Pakistan could evict, rather than kill, militants: US official

US pressuring Pakistan to cease providing sanctuary to militants unleashing chaos in neighbouring Afghanistan


Reuters February 24, 2018
The political agent said that two persons were heading to their farms when a man stepped on an IED. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD/WASHINGTON: Pakistan need not kill or capture militants such as members of the Haqqani network that use its territory to launch attacks in Afghanistan but could push them across the border instead, a senior US official said on Friday.

Evicting the militants would put them at risk of attack from Afghan and US forces trying to keep Afghanistan from becoming a launching pad for strikes on the West more than 16 years after the Sept 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.

The United States is pressuring Pakistan to cease providing sanctuary - which it denies giving - to militants unleashing chaos in neighboring Afghanistan.

On January 4, Washington said it would suspend some security aid to Islamabad to get it to end support for the Afghan Taliban and the allied Haqqani network whose attacks in Afghanistan have killed US, Afghan and other forces.

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The senior US official said in an interview that since the aid suspension - which US officials later said could affect as much as about $2 billion - the United States has not seen any sustained Pakistani effort against the militants.

In the latest US-led push to spur Pakistani action, a global money-laundering watchdog decided to put the country back on its terrorist financing watch list, a Pakistani government official and a diplomat told Reuters in Islamabad.

The US official dismissed suggestions pressure from Washington may backfire and suggested that Pakistan might start by taking smaller, tactical steps, including forcing such groups into Afghanistan before the spring fighting season begins.

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“I don’t think Pakistan is feeling its oats. I think it’s feeling pressure,” said the US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “We have their attention.”

The official said the United States did not have a specific timeline to assess Pakistani cooperation and would be looking to see if Islamabad would take ”tactical steps“ such as ”actions against ... (the) Haqqanis, pushing them across the border.

“They don’t have to arrest them or kill them ... just get them into Afghanistan, disrupt some of the infrastructure that exists, make it harder for them,” the official added. “We are about two months away from the fighting season, so now is the time to do some of this.” Some in the US government doubt Pakistan will comply.

In a February 13 statement to Congress, US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Pakistan would maintain “its ties with militant groups, restricting counter-terrorism cooperation” with the United States.

COMMENTS (4)

Abc | 3 years ago | Reply I would love to see both nighbouring countries india and pakisthan do well with respect to humanity and development. But if we have leaders like Modi and Nawaz we do not need enemies. One is sold to China and otner to USA. VERY SAD.:)
Xof | 3 years ago | Reply As if they all the problems of the biggest super power is due to them. wow.
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