WASHINGTON - US National Security Advisor McMaster in an interview to Voice of America has said that president Trump is frustrated, and he values what we hope would be a partnership with Pakistan.
But he’s frustrated at Pakistan’s behavior in that it continues to provide support for these groups, it goes after terrorist insurgent groups, really, very selectively, and uses others as an arm of their foreign policy.
The president has great sympathy for the Pakistani people and in particular, how much they’ve suffered at the hands of terrorists who have victimized so many Pakistanis with mass murders, with that horrible mass murder in a school a few years ago. I mean, so, he empathizes with the Pakistani people, and he wants to see the Pakistani government go after these groups less selectively.
This is not a blame game, as some would say. This is really our effort to communicate clearly to Pakistan that our relationship can no longer bear the weight of contradictions, and that we have to really begin now to work together to stabilize Afghanistan.
And in a way, that would be a huge benefit to Pakistan, as well. What’s frustrating at times is we see Pakistan operating against the interests of its own people by going after these groups only selectively, by providing safe havens and support bases for Taliban and Haqqani network leadership that operate out of Pakistan as they perpetuate hell in portions of Pakistan and in Afghanistan.
I traveled with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Pakistan years ago when she was delivering news of an aid package — about $7 billion — a significant amount for the Pakistanis. And I remember that the Pakistanis were upset because we wanted to know how the money was going to be spent.
They were very upset. So, you have that incredible sort of disconnect that did not seem to me to be outrageous that we’d want to know how our money was going to be spent. On the other hand, when you don’t give money to these countries, someone else steps in, so that’s the risk.
McMaster: Well, I don’t think … who’s going to step in now, I think, and want Pakistan to continue its support for terrorist groups like the Haqqani network, for groups like the Taliban? I mean, certainly it’s not in China’s interest. China has a terrorist problem on its southern border, a terrorist problem that does have connections back into Pakistan. It’s not going to be any other country in the region, certainly, who will want Pakistan to continue this, really, pattern of behavior that we’ve seen, where it goes after these groups only selectively, while it sustains and supports others who act as an arm of its foreign policy.
So, I think we’re confident that … I mean, Pakistan doesn’t want to become a pariah state. Pakistan is a country with tremendous potential — human potential, economic potential. So, what we really would like to see is Pakistan act in its own interest and to stop going after these groups only selectively, and to stop providing safe havens and support bases and other forms of support for leadership.