Trump administration trying something new to deal with Pakistan, says official
Washington: The Trump administration feels it is time to try "something different" to prevent Pakistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorists as exercising patience or offering inducements have failed to deal with the problem threatening the region's stability, a top official said on Monday.
The remarks by the official came days after the Trump administration suspended approximately $2 billion in security assistance to Pakistan, resulting in an outrage from Islamabad.
President Donald Trump in a New Year's Day tweet accused the country of giving nothing to the US but "lies and deceit" and providing "safe haven" to terrorists in return for $33 billion aid over the last 15 years. The official said policies followed by the successive US administrations post 9/11 vis-a-vis Pakistan have not worked. The US is committed to not allowing either Pakistan or Afghanistan to become a safe haven for terrorists from where they can attack America and its allies, said the senior Trump administration official on condition of anonymity. "These sanctuaries really threaten stability in the region and they continue to fuel the overall terrorism problem that we're facing," the official said. The "previous administrations have tried to exercise what they might call strategic patience or offering inducements like Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill which gave billions of dollars to Pakistan", the official said, adding none of it has worked so far.
In 2009, the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act (KLB), also known as the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009, is passed and Congress authorised tripling of the economic-related assistance to Pakistan to $7.5 billion over five years, from the period of 2010 to 2014.
Terrorists continue to operate freely inside Pakistan and there is a relationship between terrorist organisations and the establishment, the official said.
"This administration believes it's time to try something different. We simply can't ignore the sanctuaries if we're going to make progress in Afghanistan," the official said, adding that "the president has been clear about his commitment to stabilising Afghanistan".
On Trump's comprehensive South Asia strategy for regional diplomacy announced in August last year, the official said.