US considering permanent freeze on Pakistan military aid: American magazine

Published: March 27, 2018
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PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS

The Trump administration has been looking into a range of new options to incrementally pressure Pakistan into acting against militants, Foreign Policy reported.

According to the American publication, White House functionaries are weighing unprecedented penalties including revoking the country’s major non-NATO ally status, permanently cutting off military aid and imposing a visa bars on Pakistani government officials.

However, the magazine claimed the suggestions stimulated internal debate in Washington circles on the “tempo and scale” of the under-consideration measures. The publication noted some officials and military men favoured pursuing an aggressive policy while others counselled caution.

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These reports come amidst an ongoing shuffle in the Trump cabinet. Foreign policy hawk John Bolton was recently appointed National Security Advisor and former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Mike Pompeo replaced Rex Tillerson at the US State Department.

These changes could “tilt” the discussion on Pakistan in the Trump inner circle in favour of new measures against Islamabad, according to the American publication.

Foreign Policy cited current and former deputies in the White House as saying that drastic measures against Pakistan included punitive actions like a visa ban on government and security officials from Islamabad allegedly involved in subversive activities.

“We are prepared to do whatever is necessary to protect US personnel and interests in the region,” a senior Trump administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told reporters last week.

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These reports suggest a shift in American policy towards Pakistan with previous US presidents being hesitant to push Pakistan too hard.

There have also been murmurings that cutting off aid to the country permanently would make it harder for Islamabad to access high-tech military hardware, hampering the fight against terrorism in the tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, emboldening militants and destabilising the nuclear-armed nation.

Pakistan is also important to the peace process in Kabul, as US forces seek a dignified exit from the war-torn country after over a decade of little progress.

Two lethal attacks in Kabul in January claimed by the Taliban, occurring only days after the suspension of US aid was announced and after a tweet by Trump castigating Pakistan, have added urgency to the debate.

This article originally appeared in Foreign Policy

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Reader Comments (13)

  • FAS
    Mar 27, 2018 - 3:17PM

    US will not achieve any thing with Pakistan’s arm twisting. It should realize that a friendly Pakistan is in America’s interest. Pakistan is not Iran Iraq or Afghanistan. We are nuclear power with robust army and resilient nation of 220m. Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Mar 27, 2018 - 3:29PM

    Blah blah blah….sounds of the usual good cop, bad cop tactics of the US government. This time however there are 3 bad cops lined up: Bolton, Pompeo and Haley, so its a great opportunity for Pakistan to seek fulltime no-strings-tied military cooperation elsewhere and put paid to the insufferable nonsense coming from the Trump administration.Recommend

  • salman
    Mar 27, 2018 - 3:30PM

    Best thing to happen. It will actually help Pakistan to get out from the jaws of Uncle Sam.Recommend

  • Salman Sheikh
    Mar 27, 2018 - 6:13PM

    please do it soon USA. i truly wish so that we can live peacefull. Recommend

  • cuban
    Mar 27, 2018 - 9:14PM

    While the additional measures proposed will be uncomfortable they won’t be extremely damaging … but remember that the USA still has the ability to put pressure on trade, expat remittances and use it’s significant influence on IMF, ADB etc. Given Pakistan’s precarious economic condition I would argue that economic measures have more substance than the reduction in aid/weapons/visa’s. Recommend

  • Salman
    Mar 27, 2018 - 10:50PM

    Would be the best thing that could happen to Pakistan… The sooner the US does this, the better for Pakistan!

    Excellent news… This will help Pakistan’s indiginous production as well as further collaboration with Russia and China. Recommend

  • Razia ali
    Mar 28, 2018 - 2:07AM

    Best decision. Pakistan has best option to collaborate with US enemy China and Russia.Recommend

  • Naim Khan
    Mar 28, 2018 - 2:36AM

    Soon is the better, Pakistan should leave USA and start dealing with Russia as Pakistan has a close friend China. Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Mar 28, 2018 - 3:28AM

    US should help Karachi in development and other areas who really don’t get funding from Govt of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Saad
    Mar 28, 2018 - 7:39AM

    Good move. This will make Pakistan self dependent.Recommend

  • PAKISTANI
    Mar 28, 2018 - 8:52AM

    US should help KArachi in Development project as Govt of Pakistan doesn’t help in funding KArachi.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Mar 28, 2018 - 9:35AM

    Its a joke.Most of the US troops, as well as equipment for the Afghan army, is supplied through Pakistan.You cant defeat geography.Recommend

  • Nadeem Afridi
    Mar 28, 2018 - 10:22AM

    Good riddance. Please take your tools of data collection i.e. USAID with you. We have had enough of this spying agency amidst us in Pakistan.Recommend

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