Islamabad :Spiralling relations with the United States have hit a new low with Pakistan’s Defense Minister stating that his country has stopped military and intelligence cooperation with its long-term ally in the fight against terrorism.
Confirming that military and intelligence cooperation has been suspended, Khurram Dastgir Khan was quoted by Pakistani newspaper Dawn as saying that the US is engaging Pakistan in a blame game rather than assisting in the battle on terror. “Pakistan does not want to put a price on its sacrifices but wants them to be recognised,” he said .
Khan also said that the US is staring at defeat in Afghanistan and therefore, is looking to make Pakistan a scapegoat for all of its failures here. The two countries have previously worked closely in a bid to contain terror emanating from Afghan soil.
While the US embassy in Islamabad has not confirmed if cooperation in the said areas has indeed been halted, souring relations between the two countries indeed point towards a firm possibility.
Pakistan and US officials have engaged in a war of words with each other – a simmering fire set ablaze by US President’s first tweet of 2018.
The US has charged Pakistan of not doing enough against home-grow terror outfits – especially the Haqqani Network. Officials in Washington have even warned that the US is capable of unilaterally taking action if Pakistan does not step up. Military aid to Pakistan has also been suspended. Earlier this week, Pentagon said US’ expectations from Pakistan have already been communicated. “Taliban and Haqqani leadership and attack planners should no longer be able to find safe haven or conduct operations from Pakistani soil,” said spokesperson Colonel Rob Manning.
The reaction has been almost equally strong.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif recently said that the focus of his country should be on further developing ties with China and Russia, and that dependence on the US was a misconception. Word in Islamabad’s diplomatic circles is that Pakistan is also not too comfortable with US’ plans of a two-pronged attack on Taliban in Afghanistan.
Some in Pakistan also see US’ tough posturing in recent months as a bid to appease India. New Delhi playing a greater role in Afghnaistan’s development has always been seen with suspicious eyes in Pakistan.