Washington: US President Donald Trump has asked Pakistan to take “decisive action” against terror groups operating on its soil, as he unveiled America’s new National Security Strategy.
The US will also encourage Pakistan to continue demonstrating that it is a responsible steward of its nuclear assets, the National Security Strategy (NSS) said.
Mandated by the Congress, Trump on Monday released his first NSS, according to which the US has asked Pakistan to intensify its counterterrorism efforts. “We have made clear to Pakistan that while we desire continued partnership, we must see decisive action against terrorist groups operating on their territory. And we make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help,” Trump said in his remarks as he announced the NSS.
Pakistan has received more than USD 33 billion from US since the 9/11 terror attacks. “We will press Pakistan to intensify its counter-terrorism efforts, since no partnership can survive a country’s support for militants and terrorists who target a partner’s own service members and officials,” it said.
The NSS links its efforts to build trade and investment ties with Pakistan with improvement in security. The Trump administration has been talking tough with Pakistan after it came to power, but has stopped short of taking any action against it even though the Pakistani leadership have shown reluctance in taking decisive actions against terrorist groups.
On November 25, the White House asked Pakistan to immediately re-arrest and prosecute Hafiz Saeed, leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba. “If Pakistan does not take action to lawfully detain Saeed and charge him for his crimes, its inaction will have repercussions for bilateral relations and for Pakistan’s global reputation,” the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders had said.
On Afghanistan, the US will continue to partner with it to promote peace and security in the region, it said. “We will continue to promote anti-corruption reform in Afghanistan to increase the legitimacy of its government and reduce the appeal of violent extremist organisations,” it added.
In his South Asia speech on August 21, Trump became the first US president to publicly point out for its support to terrorist outfits and leaders. “For its part, Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror,” he said and asked Pakistan to “demonstrate” its commitment to civilisation, order, and to peace.
The US, Trump then said, can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organisations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond.
Since then top US leadership, including the Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, have visited Pakistan to press the latter. Mattis has refused to give necessary certification to Pakistan that it is taking action against Haqqani network, as a result of which blocking several hundred million coalition support funds to Islamabad.