Pak-US alliance over: Kh Asif

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Washington

Pakistan’s alliance with the United States seems to be coming towards an end following the latter’s decision to suspend security aid, Minister of Foreign Affairs Khawaja Asif told the Wall Street Journal in an interview.
Asif added that he believes the US-Pakistan relations are now at risk, especially after the tensions heightened and moods turned sour when President Donald Trump warned Islamabad to “do more” against terrorists, to whom, he alleges, the country provides safe havens.
“We do not have any alliance with the US, this is not how allies behave,” the minister emphasised to WSJ.
On New Year’s Day, President Donald Trump had noted on Twitter that the US had “foolishly” given Pakistan over $33 billion in aid over the past 15 years, adding that Islamabad gives “safe havens to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help”.
The foreign minister noted that the nation had erred when it became a party in the 2001 US campaign against Afghanistan, calling it a “huge mistake”.
That decision, more than a decade ago, brought about the terrorist counteraction that seeped into Pakistan, creating a problem way bigger than could have been anticipated.
Still, the US continues to assert that Pakistan harbours terrorists, asking it to “clamp down on sanctuaries used by the two militant groups to plan attacks, collect weapons, and allow fighters to recuperate”.
But Islamabad, on the other hand, reiterates its woes, stating that the US has overlooked the Pakistan Army’s sacrifices — both in terms of personnel and cost — and doesn’t credit its effort in pushing back Al Qaeda.
However, an NYT story on Sunday claimed that Trump cannot bear to sever the linkages with its “longtime” ally Pakistan — which could pave way for even better Sino-Pak relations — BMI Research said in its Friday report the US decision “will likely accelerate Pakistan’s geopolitical drift towards China”.
But the senior U.S. official said the administration was “angry and dissatisfied” with Pakistan’s response “and the continued linkages we see between the Pakistan security services and the Haqqani network.”
Asif, who told the WSJ the US “had turned Pakistan into a ‘whipping boy’ for its failures in Afghanistan”, said the situation in the country is relatively calm at present.
Asif added that Islamabad has allies in China, Iran, Russia, and Turkey and is, therefore, “not alone”.
However, “if we go against Afghan insurgents, then the war will again be fought on our soil, which will suit the Americans.”—INP

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