A convenient scapegoat for failures in Afghanistan

2) Cancellation of CPEC

3) Cancellation of Pakistan's nuclear program.

I would like to point something out as well, Nawaz Sharief made a half hearted attempt at a reply. Imran Khan gave a good one. PPP, and the Achakzai's, ANP and others - pin drop silence.

Pakistanis need to come to the streets and get rid of these traitor politicians, fix their own backyard first, then deal with anyone else.
While i agree with you on the first point , I disagree on the other two.
By canceling and financial support the US has effectively put Pakistan in the Chinese camp , Doubt there will be a cancellation of the CPEC then !!!
And to safeguard their own interest the Pak Govt will never abandon their nuclear program .
 
#11

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While i agree with you on the first point , I disagree on the other two.
By canceling and financial support the US has effectively put Pakistan in the Chinese camp , Doubt there will be a cancellation of the CPEC then !!!
And to safeguard their own interest the Pak Govt will never abandon their nuclear program .
Bro, I think what Sir was implying was, that this is what the US wants. And I agree, cancelling Coalition Support Funds, is actually counter productive.

With the US in Afghanistan, I fail to understand, how cancelling CSF will help the US.
 
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While i agree with you on the first point , I disagree on the other two.
By canceling and financial support the US has effectively put Pakistan in the Chinese camp , Doubt there will be a cancellation of the CPEC then !!!
And to safeguard their own interest the Pak Govt will never abandon their nuclear program .
Bro, I think what Sir was implying was, that this is what the US wants. And I agree, cancelling Coalition Support Funds, is actually counter productive.

With the US in Afghanistan, I fail to understand, how cancelling CSF will help the US.
Please have a look at this:


The merchants of Rawalpindi

January 2, 2018,
Sunil Sharan
TOI


Wow, the new year began with the ruler of the world’s sole superpower castigating only one of 190+ nations in the world. What is it about Pakistan that makes Trump see so much red? And when Trump gets mad at the Pakistanis, why do so many policymakers in India do a high five?

Trump is mad at the merchants of Rawalpindi because they won’t let him extricate himself out of Afghanistan in one piece. But they didn’t put him in Afghanistan in the first place. You could argue 9/11 did, but someone amongst America’s best and brightest should have realized that her country should not get dragged into Afghanistan.

But America then was not being ruled by its best and brightest. And the same ruler, Bush Jr., for reasons of his own, decided to take his eye off the ball in Afghanistan and focus it on Iraq. Empires that have previously entered Afghanistan have remained completely focused on it, but have barely made it out alive. Actually, only the Brits did. The Soviets left it with rigor mortis.

What chance then was there for the Americans to win on both fronts? Instead, they got roasted in Iraq, and the roasting was slower but as sure in Afghanistan. The truth is the Americans made multiple mistakes in Afghanistan: (a) Enter it in the first place, (b) Count on the merchants of Rawalpindi for support, (c) Have no senior US general resign in protest when Bush Jr. entered Iraq so as to turn American public opinion against that war, and (d) Have substandard leadership in Afghanistan, including and especially the rockstar general who was sharing classified information with his “mistress”.

The American powers that be–the civilian as well as the military leadership–completely failed them in Afghanistan. And then there is a crucial difference between Vietnam and Afghanistan. No Vietnamese came after the US after the Americans ravaged Vietnam. In Afghanistan, the story has only just begun.

That story is what the Americans most terrified of. They could easily up and leave. But they just can’t leave Afghanistan without guaranteeing that people will not come after them. Which is where the merchants of Rawalpindi come in.

The merchants of Rawalpindi have played a shrewd, shrewd hand. They put their country on the line to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan to gain strategic depth there. They got the strategic depth that they wanted. Post 9/11, when the Americans approached them, they adopted a more wait and watch policy than they did against the Soviets.

They would shelter the Taliban. They would shelter al-Qaida. The widespread use of drones made them realize that the Americans did not want to suffer any more casualties in combat. Bin Laden’s capture and its aftermath resulted in a lot of American huff and bluster but otherwise had very few negative consequences for them. They knew now that they could get away with pretty much anything.

