US unveils Pakistan strategy ahead of top diplomats visit to Islamabad
WASHINGTON – United States has unveiled its Pakistan strategy ahead of the arrival of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the US military chief.
The top civil military duo is arriving in Pakistan for their first face-to-face talks in Islamabad with the newly installed government under Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday.
Trump administration stressed that Pakistan will have to follow the US strategy in Afghanistan for good bilateral relations.
State Department and the Pentagon have urged Pakistan to use a combination of military and diplomatic pressures to force the Taliban to work with Kabul for restoring peace in Afghanistan.
The Trump administration hopes that a working relationship between the Taliban and Kabul could lead to an honorable withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.
Earlier, the Pentagon announced that it was seeking to reallocate $300 million in aid to Pakistan due to Islamabad’s lack of “decisive actions” in support of America’s Afghan strategy.
The US has been pushing Pakistan to crack down on alleged militant safe havens in the country — which Pakistan denies — and announced a freeze on aid at the beginning of the year that an official said could be worth almost $2 billion.
No restoration of US security assistance to Pakistan before the war in Afghanistan ends, more restrictions may be imposed and Washington has serious concerns about Pakistan’s growing economic ties with China, said Assistant Secretary of Defence for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Randall G. Schriver.
The Trump administration was willing to give Imran Khan and his team some “space” to make their policies, he added.
“In terms of separating what was said during a campaign and what he said since the election, we want to give him (Mr. Khan) space to find the opportunities to improve things with India,” Schriver said.
Mr. Schriver also dispelled the perception that Washington was trying to destabilize Pakistan.