Tuesday, June 20, 2017

US may up drone hits in Pak, withhold aid

Jun 21 2017 : The Times of India (Chennai)
US may up drone hits in Pak, withhold aid

Trump Admin May Also Downgrade Islamabad's Status As A Major Non-Nato Ally For Failing To Rein In Terrorists
President Donald Trump's administration appears ready to harden its approach towards Pakistan to crackdown on homegrown militants launching attacks in neighbouring Afghanistan.US officials said that potential responses being discussed tial responses being discussed include expanding drone strikes, redirecting or withholding some aid to Pakistan and downgrading Pakistan's status as a major non-Nato ally .
Some US officials, however, are skeptical of the prospects for success, arguing that years of previous efforts to curb Pakistan's support for militant groups have failed.They said that the already strengthening US ties to India undermine chances of a breakthrough with Islamabad.
The officials said that they would seek greater cooperation with Pakistan once the administration finished a regional review of the strategy guiding the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan, which will be presented to Trump in July .
“We've never really fully articulated what our strategy towards Pakistan is. The strategy will more clearly say what we want from Pakistan specifically,“ the official said.“The US and Pakistan continue to partner on a range of security issues,“ Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said.
Experts said that militant safe havens in Pakistan have allowed Taliban-linked insurgents to plot strikes in Afghanistan and regroup after offensives. Other US officials have warned of divisions within the government about the right approach and questioned whether any mix of carrots and sticks could get Islamabad to change its behaviour. At the end of the day , Washington needs a partner in nuclear-armed Pakistan.
The US is again poised to deploy thousands more troops in Afghanistan. Without more pressure on militants within Pakistan who target Afghanistan, experts said additional deployments would fail to meet their ultimate objective: to pressure the Taliban to negoti ate peace. “There will be a harder US line on Pakistan going forward than there has been in the past,“ said Hamdullah Mohib, Afghan envoy to the US.
Pakistan bristles at US claims that the ISI has ties to Haqqani network militants blamed for some of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan. “We are already doing a lot and that our plate is already full,“ a Pakistani source said. The source doubted the Trump administration would press too hard, saying, “They don't want to push Pakistan to abandon their war against terrorism.“ Pa kistani officials said since 2003, almost 22,000 civilians and nearly 7,000 Pakistani security forces have been killed as a result of militancy . Experts said Pakistan's policy towards Afghanistan was driven in part by fears that India would gain influence there.
Nuclear-armed Pakistan won status as a major non-Nato ally in 2004 and it allowed benefits such as faster access to surplus US military hardware. Yanking the title would be a major blow. “The Pakistanis would take that very seriously because it would be a slap at their honour,“ said a former US official.
Pakistan has received $33 billion in US aid since 2002, in cluding more than $14 billion in Coalition Support Funds, a programme to reimburse allies that have incurred costs for counter-insurgency operations. Last year, the Pentagon didn't pay Pakistan $300 million in CSF funding and officials said Trump might withholding some grants to Pakistan.
But US aid cuts could cede even more influence to China, which already has committed nearly $60 billion in investments in Pakistan. Another option under review is broadening a drone campaign to penetrate deeper into Pakistan to target Haqqani fighters and other militants blamed for attacks in Afghanistan, US officials said.
Pak begins fencing border with Af
Pakistan said on Tuesday that it had begun to fence its 2,400km long, porous border with Afghanistan, amid a spike in infiltration by militants that has hit their ties. “In phase I, high infiltration-prone border areas in Bajaur, Mohmand and Khyber Agencies are being fenced,“ the army said and added Balochistan province will be next.In addition to fencing, the army is also constructing new forts and border posts to improve surveillance. Afghanistan has objected to Pakistani attempts to erect any border fence. PTI

No comments:

Post a Comment