The Donald Trump administration looks ready to give Pakistan one more chance to work with the US and come clean on terrorism.
The Donald Trump administration looks ready to give Pakistan one more chance to work with the US and come clean on terrorism. At a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said, “We need to try one more time to make this strategy work with them, by, with and through the Pakistanis, and if our best efforts fail, the president is prepared to take whatever steps are necessary,” Mattis was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Mattis’ latest statement is set to cause concern in Pakistan and within Pakistan military. Islamabad’s role in promoting terrorism, its role in Afghanistan and ISI’s relationship with terror groups have been discussed by the US officials for long. However, only now the US appears to have realised Pakistan’s faults and, not only this, they have openly started talking about these issues.
During a Senate hearing on Tuesday, the top US military official asserted that he believed Pakistan’s spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had ties to terrorist groups. “It is clear to me that the ISI has connections with terrorist groups,” Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
These statements from the US clearly show a shift in US policy towards Pakistan, and the latter can no longer afford to maintain double standards when it comes to terrorism.
The US-Pakistan relationship has soured rapidly after Trump came to power. Reuters had earlier reported that Trump administration is discussing about possible actions that can be taken against Pakistan. These include expanding U.S. drone strikes and perhaps eventually downgrading Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally. Mattis has also made it clear that revoking Pakistan’s major non-NATO ally status was one of the options being considered to deal with Pakistan.
Despite being rapped by the US on many occasions, Pakistan continues to claim it has been successful in counter-terrorism operations in its country. In 2012, the US had designated Pakistan-based Haqqani network as a terrorist organization.
Last year , U.S. Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, who was then the top U.S. military officer, had made a sensational claim by telling the US Congress that the Haqqani network was a “veritable arm” of the ISI directorate.