Trump’s belligerent ranting and Pence’s fawning-in-support ranting and Mattis’s matter-of-fact ranting might scare some civilians in Islamabad, but to the merchants of Rawalpindi, this is all empty thunder. The merchants care about protecting both Hafiz Saeed and the Haqqanis. The Americans couldn’t care less about Saeed. Didn’t the US Congress distinguish between the two so very recently to give hundreds of millions of dollars to the merchants.

The last time the merchants did the Americans a big favour in Afghanistan, the Americans cast them aside. This time the merchants are determined to get their pound of flesh. Start with India. Start with Kashmir. Get the Americans to support their claim over Kashmir. And support doesn’t mean just empty support. You want us to stop the Taliban coming after you; you guarantee that Kashmir will come to us.
The Americans have purportedly asked the Indians for ground support in Afghanistan. But India is firm: no boots on ground there. India is willing to tackle the fallout from Afghanistan–the Afghan jihadis, the Pakistanis, the Chechens, the Uighurs–on its own territory but will not take them on in a foreign land. Without boots on ground in Afghanistan, India has hardly any say in the Afghani end-game.

The merchants of Rawalpindi are smart. More often than not, they have put their institution, the Pakistani army, above themselves and played a consistent hand. The more Trump screams, the more they know that they have a winning hand. So new year’s was not an angry tweet from Trump to the merchants; it seemed like more a joyous happy new year greeting.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own.

https://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/strategic-insights/the-merchants-of-rawalpindi/
 
#13

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Please have a look at this:


The merchants of Rawalpindi

January 2, 2018,
Sunil Sharan
TOI


Wow, the new year began with the ruler of the world’s sole superpower castigating only one of 190+ nations in the world. What is it about Pakistan that makes Trump see so much red? And when Trump gets mad at the Pakistanis, why do so many policymakers in India do a high five?

Trump is mad at the merchants of Rawalpindi because they won’t let him extricate himself out of Afghanistan in one piece. But they didn’t put him in Afghanistan in the first place. You could argue 9/11 did, but someone amongst America’s best and brightest should have realized that her country should not get dragged into Afghanistan.

But America then was not being ruled by its best and brightest. And the same ruler, Bush Jr., for reasons of his own, decided to take his eye off the ball in Afghanistan and focus it on Iraq. Empires that have previously entered Afghanistan have remained completely focused on it, but have barely made it out alive. Actually, only the Brits did. The Soviets left it with rigor mortis.

What chance then was there for the Americans to win on both fronts? Instead, they got roasted in Iraq, and the roasting was slower but as sure in Afghanistan. The truth is the Americans made multiple mistakes in Afghanistan: (a) Enter it in the first place, (b) Count on the merchants of Rawalpindi for support, (c) Have no senior US general resign in protest when Bush Jr. entered Iraq so as to turn American public opinion against that war, and (d) Have substandard leadership in Afghanistan, including and especially the rockstar general who was sharing classified information with his “mistress”.

The American powers that be–the civilian as well as the military leadership–completely failed them in Afghanistan. And then there is a crucial difference between Vietnam and Afghanistan. No Vietnamese came after the US after the Americans ravaged Vietnam. In Afghanistan, the story has only just begun.

That story is what the Americans most terrified of. They could easily up and leave. But they just can’t leave Afghanistan without guaranteeing that people will not come after them. Which is where the merchants of Rawalpindi come in.

The merchants of Rawalpindi have played a shrewd, shrewd hand. They put their country on the line to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan to gain strategic depth there. They got the strategic depth that they wanted. Post 9/11, when the Americans approached them, they adopted a more wait and watch policy than they did against the Soviets.

They would shelter the Taliban. They would shelter al-Qaida. The widespread use of drones made them realize that the Americans did not want to suffer any more casualties in combat. Bin Laden’s capture and its aftermath resulted in a lot of American huff and bluster but otherwise had very few negative consequences for them. They knew now that they could get away with pretty much anything.

Trump’s belligerent ranting and Pence’s fawning-in-support ranting and Mattis’s matter-of-fact ranting might scare some civilians in Islamabad, but to the merchants of Rawalpindi, this is all empty thunder. The merchants care about protecting both Hafiz Saeed and the Haqqanis. The Americans couldn’t care less about Saeed. Didn’t the US Congress distinguish between the two so very recently to give hundreds of millions of dollars to the merchants.

