Respect Pakistan's sovereignty, security concerns: China to US

Casey Dawson
August 25, 2017

Hailing Donald Trump's new tough line against Pakistan, top U.S. lawmakers have demanded that Islamabad be designated a "state sponsor of terrorism" and its major non-NATO ally status be revoked to force it stop from supporting terrorist groups.

"The Taliban can not win on the battlefield, it's time for them to join the peace process", General John Nicholson told reporters in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The US wants India to play a more active role in finding a political solution in Afghanistan, a senior official has said, as she welcomed India's financial support in rebuilding the war-torn nation. Trump had said that a "critical part" of his South Asia policy was to further develop America's strategic partnership with India. He offered few clear changes, but the new policy moved from a strategy based on timeline to the one based on conditions.

And while the President is continuing past pressure on Pakistan, he and Tillerson are taking a much more public route with U.S. complaints over Islamabad's ties to terror groups.

The top USA diplomat also doubled down on Trump's comments about Pakistan, noting that it can play an important role in delivering the Taliban to the negotiating table but warned that Islamabad must stop offering safe haven to terrorist groups or face consequences. To the extent they keep trying, angry U.S. criticism that it's not enough is fueling growing anti-American sentiment across Pakistan.

He said efforts were being made to destabilise Pakistan on both its eastern and western borders.

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"The Pakistani civilian and military leadership countered the US's criticism by reminding it of Pakistan's role in the protracted conflict and asking that the USA work with Pakistan with a focus on core issues like the elimination of safe havens inside Afghanistan, better border management, the repatriation of "millions of Afghan refugees" and a re-invigoration of the peace process for a political settlement in Afghanistan", the statement said.

"No country has done more than Pakistan to counter the menace of terrorism".

Pakistan, however, saw things differently.

Pakistan said there can be "no exclusive military solution to the crisis in Afghanistan". Other US officials threatened to cut Pakistan's aid over the matter.

"We would like to see effective and immediate United States military efforts to eliminate sanctuaries harbouring terrorists and miscreants on Afghan soil, including those responsible for fomenting terror in Pakistan", the Prime Minister's office said in a statement, one of the strongest ever responses to Washington.

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