The US-Pakistan relations have hit a new low following the latest belligerent tweet by no less a person than the American President himself painting Pakistan an ‘enemy’ country. Trump, in his New Year tweet, accused Pakistan of giving Washington ‘nothing but lies and deceit’. Trump also said that Islamabad thought US leaders were fools. “Washington had foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years but Pakistan had in return given safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more now on,” Trump said. Responding to President’s tweet, the Trump administration immediately stopped aid package of $255 million of military aid to Pakistan, a move seen as the first step to implementing President Donald Trump’s pledge to tighten economic restrictions on Pakistan. Pakistan responded well by summoning the American envoy to foreign office seeking an explanation of Trump’s threatening comments. At the same time, Pakistan pledged that its fight against terrorism would continue with or without US aid. That is a measured response expected from a sage government. It is most likely that US would resort to other means to put more pressure on Pakistan. That would be more testing for Pakistan to deal with. America has been looking on Pakistan through the prism of Afghanistan. With nearly 16,000 US troops in Afghanistan, several thousand of whom Trump himself has sent, the course of the war in Afghanistan would have a bearing on the American leader’s presidency. For the present, America is no longer in winning position in Afghanistan. The US-backed Ashraf Gani government has been restricted to Kabul only. Almost 60% of the country is under the control of Taliban. It is this failure that has made Trump desperate. Trump, like his predecessors, wants Pakistan to fight American war in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s decision to join the US as an ally in the war against terror in 2001 has come at a significant cost. Before 2001, Pakistan was not infested with the kind of terrorism that has left over 50,000 Pakistanis dead in the last fifteen years. The cost to the Pakistani economy and fiscal exchequer has run into hundreds of billions of dollars. Pakistan could have chosen to sit on the fence and keep domestic peace. But General Musharaf’s decision to side with America as frontal partner in ‘war on terror’ gave rise to terrorism in Pakistan. America is not recognizing this fact and insists on “do more”. Donald Trump’s behaviour has been more dictatorial. Instead of treating Islamabad as partner in war on terror, Trump issues diktats of Pakistan, which, in all probabilities, is making the US-Pak cooperation impossible. No self-respecting nation or state would accept the way Donald Trump is behaving. It is irate behaviour of the Trump that America has lost many friends in the world. The UN vote against Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a glaring instance of America’s international isolation. Islamabad can successfully meet the American challenge by engaging directly with Afghanistan. Helping find a path to a political deal between Kabul and the Afghan Taliban would help end the war there and obviate the need for the US administration to lean heavily on Pakistan. Understandably, it is not as easy as said. What has not been achieved in 16 years cannot be achieved overnight. Pakistan, however, should not get distracted from creating the conditions for an eventual peace deal in Afghanistan. With China and Russia on its side, Pakistan has an edge to influence the situation in Afghanistan. The meeting among foreign ministers of Pakistan, China and Afghanistan in Beijing, last month, can serve as the base to build on. What goes more to the advantage of Pakistan is Taliban’s willingness to resolve the crisis through dialogue.

Subscribe to The Kashmir Monitor

Subscribe to our email newsletter for useful tips and valuable resources, sent out every Tuesday.


Leave a Reply