The last time the merchants did the Americans a big favour in Afghanistan, the Americans cast them aside. This time the merchants are determined to get their pound of flesh. Start with India. Start with Kashmir. Get the Americans to support their claim over Kashmir. And support doesn’t mean just empty support. You want us to stop the Taliban coming after you; you guarantee that Kashmir will come to us.
The Americans have purportedly asked the Indians for ground support in Afghanistan. But India is firm: no boots on ground there. India is willing to tackle the fallout from Afghanistan–the Afghan jihadis, the Pakistanis, the Chechens, the Uighurs–on its own territory but will not take them on in a foreign land. Without boots on ground in Afghanistan, India has hardly any say in the Afghani end-game.

The merchants of Rawalpindi are smart. More often than not, they have put their institution, the Pakistani army, above themselves and played a consistent hand. The more Trump screams, the more they know that they have a winning hand. So new year’s was not an angry tweet from Trump to the merchants; it seemed like more a joyous happy new year greeting.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own.

https://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/strategic-insights/the-merchants-of-rawalpindi/
I have read Sunil before, he is quite good, and could very well be @Joe Shearer or @jbgt90 (:-)
 
#14

jbgt90

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Trump Suggests Freezing $1.9B in Aid to Pakistan Just the Start
January 06, 2018

by Ayaz Gul

WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD —
U.S. President Donald Trump appears to be ratcheting up the pressure on Pakistan, suggesting he would be in favor of cutting all aid to Islamabad over the government’s refusal to take more decisive action against terrorism.

The president tweeted late Friday that ending U.S. assistance to Pakistan would be a “Good Idea,” in response to a tweet from U.S. Senator Rand Paul.


“I’m introducing a bill to end aid to Pakistan in the coming days,” Paul said in his Tweet. “My bill will take the money that would have gone to Pakistan and put it in an infrastructure fund to build roads and bridges here at home.”

The suggestion of cutting all funding to Pakistan, a long-time ally with a history of uneasy relations with the U.S., runs counter to the message White House officials were putting out earlier in the day.

“I just want to be clear that it’s been suspended. Nothing has been reappropriated,” a senior administration official said of the $1.9 billion in aid. “We’re hopeful that we can lift the suspension and the aid will be able to go forward.”

'A matter of frustration'

But the official also warned, that the Pakistani government had pushed President Trump’s patience past its limits.

“He’s monitoring Pakistan and how Pakistan has responded to our requests," the official said. "It was a matter of frustration. The kinds of information that were coming to him were not satisfying."

“There has been ample time for Pakistan to show that it is taking our requests seriously,” the official added, calling the U.S. requests “very clear.” “Unfortunately,we have not seen the type of meaningful action we are seeking.”

The Trump administration announced its decision to suspend the aid Thursday, saying it would remain frozen until Islamabad takes "decisive action" against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.

The funding freeze affects $1 billion for military equipment and another $900 million in payments to defray the cost of counterterrorism operations, officials said Friday.

“There has been ample time for Pakistan to show that it is taking our requests seriously,” a senior U.S. administration official said Friday.

“We have made very clear what our expectations are,” the official said. “Unfortunately, we have not seen the type of meaningful action we are seeking.”

Pakistan: US move undermines cooperation

But Pakistan’s military dismissed the U.S. action as a meaningless deterrent that would serve only to undermine security cooperation and regional peace efforts.

“Pakistan never fought for money but for peace,” army spokesman Major-General Asif Ghafoor told VOA.

Ghafoor also denied U.S. allegations that Pakistan was giving either the Taliban or the Haqqanis any sort of safe haven from which they can attack U.S. forces in neighboring Afghanistan.

Military-led counterterrorism operations, Ghafoor said, have targeted terrorists “indiscriminately,” including the Haqqani network at a “heavy cost of blood and treasure.” He insisted there are no more “organized” terrorist sanctuaries inside Pakistan.

“Casting doubts on our will is not good to our common objective of moving toward enduring peace and stability. Pakistan shall continue its sincere efforts in [the] best interest of Pakistan and peace,” the army spokesman said.

