After China, Russia defends Pakistan on Trump accusations, terms Islamabad a key regional player

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After China, Russia defends Pakistan on Trump accusations, terms Islamabad a key regional player

Donald Trump’s Pakistan strategy vowing “a fight to win” has sparked criticism in both China and Russia, whose roles in the South Asian nation have grown substantially since U.S.-Pakistan relations turned sour after U.S. Navy SEALs killed Taliban chief Osama Bin Laden on Pakistani soil in 2011.

Beijing and Moscow engaged Islamabad in December 2016 to hold a series of trilateral talks focused on eliminating terrorism in the region. Nearly 22,000 Pakistani civilians and over 6,800 security force personnel have been killed in terrorist violence since 2003, according to estimations by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP).

Addressing a daily news briefing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying defended Pakistan after Trump’s speech and praised her country’s “all-weather” friend for making “great sacrifices” and “important contributions” in the fight against terrorism. Mrs. Chunying also called on the international community to “fully recognize” Islamabad’s struggle against terrorism.

Russia echoed a similar sentiment on Tuesday. When speaking to Russia’s “Afghanistan” daily, Russian Presidential Envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov lambasted Trump’s Pakistan strategy and insisted that Islamabad is “a key regional player to negotiate with.”

“Putting pressure [on Pakistan] may seriously destabilize the region-wide security situation and result in negative consequences for Afghanistan,” the Russian presidential envoy to Kabul said.