US wants Pakistan to 'change behaviour', stop acting 'selectively' on Taliban

H.R. McMaster says though Pakistan suffered "great losses", US won't tolerate support for Taliban or related groups

News Desk August 06, 2017
National Security Adviser Army Lt Gen HR McMaster. PHOTO: Reuters/File

US President Donald Trump's National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has said the White House wanted to see a "change in behaviour" from interested groups in the region, particularly Pakistan.

In an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that aired on Saturday, he said while Pakistan had suffered "great losses" fighting the Taliban, they had done so "selectively", The Hill reported.

"This is Pakistan in particular that we want to really see a change in– and a reduction of their support – for – these groups," he said. "I mean, this is– of course, you know, a very paradoxical situation, right, where Pakistan is taking great losses."

"They have fought very hard against these groups," McMaster argued, "but they’ve done so really only selectively."

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He said Trump was making clear that the US would no longer tolerate any support for the Taliban or related groups.

"The president has also made clear that he, that we need to see a change in behavior of those in the region, which includes those who are providing safe haven and support bases for the Taliban," McMaster added.

McMaster defended the campaign in Afghanistan, arguing they had seen "tremendous" success in the country.

"There’s a tremendously successful campaign going on with Afghan forces in the lead. It’s an unreported campaign in Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan," McMaster said.

"We’re not gonna talk tactics anymore, right?" he added. "Everything before was, you know, troop levels and very specific details announcing to the enemy years in advance exactly the number of troops you’re gonna have, exactly what they’re gonna do and what they’re not gonna do. And so the president has said, that 'That is not the way to fight a war. It never has been.' This is an invention of recent years."

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McMaster also said the president "absolutely" has confidence in the commander in charge of the U.S. war effort against the Taliban and ISIS in Afghanistan.

The general defended Trump's decisions in Afghanistan and the commander in charge of the mission following reports that the president wanted to fire him.

According to reports this week of a situation room meeting in July, Trump believes General John Nicholson - the commander in charge of Afghanistan - is "losing" the war in the country.

"I’ve known him for many years," McMaster said of Nicholson. "I can’t imagine a more capable commander on any mission."

He said the president "absolutely" had confidence in Nicholson.

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McMaster himself has been the target of right-wing Trump supporters outraged at the general's decision to renew security clearance for Susan Rice, former President Barack Obama's national security adviser.

"General McMaster and I are working very well together," Trump said in a statement on Friday. "He is a good man and very pro-Israel. I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country."

McMaster in the interview with Hewitt also argued that Trump's loosening of restrictions on the military was beginning to see a "payoff".

"The president has said that he does not want to place restrictions on the military that undermine our ability to win battles in combat," McMaster added. "He has lifted those restrictions, and you’re beginning to see the payoff of that as well."


Asif | 4 years ago | Reply McMaster is nobody ... it was Gen Petraeus whose coat-tail he hanged on to get to this stage. Soon he will discredit himself after he is tested once or twice. Another of Trump's wannabe
Striver | 4 years ago | Reply McMaster should focus his attention on India. If he wants to see peace tell the Indians to pack their bags it time to leave Afghanistan. McMaster is not naive. He knows how the Indian are using the Afghan soil to spread terror in Pakistan. I don't see peace coming any soon. Pakistan has legitimate concerns which need to be addressed..
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