LONDON: US State Department's Spokesperson Helaena White has said US President Donald Trump’s criticism of Pakistan is part of “integrated regional approach” the Republican administration has adopted for the South Asian region focusing mainly on Afghanistan, India and Pakistan.
While speaking to private TV Channel at the US Embassy about Trump’s latest controversial speech, Helaena defended the US president’s new strategy about Pakistan saying his approach was “reflective of conditions on the ground rather than based on a timeline”.
She said Pakistan and America have enjoyed “durable and strong” relations for 70 years, adding that it was wrong to suggest that Trump had blamed Pakistan for the situation in Afghanistan.
“We are not blaming Pakistan. We acknowledge the sacrifices made by Pakistan in the war on terror,” she maintained. “We have high appreciation for the country’s role [and] know it very well that the people of Pakistan are victims of terrorism like the people of America.”
Trump’s administration wants to work with Pakistan “together for peace and security of Afghanistan which will benefit the entire region”, she said. The US president’s new approach revolved around “protecting American interests” in the region and globally and that he was being honest and open about it, the spokesperson added.
When asked about the comments by Trump that terrorist sanctuaries existed on Pakistani side of the border and that the authorities did not take action against some terrorist groups, Helaena White said sanctuaries existed on both sides of the border. “We want Pakistan to take decisive action against militant groups based there that are a threat to the region.”