In a separate statement Friday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry criticized the U.S. for “arbitrary deadlines” and “unilateral pronouncements.” It asserted that Islamabad has fought the anti-terrorism war “largely” from its own financial resources.

“Emergence of new and more deadly groups such as Daesh in Afghanistan call for enhancing international cooperation,” the Pakistani statement said, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

And the ministry called U.S. pressure “counterproductive in addressing common threats.”

Trump tweet

The war of words between the two allies was triggered Monday, when U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to slash funding for Pakistan, accusing it on Twitter of providing a haven to terrorists and playing U.S. leaders for “fools.”

In his Twitter comments, Trump said Washington has received “nothing but lies and deceits” in return for giving Pakistan more than $33 billion in the last 15 years.


Pakistani officials say they have received $14 billion and that Washington still owes the country $9 billion.

Both the U.S. action and Trump’s remarks have upset many in Pakistan.

A leading opposition politician, Imran Khan, on Friday demanded the government categorically refuse to accept any future U.S. assistance in the wake of Trump’s remarks.

“Despite Pakistan clearing up North Waziristan, still half of Afghanistan is in Taliban hands. So, who is responsible for this?” Khan asked. “To make Pakistan the scapegoat of a failed strategy in Afghanistan is not just a travesty of justice, it is deeply insulting and humiliating.”

Wavering ties?

Despite the tough talk, some U.S. officials are hopeful Washington and Islamabad can resolve their differences.

“We are still working with Pakistan and we will restore the aid if we see decisive movements against the terrorists, who are as much of a threat against Pakistan as they are against us,” U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters Friday.

Senior U.S. officials also said some of the suspended funding could be made available on a case-by-case basis in order to protect U.S. national security interests.

A senior U.S. official warned, however, that the government in Islamabad had pushed President Trump’s patience past its limits.

“He’s monitoring Pakistan and how Pakistan has responded to our requests,” the official said. “It was a matter of frustration. The kinds of information that were coming to him were not satisfying.”
Pakistan’s reluctance to undertake counterterrorism operations, specifically in the Waziristan region, has been a major irritant in relations with the U.S., which sees the area as a training ground for Taliban and Haqqani militants.

U.S. officials say such safe havens remain intact, allowing the Taliban and Haqqani to conduct attacks in Afghanistan, such as a May 31, 2017 bombing that ripped through Kabul’s diplomatic quarter, killing more than 150 people.

Still, the Trump administration’s hard line with Pakistan is not without risk.

“For all the talk of how the U.S. may finally be taking its pressure to a new level to get the results it wants, pushing harder could backfire in a big way,” cautioned Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Program at the Wilson Center, a Washington-based foreign policy think tank.

“If Pakistan feels sufficiently provoked by tough U.S. measures, it could retaliate in ways that damage U.S. interests in South Asia,” Kugelman said. “The most likely scenario is that Pakistan could shut down NATO supply routes on its soil, which would make America’s difficult war effort in Afghanistan all the more challenging.”

Risk acknowledged

The Pentagon sought Friday to downplay such concerns, but Trump administration officials admit that is a risk, and say there have been some preliminary talks with other allies in the region about providing lethal aid to coalition forces.
once agai
“I’m not saying it would be impossible, but it would not be easy,” the senior administration official said.

The U.S. has been forced to find alternate supply routes before.

In 2011, Pakistan shut down U.S. supply routes through its territory and airspace for months after U.S. airstrikes that mistakenly hit and killed 24 Pakistani border forces.

“We haven’t exactly entered uncharted territory in U.S.-Pakistan relations,” Kugelman said, noting both countries have found ways to forge ahead in the past. “There’s a good chance that if the screws start to tighten on Pakistan, then Pakistan may be compelled to take some modest measures to appease the U.S. in the short term.”

For now, though, it’s the frustration that has come to the fore.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, in an interview with the local Geo News television, said the U.S. was “now neither a friend nor ally but a friend who always betrays.” He went on to say that Islamabad will have to review its ties to Washington and to strengthen relations with key regional patterns, including China, Iran and Russia.

VOA's Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb contributed to this report.
https://www.voanews.com/a/united-st...akness-terror-could-cost-country/4194906.html
Lol good one so merchants are just poking POTUS once again as per author
 
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