Pakistan cancels talks with US over Trump’s hostile remarks
Pakistan’s parliament today passed a resolution dismissing the Trump administration’s allegations that Pakistan was fermenting the crisis in Afghanistan, labeling them as “hostile” and “threatening”. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif asked the government to contemplate delaying any visits by American officials to Pakistan and vice versa and shutting down “ground and air lines of communication through Pakistan”.
The Pakistani foreign ministry on Sunday declared that it had delayed a visit by acting US Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells to talk about America’s new Afghan war plan without citing a reason at the time. President Trump accused Pakistan of sheltering terrorists on its territory and providing sanctuary for insurgents carrying out attacks on US and Afghan forces across the border. Pakistani officials and generals have taken great insult from these statements which they view as a lack of respect from the US for its sacrifices in the war against terror and for its victories against militant groups.
According to Pakistani figures, there have been 70000 Pakistani fatalities in terror related incidents since 9/11. Consequent American presidents have found it difficult regarding how to tackle a nuclear armed Pakistan. Washington often talks about duplicity and complicity from the Pakistani side with regards to fighting the Taliban but Islamabad has been helpful on other counter-terrorism efforts such as those against the Islamic State and Al Qaeda. The US, however, has no option but to use Pakistani territory to supply its forces in Afghanistan as it is landlocked. If Pakistan becomes an enemy then it could increase violence in Afghanistan that would put US troops at great risk.
Interestingly Asif went on to say that the US, its allies, and Afghanistan should rather take action to stop terrorism in Pakistan from their side. He said that Pakistan was worried that ISIS was spreading in Afghan provinces near Pakistan. Pakistan has also taken offense from Trump’s statement that India should do more in Afghanistan which they view as very threatening to its national security as it would lose it’s so called “strategic depth”. Pakistan even went on to accuse India of sponsoring terrorism and destabilizing the subcontinent.
Pakistan reacted to US warnings about cutting aid to Pakistan sharply by saying that Pakistan has lost more than $123 billion since 9/11 in the War against Terror. If Islamabad is cut off then it would lead to problems with China as it has made great economic investments in the country and has deep military ties with it. Pakistan and the US had a rocky relationship since 2011 after Osama bin Laden was killed by US special operations forces in Abbottabad.