Pakistan Supports Efforts to Restore Peace, Stability in Afghanistan

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Pakistan Supports Efforts to Restore Peace, Stability in Afghanistan

While it is becoming clear that the U.S. is planning on changing its approach to Pakistan, we do not yet know what form that will take.

Pakistan is not seeking material or financial help from the U.S., but Washington must trust and treat it with respect, Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa today told the United States envoy here, a day after President Trump asked Islamabad to stop providing safe havens to terrorists.

"We have some leverage", Tillerson told reporters, "in terms of aid, their status as a non-NATO alliance partner - all of that can be put on the table".

Trump criticised Pakistan for providing "safe havens to terrorist organisations" and warned Islamabad it had much to lose by supporting insurgents battling the USA -backed Kabul government.

After acknowledging that Pakistan's past military cooperation with the USA has been valuable, Trump went back to putting the screws on: "Pakistan has also sheltered the same organizations that try every single day to kill our people", he said.

Pakistan's powerful military has not commented on Trump's speech, but the day before it denied any militants had havens in the country.

Trump promised to step up military efforts against the Taliban in Afghanistan in a televised addressed on Monday.

At the same time, Trump called on another key player in the region, India, to "help more" with Afghanistan, as it "makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States".

Observing that the U.S. gives the Pakistani government substantial security aid, the official said, and in return receive, at best, "indifference to border crossing and terrorist safe havens and sanctuaries" in Pakistan's tribal regions along the Afghan border.

The Pakistan Foreign Office said it is disappointing that the USA policy statement ignores the enormous sacrifices rendered by the Pakistani nation in this effort. Responding to a question about President Trump's intention to development closer relations with India, she said, "We welcome the normal and friendly relations developed between the United States and India as long as the relations do not harm the interests of other countries and can contribute to regional peace, stability and development".

Islamabad pointed out that there was "no exclusive solution" to the conflict in Afghanistan. The military action during the last 17 years has not brought peace to Afghanistan, and it is not likely to do so in the future.

The COAS said that peace in Afghanistan was as important for Pakistan as for any other country.

The Haqqani network, blamed for several deadly attacks against Indian interests in Afghanistan including the 2008 bombing of the Indian mission in Kabul that killed 58 people, has also carried out a number of kidnappings and attacks against U.S. interests in Afghanistan.

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