–Asif says Pakistan won’t face isolation in the region following US tirade
ISLAMABAD: Slamming the United States over its recent remarks against Pakistan, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has said that the Trump administration has turned Islamabad into ‘whipping boy’ contrary to the protocols of being an ally.
In an interview on Friday, the foreign minister said that the US failed to behave as an ally, adding that Pakistan does not consider the US as an ally either, after the behaviour of the Trump administration.
Asif’s comments were a part of series of reactions from the Pakistan administration in the aftermath of US’s refusal to continue providing security-related aid to the country.
On Thursday, the US had that security assistance to Islamabad was on hold until the Pakistani government took “decisive action” against terror groups on its territory, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network.
The announcement followed a tweet from President Donald Trump earlier this week alleging that Pakistan provides “safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan.” Islamabad denied the claim and has long decried similar allegations.
In reply to decisive action against the Haqqani Network in the tribal areas, the Pakistan Army spokesperson had earlier said that the army’s offensive against the Haqqani group will take some time to display results.
Pakistan’s recent counter-terrorism operations—including those in the tribal areas that border Afghanistan—has cleared the country of both the organised presence of militants and areas where they might seek sanctuary as peace returns, Wall Street Journal quoted Asif as saying.
Over the issue of Afghan refugees, the minister called out the US and Afghan administration, saying: “A lack of cooperation from Washington and Kabul on both returning refugees to Afghanistan and fencing the border between the two countries raises the suspicion that the intent [to fight terror together] is not sincere.”
“We have relative calm in Pakistan at the moment. But if we go against these people [Afghan insurgents], then the war will again be fought on our soil, which will suit the Americans,” he said.
‘PAKISTAN IS NOT ALONE’:
Denying any type of isolation to be faced by Pakistan in the aftermath of US decision, he said that there were other countries that could ally with Pakistan.
Following Trump’s tweet against Pakistan this week, China foreign ministry said it was “ready to promote and deepen” its cooperation with Pakistan.
Last year, Pakistan rallied officials from China, Iran, Russia and Turkey behind Pakistan’s strategy for Afghanistan, a process centered on peace talks with the Taliban.
It may be mentioned here since 2001—the year Pakistan joined the war on terror— some jihadist groups turned on Islamabad in a campaign that has taken thousands of lives.